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.
John Marston from the Red Dead series is a total badass, but he's not without heart. In Red Dead Redemption, John tries to escape his outlaw past, but the government catches up to him and kidnaps his family, forcing him to act as a hired gun. The Red Dead series taught gamers about sacrifice, and asked us how far we'd go to protect the ones we love.
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.
Nathan Drake and Elena Fisher from the Uncharted series have a long and sordid history that taught gamers it's okay to have relationship problems. In the first game we see the spark of attraction, and the stereotypical opposites attract on-camera romance.
As time goes on we see plenty of ups and downs. There's betrayal and reparations, marriage and separation, but of course the inevitable reconciliation because love always wins.
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."