It’s Valentine’s Day, which means that one half of the world’s population is letting you know how happy they are on Facebook, while the other half is posting singleton memes and hoping that their co-workers don’t catch them crying.
If you wanted to avoid Valentine’s Day completely by heading on over to a video game website, then it sucks to be you, because we’re here with that sweet V-Day #content too. Fortunately for you, as no one likes to read missives on true love on this particular day, I’ve instead compiled a list of video game couples who prove that love is actually bullshit. You’re welcome.
Nathan Drake and Elena Fisher
There is nothing more indicative of love being bullshit than the reaction to Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End‘s story. In the last chapter in the Nathan Drake saga (for now, at least), our “hero” has been reunited with Elena Fisher, his previously estranged wife who left him following the events of Uncharted 2 as a result of him failing to prioritize anyone other than himself. So far, so understandable.
In Uncharted 4, Elena is back with Nathan and it seems that the couple has settled down. Nathan has got a proper job, and they spend their evenings playing Crash Bandicoot. Unfortunately, that isn’t enough for “Nate,” who decides to bugger off again in search of treasure alongside his similarly selfish brother.
It initially seems that Uncharted 4 is going to go the route of diving into why Nathan’s behavior is so damaging. Elena is depicted as an incredibly understanding wife, though with Nathan pushing 40 they’ve struck up an unspoken pact to get things moving in their adult lives, swapping high-risk adventuring for putting up IKEA shelves.
However, married life doesn’t really make for an exciting video game, so Nathan lies to Elena about a work trip to instead go treasure hunting with Sam. Despite Nathan once again being on the verge of getting himself killed, and him having pissed all over his promises to her, Elena meets up with her husband on his death-defying field trip and agrees to tag along. There’s a little bit of conflict, sure, though certainly not the amount that Nathan deserves for risking his marriage over the pursuit of shiny things like a magpie with a haircut.
We hear a lot about games allowing us the opportunity to live out “power fantasies,” but Uncharted 4 allows its male players to live out a “marriage fantasy” in which their shitty actions have no consequence, and their problems will have natural resolutions without them having to put any effort in whatsoever. I get that Nathan realizing the error of his ways mid-way through Uncharted 4 and returning home to Elena wouldn’t have made for a particularly interesting game, but as it stands the game is the story of one asshole betraying the trust of those who love him and facing no repercussions. I spent the final third of the game actively wanting him to suffer a bit, though inevitably he comes out of the whole ordeal completely unscathed.
Uncharted 4‘s story was widely praised back in 2016 and it picked up a whole bunch of Game of the Year awards, which is a testament to how out of whack our perception of how relationships should work is. Apparently, true love is not wasting time on self-improvement or selflessness but instead doing exactly what you want to the detriment of your significant other. Romantic!
Mario and Peach
Mario is an incel. There’s no other way around it. The ultimate “Nice Guy,” Mario has been desperately trying to get something going with Peach since the ’80s, ever since she thanked him for saving her at the end of Super Mario Bros.
Mario may look happy on the outside, but behind closed doors, he definitely spews bile about Peach on 4chan. Nowhere has Mario’s unrequited love for Peach been more apparent than in Super Mario Odyssey, where he rescues her from a forced wedding with Bowser before she promptly jettisons away to go on a prolonged vacation with Tiara. He even wears a suit and top hat, as though she’s obliged to marry him just because he saved her.
The Italian does not know his place in the Mushroom Kingdom. This is a world without any policing, and it is clear that Mario is one of few authority figures. Considering that the Mushroom Kingdom is predominantly populated by Toads, it is no surprise that stocky little Mario is perceived as the most capable individual of rescuing Peach, though he appears to believe that this role is some sort of fast-track to becoming romantically involved with her. Considering he’s held this belief for over three decades and it still hasn’t come true, you’d think that he’d take the hint by now.
But you know what is the most bullshit aspect of Mario and Peach’s non-existent relationship? It’s that these two, by lone virtue of them appearing together so often, are perceived as the most famous video game “couple” around. They aren’t a couple! Players have been assuming the role of Mario for so many years that they’ve assumed his warped worldview. This isn’t love — this is one man’s bizarre obsession with a woman who has never shown but the most fleeting amount of romantic interest in him.
Master Chief and Cortana
Cortana is an AI hologram and Master Chief probably sleeps in that ridiculous green suit, so a sexual relationship between this pair is automatically ruled out. However, they have been shown to express feelings for one another, potentially because there aren’t many people who would be interested in a space marine who hides what little there is of his personality behind an orange visor.
343 Industries really pushed ahead with making Cortana a focal point of Halo, with her eventually coming to the conclusion that organic life probably isn’t worth it and transforming into a villain in Halo 5: Guardians. To be honest, if I’d spent as much time with John-117 as she has, I’d consider bringing an end to humanity, too.
Master Chief and Cortana prove that love is bullshit because even when you think you’ve struck it lucky with an android programmed to help you out, they end up getting so sick of you that they want to wipe your race out of existence.
EA and Star Wars
When Disney handed over the reins to the Star Wars game license to EA, there were a few raised eyebrows but many were also quietly optimistic that the publisher would do right by the sci-fi saga. EA certainly had the money to fund a whole bunch of interesting Star Wars projects, and assigning Battlefield developers DICE to Star Wars Battlefront was a heartening step in the right direction. Or so we thought.
The relationship between EA and Star Wars is further proof that when it seems like a partnership is going to work out for the best, it probably won’t if you can’t be bothered to put the effort in. We’re told that when two people love one another “it just works,” and it is this fallacy that has built a myriad of romantic-comedies in which two assholes somehow maintain a relationship. However, just like you can’t book a table at a swanky restaurant and expect it to overshadow your dreadful personality, EA couldn’t just throw Star Wars Battlefront 2‘s microtransactions at us and expect us to take it because it let us play as Yoda.
EA expected its efforts with the Star Wars license to just work by virtue of the franchise’s innate selling power, though it soon became apparent that no amount of sexy Han Solo could win us over to Battlefront 2. It wasn’t us, EA; it was almost certainly you.