If Gaming Be the Food of Love, Play On

“Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?” I’m just hanging around World 1-2!

By Adam Sorice. Posted 02/08/2011 11:00 3 Comments     ShareThis

8 bit hearts artwork masthead

Love is in the air this week and while many of you out there may only see Valentine’s Day as an opportunity for restaurants to charge triple what they would normally for a Monday evening, we’re above such negativity at the ‘Dojo. Even if February 14th has been commcercialised to death in recent times, and we should squarely blame such things on the greeting card companies, it still remains at its very heart a day dedicated to the appreciation of love and romance.

And the Nintendojo Staff are nothing if not romantic (we once announced our undying love for the Nintendo GameCube’s wireless WaveBird controller no less), so to celebrate Valentine’s Day I was sent on behalf of the team to find some of the most romantic couples in all of history and return, triumphant, with the proof needed to resurrect the romantic nature of this special day. Unfortunately I left this somewhat to the last minute (January’s a busy month; you know how it is sometimes) so to make sure I covered the major romantic couples of all time I went to the big guy himself, Shakespeare. No one can do love like Shakespeare, right? (Unless you’re in a tragedy, sad times.) And maybe some of Nintendo’s own love interests will come up along the way? It is Valentine’s Day after all, miracles happen. Or is that Christmas?

As You Like It or The Hylian Legend of Love
Shakespeare once said, “the course of true love did never run smooth,” and this has always historically been the case when one of the couple is pretending to be someone of the opposite gender. In Shakespeare’s primary cross dressing comedy, the banished Rosalind assumes the persona of Ganymede for her own safety and manages to bag herself a fella in the process (though you may know him better as Orlando.) Now that’s a headscratcher: when has Nintendo ever turned a helpless princess into a kick butt ally of a male protagonist before? Wait a minute… nope it’s gone.

Link, Zelda and Sheik screen from Super Smash Bros. Melee opening video

Just kidding! Of course, this narrative very much inspires the events of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in which our favourite Hero of Time is helped by the mysterious ninja warrior Sheik, who happens to be none other than the one and only Princess Zelda. While it’s hard to say whether Link and Zelda share the same romantic flame as Rosalind and Orlando, it does say a lot about the couple that even after countless reincarnations and endless struggles, the two still have the hots for one another. And maybe we’ll see the return of Zelda’s alter egos in the future? I mean she isn’t one to stick to one (or two) personas. Tetra, anyone?

Twelfth Night or A Frosty Reception!
Of course you don’t have to be in love with someone in the world of Shakespeare to suffer a case of mistaken identity. Twins Viola and Sebastian are separated in a shipwreck off the coast of Illyria and each believe the other to be dead. Fearing for their safety, both separately enroll in the military, and soon Viola becomes mixed up in a complicated series of afflictions of the heart, under the guise of a solider called Cesario, and finds herself being wooed by a grief stricken widow while she equally lusts for her superior. (Don’t worry, everything works out in the end. And someone ends up in a cage, unpleasant stuff for him.)Ice Climbers Super Smash Bros. Brawl character artwork

Now we can only imagine how confusing this would be for anyone trying to successfully date, as being of an ambiguous gender is a rare and unfortunate circumstance. Unless you’re The Ice Climbers, that is. Nana and Popo (or is Popo and Nana… this is obviously the problem) appear so interchangeable that no one is ever quite sure which is which when talking to them. Many a fledgling romance has been extinguished by the fear of confusing the Eskimo pair with one another, including a flirtatious fling between Nana and Pit, which tragically ended when the Boy Angel got halfway through a romantic dinner before realising it was Popo. Damn those adorable, matching outfits!

A Midsummer Night’s Dream or A Mushroom Kingdom Romance
And so we reach the pinnacle of Shakespeare’s romances, the original and perhaps unrivaled master of romantic comedies. The story of four young lovers who fall under a spell, which causes them to lust the wrong person, has endured many interpretations and reimaginings (and that terrible staging in Dead Poet’s Society), but can we find a similar example of mismatched lovers in Nintendo’s fold of characters?Well I believe we can, right in the company’s crown jewel. For while we’d all like to believe that Mario and Princess Peach are the ultimate gaming couple, I believe that “something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” if you y’know… swap out Denmark and put in Mushroom Kingdom.

Mario and Princess Peach artwork from Super Paper Mario

While Peach and Mario have long been presented as being an item (I mean Mario wouldn’t go to all that trouble to save Peach if he was just trying to be neighbourly), we’ve never seen the couple acting remotely interested in each other, have we? The whole affair comes over incredibly platonic and somewhat staged if you don’t mind me saying (and of course you don’t; they fictional). But maybe something is going on between Peach and another of her courtiers; after all, her full title is still Princess Toadstool. Could a secret flame be held between a Toad and his Princess? They do always seem to be around one another, don’t they? Always so very worried and attentive to Peach’s needs. And Mario has always looked so happy with Toadette.

So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. If you’re looking for some romantic inspiration this Valentine’s Day, then look no further than Shakespeare or video games: a marriage made in heaven. That is unless your name is Aerith, Romeo or Juliet, of course. If this happens to be the case, then please just rent Ghost and lock your front door until March. Just to be safe.

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