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by Ethos

“Wrong Hole, Darling” – Love Story Misses Countdown #1

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

Alright ladies and gents, here it is: Riddlethos.com’s #1 worst video game romance OF ALL TIME. The moment you’ve all, assuredly, been waiting for. The moment of truth. The moment of… of… ah… meh, I’m done trying to butter this up. Just read the article.

Pretty... and pink...

Pretty... and pink...

#1 Worst Video Game Romance: Squall and Rinoa

Yet another representative from my beloved Final Fantasy series makes the dubious list today. That’s a bit of a sad statement, yet both spots are more than deserved… especially in the case of Mr. Leonhart and his little squeeze.

If you’ve been following my internet travails for any length of time, you likely know that I adore Final Fantasy VIII. I recognize that a lot (and I mean a lot) of people don’t share my opinion of the game; and to be honest, I can understand a lot of the complaints that often arise. But strangely enough, a lot of the problems others have just aren’t problems to me. I don’t mind the junction system, for one thing; in fact, I always rather enjoyed the hours upon hours I spent fooling around with it. I think the game’s storyline is incredibly enjoyable, in spite of some rather gigantic plot holes that, admittedly, are a little hard to forgive. I love most (key word: most) of the game’s main characters, including the protagonist Squall, who’s long been a popular punching bag for FFVIII haters.

Regardless of all the good points the game has, the romantic subplot – the supposed centerpiece of the game – is a trainwreck. While it has occasional moments of heartfelt sincerity, the utter ridiculousness of it all overshadows anything good about it. What it boils down to is this: Rinoa, Squall’s love interest, is the worst character in the game. She’s flat, ditzy, and immature. She’s meant to be the polar opposite of Squall’s cold, introverted persona, and that’s fine; the difference is, while Squall actually has reason to act the way he does, Lord only knows why Rinoa consistently acts like a horny, airheaded high school girl.

Almost Believable at This Point

Almost Believable at This Point

For the first half of the game, the supposed “love story” can be summed up in a single sentence: Rinoa repeatedly throws herself at Squall, who repeatedly throws her ass to the proverbial curb like she’s a bad habit. Somehow, though, Rinoa only finds his utter coldness attractive, and refuses to give up. Then, after a battle with an evil sorceress, Rinoa falls into a coma.

Somehow, out of nowhere, this makes Squall realize that he does, in fact, have feelings for Rinoa. Where did they come from? Who knows. Perhaps he’s a necrophiliac. Or maybe he just kept his true feelings buried REAL DEEP. Or maybe, just maybe, Final Fantasy VIII is an example of a poorly written romantic buildup.

Yeah, I’m gonna go with that. I mean seriously, it would be fine if Squall showed some concern at her unconcious state, but his reaction was WELL over the top. I could say more, but I think I’ll let my lackey partner Ethos take it from here.

Bio pics 004Ugh. Blah. Also: barf. I know a lot of the “Misses” I write have started out that way, but this one deserves it most. The fact that I hate it is perhaps the biggest testament against this shitty relationship. Why is that? Well if you read the post about Zidane and Dagger, you have an idea: I am a complete and utter sap. I love love. I practically cried the first time I played a game called Flower. FLOWER! It is quite literally a game in which you float flower petals around fields. I’m a fruitcake sap who gravitates to love stories with the same tremendous force that Riddles gravitates to poor life decisions. And I think the Squall and Rinoa love story is such an outright GUFFAW in the face of all Final Fantasy fans, of all fans of love stories, and of all fans of not being treated like a ham sandwich. Because maybe a ham sandwich could believe that what Squall and Rinoa had was love. MAYBE.

hamsandwich_a

Unlike my darling and dumb minion partner, Riddles, I am rather endeared to Rinoa and think that Squall is a complete tart. But despite that disagreement, he was entirely right to imply that there is no chemistry, and no reason that one should be attracted to the other. Not in the way their interactions played out. Because yes, like mentioned, opposites can attract and even make each other better, but there is no progression, no believable human traits that would lead to love, and definitely no sparks. Even as a horny teenaged boy in high school playing this game for the first time didn’t buy the couple. In fact, I was so disturbed by one scene that I instantly had a vision of a short movie to mock it. I made it the next day.

So without further ado, a condensed and far more entertaining summation of Squall and Rinoa’s romance: (I didn’t upload it and the user disabled embedding, sorry!)
Squall’s Stupidity

Anyway, this couple has now officially received too much attention. Good night!

“Wrong Hole, Darling” – Love Story Misses Countdown #2

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Ugh. Blah. Plugh. Boy does this ever piss me off. I didn’t know I had such hidden rage about the next couple on this list until Riddles and I were brainstorming the feature and I went on a tirade. A screen capture of that rant will be seen in this article, but let’s introduce the idiots first.

So...bad...

So...bad...

#2 Worst Video Game Romance: Jaster and Kisala
Perhaps you could argue that Rogue Galaxy isn’t popular enough to even justify a spot in this list, but this game handles the situation so poorly that we had no choice but to not only give them a place, but the #2 spot. Those who have been following me on the nerd corners of the internet may remember my first published review over at RPGamer.com. I was not entirely friendly to the game, especially when compared to the other 6 reviews. I pointed my disappointment to the general direction of the writing and pacing, and while that accusation still rings true, I didn’t even mention the most insulting, terrible part. Although the #1 couple is a bit more guilty of this, Rogue Galaxy’s biggest failure was even trying to ever bring focus to the romance. If about 3 things in the game were changed, I could accept the two as platonic comrades. Sure, it would be frustrating, but it would be consistent, and at least I’ve come to expect that of JRPGs. But the thing to note here is that the 3 times (maximum) that the romance is implied, it makes some of the most sweeping dramatic statements ever. I would love to describe the stupidity myself right now, but I can’t imagine that it could do a better job than my rant the other night when brain-storming this feature with Sir James Riddles Motok himself. Three things to note before the screen grab though:
1. Lloyd and Collette are mentioned in this conversation and aren’t on the list. SPOILERS.
2. It’s a screengrab…I can’t fix typos like I can for the News Roundup.
3. Those time stamps are accurate.
Rogue Galaxy rant
See what I mean??!!? The major conclusion on this, like, 60 hour game with HOURS of cutscenes is PLAIN TEXT revolving around a romance that CLEARLY DOESN’T EXIST!! There is literally more romance in that special move than there would be if you take the most romantically explicit scene in the game and multiply it by seven billion! And then they have the GALL to revolve the already really shitty ending around this apparent romance? They should have just removed any semblance of story and just told the plot through special moves! It would have made more fucking sense.
*seethes*
Alright. I think I’m calm. What a stupid game. It’s also a waste because Kisala is smoking hot.

“Wrong Hole, Darling” – Love Story Misses Countdown #3

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Well this is slightly later than I would have liked, but it’s a damn sight better than nothing. As Ethos already informed you I’ve been busy with both Arkham Asylum and work all day, so this has been my first opportunity to sit at a keyboard and get to typin’.

Yeah, that about sums it up.

Yeah, that about sums it up.


#3 Worst Video Game Romance: Luke and Tear
Namco’s Tales series is the poster child for bad romantic subplots. Every single one does the exact same thing: scatter a few suggestive scenes here and there, and then proceed to take them nowhere. Ever. Of course, the Tales series is hardly commendable for its storytelling, but some manner of payoff would be appreciated.

But while there are plenty of examples to choose from the Tales series, the most grievous one in my eyes has to be Luke and Tear from Tales of the Abyss. A damn shame too, since ToA remains my favorite in the series. (No, I didn’t think Tales of Vesperia was that great). Again, I thought both Luke and Tear were well-done characters. Luke, the stereotypical spoiled rich kid, and Tear, the oddly mature and determined 16 year-old, seemed like an awesomely unlikely match. Yet somehow, despite the little hints that were dropped during the game’s absurd length, their relationship remained STRICTLY platonic… until, quite literally, the very end of the game.

Word to fiction writers of all kinds: there is such a thing as too little, too late. When two characters have been denied any sort of romantic chemistry for the entirety of the storyline, having the female scream “I LOVE YOU” right before the male character (supposedly) bites the big cheese just… doesn’t… fit. Of course, the game ENDS abruptly afterward, so we never actually get to SEE when Luke and Tear’s sweet love blossoms.

A damn disappointment. Yet again. But then, what can you expect from a Tales game?

“Wrong Hole, Darling” – Love Story Misses Countdown #4

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Okay, well Ethan’s had his fun. It’s MY turn to weigh in on the best and worst of videogame romances. You might be asking, “how is Riddles qualified in the least to speak on romances, virtual or otherwise?” My answer to you is: how is anyone?

That aside, let’s discuss one of the more tragic romantic blunders in gaming.

So romantic.

So romantic.

#4 Worst Video Game Romance: Tidus and Yuna

Oh, this one hurts. Final Fantasy X tells a fantastic story, and the romance between Tidus and Yuna had such potential. Unlike many others, I actually liked both Tidus and Yuna as characters. Tidus was portrayed perfectly as the rich-kid sports star who suddenly found himself in a completely different world. And while many people found Yuna boring, I thought her subdued determination was both touching and sincere.

For the first half of the game, the romantic buildup was done very well. The first scene where the two of them spoke in front of the bonfire was a perfect beginning. The infamous “haha” scene is extremely painful, yes, but still heartfelt and sincere in an extremely goofy way. Tidus’ increasing devotion to protecting Yuna and seeing her quest to the end is very believable, as is the increasing attraction that develops between the two youngsters.

Finally, we reach the infamous scene in the spring. After a tense, subdued, and slightly saddening conversation, the romantic buildup reaches its breaking point. We’re treated to a beautiful (though admittedly rather odd) love scene, in which the two of them spin around in the water and suck face. Khimari, sick fuck that he is, witnesses the entire thing.

And then… NOTHING.

For the remainder of the game, Tidus and Yuna’s romance is not explored in any way, at all. It practically falls off the face of the map, and leaves the player wondering if they missed some sort of serious discussion in which the two mutually agreed to keep their pants zipped and their eyes on the prize.

It’s something of a disappointment, to say the least.

In fact, it’s a damned disappointment. The ending to Final Fantasy X is a beautiful, emotionally charged experience, and to this day it remains one of my all-time favorite endings. However, it still feels like too little too late when it comes to Tidus and Yuna.

Of course, then Final Fantasy X-2 came along and just ruined EVERYTHING, but that’s a rant for another day. I have a feeling that a lot of you might disagree with what I’ve said here, and if that’s the case, let the comments rip below. But in my firm opinion, Final Fantasy X’s romantic subplot is one of the biggest dropped balls in gaming.

“Wrong Hole, Darling” – Love Story Misses Countdown: #5

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Here we go, folks! We’re starting this a little late, but it just means you have a steady flow of amazingness to look forward to. Riddlethos will be counting down the greatest hits and misses in the video game romance world. This is in our limited spectrum of games we’ve played, obviously, so if you don’t see your favourites, it’s possible we’ve never even heard of them. There will also be honourable mentions in both categories on Sunday as well.
But enough of the foreplay, let’s dive in, do everything wrong, find the wrong hole and jizz too soon with our first pick on the naughty list.

mariopeach#5 Worst Video Game Romance: Mario and Peach -
Ugh. Seriously. I’ve seen these two on so many top ten lists for the exact opposite reason. They cite the fact that Mario has done so much for Peach, that he’s gone through so many castles and trials for her. Yeah, that might be true, but that’s romantic in the same way that Romeo and Juliet is romantic: It’s not. Not only do we see no evidence of romantic chemistry, or even a chance for these two to interact really, but it’s obvious that Peach just uses Mario. All Mario ever gets is a kiss on the nose or cheek, and that’s if he’s lucky. And how I can blame the chick? She’s this smoking hot broad, why would she want to settle down with a fat old mustached man with a terrible accent? Not going to happen. And, for all that Mario isn’t, he can do better than Peach anyway, she’s a complete ditz. Anybody here play Mario Sunshine? Peach has all the intelligence of a balloon in that game. The only time the character is remotely charming is the Paper Mario series, and even then she has better chemistry with that creepy Moon Computer with the crush on her. Hell, Bowser is even better for her with his similar dim-witted attitude. But the ultimate point to why this romance isn’t a romance at all is something I’ve already hinted at, these two are never together. There was never a time for this great love story to even take seed. Peach is a spoiled, vapid princess with a slamming bod who takes advantage of an obviously horny, overweight, god-knows-how-old, surprisingly talented plummer who has been blinded enough by the thought of Peach’s tits to go to ridiculous lengths for her. But anybody who has been in love knows that love isn’t about going great lengths for somebody, but rather the reasons why you go those great lengths. Mario should just bang Roselina anyway, she’s like a less stupid, more sexual Peach.