Shall I compare thee to a plumber's game?
Its that time of year again where couples push public displays of affection to the absolute limit, and singletons feel extra lonely. But if youre significant other-less, then fear not! Whether youre a Mario in search of a Princess Peach, a Ms. Pac-man looking for a circular soulmate, or a Commander Shepard hoping to meet a Garrus/Liara/Ashley/Miranda/Tali/Kaiden, Im here to show you a new, infallible technique for wooing potential sweethearts: learning some smooth moves from various videogames.
I say infallible, Ive not actually tried it yet, but taking cues about romance from game characters can only go well, right? Lets see what happens!
What I learned: Forget about winning someones heart, its all about winning the affections of his/her stomach. Once you've figured out their favourite grub, the thing to do is to thrust it into their face as often as possible. You can also buy jewellery, but it has the same effect and costs a load more. Save your hard earned cash, and cook him/her something nice.
>What happened when I tried it out: At first, this technique had potential. It all seemed to be going well with a romantic first date at Subway, but after I bought her the sixth meatball sandwich she suddenly didn't seem so keen. Only mildly disastrous.
Success Rating: 3/5
What I learned: Pigeons (and other avian sorts), make excellent partners. In Hatoful Boyfriend, you enroll at a prestigious school in search of both education and romance the only snag is, theyre all birds. Thats not me using a derogatory term for women, theyre literally birds. Attracting a winged boyfriend, it seems, revolves around engaging with them on a deep, emotional level.
What happened when I tried it out: Intent on finding a nice pigeon suitor, I headed to the nearest park. After an hour trying to spark a stimulating chat with the feathered residents, I was covered in both peck marks and excrement. A couple of them did start to fight over me, though. At least, I think it was me they were scrapping over, and not that lump of week-old bread
Success Rating: 2/5
The Legend of Zelda
What I learned: Sometimes you have to break the rules. In the opening few hours of one of gamings greatest youre forced to sneak into Hyrule Castle, clambering up walls, dodging patrolling guards, and ultimately coming face-to-face with Princess Zelda. She sets you off on a quest to save the world from impending doom, which is maybe not the best way to foster a blossoming romance, but by the end its hinted love is in the air
What happened when I tried it out: With Royal romancin on my mind, I hopped the fence into Buckingham Palaces grounds. Weirdly, when the guards caught me, they didnt let me restart the level, instead throwing me into the Tower of London. I did manage to woo a raven in there, though. Thanks Hatoful Boyfriend!
Success Rating: 4/5
God of War III
What I learned: The third of anti-hero Kratos adventures might not be particularly romantic on the surface, but if you look a little closer No, actually, youre right. Its about as unromantic as games get. Having said that, a particularly *ahem* steamy scene with Aphrodite, made me wonder if my charms would be better suited to deities, rather than the mere mortals Id been chasing so far.
What happened when I tried it out: Some shifty looking bloke in the local bookshop sold me some ancient manuscripts that were supposed to summon the Goddess of Love from the heavens. Unfortunately, I think I got the scrolls mixed up and ended up with Cthulhu instead. Hes eaten my raven sweetheart and the neighbours cat. Great.
Success Rating: -1/5
Super Mario 64
What I learned: Unrequited love might not be as bad as it seems. Marios been rescuing Peach from the clutches of evil (normally Bowser) for years now, and while its clear hes utterly enamoured with Princess Toadstool, things never move beyond the occasional peck on the cheek. Ol Mario seems content to keep saving her, though, content that hes doing something good for the woman he loves.
What happened when I tried it out: Waheey! I knew Id get there eventually: actual success. It turns out its really easy to find someone who doesnt love you back.
Success Rating: 5/5 (Sort of)
What I learned: Dialogue is everything. There is absolutely nothing else to developing relationships. The process of romancin in the Mass Effect universe is about periodically checking in with someone and selecting the nice dialogue option until giving you the sexy eyes. Most conveniently, theyre all always in the same place, which makes life easy.
What happened when I tried it out: I showed up at the house of a potential partner (though I couldnt find any blue space girls, which was disappointing). She wasnt home. Huh. That never happened in the game. When I finally did track her down, the dialogue wheel didnt pop up, leaving me standing there awkwardly mute. Apparently thats creepy.
Success Rating: 1/5
Professor Layton and the Lost/Unwound Future
Sound the sirens, theres a whopping great spoiler for the third Layton game below. You have been warned!
What I learned: Falling in love sucks, man. In The Lost Future, Layton is reunited with his supposedly dead love, Claire. She gets catapulted into the future via some freak time accident, where she meets older Layton, but her very existence begins to tear the universe apart. Ultimately, she has to say a teary goodbye, and return to her own time to die. Its heart-wrenching stuff.
What happened when I tried it out: Claires clearly head-over-heels for Layton, so Id planned to apply some of his gentlemanly charm to the real world. Unfortunately, revisiting The Lost Future has left me rendered useless due to excessive sobbing. Its just something in my eye ok?
Success Rating: *too busy crying to write a score*
What I learned: Money is a lot less hassle than people. Wario hasnt got time to be chasing after prospective partners; hes too busy scouring the world for gems, gold and other goodies. He seems pretty happy too, have you ever seen that dude without a massive grin on his face?
What happened when I tried it out: The Internet, in its infinite wisdom, told me corrupt games journalists get some sweet PR bribes from game publishers. Thats why I wrote this article, to be honest: for the cold, hard cash. Sadly, its all lies no-ones ever offered to bribe me - and now Im penniless AND alone. Darn it.
Success Rating: 0/5
Im not gonna Raichu a love song
Well, that didnt exactly go as planned. Theres always next year, I suppose! Er, Happy Valentines Day everyone If games have ever inspired you to do something romantic whether the results are as disastrous as mine, or not - let me know in the comments below.