It is Valentine’s Day and what better way to celebrate than a Top 10, plus one, love stories in gaming. These are not the only love stories that gamers have helped, or in some cases hindered, when playing. From the classic boy/girl love story to things that are a little more complex, this Top 10, plus one, list runs the gamut of love in gaming.
First up is Yo! Noid for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It may seem a little odd to feature a food mascot licensed title in a list such as this. Yo! Noid is more than just a former mascot for Domino’s Pizza, his game tells the story of a love of food and protecting it. Mr. Green, the negative of the Noid, is running around New York City causing havoc and ruining pizza lover’s days. This has to stop. Besides, what comfort food is better than a really good pizza?
Next we have Toki, an Atari Games arcade title that has hit many home platforms (even a planned version for the Atari 7800). Toki tells the tale of a man, Toki, who is changed into an ape like creature that can spit fire. Toki’s love interest is no mere mortal, nor is a lower evolutionary primate, no she is the princess of Toki’s tribe. Miho showed interest in taking Toki as a suitor prior to being kidnapped by the evil witch doctor, Vookimedlo. You must take up the challenge of saving Toki’s love interest and vanquishing the witch doctor.
Defender of the Crown is probably closer to what gamers will accept on this list. Taking control of a Saxon you are basically after the crown to become King of England. Along the way you will meet many women but none can satisfy your love for the golden headwear and the riches that come with it.
There are not many love triangles in gaming, unless you count the possibilities in the Mario universe. One of the earliest, and longest running outside of Nintendo’s efforts, is Double Dragon. Billy and Jimmy Lee both are interested in Marion but she has been kidnapped (see a trend here yet?) by the Black Warriors. This game arguably started the genre and set the gaming world on fire. Marion has defied death itself for her true love, the question is which brother is it?
There are only a couple of rules to abide by when you are a southern man. Don’t mess with family. Don’t try and take the love interest and let sleeping dogs lay. The Adventures of Bayou Billy’s antagonists have broken all of those rules and then some. Billy West is a do good type of guy living in New Orleans. You may think that the crime boss had the right to kidnap Annabelle Lane due to Billy’s interfering with his drug trade but that is not how Billy sees it. This game featured several game engines that broke up the monotony of just beating the crap out of opponents.
Pitfall Harry was one of the first action adventure game heroes to hit the digital world on the Atari 2600 (he predates Super Mario Bros by more than a couple of years). Pitfall Harry apparently has gold fever worse than Uncle Scrooge. Harry has decided to throw caution to the wind and run off into the jungle in search of treasure beyond your wildest imagination. He foregoes safety, and the fact that he cannot swim, to pursue gold and avoid danger on every screen.
What love story is deeper ingrained in gamers hearts than that of Ms. Pac-Man and Pac-Man? Sure Ms. Pac-Man started as an unauthorized hack of Pac-Man but that didn’t stop her from taking the hearts of gamers by storm. Eventually there was even a Pac family, something Mario and his love interests have yet to do, even after decades of courting.
Final Fight is another brawler, similar to Double Dragon, that features a kidnapping, a mayor, the boyfriend and a loner all coming together to right wrongs. Jessica gets kidnapped by the Mad Gear Gang in an effort to get Mayor Haggar to do their bidding. Cody, Jessica’s love interest, won’t stand for this so he asks his friend, Guy, to help him and the future in-law in saving the damsel in distress. At least one murder later and countless people sent to the E.R. later Jessica is safe. Ah, true love.
Bet you didn’t know that Sonic the Hedgehog contains a love story, did you? From the beginning Sonic has been fighting for his planet and his friends. This may seem shallow as far as a love story goes but think about it. Almost as strong a passion for the planet as that which Captain Planet and the Planeteers exhibit, Sonic is out to stop Dr. Robotnik/Eggman from destroying the planet. Since the evil doctor has also taken Sonic’s friends captive and forced them to do his bidding, Sonic has no choice but to intervene.
While Pitfall Harry probably had gold fever, he was nothing in comparison to the level of anxiety that Uncle Scrooge displays in Ducktales. Not content with just the gold and treasure in the jungle, Disney’s older duck family patriarch goes as far as the moon, faces the undead and many more eerie locations to obtain more wealth.
Ducktales was also featured in our “5 Great Side Scrolling Action Games” article.
And the “plus one” to this list goes to Mario and his love interests over the years. He started life as Jumpman in Donkey Kong chasing after the namesake character to save Pauline (formerly named Lady). In later games Mario has moved on, because it apparently didn’t work out with Pauline. In subsequent adventures Mario has chased after Princesses named Toadstool and Peach, whom are quite easy to kidnap since Bowser does it repeatedly over the years. For many the Mario games are the iconic display of love in gaming.
There you go, my Top 10 plus one list of love in gaming for Valentine’s Day. Agree, disagree? What is yours? Tell us in the comments below!