Romance in video games: It makes us laugh, it makes us cry, it makes us scratch our heads and sort of sit back and look confusedly at the screen. Mostly the last one. There have been a lot of horrible romance subplots in video games, but here's our tribute to the worst.
Ninja Gaiden for NES is a ludicrously hard side scroller with a ninja protagonist named Ryu whose romance starts when he sees a young girl and says, "Just a girl. Get out of here!" Ninja Gaiden comes from the era of dialogue that could only be produced by Koreans translating Japanese games into English without understanding either language. Not only does Irene shoot Ryu at one point, but they only end up together because Ryu proclaims that he'll be taking her as his payment for saving the world. Luckily, she's inexplicably aroused by this, so they kiss and sort of hold each other while they conclusively watch the sun rise. Even though she still probably wants to kill him.
The unfolding of this relationship can barely even be called a romantic subplot -- it's more like an afterthought. It's like Ubisoft realized two weeks before the game shipped out that the concept of DNA memory (and therefore the entire franchise) depends on Altaïr reproducing, even though he's a combination between ninjas and monks, the two most celibate professions in the ancient world. So they threw in a level where Altaïr chases a mysterious cloaked figure to the top of a tower, finds out it's a beautiful woman, and then has sex with her. On a tower, without a single word of foreplay or even warning, and with both of them wearing all their clothes. Then Altaïr uses his assassin skills to promptly get the hell out of there, because assassins make terrible dads.
Bioware is known for its all-inclusive romance options, but if you choose to roll a male gay Grey Warden, your only option is Zevran -- an assassin with a sexy Spanish accent who loves leather boots and was sent by the king. If that sounds familiar, it's because Bioware just took Puss in Boots from Shrek and made him a lithe blonde boy. Zevran proves himself a garish gay stereotype by reacting positively to any gifts made of leather and giving you an earring should you pursue a relationship. Right ear only, bud.