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Game Romances Fans Absolutely Despised

Video games have a questionable track record when it comes to romance, and some are even downright scandalous. Few video game couples have withstood the test of time, and those who do often have quirks about their relationship that fans just aren't ready to deal with yet. However, some romances do little more than make gamers actively despise the lovebirds in question.

Sometimes it's important to take a step back and remember all the awful romances video games have given gamers over the years. These are the relationships that made people uncomfortable, for ethical or logistical reasons. Whether the couple in question happens to be a hedgehog and human, or a man and his bionic arm, some relationships just tick fans off — or make them throw up their hands in exasperation. So sit back, take a break from all that lovey-dovey stuff, and "enjoy" these game romances that fans absolutely despised.

Shane - Stardew Valley

Some bachelors in Stardew Valley are more appealing than others, but many fans can unite in their hatred of Shane. Shane doesn't shine like some of the other eligible folks in town. Take Abigail, a villager who has a more interesting storyline than Shane, considering that the local wizard may be her father and she regularly eats quartz for fun. Yet Shane remains a speedrunner favorite, mainly because of his consistent schedule and easily obtained likes.

No matter how easily speedrunners can win over Shane's heart, his grumpy attitude remains a major turn off for many Stardew Valley fans. In one Reddit thread, user StarDew_Factory makes an argument for Shane, analyzing his journey from depressed alcoholic to loving husband and father. The post aptly points out that changing one's life takes a considerable amount of time, and that fans should give Shane some grace. One reply to the thread notes that Shane's behavior after marriage is the real problem. After players marry Shane, seemingly helping him ditch booze and turn his life around, his dialogue options revert to talk of alcohol and depression, like nothing ever happened.

There's nothing a Stardew Valley player hates more than having their hard work erased, and romancing Shane makes that an inevitability.

Meryl Silverburgh and Johnny Sasaki - Metal Gear Solid

The Metal Gear Solid series has its share of weird humor, of course, and that's part of its overall charm. Weird pickup lines aside, fans legitimately despise one pairing in the Metal Gear Solid universe: Johnny and Meryl.

One commenter on a YouTube compilation of Meryl and Johnny's romance exasperatedly explained, "The Meryl/Johnny romance, the Mr. and Mrs. Smith cutscene, and a stupid diarrhea-plagued, geeky Johnny suddenly becoming handsome and badass is the most ridiculous thing Kojima EVER DID." One can only assume that includes some of the strange trophies Kojima inserted in his work.

In fact, fans came out of the woodwork to bash Meryl and Johnny's relationship, analyzing the relationship while also making fun of it. "The relationship would have been more interesting if it didn't feel rushed ... Honestly it feels like an intentional stab at Solid Snake," one fan said, noting one of the biggest flaws of the pairing.

A different discussion of Meryl and Johnny bluntly points out that Johnny's most "notable trait is he has diarrhea." Because the games portray Meryl as a competent, reliable agent, her relationship with the goofy, intestinally-challenged Johnny irritated some fans.

Sonic and Princess Elise - Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)

Sonic and his human princess might share an awkward kiss in 2006's Sonic the Hedgehog, but fans think their entire relationship is uncomfortable. MojoPlays calls the pair the worst video game couple of all time because of their lack of chemistry on screen.

On a message board discussion of the hedgehog/human romance, one fan posits that perhaps the doting Princess Elise acts as a stand in for the Sonic fanbase itself. While the original poster waxes poetic about the dev team's intentions with the romance, another fan responds, "They weren't thinking."

Of course, fans might have predicted the blue hedgehog's predilection for human women. At one point in early developement, the original Sonic the Hedgehog game included Sonic's human girlfriend, Madonna, before her existence got scrapped from the franchise entirely. Princess Elise looks nothing like the busty, blonde woman Sonic could have dated, but they do have their humanity in common.

Critics despised Sonic and Princess Elise's romance so much that Kotaku has an entire article detailing why the relationship doesn't work, and why it's an affront to fans everywhere.

Crash and Tawna - Crash Bandicoot

These days, Crash Bandicoot seems more single than he used to. In Crash Bandicoot, the titular bandicoot had a girlfriend named Tawna, whose capture kicks off the events of the game. Tawna largely serves as a damsel in distress in the first game before disappearing completely ahead of the events of Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back! There were disagreements regarding the sexy original design of the character, Naughty Dog was ultimately unhappy with the character's mandated redesign.

Eventually, Tawna disappeared and Coco appeared, providing a cute little sister to accompany Crash on his adventures. Tawna finally reappears in Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time — in an alternate dimension where she never dated Crash and became much, much cooler. 

Even though Tawna didn't particularly fit in the franchise, and even though she has found her way back via an alternate timeline, some fans don't understand why she's not dating Crash in It's About Time. Perhaps timeline hijinks are the entire point of It's About Time, or perhaps the developers wanted to sweep Tawna's past under the rug. Either way, most fans would prefer to forget Crash's ex and move on with their bandicoot lives.

Liara and Shephard - Mass Effect

Conceptually, there's nothing off about Shephard and Liara's romance in Mass Effect, but fans have noted that their arc stands out as one of the most poorly written in the series.

No matter what players want, Liara is an important part of the game. A fan blog about Liara argues that she's a creator's pet, a character that, through no intention of the writer, becomes such a favorite that they move to the forefront of plot and interest in the game. The post points out other characters that have more interesting stories or dialogue, but notes that Liara always finds her way back to the center of things, even if Shephard does not choose to romance her. Basically, Liara's significance to the overarching story of Mass Effect makes her a polarizing figure in the fan community.

Another complicating aspect of Liara's relationship with Shephard relates to gender. Asari, the race Liara belongs to, do not present as one gender or another, and some even choose to use gender neutral pronouns, as revealed in Andromeda. This detail allows male and female versions of Shephard to pursue a relationship with Liara, further showing her prominence within the game and story.

Ultimately, it doesn't really matter what players decide about romancing Liara, she's going to catch feelings either way.

Nathan and Emily Spencer - Bionic Commando (2006)

There's really no way around it. Nathan and Emily Spencer have one of the strangest, most irritating romances in all of video game history. See, Emily is Nathan's grappling hook arm.

When the original Bionic Commando game was released in the late 80s, the game stood out because its high stakes action hero couldn't jump. The protagonist's grappling hook arm stood out as an interesting mechanic, but nothing more. Fast forward to 2006. The grappling hook arm remained in the reimagining of the Bionic Commando franchise, but with a twist. Emily, the woman Nathan has been searching for the entire game, is in the arm. The game doesn't provide many details about how Emily's brain got put in the bionic arm, or how all that works, but an explanation probably wouldn't help much. It's all pretty weird.

Fans of the series didn't enjoy the big plot twist in Bionic Commando, and even more, they didn't think the game needed it. In online discussion forums, fans have speculated what the game might have been like if the plot twist was cloning instead of, you know, putting a dude's wife into his arm. As one player aptly noted, "It's better to just pretend that there was never a story."

Arno and Elise - Assassin's Creed: Unity

Assassin's Creed: Unity shipped before all the kinks were worked out, and fans took notice, but the most disappointing aspect to some players lies in character design, not technology. Some players consider AC: Unity one of the worst games in the series, specifically because of its poor character development. 

One fan discussion of the game asserts, "Arno is the most pathetic main character of the series, dude is just obsessed with Elise and everything he does depends on her (no agency whatsoever, doesn't give a **** about the Assassins or the Revolution)." Though some fans argue that liking or disliking Arno and Elise's relationship is a simple matter of taste, the general fan community seems to strongly dislike AC: Unity and the romance that blossoms within it.

Worse than disliking the game and its plot, some fans don't buy the story of AC: Unity. One fan describes their relief when Elise died, noting that "It felt like Arno was being walked all over and manipulated, giving the whole game a really skeevy vibe." Love it or hate it, there's no changing the big romance of Assassin's Creed: Unity now. The only thing to do is move on to another assassin, in another time, and try to forget Arno and Elise ever happened.

Duke Nukem and the Holsom Twins - Duke Nukem Forever

It's hard to say if a man dating twins that dress like schoolgirls is a romance or something less serious, but that doesn't stop players of Duke Nukem Forever from having mixed feelings about the Holsom twins. Duke Nukem Forever has too many issues to list, but the Holsom twins stand out amongst the lot. The twins, who are "adult models" and dress like "naughty school girls," serve as a plot device in the game when they're kidnapped and impregnated by aliens. Yes, it's a lot.

The Holsom twins are seemingly modeled after Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, another twins that American men have fantasized about. The Holsom girls represent a very specific power fantasy, one that reviewers like Jim Sterling called "thoroughly detestable."

Once the twins are dead, Duke ostensibly has nothing left to fight for, yet he continues on as if his girlfriends weren't just murdered in front of him. Ultimately, it's difficult to classify the twins' relationship to Duke, since they seem more like toys than lovers, but their inclusion creeped players out all the same.

Ethan and Madison - Heavy Rain

Heavy Rain had several issues that look worse years later, but Ethan and Madison's romance was bad ten years ago, and bad now. They're an odd pair from the start. Ethan is a grieving father that reaches out to Madison to drum up interest in his case after his son disappears. Madison agrees to help Ethan because of her journalistic interest in his case, but the two can quickly, and inexplicably, fall in love and engage in one of the most awkward sex scenes of all time.

In a thorough review of Heavy Rain, Ken Cummings analyzes why Madison and Ethan's relationship proves tiring. He argues that Ethan's willingness to sleep with Madison seems at odds with his deep concern for his son, which he claims is the most pressing matter in his life. Similarly, writer Cameron Kunzelman calls Madison's frequent state of undress "just plain gross," because it feels exploitative and inappropriate to the overall tone of the game.

Either way, fans felt weirded out by the pairing, with one player commenting, "I thought that they would kiss, but then it just snowballs into this sex scene and I wanted it to stop."

Solas and the Inquisitor - Dragon Age: Inquisition

Solas occupies an important role in the Dragon Age universe. He's simultaneously a romanceable, nerdy mage and a notorious elven god. Though Solas has an interesting development history and place in the story of Inquisition, fans felt divided about his prospects as a romantic partner.

One Reddit discussion asks fans, "Is Solas a case of 'women like bad boys?'" One user, AlloftheGoats, describes Solas as little more than a "pompous jerk." A separate discussion of the elven mage accuses Solas of acting "distant" throughout the relationship.

Critics have even offered their opinions on the issue, with Gita Jackson writing an entire article for Kotaku about just how crappy Solas behaves. Though Jackson praises the BioWare team for writing a character so well that she desperately hates him years after first encountering Solas, she also deems his romance insulting to the Inquisitor. Jackson acknowledges that no matter how sweet Solas' words seem, he's essentially saying that the protagonist is an idiot, but he'll still sleep with them.

Add in a dash of Solas' true identity and it's no wonder fans felt irritated about romancing the bald mage.

Snow and Serah - Final Fantasy 13

As a long running series, Final Fantasy has many great romances scattered throughout its long history. Of course, they can't all be winners. Fans felt that Snow and Serah of Final Fantasy 13 felt boring and poorly written.

One player pointed out that Serah and Snow act like they don't know each other for much of the game, ignoring each other's presence or downright insulting each other in cutscenes. Some fans considered their already strange relationship even weaker in Final Fantasy 13-2. The sequel to Final Fantasy 13 provides players with a multitude of choices, but ditching Snow and Serah isn't one of them.

Other critics have noted that Snow and Serah's plotline seems more suited to a soap opera than a video game, and that needless drama only delays more important game functions like, you know, battling monsters and such. Unfortunately, Serah doesn't stand out in a crowd of Final Fantasy characters, and her relationship to Snow feels unnecessary to the game as a whole.

EDI and Joker - Mass Effect

Can two people be in a relationship if one of them is an artificial intelligence system? Mass Effect tries to answer that question by pairing Joker, the Normandy's pilot, and EDI, an AI system installed on the ship.

Some fans might not have noticed EDI was an AI system all along, considering her quick wit and emotional connections to characters. However, the union of an AI system and a human raised some ethical decisions for fans, especially regarding issues of consent. Mass Effect fan SurvivalSnake raised some solid problems with the pairing, including EDI's personhood, her ability to leave the Alliance and continue her relationship if Joker is restationed, and the possibility of EDI getting replaced by a newer, more updated system in the future. While the game might not have intended to investigate the answers to those questions, they still exist as solid reasons to hesitate when encouraging EDI and Joker to hook up.

No matter how fans examined this case, something seems off about EDI and Joker. Maybe fans and Mass Effect writers aren't ready to wrestle with big questions about personhood and computers just yet.

Joker and Kawakami

The Persona series has always included lots of romance options for players, and has done a relatively good job about correcting any cultural missteps it makes along the way. However, fans found it difficult to excuse one of Joker's Confidant relationships. Joker has the option of deepening his relationship with Sadayo Kawakami, his teacher at Shujin Academy who works as a maid in her off time. The ethics of a student dating his teacher are murky at best and definitely illegal in most circles.

Some fans simply found Kawakami "annoying," noting that her character doesn't provide anything particularly useful or special to players. Others found it odd that Kawakami appears alongside other romance options in the game during certain cutscenes, as if there's nothing different about her. Even though she teaches most of the other girls Joker can choose to date, they say nothing about her presence or her relationship with Joker.

Fans of the relationship argue that Kawakami and Joker's story arc is fictional and harmless, a way for players to project their own desires into the game, but the choice to date your teacher remains controversial. Ultimately, no fan can deny that Kawakami and Joker's relationship has an unequal balance of power, which throws any hint of ethics out the window.