This year, Valentine's Day pretty much sucks for everyone, regardless of your relationship status. Kept apart by Coronavirus related lockdowns, most relationships have gone de facto long-distance, and it's unlikely many of us will be enjoying a candlelit dinner, at least one that isn't on Zoom.
But as we learned from last year, gaming can be a great way to keep in contact with everyone that COVID keeps us from seeing in person. From one lonely heart to another, here's six tried and tested games perfect for your virtual date night.
The great thing about a Portal 2 date night is that it works even if your better half isn't a massive gamer. Able to run on whatever laptop they have lying around the house, Portal 2 is a perfectly crafted co-op puzzle experience, seeing you both work together in a campaign that's addictively satisfying. Requiring both of you to have well timed inputs and the ability to problem solve, neither of you will feel like deadweight on the team. Beating a puzzle always makes you want to run up and bear-hug your significant other, but this year we'll just have to settle for the emotes those cute little robots can do.
This might feel a little out of left field, but hear me out - Baldur's Gate is actually a brilliant date game! I actually talked about it in our list of games that got us through 2020, and for good reason: it's essentially Dungeons and Dragons, but no one has to be DM. So if you and your partner were nerdy enough to be doing that pre-pandemic, then you'll have a blast here. With endless roleplay opportunities, you can craft your characters as you please, and set off on the main story together, strategically discussing who is better for what task, and how you should approach each quest. Hell, before my boyfriend and I actually got together, our Baldur's Gate sessions would end with us sitting in the bar and chatting, pretending we were in a pub. Whatever you're in the mood for, Baldur's Gate has something for you and that special geek in your life to get up to (although you'll have to wait until the third one to replace uh, other aspects of a relationship.)
You've probably already sunk hours into Among Us with your mates, but trust me, this can be a riot with just you and that special person in your life too. Hop in a Discord call and do a few games with them this Valentine's Day, pushing your relationship to the limits as you betray each others trust, or even attempt to work together...with ulterior motives or otherwise. For both good sportsmanship and more fun, I suggest only helping each other when you're both alive, and not giving up the imposters identity when you're killed. This allows you to form tense truces in the game - never quite sure what the other is up to, ready to stab them in the back any second. It's cute when your partner notices something about you, right? This is true even when they're pointing out how terrifyingly easy you lied about being imposter.
Animal Crossing (Any Of Them!)
Alright so we all know that Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the undisputed lockdown-savior, so let's mix it up a little. Sure, if you and your partner both have a Switch and New Horizons, you can easily visit each others islands. But we've already sunk hours into that, right? Instead, really get to know the love of your life: visit their Wild World town.
Admittedly this will involve the pre-planning of following a guide to access homebrew online services, since Nintendo shut down the Wii and DS servers in 2014, but getting it to work means showing your sweetheart around a slice of your childhood: your face will hurt from smiling as you both rediscover your old favorite villagers, and all the dumb catchphrases your nine year old self gave them.
Can't cuddle up in fear over a horror movie? Doesn't feel the same watching one over Discord? Worry not, Phasmophobia has you covered! Not only does this indie horror/survival title scare the hell out of players, but it's a great way to bring you virtually closer together, as you work as a team to collect information on a ghost haunting the building. Utterly engrossing, not only are you and your lovely other half going to have to take on the ghost together, but you'll have to watch what you're chatting about, because the ghost is listening in too...
Any RPG With a Multiplayer Mod
I'm sure other long distance couples can relate when I say that game recommendations can get pretty same-y after a while. If I were to not include mods, this list would have been the same as dozens more on the internet. That's why the modding community is a godsend for gaming couples - many fairly old PC games have multiplayer mods!
I recommend RPGs such as Fallout and Elder Scrolls games in particular because building and roleplaying a character together is such a magical experience with your significant other. Build intricate characters and marvel at each others writing ability - or just have a ball on a "kill everything" Fallout 3 run together! The possibilities are endless, and a good ol' classic RPG is the perfect playground to have a blast in on date night.
Whatever you're up to, have a happy and safe Valentine's Day! What games will you be playing? Let us know in the comments below!