Love and storytelling go hand in hand, so it makes sense to see a ton of video games featuring love as a central theme. Developers have found that producing honest, genuine, and emotional video games set them apart from the Call of Dutys and Maddens of the world. That's not to say that simply squeezing in a romantic interest will do the trick—you need to create a compelling story between two characters. Otherwise you just wind up with weird sex in video games.
Some titles make romantic love the driving theme of the game, like Silent Hill 2, where you're compelled to search through a nightmarish town to find clues about your dead wife. Then there's the Uncharted series, which let players watch the ups and downs of Drake's relationship with Elena. Some titles take a different approach and show platonic love, like we see between Joel and Ellie in The Last of Us, or the love between a father and his son, like we see with Ethan, Jason, and Shaun in Heavy Rain.
As cheesy as it sounds, these are the games that taught a lot of us what love is. And, if you aren't familiar with that experience, check out some of these titles. They might open your mind, and your heart.
The Last of Us was a tornado of emotions. The game opens in the middle of the Cordyceps Brain Infection outbreak, which causes a mass panic. As Joel, the main character, flees for safety, a government agent guns down his tween daughter, and that's just in the first 15 minutes.
The game picks up years later, after Joel is asked to look after Ellie, a sassy tween just like Sarah. The Last of Us taught gamers about platonic love, as Joel and Ellie learn and grow from each other throughout the game. Not to mention the not-so-platonic love that Ellie and Riley shared in the DLC "Left Behind."
Final Fantasy X was a staple in the beloved series, and marked a high-point in storytelling for the franchise, but they'll probably never live down that haunting laughing scene between Tidus and Yuna.
Players start Final Fantasy X controlling Tidus after he's mysteriously transported to Spira and is desperately looking for a way home. He meets Yuna, a young Summoner on her own journey. As the game progresses, you see the two grow, bond, and slowly fall in love.
FFX teaches us the hard lesson that all good things must end, and players all remember wiping away a tear as Tidus disappeared from Yuna's arms and we realize he was nothing but a dream.
Shadow of the Colossus was a unique game. It barely had any characters, and contained minimal dialog. After a brief introduction, players take control of the unnamed "Wanderer" and venture off into the great unknown with his horse Agro, in a quest to defeat 16 colossi and revive your love Mono.
After hours of searching and battling, you reach the final colossus. In the process, you lose your only living friend, Agro. Shadow of the Colossus teaches you about life and death, as well as love and loss.
Final Fantasy VII was many gamers first introduction to a proper love triangle. Players spent the entire first disc courting Aeris, the quiet young flower girl, chasing after Tifa, the tough, spunky fighter from the wrong side of the tracks, or making moves on both.
Little did they know, if they played their cards right they could have taken Barret on a date instead.