Married bliss: video game weddings

My other-half and I surprised our friends and family by getting married last January. It was something we’d decided to do only two months beforehand and we kept our plan a secret for as long as possible, so it ended up being a nice New Year surprise for everyone.

We’re still playing video games together a year on and there’s nobody else I’d rather have as my player two. Anyone who has watched Pete and I on Twitch together will have seen how we tease each other, but it’s all done in fun and he still makes me laugh every day. He listens when I need to talk, keeps me grounded and buys me chocolate too – what more could you want in a husband? Hopefully there’ll be many more anniversaries to come and to celebrate our first, here are some of the best weddings in gaming.

King’s Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow: Alexander and Cassima

King's Quest, King's Quest VI, King's Quest 6, video game, wedding, Alexander, CassimaI have a feeling that the royal wedding between the beautiful princess Cassima and prince Alexander split the inhabitants of the lands of the Green Isles into two camps. There would have been those who were believers in love at first sight, thinking the couple couldn’t wait to spend the rest of their lives together; while others would say they moved far too fast. Meeting for the first time, quickly falling in love and then getting married all in the course of one four-hour game? Slow down, kids!

Super Paper Mario: Bowser and Peach

Super Paper Mario, wedding, Bowser, PeachAlthough not the most successful or even mutually-agreeable wedding, that of Peach and Bowser was the first time the King of the Koopas did something a little more imaginative than simply kidnapping the princess. Sure, he kind of forced her into it at the start of Super Paper Mario but it meant we got to see just how good he looked in his tuxedo. Fortunately for both of them, the marriage doesn’t hold together and they don’t get to the point of having kids – because I’m not sure how that would have worked out.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: you and whoever you choose

The Elder Scrolls, The Elder Scrolls V, Skyrim, weddingSkyrim proves the saying about there being ‘plenty of fish in the sea’ to be true because you can wed almost anyone in this game. Don’t expect a romantic ceremony however because it’s never anything other than slightly awkward. Marry your lizard-partner while your adopted children moan about being hungry and wanting to play hide-and-seek, and your Housecarl glares at you with all their might. Then never speak to your spouse again because they’re based in Markath and you’ve completed all the quests there. Married bliss!

The Secret of Monkey Island: LeChuck and Elaine

The Secret of Monkey Island, Special Edition, video game, wedding, pirates, Guybrush, LeChuck, Elaine, monkies, churchLeChuck is no villain: he’s simply misunderstood and all his actions were done for love. He ‘dropped dead’ when Elaine told him too; and his feelings for the governor were strong enough to bring him back from beyond the grave and take the form of a ghost, because he couldn’t bear to be parted from her even in death. It’s just unfortunate that Guybrush spoiled his one chance at happiness when he interrupted their wedding – and then went on to destroy him with root-beer.

To The Moon: Johnny and River

To The Moon, video game, dancing, sky, lighthouse, starsThe relationship between Johnny and River in To The Moon has to be one of the most bittersweet in gaming. Throughout the game, their memories of both joy and sadness are shared and almost all of them are entirely ordinary; but it’s the ‘realness’ of this partnership which makes it all so touching. The scene shortly after Johnny and River’s wedding where they dance in her beloved lighthouse under the stars is beautiful and brings a tear to my eye every single time.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End: Nathan and Elena

Uncharted, Uncharted 4, A Thief's End, video game, wedding, photographs, Nathan, Drake, ElenaAlthough the wedding may only be seen in photographs during the game, the relationship between Nate and Elena is perhaps one of the best depictions of marriage in video games. It’s obvious this adventurous pair love each other deeply but their life together isn’t without issues. They make it work in the end thanks to the power of communication – but to be honest, I’m not sure how Elena puts up with him, his murderous ways or his annoyingly-sarcastic quips. Get out of there as soon as you can, girl!

Happy first anniversary to my other-half – I’m afraid to say you’re stuck with me now. At least you’ll always have someone to play video games with and tease on Twitch.   ❤

Let me take a (video game) selfie

Last month I came across a post written by Scott over at Insert Memory Card about the ‘exquisitely polished, jaw-droppingly pretty’ Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Although released over a year ago in May 2016, Scott says it still beats many other PlayStation 4 games in the looks department – and the glorious screenshots provided in his article show it.

Horizon Zero Dawn, video game, woman, warrior, Aloy, sky, photo mode, clouds

This got me thinking about the numerous hours I spent with Horizon Zero Dawn in 2017, not only playing the game but also messing around with its photo-mode. It’s one of the most gorgeous titles I’ve ever experienced and it’s the small things that make it so special: for example, the way Aloy’s hair ruffles when the wind catches it and how she hugs herself as she’s battered by rain. The mechanical beasts that interact with their herd while casually grazing, then limp and spark when wounded. The huge open vistas full of mountains and sunsets but smaller details such as tiny tree ants too, if you take the time to look closely enough.

Scott’s images from Uncharted 4 were stunning and I left a comment referring to Horizon, to which the lovely LightningEllen from LightningEllen’s Release later replied. The mention of her own numerous screenshots from the game show I wasn’t the only one who was rather taken with the photo-mode! I make a joke about starting a petition to ensure a similar feature is added to all open-world RPGs in the future and laughed when Ellen said I’d secured her signature.

It was shortly after this brief conversation that I decided to restart The Elder Scrolls Online and, despite becoming addicted all over again, it wasn’t long before I felt as though something was missing. I just couldn’t achieve the same picture quality as I could with Guerrilla’s title: the best I could do was get my High Elf to pose using an emote and then snap quickly before it ended. But this wasn’t enough and I wanted to be able to change the angle, move my character around, select expressions and soften the lighting. Maybe my idea about starting a petition wasn’t such a bad one!

RiME, video game, boy, building, tower, castle, sky, trees, path, walkway, running

As Scott picks up on in his post, a video game doesn’t need to be completely realistic in terms of looks in order to be visually-appealing. It’s obviously important for the graphics to be in-tune with the developer’s vision for their project and suit the gameplay otherwise it just isn’t going to come together in a coherent form. Indie titles have brought us so many different styles and each are special in their own unique way: compare RiME to Hellblade to Cuphead, to name just a few recent examples.

But when a game is as gorgeous as Uncharted 4 or Horizon, doesn’t it deserve a photo-mode? It’s clear to see just how much work has gone into creating the world and such a feature is a great way to allow gamers to show their appreciation for the developers’ efforts. Let us spam our Facebook pages with images of Nathan Drake as he gazes out at the sky while standing on a perfect beach. Let us post countless photographs of Aloy’s model pose atop of mountains on our Twitter feeds. Let us show the internet how beautiful each title is, and how much more interesting selfies are when they feature video game characters.

We’re the tourists in a video game’s foreign lands and, just as we’d want to take pictures of our real life adventures, we want to do it in our digital ones too. Leave a comment below if you’d like to sign my petition and let us know which titles deserve a bit of visual appreciation.