Valentine’s Day is upon us. It’s a time when people are supposed to express love for each other through gestures, cards, candy, and flowers. If you are in a relationship with a significant other, then I hope you’ve gotten to the store by now unless you like sleeping on the couch. I’m married, and Valentine’s Day is four days after my wife’s birthday so it’s a good opportunity to make things right if I make a bad gift choice (for the record, I’m usually pretty solid). For single people, this day/week can be a bit of a bummer.
I think about when I was a kid and we gave valentines to each other. It wasn’t about love or anything mushy, but it was about celebrating our friendships and just making a statement of ‘Hi there. I notice you and I care about you.’ Tomorrow can be about the lovers, but February 13th can be dubbed Palentine’s Day (coined by yours truly, by the way). In that spirit, I thought it would be nice to talk about some of the more notable friends I’ve had in games.
I’ve always played the Mass Effect games as a male Shepard, so the option of romance with Garrus has never been a possibility. If I ever did go the FemShep route however, I would totally hit that. Garrus is a loyal friend who isn’t afraid to let you know that he doesn’t agree with you. In the multiple playthroughs of the Mass Effect trilogy, we’ve gone from being openly hostile towards each other to inseparable besties, and he’s great company regardless.
The scene in Mass Effect 3 when he and I were shooting bottles on top of the Citadel is one of the most emotionally affecting moments I’ve ever experienced in a game. In terms of plot that scene is pure frosting, but it’s a beautifully executed moment of quiet before the inevitable storm. At the end of Mass Effect 3… well, my Shepard didn’t make it. I was really happy to see Garrus emerge from the crashed Normandy, however. I’m glad he made it because he deserves a break and it’s the least I could do for my friend.
Barney Calhoun is one of the bravest men I’ve ever known. Between Half-Life 1 and 2, while Gordon Freeman went into some kind of interdimensional cryo-sleep for over a decade after the Black Mesa incident, Barney (also a survivor of that event, mind) endured the Seven Hour War, helped create the underground resistance, and worked undercover for who knows how long as a Combine soldier.
Suddenly, Freeman appears out of the blue and is promptly proclaimed as the savior of humanity. A lesser friend would be a real dick about it, but Barney is all smiles and easy charm. He doesn’t even make it weird when Alyx clearly expresses an interest in Freeman instead of him. It’s not an overstatement to say that Freeman literally owes his life to Barney and everyone’s favorite security officer is all “No big”. Still, he manages to get some friendly digs in (as seen above).
Barney Calhoun: Total class act.
Yoshi does nothing but help you out and asks for nothing in return. Hell, you can actively choose to drop him to his death just to make a higher jump and he’ll keep coming back. Yoshi will also take a hit for you, walk it off, and let Mario get right back on him. Even outside the main Mario games, he’s really useful. He’s a great all-around player in Mario Tennis, and he can make a rainbow with a perfect shot in Mario Golf. Who could be depressed hanging around with a friend that can literally create rainbows through golf?
There are so many great companions I have met over the years, and we have had many incredible adventures together. In closing, I’d like to dedicate this video to all of them. Tomorrow is for lovers, but for now…
Happy Palentine’s Day!