It's Valentine's Day and love is in the air. Whether your one true love is sat beside you or you're still waiting to find the one, retro games will always offer their unconditional love. With this in mind we explore some of the most romantic (and lustful) moments in gaming that we treasure from the bottom of our heart containers.
Romance in games has almost been somewhat an awkward subject. The grinding of pixels and polygons in cringe-worthy moments can have us turning away from the screen, leaving so few games able to pull off a heart-warming scene. Then again, others such as Rockstar have, excuse the pun, gone balls out with their attempts to recreate the passion in game.
What might your most memorable moments of romance (or heart-ache) in video games be? How about some of these iconic scenes filled with love, passion and questionable heat of the moment antics?
Sonic The Hedgehog & Amy Rose In Sonic CD
Although a brief encounter, the arrival of Amy in Sonic CD brought along a new narrative to the iconic platformer. Amy's entrance in the first Collision Chaos stage has her countless beaming hearts flying off in the direction of our uninterested blue hedgehog, only to find herself soon captured by Robotnik's clutches.
After feeling guilty for arrogantly running past his crush, Sonic spends the rest of his compact-disc adventure fighting his way to Robotnik's headquarters in a belated attempt to save her.
In the end, romance prevails. Sonic not only rescues his pink passion, but he also banishes Robotnik's kidnapping attempts for another few years.
Mario & Princess Peach
"Sorry Mario but the princess is in another castle", "Dear Mario: Please come to the castle. I've baked a cake for you" - Mario's love life has been quite the complicated one. Either he's found himself knocking on the wrong castle door or he's mistakenly lured into delicious temptation. For our unfortunate hero, most of his past scenarios have ended up with yet another anti-climax.
But it's not all misfortune for our Italian plumber. Within Super Mario Bros 3 a deep emotional connection between Mario and Princess Peach is born. Throughout the entire game Mario's soft spot is sending flirtatious gift-bearing letters to our protagonist, all to help aid his rescue mission.
While these love letters and gifts might not have guaranteed Peach's return, they pretty much ensured a flurry of romantic action to follow. After finally defeating Bowser, Mario and Peach find themselves face to face with a curtain falling on whatever might be need to soon be obscured from gamer's view...
Leisure Suit Larry & His Many, Many Companions
Although many wouldn't consider Leisure Suit Larry's attempts as romantic, you cannot deny his never-ending efforts to find 'love'.
This early PC game release not only created a fantastic alternative to the growing library of adventure games out there, but also offered a new comedy narrative to the video game medium. The designers at Sierra were far from shy in their creations, introducing climbing out of the window scenarios for Larry's mischievous antics.
Promiscuity aside, Sierra also left in several important messages to balance out the pixelated smut. Several game-over scenarios took the form of poor lust filled decisions leading down a dark path, many of which we're sure have led retro gamers on to practice the art of love making safely.
Just remember that no matter which way you type in 'Lick prostitute', it will ever end well.
Dragon's Lair's Dirk The Daring & Princess Daphne
If there was ever an individual who deserved the girl, it was Dirk the Daring. Dragon's Lair was a revolutionary coin-op experience featuring cartoon quality gameplay, an engaging story and quite a challenge.
While its visual style did allure gamers, it also frustrated them to no end. As the interactions with this game-meets-film were nothing more than quick time events - many of which required lightning fast button-pressing-reflexes - our sword wielding hero Dirk met an unfortunate end all too often.
The eventual sight of the damsel in distress in Dirk's gallant and loving arms was nothing short of a miracle, and one so few gamers were presented with. If anything this end sequence further proved that love lets nothing get in its way, especially not a castle full of traps, demons and dangers.
Final Fantasy VII, Cloud Strife & His Hot Date
As the available memory and storage space for video games began to expand, it was only natural to see a progression in fictional offerings. Final Fantasy VII was a perfect example of this, especially as it tracked your in game actions over time in order to decide how a series of events panned out.
Up until the moments before the huge story changing event at the end of disc one, the Sony PlayStation had been keeping a close eye on how you'd been treating your female companions. Who did you speak to fist during key events? Had you kindly bought a flower from the flower girl? Did you offer medicine to the ladies when asked?
All these small decisions made a difference to the path taken in Final Fantasy VII, as the result of these actions would decide who would accompany Cloud Strife on his romantic trip round the Golden Saucer.
What made this branching part of the RPG's story so, well... uhm... interesting, was that if you had managed to disgust all three of the willing females, Cloud would instead take his macho, buff and short tempered male companion, Barrett, out instead.
Bonus: Using Retro Games To Propose, Chrono Trigger Style
At RetroCollect we tend to cover ROM hacks quite a lot. The talented reverse-engineering done by enthusiastic individuals has led to countless Japanese exclusive games being translated into English, and of course, brand new levels and features to our favourite titles.
Instead of bringing the retro gaming masses a newly translated classic or variation on an old favourite, one individual used script editing tools to rewrite the dialogue in Chrono Trigger to something more personal. This edit brought around one of the most unique marriage proposals ever, where by Chrono and his party led one unsuspecting lucky lady down a path of memories, and of course, the big question.