Digital Love: DualShockers’ Video Game Valentines for 2017
With love in the air, the DualShockers staff collected their thoughts and share their favorite Video Game Valentine for 2017.
February is here and love is once again in the air. Today is officially Valentine’s Day (or “Singles Awareness Day” for those it’s applicable to), and with thoughts of romance and admiration swirling around for our loved ones, naturally that’s also the perfect time for us to admire some our favorite video game characters as well.
As an annual tradition here, the DualShockers staff once again collected their thoughts and offered up their (virtual) box of chocolates and flowers to the characters that we’ve come to know and love in gaming. For more on our favorite characters, waifus, or whatever you want to call them, you can read on below for DualShockers‘ Video Game Valentines for 2017:
Leif Conti-Groome, Staff Writer
Mia Fey – Ace Attorney Series
With all this discussion of love it was hard not to be reminded of one of the most romantic topics of all: legal proceedings. Recently I picked up the Ace Attorney series again and started playing through them from the beginning. While I have a number of favorites from the franchise (Godot is the best, Apollo is not), there was one character who stood by my bumbling side throughout the original trilogy.
Mia Fey acts as a mentor figure to our protagonist, Phoenix Wright, through the early games of the series. She is caring and fiercely loyal to her friends and family. She also learns the hard way how to be a great defense attorney who never gives up on her client. As she says in the very first trial of the very first Ace Attorney game: “We never really know if our clients are guilty or innocent. All we can do is believe in them. And in order to believe in them, you have to believe in yourself.”
*If you want to avoid spoilers for the series, I suggest you stop reading here.*
After all, it’s only in the second case where Mia is unceremoniously killed off. However, Phoenix and his pals have always had an interesting connection to the occult and it turns out that the entire Fey clan are spirit channelers. Maya Fey is able to connect with her older sister in the afterlife, which lets the mentor return at many points throughout the games.
While Mia is often stuck playing the role of inspiration for Phoenix when things look their bleakest, there are a few points where we’re able to get more details of her history. A few flashback cases have you actually controlling the young attorney early on in her career. She faces some pretty unique challenges in these trials and gets an unfortunate dose of tragedy as well.
But through it all she never gives up her determination to do right by her clients and fight to the bitter end for their innocence. While Phoenix is known for taking up the mantle of the defender of the lost, it’s due to Mia’s tutelage that he inherits these traits.
While having some of the more serious moments in the game, the eldest Fey sister is known to bring some levity to the series. When Mia is channeled, her physical form replaces the person who brought her back. This leads to a few humorous moments where she is stuck in clothes that don’t really fit. This proves to be the key to breaking an old, perverted witness for one of the trials.
Her interactions with Phoenix and the other characters are pure gold as well. Whether it’s hinting at her fiery relationship with the mysterious prosecutor Godot or giving Phoenix a quizzical look when he bluffs his way through a cross-examination, her presence always makes things more interesting. Hell, she even quotes a certain song about “milkshakes” and “yards” in the first case you get to play as her.
If I were ever caught in a overly elaborate crime where I had been framed for murder by a number of nearly unbelievable circumstances and events, I would want Mia as my attorney. I know that I would be found innocent and somehow find out more about myself through the defense’s labyrinthine yet philosophical case. If the Ace Attorney series has taught me anything, it’s that nothing is stronger than the bond between attorney and client. That sounds an awful lot like love to me…
Tyler Fischer, Associate Editor
Liara T’Soni – Mass Effect Series
If you’ve ever seen my apartment, you know I practically have a shrine to Liara T’Soni. In fact I have a shrine to Mass Effect all together, featuring many rare or one-of-a-kind collectibles for characters like Garrus, Thane, Wrex, and more. But, at the center of my collection is Liara-related stuff as far as the eye can see. And this isn’t very surprising when you consider, by a long-shot, Mass Effect 2 is my favorite game, and Mass Effect my favorite series.
So why Liara? Well, I won’t bore you with too many details, but I will get a little sappy on you. Quite simply, she reminds me of my girlfriend who I’ve been dating since high school. But she’s also a blue alien. And that’s the only way my girlfriend could get better…you know, if she was a blue alien.
She was my romance in the first game, the one who I waited for through the second game, and finished with in the third game. I’ve “fallen for” many characters over my years, including Triss Merigold from The Witcher series, Morrigan from the Dragon Age series, and I’ve even had an intense bromance with Waluigi over the years. But never did I fall for anyone — in the video game world — like I did for Liara T’Soni. Unless of course, Skinny Mario counts: but that’s more of a love/hate thing.
“It’s a taxi! It has a fare meter!”
Jordan Loeffler, Staff Writer
Quina Quen – Final Fantasy IX
When I first met Quina, s/he was basking in the glory of Qu’s Marsh, and I knew that s/he would become a significant part of my life. Quina is of the Qu, which appear to be a genderless people, thus the frequent “s/he’s” and “him/her’s” you’re bound to find in this love letter to the unparalleled gourmand. Throughout the course of the game, s/he brandishes an oversized fork in combat and learns a variety of different spells from the many things s/he eats, and Quina eats a lot. Quina can easily become one of the party’s most reliable assets when s/he isn’t trying to determine if something or someone is edible. Of course, it wasn’t just Quina’s ability in a scrap that drew me to him/her so many years ago.
As a blue mage with a healthy appetite, Quina quickly stole my heart by bringing joy to one of my favorite Final Fantasy experiences. Certainly, Quina’s presence in the game is intended for comic relief, but s/he also frequently offers heartwarming insights to those who most need it. Whether cheering Vivi when he was having an existential crisis or helping Eiko to understand that cooking for friends is the key to happiness, Quina had all of the answers, and the answer was always food: “Why you care about small things? World very simple place. World only have two things: Things you can eat and things you no can eat.”
Quina’s love for food never seemed to cross into gluttony. Quina always had a purpose to eat, even if s/he didn’t quite know it.Although his/her heft and appetite is often used for a laugh, Quina is an endearing character and often felt like the glue that held the party together when it was at its lowest. Quina is strong, independent, and talented, even considered the most skilled eater amongst the Qu for his/her sense of ingenuity. To me, Quina is more than the joke at the end of a scene. Although s/he is an optional party member in Final Fantasy IX, Quina will always remain a steadfast love in the spaces of my stomach that are saved only for dessert.
Azario Lopez, Staff Writer
Iris Amicitia – Final Fantasy XV
This year I’ve asked Iris Amicitia to be my Valentine. Even if her guest spot in my Final Fantasy XV party was short, her optimism and joyful attitude gave me something to fight for.
If we were to go on a date in real life, I would probably just take her for a walk on the beach since it seems like the perfect setting to get to know her more. Alas, I am stuck in this mortal body, so I guess I will play vicariously through Noctis for all of time.
I hope that was cringy enough.
Ryan Meitzler, Features Editor
Ciri – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
During my many, many hours with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt last year, I came to love so many different aspects of the game that made it one of my favorite of recent years. Its vast open-world kept me exploring endlessly for dozens of hours. Its quests and storylines gave me a vast range of new characters to meet, monsters to fight, and secrets to uncover throughout Geralt’s journey.
However, one of the aspects that I most fell in love with – both literally and figuratively – was the game’s cast of female leads. Triss Merigold, Yennefer of Vengerburg, Keira Metz, and so many others drew me in with their strong characteristics and powerful backstories, yet the character that easily stole my heart throughout The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was Geralt’s own surrogate daughter, Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon – or for short, Ciri.
Having spent a good several months going through the entire trilogy of The Witcher games, Ciri quickly become one of my favorite characters from the entire series, even though she was (ultimately) one of the characters that I only got introduced to through the third game. Much like the relationships between Lee/Clementine and Joel/Ellie from The Walking Dead and The Last of Us (respectively), the dynamic between Geralt looking after Ciri as if she were his own daughter was one that I took to immediately, as it highlighted some aspects of Geralt’s character that I thought were far more intriguing than what I saw from him in the previous two games.
But more than acting as a motivation for Geralt’s own character development, Ciri quickly grew on me as a character in her own right throughout The Witcher 3. Strong-willed, a fierce warrior, and by all means a true badass, Ciri was one of my absolute favorite characters from The Witcher series and a character I’ve come to greatly admire since finishing the third game. The fact that Wild Hunt (more or less concluded) the story of The Witcher games made it all the more bittersweet that I wouldn’t be able to see (or play) Ciri’s journey beyond what CD Projekt RED offered us, but at least in my mind I can only imagine how the end of The Witcher series was just the beginning of Ciri’s potential as a warrior, a Witcher, and a force to be reckoned with.
Logan Moore, Staff Writer
Wario – Various Nintendo Games
My most loved character of all time is one of the most divisive. To some, he may not be the nicest, he might not smell the best, and some may even think he’s not the best looking. None of that matters though because, to me, he is perfect. Yes, I’m talking about my one true love: Wario.
How can you not love a man who’s so self-confident? Yeah, he farts whenever he wants, no matter who’s around. Doesn’t bother him. Sure, he’ll eat onions all day long and doesn’t care how they make his breath smell. Plus, his signature catch phrase, “I’ma gonna win!”, is so inspiring and self-assured. How can you hate on a man who is so confident in his abilities? We should all strive to view ourselves the way that Wario does.
Plus, just look at that masculine physique. Wario is what the kids would refer to as “thicc” and rightfully so. But I dig that. I also haven’t even talked about that incredible mustache yet. I mean, come on, it’s easily the best mustache in all of gaming.
Not to mention, in his spare time, he can become the superhero Wario-Man to devastate foes with his atomic farts. He also drives an awesome motorcycle and has an unabashed love for money. Move over Fonzie, because Wario is the new definition of cool.
While some might hate on Wario, deep down, I know they’re just jealous because they wish they could be like him. I know I sure do, and that’s why Wario is my one true love in gaming.
Giuseppe Nelva, Editor-in-Chief
Aranea Highwind – Final Fantasy XV
This kind of article is always difficult for me. We have one every year, and if I wrote about Selvaria Bles from Valkyria Chronicles every single time it’d be kind of boring. That said, even if I’m picking someone else this time, do keep in mind that she remains the undisputed queen of my gaming heart.
That said, I’m sure that my picks over the years, which also include Sniper Wolf from Metal Gear Solid, will let many see a pattern. Aranea also has many traits in common with Selvaria, and not just physically. Regardless of similarities, Aranea excels where my other picks were a bit lacking: her ability to think and act independently, even overcoming loyalty, which makes her strength, skill and beauty shine even brigher.
She is without a doubt my favorite character in Final Fantasy XV, and while I’ll avoid spoilers, I certainly hope that we’ll see more of her in the future, as she most definitely deserves more time under the spotlight. Smart, strong, capable, witty, sexy, hiding a compassionate side behind a stern curtain…Aranea simply comes in a full package of awesome, easily overshadowing every other female character in the game. Can we really ask more?
Alex Wallace, Staff Writer
Captain Qwark – Ratchet & Clank Series
In his own words; “Compassion, dashing good looks, IRON. HARD. ABS!” What’s not to love about the village idiot of the PS2’s flagship franchise? Sure he’s a bumbling, narcissistic moron who stabs you in the back every second game, but there’s a certain charm to the galaxy’s greatest hero (?) that makes him the stand-out element in a series known for being cartoony in its outrageousness.
Whether he’s designing life-threatening operations with crayon, selling questionable grooming devices, or staring down a Blargian Snagglebeast (from the inside), Captain Qwark (aka “Steve”) always had me bursting with laughter. My favorite moments with the head of the Q-Force come from Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (the best game in the franchise) when you play a side-scrolling shooter as the hero in his early years. Fighting robotic pirate ghosts and his arch-nemesis, Doctor Nefarious, his funny quips and cowardly whimpers kept me entertained in what is the best example of a game within a game.
I have a number of problems with the PS3 era of the series, but one area that Insomniac did improve on was with Captain Qwark; he had a lot more screen time and was given more opportunities to expand his comedic repertoire. Unlike The Plumber, Captain Qwark actually got better as the series went on.
Speaking of which, Captain Qwark underwent actual development as a character throughout the entire series; he started as a hero doomed by his own hubris, to working alongside the protagonist for the greater good, and finally to working on his own to re-establish himself as the hero everyone remembers him to be. Sure he fails spectacularly every step of the way, usually bringing everyone down with him, but the fact that this development exists makes his even more special…then they rebooted the series and now he’s a dick once more.
If I were to sum this character up, I would simply say; he’s qwark-tastic!
We here at DualShockers wish all of our readers (and their loved ones) a Happy Valentine’s Day – have a favorite Video Game Valentine of your own? Let us know in the comments down below!