5 Star-Crossed Lovers in Video Games

Zack and Aerith


Video Games – some of them have great and immersive stories and more often than not, there are lovers in these video games that we envy or love; and they earn a special place in our hearts. Not to sound cheesy but, one way or the other, they remind us that love is such a powerful force. Unfortunately, not all love stories have happy endings filled with flowers and dancing-in-the-rain sort of romance. As usual, there are spoilers. So if you read the characters of a game and you know you haven’t played it yet, play them first then come back. I believe that these stories will have more effect if you’ve built a strong relationship with the characters. Without further ado, Here are some of the star-crossed Romeo’s and Juliet’s in video games. Enjoy.

Max Caulfield and Chloe Price

That look : Chloe looking at Max
That look : Chloe looking at Max

Probably one of the most memorable games I’ve played in recent years, Life is Strange. It tells the story of Maxine Caulfield, who discovered that she has the ability to turn back time after seeing her childhood friend, Chloe Price, killed by her annoying spoiled classmate, Nathan from the influential Prescott family. After saving Chloe – through Max’s newly discovered ability – Max opened her powers to Chloe and the pair decided to use it for good. Starting there, the player is brought to a series of breaking in various areas, solving puzzles, and of course, time-reversing moments. All to solve the mystery of the disappearance of Chloe’s friend, Rachel Amber. I won’t reveal who the perpetrator is and jump right to the ending.

Because of Max’s playing around with time, she brought a huge tornado closing in to Arcadia Bay, a fictional coastal city in Oregon. And the only way to save the town is to reverse time to when it all started. At the bathroom where Max saved Chloe using her new ability. It is then the player’s choice to save Arcadia Bay by letting Chloe die or to sacrifice the town to allow Chloe to live.

Life is Strange Max and Chloe
Whichever you path you choose, the pain will still be there…

Remember that philosophical question about which train track would you pass a train: a track with the one you love tied on the path or the other track with multiple people tied on the path? That was how I felt making that decision.

Master Chief and Cortana

Master Chief and Cortana
Master Chief and Cortana

Imagine yourself as a super space soldier, so powerful that even alien species know your name; then, imagine yourself accompanied by a caring, intelligent, and gorgeous woman who is slowly dying. What would you feel? Would the feeling be the same if I told you she’s an Artificial Intelligence?

Meet John-117 aka Master Chief, a Spartan-class commando of the United Nations Space Command, and Cortana, an AI tasked with assisting the Chief through his missions. Playing Halo for all these years, we develop a bond between the two and the player. Which made the events of Halo 4 devastating for the players out there. We can feel Cortana’s feelings for the Chief during the intro and ending of the live-action film, Forward Unto Dawn, which also acted as an introduction to Halo 4. What hurt more was when Cortana, despite ‘decaying’, harnessed all her remaining power to appear as a human-sized version of herself just to feel and kiss Master Chief. Also that part where Cortana sacrificed herself to save the Chief; I don’t know about you but, that hurt like hell.

Cortana confesses
I’ve waited so long to do that…

Ellie and Riley

Ellie and Riley
Ellie and Riley

Oh, Last of Us, we are going to talk about you again. But this time, we will talk about the DLC, Left Behind. It tells the story about Ellie’s flashbacks as she was looking after Joel after he fell on a piece of metal that pierced his flesh during the course of the main game.

Ellie’s flashbacks showed us the story of how she and her best friend, Riley, worked together and survived the harsh world filled with hordes of infected. Along the course of the DLC, we become attached to the pair. They laughed together, helped each other when in danger, but it all reached the climax when Ellie suddenly kissed Riley – Out. Of. Nowhere. Even I was shocked despite anticipating such a reveal. Despite, their sweetness and joy together, the universe didn’t agree. During their struggles in the mall, both of them were bitten and we all know what happens when you’re bitten by an infected. You turn. You become infected yourself. That just what happened.

That's the look when you know it's all going to end...
That’s the look when you know it’s all going to end…

Then, they just decided to just wait it out Instead of committing suicide – enjoy the little time they had together. But, things can get worse. Only Riley turned. Yes, Ellie discovered that she was immune and now she is – incoming pun – left behind. Without Riley…what an ending. Thank you Naughty Dog. Neil Druckman, you…you’re awesome.

Squall Leonhart and Rinoa Heartilly

The graduation ball. Isn't she cute?
The graduation ball. Isn’t she cute?

You must be like, “Final Fantasy…Why am I not surprised?”. Well, unsurprisingly for us, Final Fantasy have some favorable couples in their series. But, we are only going to talk about one pair in particular. If you want to add Ramza and Delita here, be my guest. I was considering them when I was writing this article. *Hysterical laugh* Oh, Ramza. Seriously now, we are going to talk about Squall Leonhart and Rinoa Heartilly from Final Fantasy VIII.

This is probably one of the entries in the franchise that has quite a complicated story that only Whovians can understand right then and there during their first playthrough. Still, we all remember that sweet dance they had during their graduation ball which reminded us of our own Junior Senior Promenades, right? Plus the soundtrack; who didn’t feel something move in their chest every time they hear Eyes on Me play?

Squall and Rinoa
Squall and Rinoa

Even though the couple didn’t exchange I Love You’s, their love for each other is obvious. They even talked in private on where to meet if they lose their way during their last mission against Ultimecia during the big wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff that is the Time Compression Spell. Rinoa also brought out the “sweet and caring” side of Squall who is very serious, introverted, and cold prior to falling for Rinoa.

Wander and Mono

Wander with Mono on the altar
Wander with Mono on the altar

When I first saw the cover and the gameplay video for the Shadow of the Colossus, I prepared myself for the action and the challenge that was waiting for me. What I didn’t expect was the plot twist that was lurking at the end of the game. I did have mixed feelings when confronting the giant creature guardians dwelling in the world; a mixture of “Do I really need to kill these guys?” and “Meh, let the challenge begin, down you go, big fella!”. Little did I know – honestly, I didn’t really know, no idea at all – that I was releasing a demon with each colossus that I defeat. All I knew when I was playing through the game is that, I was reviving my love that I left on the altar at the beginning of the game.

Then, down goes the last colossus. I just released a demon and I acted as a conduit for the big guy. Yes, I did revive my love but, I fell into the depths of darkness.

Wander struggling
Wander struggling

Consumed by what I have been slowly releasing through the course of the game. Unable to at least touch a strand of my love’s hair, hold just a shadow of her now-alive beauty, or hear her angelic soothing voice once more. What struck me then was that the game broke my anticipated happy ending and caught me off-guard with a dramatic ending. You can feel Wander’s desire to be by the sides of her love at the ending when you’re controlling him as he struggle against the darkness that was pulling him away from Mono. And then you’ll feel it was all for naught and a same time feel good for the guy. Whether he knew what he was doing or not, it doesn’t really matter. What we all know is that Wander was willing to do everything to bring Mono back.

There are other star-crossed lovers in a lot of video games out there and these are just some of them. How about you? What video game broke your heart after falling for the couple in the game? Which video game couple made you feel what it’s like to love and be loved? Share with us in the comment section below and let’s talk about love and pain.

OP Or Not OP, That Is The Question: #3- Final Fantasy VIII’s Junctioning

Final Fantasy

Here’s an interesting case study. In terms of singleplayer-only gaming, what can OP really mean?

In the early days of gaming, there were cheat codes-amundo. These button combinations would enable all kinds of funky effects, from big head modes to invulnerability and level selects. In a sense, of course, this ‘broke’ the game in question, allowing you to effortlessly waltz through the tricksiest sections with ease. Oftentimes, such things were frowned upon.

What mattered, in my view, was when and where you chose to use them. With a game you’ve already beaten umpteen times, why not? Nothing ups replay value like the chance to play through again while invincible, or with end-game weapons unlocked from the start.

In-game mechanics can have a similar effect. There’s no use of cheat codes per say, but you’re abusing the tools you’re given to break the game in a whole different way. Final Fantasy VIII is a great example of this.

As fans of the much-ballyhooed RPG series will know, each game handles character progression differently. Final Fantasy VIIs materia system and XIII’s crystarium, for instance, are two wildly disparate ways of handling characters’ stat growth and learning of abilities. Final Fantasy VIII utilized the junction system, and it’s a little nutty. Let’s check it out.

Final Fantasy VIII 2

In this game, there was no armor to equip, only weapons. This is RPG blasphemy, of course, but armor was rendered obsolete by the much more customisable stats junctioning offered. Essentially, the menu allowed you to ‘equip’ a magic spell from your arsenal to a particular stat. The boost you’d get from this depended on the spell and how many uses of it you had (magic didn’t cost MP here, but was instead limited by the amount of ‘copies’ of the spell that character had stocked).

Each stat was better suited to certain magic, and this is where your team could quickly become overpowered. Junctioning powerful healing spells to your HP, for instance, paid dividends. The key here is that a lot of these spells could be acquired early on, leaving characters vastly overleveled for that point in the story.

But it’s a long slog to do so. In my most recent playthrough of Final Fantasy VIII, I decided to try out some real junctioning abuse. I also took the time to acquire some ultimate weapons on the first disk to boot. This was all kinds of a pain in the butt, requiring several hours of the card game Triple Triad (cards can be refined into items, which can in turn become a stock of powerful magic).

It added a whole new dimension to the game, being able to unleash powers and attacks that were flattening bosses in a single hit. OP? In a sense, sure. The first time playing, I’d never dream of doing so. I felt the same rush that school bullies probably feel as they flush the toilet with a nerdly little kid’s head in it. Or PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWER, as the genie from Aladdin put it.

Nevertheless, it takes a certain degree of expertise to abuse the system in this way. For newcomers, junctioning can be a head-scratching business. And even when you know what you’re doing, it’s so time consuming. I earned my stats and Squall’s spangly blue gunblade, there’s no doubt about that. Having worked for it, I can’t see this as too objectionable.

The VGamerZ Monster Files: Cactuar (Final Fantasy)

Final Fantasy

Do you remember those irritating little fairy dudes from Harry Potter? The ones that emerged from the crap-stained curtains and Final Fantasy tried to bite everyone right in the face with their tiny-yet-pointy-and-probably-hurty teeth? These buggers are the Cactuars of Harry Potter.

By which, I mean they aren’t particularly imposing opponents. The sort of mischievous, malevolent, mythical dudes who just want to be a pain in the butt. Because they can.

The Cactuar is a real series stalwart, appearing in every game since Final Fantasy VI. It’s an anthropomorphic cactus-midget, with odd stiff legs and an empty, slightly creepy hole-face. They are usually encountered in desert environments, as you’d expect, and attack with their patented 1000 Needles move. This fixed, non-elemental, unblockable damage is nothing particularly interesting, and their other moves are generally rather feeble.

Cactuar 2

But that isn’t the issue. These wily beasts don’t have much HP, but are notoriously evasive and difficult to take out. Even more so, when you consider their penchant for hiding in the sand like big girls between rounds. These sorts of shenanigans make the Cactuar one of the most notable returning Final Fantasy creatures. It has a hook, a gimmick, like the Tonberry taking bullets like the Terminator before suddenly dashing forward and planting a rusty blade in your skull.

Being such a pain, there is usually a great experience reward for defeating a Cactuar, or other prize. But those are just the standard ones; in later games a big ol’ giant Cactus-freak with a mustache appears as a summon.

Final Fantasy VIII’s Jumbo Cactuar provided me one of the biggest gaming WTF moments of my life. Not only did it look… like that, but it uses an upgraded form of that attack: 10,000 needles. This damage this dealt, of course, exceeded the 9999 cap. Which, at the time, was completely unheard of, and destroyed my whole belief system. What’s real? What isn’t? How could I know?

Damn you, Jumbo Cactuar.