10. Tidus and Yune (Final Fantasy X)
First met when: He washed up in Besaid and greeted her as she prepared for a pilgrimage.
Why theyre the best: The main Final Fantasy series always tries to shoehorn in a romantic subplot, usually with mixed results. Some, like Cecil and Rosa (FFIV), are extremely basic and clich. Others are a bit more involved, but still arent necessarily moving in a profound way (Squall and Rinoa, Zidane and Dagger). We feel that once the curtain falls on Final Fantasy X, Tidus and Yuna have grown in very measurable ways and have a connection thats more than rescuer/rescued, and strong enough to stand even the staunchest scrutiny.
Yes, Tidus begins as a whiny brat. Yes, Yuna is a soft-spoken, duty-bound woman forced to marry someone for political gain. But its the journey that makes them a standout and star-crossed couple, far more endearing than the forced Squall/Rinoa relationship or the high school-caliber drama of Final Fantasy VII. But, in a remarkably effective plot twist, it turns out that Tidus isnt exactly real, and fulfilling their mission could mean the end of his existence. They follow through for the greater good, and then an entire game (Final Fantasy X-2) is devoted to Yunas heartbroken search for her lost love.
Like we said earlier, plenty of Final Fantasies suggest romantic involvement between characters, but its Tidus and Yuna that express these feelings in a believable manner. Weve been told X is in love with Y, and that A has feelings for B, but with these two, we dont have to infer we can just tell.
11. Diddy and Dixie Kong (Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest)
First met when: They teamed up to rescue Donkey Kong after he was kidnapped by Kaptain K Rool.
Why theyre the best: Unlike so many other unbalanced videogame relationships (hero/sidekick, rescuer/rescuee) Diddy and Dixie have a truly equal partnership. Sure, he can run a little bit faster, but she can totally jump farther. Diddy has his cartwheel attack, and Dixie has her helicopter twirl attack. And together, they proved that Donkey Kong Country 2 didnt even need its title hero to be a solid follow-up to the original and beloved DKC. When K Rool demands the whole Kong banana hoard as ransom for Donkey Kongs safe return, Diddy and Dixie tell him to screw himself (basically) and chase him back to Crocodile Isle, where, eight worlds and 40-something levels later, they defeat K Rool and rescue Donkey.
Most couples would stop there, satisfied that theyve thwarted the bad guy and saved the day without sacrificing a single banana. But for this power duo, that was just the bare minimum Diddy and Dixie didnt pack it in until they blew Crocodile Isle off the face of the planet, along with every poor soul on it, in one of the most superior explosions ever framed by a 16-bit sunset:
Sure, there may be some speculation that theyre related because their last names are the same, but apparently Diddy is completely unrelated to Donkey Kong, who is Dixies cousin. Anyone who says otherwise is just jealous of their perfect love.
12. Nathan Drake and Elena Fisher (Uncharted series)
First met when: She decided to film his search for buried treasure.
Why theyre the best: Despite some of the very outlandish places the Uncharted series has ended up, the whole thing has stayed grounded in reality, thanks to the natural performances by Nolan North (Nathan Drake) and Emily Rose (Elena Fisher). From the combined efforts of the gifted actors who both read the lines and participate in the motion capturing along with two stellar scripts, one of gamings most realistic, sympathetic couples has emerged.
Theres a real chemistry between the two thats there in the first scene of the first game, and it only grows with time. By Uncharteds end, they seem to have made a real connection. Though Nathan does end up saving Elena occasionally, shes still able to hold her own in shootouts and grueling climbing sequences, making them closer to equals. As they hurl witticisms at one another and get to know each other over the course of one long day, she, the committed journalist, comes to respect and even love Drake, the roguish treasure hunter with a heart of gold.
Warning, Uncharted 2 spoilers ahead! When Drakes new love interest, Chloe, was first introduced and Elena was nowhere to be found, we were worried that the series would be like James Bond, with a new flame every game. Instead, sexpot Chloe becomes an interesting counter to Elena when she reappears about halfway through Uncharted 2. While Chloe isnt a bad person, she seems better as a friend with benefits, while the dependable Elena comes off more as someone Drake could have a future with. Several times, Elena is shown to have a little more compassion in her heart than the self-interested Chloe, plus she has better taste in guys. We werent surprised that by the end, Elena and Drake were back together, while Chloe walked away empty-handed.
13. Eddie Riggs and Ophelia (Brtal Legend)
First met when: Battling a disgusting, long-tongued worm creature.
Why theyre the best: Both of them are extremely likeable characters. Eddie, despite ones potential feelings about Jack Black, has an affable approach to everything, and works perfectly as an everyman hero: in a world of rock gods, hes just a roadie. Ophelia, meanwhile, is the hot (but also cute) goth-girl-next-door who was never out of your league, but still broodingly difficult to approach.
Their relationship follows some great ups and downs. First, Eddie is stoked about meeting her, even though she seems a bit aloof. Then, when they meet Lars, Eddie thinks he cant compete with Lars leadership and washboard abs. Then, his romance with Ophelia begins to blossom. SPOILERS: Naturally, Ophelia has a past tinged with dark mystery, and when she thinks Eddie has abandoned her, she turns evil. A huge part of the game involves battles against her and her emo minions.
This turn of events, while fairly cliche and predictable, still made us feel bad, since we really liked Ophelia. We wanted to believe she couldnt really be so evil, or that shed be brought back to the light by the end (although the latter would be less satisfactory). Luckily, we were right all along: the evil Ophelia was a doppelganger, while the real girl lay at the bottom of the Sea of Black Tears. As a final bonus, its possible to find Ophelia after the game proper ends and have one final makeout session.
14. Mario and Peach (Super Mario Bros series)
First met when: He saved her from a giant lizard-turtle
Why theyre the best: Gamings most famous couple has literally had a fairy-tale courtship. Usually only meeting when the Princess is captured by Bowser, the working-class hero Mario tirelessly braves the impossible to save the damsel in distress, knowing full well shell just end up being captured all over again down the road. During the short intervals of peace between kidnap attempts, however, a bond was obviously made.
As time went on and their adventures grew, Mario started to get more than the simple thank-you he was given at the end of the first Super Mario. A cake here, a kiss on the nose there all these (mostly) platonic thanksgivings seemed to mask a growing passion that, due to the harsh class boundaries of the Mushroom Kingdom, can never be acted on. Its tinged with tragedy, as the couple have only been able to steal brief moments together when society wasnt looking.
Still, whenever they engage in the sporting life, theyre often seen together. Whether golfing, karting, or baseballing the two are almost always on the same side. Perhaps these little dates, sometimes coupled with Luigi and Princess Daisy, help the unofficial couple deal with societys repressive mores, at least until Peach is kidnapped again and Mario can earn a few more seconds of sweet sugar.
What's your favorite matchup?
Games have given us plenty of other couplings to appraise for realism, heart-melting potential and general soppiness... so let's hear a few of your favorites. Or, if you're a Valentines' Grinch, maybe you'd prefer to read about The 5 worst Final Fantasy couples or maybe a few examples of Videogame hearts you can KILL.