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The 10 most unhealthy relationships in games

One Off The List

Happy love day, you disgusting piece of filth. Got you. That was an example of what today’s young people call “neggling”. This is when you are nice and nasty in such quick succession that the body becomes inexplicably aroused. Spasms of lust take over both neggler and negglee, resulting in a paroxysm of extramarital sex and, subsequently, the degeneration of humanity. This is just one of the signs of an unhealthy relationship. But there are many more examples in videogames. Here are the 10 most toxic couples out there. Don't worry, you can argue fruitlessly in favour of any of them. That's the point of these articles.

Shepard and Jack - Mass Effect trilogy

Two sanguineous fleshbags of horniness and violence. When we first meet Jack she is a fuming space tattoo with a naked human body attached. She has killed many people. Meanwhile, Shepard is a celebrity psychopath who likes to hit reporters in the face. Neither of them are balanced, reasonable people. Yes, Jack is passionate. But mostly in the sense that she is moved to use knuckles to communicate her desires. In Mass Effect 3, she clocks Shepard in the jaw before kissing the returning hero with more tongue than a big frog. This pair of lovers might think they are happier this way, alternating unannounced violence with kissy faces. But we both know this is an unsustainable form of sadomasochism. The biotic that burns brighter, burns half as long. If this relationship does not end in a murder and a cross-country police chase, I will eat my leather straps.

Shepard and everyone else - Mass Effect trilogy

Also Shepard is a military commander who has sex with multiple direct subordinates.

Octodad and Scarlet - Octodad: Dadliest Catch

This relationship is built on a lie, and that is not healthy. Here is a married couple who live in a dream world of denial and self-imposed ignorance. They do not know the truth of their relationship, because they do not want to know. As soon as they openly acknowledge that their fundamental love is based on a floppy falsehood, everything is going to fall apart. So they carry on their oblique charade, pretending nothing is wrong, the ramifications of their great lie quietly bubbling away like a pressure cooker, until one day, who knows how long from now, when that pressure will become too great. The resentment and the deception will be too much to bear. How long will it take for the explosive truth to be revealed? To be spoken aloud. To be painfully shouted across the dinner table. When will Scarlet tell Octodad the children are not his?

Bigby Wolf and Snow White - The Wolf Among Us

The big lad is a powder keg. He’s an animal, a predator, a wolf. And worse: a policeman. In keeping with the characterisation of bad boys everywhere, Telltale’s dark adventure game paints this as undeniably sexy. Snow White, the incarnation of goodness and decency, is not-so-secretly into the hairy fella, and finds him at his most attractive when he is bleeding out in the gutter with his radius sticking out of his arm like a snapped Twiglet. Thus we learn the flaccid psychology of fablepeople is not so different from the 90s Disney princess. When a slavering monster shows vulnerability, that’s fit. Still, don’t go out with him. He’s an apex predator in a necktie. Be sensible.

Adam Jensen and Megan Reed - Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Adam Jensen is such a bore Megan divorced him. And that was before he became a robot.

Heihachi and Kazumi - Tekken 7

If you’ll come with me, over here, to the Tekken wiki, where I live forever in a febrile state of laughter and unease, you will see the page for Kazumi, one of the fighting game’s characters. She has a tiger. She is a demon of unknown age. She is described as “Good (before the Devil Gene took over her)”. Now come over here, through this cavern of pages about bears, and look at her husband, Heihachi. He is a criminal warlord whose citizenship has been refused by the Japanese government. His likes include “world conquest” and “proclaiming to be invincible”. His dislikes include, but are not limited to: his father, his son, his other illegitimate son, his grandson, poor people, weak people, people who interfere with his plans, his adoptive son. That should tell you everything you need. Here we have a woman who is actually the devil, and a man so full of hatred he does not even like the son for which he presumably had to do an incredible amount of paperwork. These two people, husband and wife, are dangerous, unpredictable and violent. I put it to you that this is not a stable relationship. And it should end before somebody gets killed (again).

Simon Forman and Avis Allen - Astrologaster

The toxicity of this relationship is sometimes literal and comes in a bottle labelled “strong water”. Simon is the doctor and astrologist of this Elizabethan comedy, but he is not above shagging his patients. One of those patients is married lady Avis Allen, who falls for the doc’s charms and comes to see him on the pretext of needing cures and horoscopes for her impotent husband. Aside from the doctor’s ethical slipperiness, Simon is also a traditional sleazebag. This is a doomed affair, in more ways than one. Avis is not totally blameless herself, but if there’s an organ producing bile in this relationship, it belongs to the doctor.

Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade - Mortal Kombat 11

They enjoy decapitating each other. This is not ordinary.

Red and a big sword - Transistor

Red, the hero of this sci-fi slashabout, is a singer wot done forgot how to talk. Luckily, she has a handy sword that contains the personality of a man it once stabbed. You soon learn that man was something to Red, presumably a husband, a boyfriend, a partner. Something with kisses. Spoilers ahead! That he continues to speak to her from beyond the grave with the deadpan voice of a large weapon hints at a greater love-fuelled tragedy to come. In the end, Red kills herself to be with him, impaling herself on the big stabber in order to go live in the digital realm of the cybersword with her deceased lovebud. A terrible message to send to today’s impressionable, sword-wielding youth.

Mei and Junkrat - Overwatch

This is just awful.

One Off The List from… the most shocking electricity

Last week we subjected you to the 8 most shocking uses of electricity in games. But one of these was within standard wattage limits and posed no threat at all. It’s… the electric axe from Dead Rising 4.

This axe gets the chop mostly because it is crap. And because list-monger "Durgendorf" was unconvinced it had any special wackiness. "It’s a pale addition to a series that contains an electrified Blanka mask," they said. This is a statement I can refute neither with logic nor a plea to your emotion.

See you next week, listperps. Don't forget to vote for a terrible couple to save.

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Deus Ex: Human Revolution

PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Mac

See 8 more

Mass Effect 2

PS3, Xbox 360, PC

Mass Effect 3

PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii U, PC

Mortal Kombat 11

PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch

Octodad: Dadliest Catch

PS4, Xbox One, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Wii U, PC, Mac


PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch

Tekken 7

PS4, Xbox One, PC

The Wolf Among Us

iOS, PS3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita, PC, Mac


PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch

Related topics
About the Author
Brendan Caldwell avatar

Brendan Caldwell

Former Features Editor

Brendan likes all types of games. To him there is wisdom in Crusader Kings 2, valour in Dark Souls, and tragicomedy in Nidhogg.