Digital Date Night: A TERA Rising Romance

The editor wanted a Valentine's Day feature, the wife wanted a date. I'm not sure if this will make either of them happy, but here's the very first (and possibly the very last) 'Digital Date Night', an excruciating attempt to make playing a video game together a romantic experience. If it's any consolation, I felt as uncomfortable writing it as you probably will reading it. Enjoy.

The Feast of Saint Valentine approaches, that joyous day when love and romance is celebrated with images of cartoon hearts and fat winged babies inappropriately playing with weaponry almost certainly not suited to their age range.

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For the single gamer, it is probably a blessed relief that there is no social imperative demanding they pay for overpriced flowers and cards and whisk their beloved off to a restaurant for a cringe-worthy evening trying to decipher a suspiciously expensive menu with nauseating items like Lovers’ Temptation and Cupid’s Surprise.

I am envious of those bachelors and bachelorettes of the video game community who are free from such enforced experiences. For those of us in some state of relationship union, there is no easy escape from this commercialised romantic circus.

Or is there?

Roses are #FF0000

For years I’ve attempted to lure my Luddite wife, Jacqui, into the realm of video games, but she has still barely moved on from Solitaire on her smartphone. Perhaps I could entice her into more advanced gaming with an online evening of digital romance.

A general inquiry to the GameSkinny hive mind (thanks Ashley) made the free-to-play MMO TERA: Rising the front runner for our electronic liaison; with its lush, fantastical environments and entrancing landscapes apparently being the stuff of fairytale romance.

My main hurdle was going to be getting my wife to take part, so I went the extra mile; I put on my best gaming T-shirt, lit some candles and arranged our little gaming area with flowers and a giant Valentine’s card (finally, a reason for keeping it since 2007).

Who says romance is dead, eh? I’ve still got it.

TERA: Rising the Wife

Jac was surprisingly receptive to the idea of an evening on the Island of Dawn, so I fired up the TERA client and prepared to guide her through the process of creating an MMO character. Neither of us had even seen TERA before, so to a degree, it was a shared leap of faith, but a potentially exciting vehicle for our digital date night.

TERA‘s visual style has a distinctly Anime flavor to it and judging by their dress sense, the more humanoid female avatars certainly weren’t shy. With their alluring (read: absence of) clothing and their ample curves, the male teenage market is certainly well catered to, although the supposedly seductive full-body writhing animation is bizarre – it makes them all seem like Parkinson’s Disease sufferers.

This peculiar animation is less noticeable (at least to me) on the male avatars and the ursine Popori, which suggests either a cynical attempt to sexualize these “dolls” to cater for the “lonely gamer market” or that I have a filthy mind. But even choosing the voice involves listening to a selection of moans and groans, supposedly combat noises. I don’t remember any of this filth in Beauty and the Beast.

Ahem.

Next: Englebert and Everlyn

Digital Date Night Index

Part One: A TERA Rising Romance

Part Two: Englebert and Everlyn

Part Three: Server-Cross’d Lovers

Valentines Image: Toast Cafe


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Author
Mat Westhorpe
Broken paramedic and coffee-drinking Englishman whose favourite dumb animal is an oxymoron. After over a decade of humping and dumping the fat and the dead, my lower spine did things normally reserved for Rubik's cubes, bringing my career as a medical clinician to an unexpectedly early end. Fortunately, my real passion is in writing and given that I'm now highly qualified in the art of sitting down, I have the time to pursue it. Having blogged about video games (well, mostly EVE Online) for years, I hope to channel my enjoyment of wordcraft and my hobby of gaming into one handy new career that doesn't involve other people's vomit.