Video games are such a highly interactive medium that a well-written love story can make us feel like we’re actually part of it. We spend so much time with these characters that we desperately want them to be happy, and when they get flustered, our heartbeats speed up right along with them!
Today, we’re taking a closer look at the top 10 love-struck moments in video games. These scenes are iconic for their touching portrayals of love in all of its many forms and use the interactive nature of their medium to make an even larger impact. Let’s check them out!
10. Meeting Princess Daphne from Dragon’s Lair
- System: Arcade
- Publisher: Cinematronics
- Developer: Don Bluth and Rick Dyer
- Release Dates: June 19, 1983
Saving a princess from a dragon is probably the most cookie-cutter video game plot you can have, just short of Space Invaders. But Princess Daphne breaks the mold with her unabashed sex appeal and ditsy attitude, both of which she wears with pride.
After barely scraping your way past the nigh-impossible death traps the game constantly throws at you, Daphne greets you with a sparkly outfit and a smile. Her breathy, lilting dialogue is equal parts endearing and hilarious and gives you all the motivation you need to rescue her from the evil dragon. She only has a minute or two of screentime, but she certainly makes an impression!
9. Damien’s Ending from Dream Daddy: A Daddy Dating Simulator
- System: PC, PS4
- Publisher: Game Grumps
- Developer: Game Grumps
- Release Dates: July 20, 2017
Damien initially seems like the most eccentric of the dads you can choose to date in this visual novel—he’s obsessed with Victorian England to the point that his clothes, house, and mannerisms are carefully chosen to be as accurate as possible for the time period. But beneath all of that, he’s a down-to-earth guy who works in IT and volunteers at an animal shelter.
His struggle to balance his passion for history with his “boring” normal self reminds us of our own lives as anime and video game fans. The protagonist accepts Damien for all of his wildly different aspects and assures him that he’s loved no matter what form he takes, which resonates with us deep in our nerdy souls.
8. Sergiu and Elisa’s Reunion from Papers, Please
- System: PC, iOS, PS Vita
- Publisher: 3909 LLC
- Developer: 3909 LLC
- Release Dates: August 8, 2013
Papers, Please casts the player as a border control officer in an authoritarian country, checking passports and work visas to afford a meager living for their suffering family. You become a tiny part of a thousand stories, and one of the most impactful is the struggle of a young guard named Sergiu to reunite with his dearest love Elisa on the other side of the border wall.
If you manage to save Sergiu from a number of terrorist attacks and allow Elisa through the checkpoint even though she doesn’t have the documents she needs, they’ll run towards each other and embrace. You’ll receive a penalty for letting Elisa in, but it’s worth it to see these two little stick figures happy together. They even decide to name their first child after you!
7. Haru’s Café Scene from Persona 5
- System: PS3, PS4
- Publisher: Atlus
- Developer: P-Studio
- Release Dates: September 15, 2016 (JPN), April 4, 2017 (Worldwide)
Haru has been under immense pressure for her entire life, perpetuated by her corrupt company executive father who wants to use her for political gain. If you spend time developing your relationship with her, however, she’ll eventually muster up enough confidence to stand up for herself and take control of her future.
Late in the game, you meet her at the café that her father’s company runs. She thanks you for your support and cheerfully declares her intention to run her own café chain one day. And if you accept her affections, she adorably lays her head on your shoulder and says that she “wants to be with you a little longer...” Aww!!
6. Riku Vowing to Save Sora from Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
- System: 3DS
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Developer: Square Enix
- Release Dates: March 29, 2012 (JPN), July 20, 2012 (EU), July 31, 2012 (NA)
Let’s face it, Sora and Riku are the real couple of the Kingdom Hearts series. Not to hate on Kairi, but these two have been through hell together and are much closer as a result. And it seems like the writers of Dream Drop Distance agree since they spend the whole game shipping the boys so hard that Amazon would be jealous.
Late in the game, Sora is trapped in a magical sleep that he can’t wake up from, but Riku is determined to save him. He tells Mickey, “Sora saved me once. And... I heard him call my name. He needs me!” This little moment shows that their bond is deep enough to reach their very souls. Riku saves Sora from his darkness, and there would’ve been no one better for the job.
5. Lilly’s Ending from Katawa Shoujo
- System: PC
- Publisher: Four Leaf Studios
- Developer: Four Leaf Studios
- Release Dates: January 4, 2012
It’s hard to believe, but one of the most touching romantic scenes in video game history came from a title developed by 4chan users where you date girls who live with physical disabilities. Lilly’s storyline is our favorite, particularly because of its ending that expertly skirts the line between melodrama and achingly genuine love.
Lilly reluctantly decides to move back to Scotland with her family, but the protagonist (who has a weak heart) chases her down at the airport and begs her to stay. He has a minor heart attack from the strain and wakes up in the hospital to see Lilly by his side. The two share a tearful embrace as they promise to support each other from now on, instead of assuming that the other person is too perfect to need help. Meanwhile, Lilly’s music box twinkles away in the corner...
4. Johnny and River Together in Death from To the Moon
- System: PC
- Publisher: Freebird Games
- Developer: Freebird Games
- Release Dates: November 1, 2011
Scientists Neil and Eva work for a company that rewrites the memories of dying people so that they can be happy in their final moments. Their latest client is Johnny, an elderly man in a coma whose last wish is to go to the moon. As they dig further into his memories, they discover that this wish is deeply entwined with his love for his wife, River.
Through memory manipulation and Johnny’s own determination to remember his wife, the two lovers meet again as ghosts at a familiar cliffside to watch a space shuttle launch that Neil and Eva are also viewing. They never reached the moon, but they were able to find each other after passing on... and that’s what they had really wished for in the first place.
3. Layton and Claire’s Goodbye from Professor Layton and the Unwound Future
- System: DS
- Publisher: Level-5, Nintendo
- Developer: Level-5
- Release Dates: November 27, 2008 (JPN), September 12, 2010 (NA), October 22, 2010 (EU)
Professor Layton is the picture-perfect English gentleman, right down to his unflappable personality and fancy top hat. But in the third game in the series, the sudden reappearance of his presumed-to-be-dead college girlfriend reveals that this puzzle master has a soft heart on the inside.
It turns out that Claire was sent to the future instead of dying in a time machine experiment, but she only has a limited time to spend with her sweetie before she has to return to the past and die to keep the timeline secure. The two share a touching moment where they wonder what kind of life they would’ve lived together, but soon Claire has to go. Layton, in tears, removes his trademark hat for the first time and silently looks up at the stars...
2. Anju and Kafei’s Mask Ceremony from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
- System: N64
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Developer: Nintendo
- Release Dates: April 27, 2000 (JPN), October 26, 2000 (NA), November 17, 2000 (EU)
Majora’s Mask is the most character-focused game in the entire Legend of Zelda series, using its three-day time loop to immerse you in the lives of Termina’s residents as they deal with the imminent threat of the moon crushing them to death. Every character is surprisingly well written for the time, but the most memorable among them are the star-crossed couple Anju and Kafei.
During the longest and most difficult sidequest in the game, you reunite the two lovers mere minutes before the moon destroys Clock Town. They perform the traditional wedding ritual of exchanging Sun and Moon masks and embrace, prepared to “greet the dawn together”. Unfortunately, this beautiful moment can’t last forever, as you’re forced to reset time back to when they were still separated by the Skull Kid’s curse.
1. Tidus and Yuna’s Kiss in the River from Final Fantasy X
- System: PS2
- Publisher: Square
- Developer: Square
- Release Dates: July 19, 2001 (JPN), December 17, 2001 (NA), May 24, 2002 (EU)
Final Fantasy X’s dialogue can seem a bit cheesy these days (the laughing scene comes to mind), but there’s no denying that Tidus and Yuna are rightfully regarded as one of the best couples in video game history. And for the #1 spot on this list, it only seemed right to give it to their iconic kissing scene in the stream.
Tidus finally figures out that Yuna’s pilgrimage will kill her if she completes it, and tries to convince her to give it up so she can live her own life. Yuna wants to believe him but breaks down at the thought of abandoning something so important for her own sake. And then Tidus leans in and kisses her! It’s adorable all by itself, but the sentiment in that kiss—that Yuna is worthy of being more than just a sacrifice—is what warms our hearts every time.
Whether we’re active players in the relationship or just onlookers who may have pulled a few strings along the way, we delight in seeing characters we care about share little moments of love like these. In some games, it can be the most rewarding part of the whole experience!
What did you think of our list? What are your favorite lovey-dovey scenes in video games? Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!