Video game lessons: how not to flirt in real-life

Many people will be thinking of romance and how to treat their partner this weekend now that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. If you’re looking for guidance though, I’d highly recommend thinking twice before turning to video games for advice.

For every protagonist couple destined to be together, there’s another which seems totally unlikely and confuses us; and for every charming compliment used by a hero to woo their sweetheart, there’s an opposite which is far too cringey. It’s the latter that we’re going to dig into today as we take a look at some of the worst chat-up lines in gaming. Try using any of these in real-life and it’s almost guaranteed you’re going to end up with a drink being poured over your head.

Dragon Age: Origins: “Have you ever licked a lamppost in winter?”

Today’s round-up kicks off with a pickup line suggested to me by Ellen from Ace Asunder. I’ve not played Dragon Age: Origins myself so the only thing I know of it is what I’ve seen of the clip opposite – and I’m a little bewildered. Does Alistair really believe this is a good flirting technique? I get the feeling he has been hanging out with Garrus (see below) and can’t quite decide if he’s going for sincere or euphemism. But if it’s the former, I’d highly recommend not licking any lampposts.

Fable: “Heeey…”

Getting someone to fall in love with you in the world of Fable is as simple as walking up to them and saying ‘Hey’ in a smooth voice with a raised eyebrow. Add a Manly Arm Pump or Sexy Hero Pose, give the object of your affection a bunch of roses or a box of chocolates and you’re well on your way to marriage. I’m not sure who I’m most annoyed at in this situation. The Hero for being too lazy come up with a less cliched approach, or every single inhabitant of the town for falling for it.

Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers: “There’s something about you. You really touch me.”

As Nathan from Gaming Omnivore found out for himself last year, Gabriel Knight is a total sleazebag who frequently lets his fondness for pretty ladies get in the way of an investigation. He throws pickup-lines at his assistant Grace so often that you know the first time he meets beautiful socialite Malia is going to be cringeworthy. With lines like the one above and “Your legs are so strong, do you work out at one of the clubs?”, he’s lucky she didn’t slap him before kicking him out of her house.

Mass Effect 3: “I’ve got this big gun back at my place I’d like to show you.”

I feel sorry for Garrus. He’s one of the best characters in the Mass Effect series and has some endearing qualities that would make him a great life partner – but he’s going to struggle to find himself one because he just doesn’t have a clue when it comes to romance. After Commander Shepherd tells him he needs a date and introduces him to another turian at a bar, the only thing he can think of to talk about is gun collection. I’m not sure you could say anything else which sounds more like a euphemism.

Metal Gear Solid: “If you make it back in one piece, maybe I’ll let you do a strip search on me.”

It’s impossible to say what I hate most about the conversations in Metal Gear Solid. It could be the way the characters think there’s nothing wrong with calling each other during a top-secret mission and having a chat. Perhaps it’s how Snake feels it’s appropriate to start hitting on the young Mei Ling immediately after being introduced to her, and while others are on the same line. Or maybe it’s the way Naomi fights for his attention by saying she’ll let him do a strip search. Urgh.

Resident Evil 3: “All the foxy ladies love my accent, it drives them crazy.”

Thanks to Luke for Hundstrasse for sending this gem to me. Carlos from Resident Evil 3 believes he doesn’t need chat-up lines because his sexy accent does all the hard work for him. So when Jill wants to ask something, he automatically assumes she’s going to propose a date – but she doesn’t react and instead asks him why he has been sent there. Perhaps Carlos has been taking a few too many tips from the Fable Hero and needs to start putting in a bit more effort when it comes to dating.

The Curse of Monkey Island: “By my congealed blood, you’ll learn to love me!”

Let’s face it: Guybrush Threepwood is a bit of an idiot. He’s sarcastic, insults everyone around him and messes up every plan he’s involved in, and someone as independent and courageous as Elaine would have been far better off with LeChuck. With lines like those he uses however, it’s never going to happen. It’s usually a good idea to not remind the object of affection that you’re a zombie or make them think about your congealed insides when you’re trying to flirt with them.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves: “Is that an ancient Tibetan ritual dagger in your pocket?”

Anyone who’s ever tuned into our streams will know that Pete and I have different opinions when it comes to Nathan Drake. He thinks he’s a nice guy with a charming cheeky streak; I think he’s an idiot who has far too much good luck on his side. That’s why I’ll never understand what Chloe sees in him or why she constantly flirts with the douchebag. I’ll give her points though for coming up with a bad pickup-line which references his obsession with ancient artefacts though – and I’m not talking about Sully.

And that concludes our lesson on how not to flirt in real-life. Whatever you’re doing for Valentine’s Day this weekend, I hope it involves video games and not licking lampposts.

We’re taking part in GameBlast21 to support SpecialEffect, the gamers’ charity.
Making a donation will bring you great loot, increase your XP by +100 and make you immune to fire.*
(*Not guaranteed.)


Gaming’s unlikeliest couples

It’s Valentine’s Day, and gamers all over the country will be putting down their controllers in favour of red roses, soft music and candlelit dinners for two. But there’s no reason why video games can’t feature on this day of love for some of the most emotional stories ever known have been told through the digital medium.

Some of the most clichéd and cringeworthy have been too though, and that’s what we’re focusing on today. For every video game couple that are destined to be together, there’s another that seems totally unlikely and we have to ask ourselves ‘Why?’ This may not be the most romantic subject for a post on Valentine’s Day but look at the bright side: the following dysfunctional relationships will remind us just how lucky we are in or on our own.

If you haven’t yet played any of the following games and intend to do so, I’d recommend navigating away from this post now and coming back later. There are some minor spoilers in the following paragraphs.

Broken Sword: George and Nico

There’s something about George and Nico that grinds my gears. Most of the entries in the series start with them temporarily apart but they’re usually back together by the end of each game. This is clearly an unhealthy relationship: Nico ‘innocently’ arranges for George and her ex-boyfriend Andre to work together and wind each other up. And George leaves Paris after the end of The Shadow of the Templars due to the death of his father – without telling Nico. What kind of people do that to one another?

Erica: Duncan and Erica

We enjoyed Erica when we played it during one of our GameBlast20 streams last month, but there was something that caught us totally by surprise: the moment Sergeant Duncan Blake moves in for a kiss. I mean, he’s only investigating the murders going on around Erica, who’s slightly preoccupied with her father’s death and supernatural happenings right now. It turns out that in a timeline different to the one we took, you can get your own back by stabbing him – that’ll serve him right for such poor romantic timing.



The House of the Dead: Overkill: Clement and his mother

The House of the Dead, Overkill, video game, old woman, Mother, Clement DarlingThis game isn’t afraid to shock but this relationship is really pushing the limits. Clement begins searching for a way to extend his beloved mom’s life when he realises the jail he works at was built on top of an abandoned government laboratory. After finding Varla Guns, he decides to transplant Mother’s brain into the sexy stripper’s youthful body – then celebrates this achievement with a make-out session. As if that wasn’t gross enough, the game ends with him returning to her womb. I’ll leave you with that thought.

Until Dawn: Matt and Emily

The only reason Matt and Emily are together is because they don’t want to be single and, in that bratty-teen way, they need a partner who’s of a similar social standing. They have nothing in common and I’m not even sure they actually like each other. Matt may be caring but hardly ever stands up for himself; and Emily is high-maintenance and bossy. If they manage to survive the night, I’m sure these teenage sweethearts will have many unhappy years together before becoming trapped in a loveless marriage.



The Secret of Monkey Island: Guybrush and Elaine

The Secret of Monkey Island, remastered, video game, moon, Elaine, Guybrush, piratesIt’s obvious I’m a huge Monkey Island fan, but what’s not so obvious is that my favourite character isn’t Guybrush (that award goes to Murray). Let’s face it: this wannabe pirate is a bit of an idiot. He’s sarcastic, insults everyone around him and messes up every plan he’s involved in. Someone as independent and courageous as Elaine would have been far better off with LeChuck. They do say opposites attract, but how long will it be before the differences are just too much and one tells the other they fight like a cow?

Don’t you feel better about your own relationship status now? Whatever you’re doing this Valentine’s Day, I hope it involves video games in some way and you’re doing far better than the characters in today’s post!

We’re taking part in GameBlast20 to support SpecialEffect, the gamers’ charity.
Making a donation will bring you great loot, increase your XP by +100 and make you immune to fire.*
(*Not guaranteed.)


Two can play that game

As well as declaring our love for our backlogs this week, it’s also Valentine’s Day: that time of year when we show our loved-ones just how much we care about them. And seeing how I managed to bag myself a new husband last month (it still feels weird writing that), I guess I should be pulling out all the stops to show him just how special he is to me.

I don’t do red roses, boxes of chocolates and cards bearing statements of everlasting love however. The idea of Valentine’s Day has never held any appeal for me and I find it counter-intuitive: you can show someone how you feel about them on any day of the year rather than waiting for a particular date in February. So I’ve chosen to forego the traditionally-soppy stuff and instead devote today’s post to him, all about the video games we’ve played together over the past few years.

Street Fighter

After moving to a different part of Essex in 2014, someone overheard me having a conversation in a pub about Street Fighter. He introduced himself as ‘Pete’ and started trying to guess my favourite character; and during a conversation over a couple of drinks, we realised we’d grown up in houses on parallel streets and had moved to the same town as adults but never met before. Not long afterwards we visited The Heart of Gaming, where we went head-to-head on the title and I kicked his butt (there’s a chance he may have let me win).

Alien: Isolation

For our first Christmas evening together, the most festive thing Pete and I did was eat an entire tub of Quality Street. The rest of the night was spent playing Alien: Isolation, creeping around the Sevastopol space station in search of Ellen Ripley – and being unable to make our way past a dark corridor because that damn Xenomorph kept dropping through a vent in the ceiling and onto our heads. In a fashion which has repeated itself with horror games since, he was in charge of the controller while I hid behind a cushion.

Journey

In an effort to introduce them both to the indie side of gaming, I re-installed Journey for my other-half and stepson – and Ethan fell in love with it as soon as we handed the controller over to him. After climbing the snowy mountain and reaching the final cutscene, he said: “So I’m the star… and the next person playing right now will see me in the sky at the start of their game. That’s cool.” Getting that opportunity to show him that video games don’t have to be about violence and the fact that he understood that so well made me very proud.

Guild of Dungeoneering

Pete had never been to a gaming expo before so when Rezzed rolled around in April 2015, I bought him a ticket to go with Ben and I. His favourite game of the show was Guild of Dungeoneering; a strange choice for him because neither of us are particularly into card games. The quirky hand-drawn art-style won him over however and we played this title together for a number of weeks afterwards, and even now he bursts out into song because the catchy theme tune has suddenly popped into his head.

Overcooked!

Ethan really enjoys titles where all three of us can play together so Overcooked! seemed like an obvious choice when it was released in 2016. We haven’t managed to complete it yet though and gaming sessions usually end up with my stepson running around blasting the fire extinguisher; but it’s an awful lot of fun and encourages plenty of yelling. We’ve tried increasing our team to four members by including my mother-in-law when she stays with us – but it usually has hilarious, if disastrous, consequences.

To The Moon

Although it’s not the sort of game he’d usually enjoy, Pete was happy to sit and watch while I played through To The Moon once again last year. He may have teased me a little when the tears started falling towards the end but he could see how much this game meant to me. When it came time to pick the music for our marriage ceremony, Everything’s Alright by Laura Shigihara therefore seemed like the perfect choice for one of the songs; and the piano version we went for left our guests unaware that it was a track from a video game.

The Elder Scrolls Online

If adventuring through the Elder Scrolls lands was fun before, it’s even more fun now having Pete there by my side as explained in a post last week. We’ve been levelling up alongside each other and completing all the quests together; and when a solo one comes up, we’ll wait for our comrade by the exit once we’re done. It’s nice having someone there to explore the world with, celebrate in-game accomplishments with, and trade loot with – and it’s an added bonus that he’s sitting right next to me on the sofa.

A Way Out

Pete has participated in the GameBlast marathon stream with me ever since we met, although the event this year is going to be a little different. The other members of our usual crew will be tied up with spouse’s birthdays and new babies so it’s just the two of us next month! The game I’m most looking forward to playing is A Way Out because I love a good couch-coop – and if both of us have a controller, there’s less chance of us falling asleep. You can find out about our 24-hour stream schedule in this post.



With a new year of gaming ahead of us, hopefully there’ll be many more games Pete and I play together during 2019. Are there any titles you’d recommend for couples and friends; and which releases have you played with your loved-ones? Let me know in comments below so we can share the love this Valentine’s Day.   ❤

Love hearts and levels

Following on from the Secret Valentine event earlier this week and my declaration of love for William from Willtendo, we’re still feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. Thank you to Ian from Adventure Rules for hosting yet another awesome community project!

For Valentine’s Day last year, I roped a few of my >blogging buddies into sharing their favourite partnerships in video games. But what about real-life relationships and the connections formed through gaming? Continuing the loved-up vibe this week, here are some heart-warming stories to make you put down your controller for a moment and feel all soppy inside.

Cameron from Dragon In The Castle

Dragon In The Castle, blogger, Cameron

“My girlfriend at college asked me to teach her how to play Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3. Said girlfriend is now my wife of 13 years and mother of my child, so something must have gone right after passing on my ollie skills.”

Luke from Hundstrasse

Hundstrasse, blogger

“I was wooed by my now-wife through the medium of Dead Island… Not that we ever completed it, we didn’t get on with those sewer sections! All the best romances start with zombies, right?”



Megan from The Dragon’s Tea Party

The Dragon's Tea Party, blogger

“I met him at a party but when I found out he had a PlayStation 4, I pretended I didn’t know how to use PS Plus and asked him to add me and show me how it worked so that I’d have an excuse to talk to him again. After that I interviewed him about World of Warcraft for my dissertation and seduced him with my impression of a hag in a Dungeons & Dragons game.”

Shelby from Falcon Game Reviews

Falcon Game Reviews, blogger, Shelby

“I walked into my wife’s work wearing an N7 hoodie and Cerberus cap from Mass Effect 2. She recognised both and said, ‘Mass Effect huh?’ We hit it off and have been together since 2011.”



Teri Mae from Sheikah Plate

Sheikah Plate, blogger, Teri Mae

“When I was a freshman in college, I would hold regular Mario Kart 64 tournaments. My husband and his friend were the two who came the most often. Eventually it was just the three of us nearly every weekend and the rivalry between he and I allowed some pretty fun flirtatious banter. Though we were in the same freshman dorms and had met previously, this was one of the things that really allowed us to bond. Cut to ten years later and we still love gaming together.”

Zach from Beard and Curls Gaming

Zach Bowman, blogger

“My wife and I met very early on as kids, but we are avid gamers and it’s a big part of our relationship. Discovering a good cooperative game is an awesome thing for us. Diablo III is one of our favorites.”



Kim from Later Levels

Kim, Later Levels, blogger

“My other-half and I met in a local pub after he overheard me talking about Street Fighter to a friend and then started trying to guess my favourite character. In a conversation over a couple of drinks, we realised we’d grown up in houses located on parallel streets before moving to the same town as adults but had never come across each other before. He’s been my player 2 ever since and I wouldn’t do without him.”

Have you got a story you’d like to share? Leave your tales of gaming and love in the comments below so we can all have an ‘Aah!’ moment.   ❤

My Secret Valentine: Willtendo

I don’t do Valentine’s Day. The pressure we’re all put under to go over the top to show those closest to us how much they’re loved on that particular day, when we should make the effort to do it every single day… urgh.

But an event that celebrates the talented writers around us and the friends made on our blogging journey? Now that’s something I can get behind. Creative Cupid Ian from Adventure Rules is very kindly hosting the Secret Valentine collaboration today, where he has played matchmaker to a group of dreamy participants. It’s now up to us to show our appreciation for the blogger we’ve been matched with and share what makes them so awesome.

So here goes…

*ahem*

Super Mario, Mario, video game, Valentine, hearts

Nintendo is red, WordPress is blue,
It’s time for another community do:
Let’s show our love for the bloggers we know
And to those that we don’t, let’s say hello!

Thank you to Ian for being our host
And giving me reason to write this here post,
Dedicated to a writer I haven’t yet met
And praising him for his creative outlet

I like video games, that much is true
But there are some well-known companies who
I just do not get or buy into the hype,
Their games aren’t usually my preferred type

Nintendo is one, I’m sorry to say
(Hopefully my confession won’t scare you away)
Although I played Mario when I was younger
I’m not all that interested, now that I’m older

But here comes Willtendo to open my eyes
He’s revived my interest, there’s a surprise!
College student by day and blogger by night,
William shares his opinions on his awesome site

In Willtendo Ranks, he considers then rates
Boss battles, franchises – William tells it straight
Super Nintendo World features in this post
Gohma on the Zelda ride? We’d all be toast!

Need an opinion? Then Willtendo Reviews
Will tell you the Nintendo titles to choose
Sounds like it’s not worth playing Mother
Based on William’s thoughts, I don’t think I’ll bother…

Now we arrive at the juiciest bit:
The Willtendo Rants section is where you’ll hit
On William’s viewpoints of a Nintendo sort
Such as this one about a Hyrule Warriors port

I may not be reaching for my credit card yet
To purchase a Switch and more gaming assets
But reading Willtendo has kept me informed
And made me consider another platform

My gift to William for Valentine’s Day:
Not roses or cards, things so throwaway,
The greatest gift that I can bestow
Is one more new fan along with a follow!

Ok, so that little poem wasn’t exactly Shakespeare and I need to do a lot of work on my rhyming couplets. But hopefully it’s inspired you to head over to Willtendo to check out William’swork if you haven’t met him already, and show him a little love this Valentine’s Day.

Pixel partners: our favourite gaming duos

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, and gamers all over the country will put down their controllers in favour of red roses, boxes of chocolates and candlelit dinners for two. But there’s no reason why video games can’t feature on the day of love: in fact, some of the most emotional stories ever known have been told through the digital medium.

Below are some of our favourite partnerships – from those that will bring a tear to your eye, to close friendships that will make you laugh out loud, to those that will have you going on a rampage until your sweetheart is avenged. Some of the summaries reveal a few plot details so if you want to skip the spoilers, you may wish to move forward to the next section.

Kim: Wander and Mono from Shadow of the Colossus

Shadow of the Colossus, video game, man, woman, Wander, Mono

“Sometimes love can make you do crazy things, like trying to bring your deceased girlfriend back from the dead by entering into an ominous pact with a formless voice to slay 16 towering beasts. Mono is successfully revived after Wander has killed the last of the colossi, but his deeds are sadly rewarded by demonic possession and a painful death.

“Wander essentially traded his life for that of his partner and that’s an act which is as loving as it is tragic. Although they do eventually end up back together, it’s not in the way they would have hoped for. With barely a word spoken, the story in Shadow of the Colossus ends up being more powerful than a lot of the other romantic tales in video game history.”

Tim from GeekOut South-West: Banjo and Kazooie from Banjo-Kazooie

Banjo-Kazooie, Banjo, Kazooie, bird, bear, video game

“One of them is a big dopey bear, the other is a sassy birdie. Together, they make up one of gaming’s most famous friendships. With the brawn, Banjo carries his feathered-friend from place to place; and with the brains, Kazooie gets into verbal fights with their enemies and calculates how to get the duo through the dangerous spots. They’re a flying, fighting, fixing and funny partnership that will be remembered throughout all of gaming history.”

Visit Tim and say hello over on GeekOut South-West.

Kevin from The Mental Attic: Gabriel Knight and Grace Nakimura from the Gabriel Knight series

Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within

“It’s the age-old story, isn’t it? Boy meets girl, boy hires girl to be his assistant in his bookstore, greeting his customers and helping him delve into the world of savage voodoo killings.

“When Boy becomes a demon-hunter Girl goes to Europe after him, keeping him safe by annoying local Germans with snark and sass. Boy would think more of Girl, be more open about their relationship, but between werewolves, blondes and the advances of Bavarian nobles, he’s got his hands full. And that’s without even mentioning the mind-controlling vampires and sacred babies.

“He’d ask her to marry him on the spot, but as Boy always said: ‘Gracie’s like a chair… Say you see this really great chair. And you like the chair, and your mother likes the chair and everyone says you should buy the chair, but you know that if you take it home, everything else would have to go, like the chair is Louis XIV and everything else is IKEA.’

“Doesn’t that make your heart go aflutter? Such way with words Gabriel has, such way to describe the value of a loved one.”

Visit Kevin and see what he’s been up to over on The Mental Attic.

Nathan, friend of the site: Nathan Drake and Elena Fisher from the Uncharted series

Uncharted 4, A Thief's End, Nathan, Elena, man, woman, kiss

“When it comes to relationships in video games there’s a few that stand out such as Banjo and Kazooie, PaRappa the rapper and Sunny, or even Tiny Tina and her love for crumpets. However, the one that stands out for me the most is Nathan and Elena . In many of the Uncharted titles their love is tested as they’re either put at risk and have to save each other or they think the worst has happened. Naughty Dog was good at creating a realistic connection between the two characters, as well as scaring you a few times throughout the series.

“The fact that their relationship spans over four games, along with the trials and tribulations they’ve been though together, means that this is a relationship worthy of your admiration. Their love blossomed in the first instalment after Nathan ‘used’ Elena to help fund an illegal sea excavation of Sir Francis Drake’s coffin; and it’s still there at the end, when they’re married with a child and living on an island. How they get there – well, you’ll have to play the games to find out.”

Ethan, my stepson: the Boy and Trico from The Last Guardian

The Last Guardian, video game, Trico, animal, beast, phoenix, griffin, boy

“I’m going to choose the Boy and Trico, because they’ve been together for such a long time and developed a really strong bond.”

Join the discussion and let us know about your favourite video game partnerships in the comments below. We hope you have a lovely day tomorrow – lots of love! ❤