June 12, 2021

Xbox One X

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Video game romance is broken

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Florence, a short mobile game by the developer Mountains, covers more ground on the topic of romantic love in under an hour than most games have for decades. It does so by focusing on a few small watershed moments of being in love, from developing an interest in someone to the pleasures and hurdles of domestic co-existence to letting go of a relationship that no longer works.

When thinking about romance in games, towering examples like Dragon Age and Mass Effect come to mind, games that made dating a major part of their appeal. Many other games, such as the Final Fantasy series, frequently include romantic subplots in their narrative. In visual romance novels like Clannad and Dream Daddy, dating is the main point of the exercise. Other games focus on tragic love and its aftermath, like Last Of June.

Generally romance in video games can be subdivided into the act of falling in love and love as a catalyst for certain stories and plot points. These are undoubtedly important and exciting aspects of love and romance, but aspects only. Florence’s designer Ken Wong calls them milestones – situations everyone who has been in a relationship can identify with, small moments that stay with us even years later due to the sheer impact they had on us at the time.

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