Multiplayer Romance: Gaming While Polyamorous

Dragon Age: Origins

I am the kind of gamer who loves building relationships with fictional characters. While I am easily drawn into a well-written story based in a detailed and expansive universe, my attention is always kept there by the smaller, more intimate stories therein. This is a direct reflection of my IRL personality: I am often drawn to group activities because of my interest in the event itself, but it is always the individuals in attendance who keep me coming back for more.

Mass Effect
To say nothing of dat ass.

The number of games out there that allow me to satisfy this craving for building relationships is staggering. My adoration for companies like Bioware knows few bounds, because their believable character arcs and relationship dynamics are second to none. I’m definitely not alone in my desire, either: there was much elation about Skyrim’s built-in marriage system, and the Fable series has always been celebrated for the increasingly diverse romance options that are available to the player. Indeed, if a gamer wants an element of romance—or really close, unique friendships—added to their adventure, there is no shortage of options.

This, however, has given rise to a very interesting set of problems. I can create characters who are spitting images of my IRL self, from the color of their eyes (hazel-green) down to the decisions they make (Alistair approves +10), but I always seem to have an awkward time of creating characters who experience relationships in the same way I do. This is because I’m polyamorous—that is, I have multiple loving, committed relationships at the same time, with the consent and knowledge of all people involved—and the default relationship structure in our western society is monogamy.

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