Love and Romance idealism vs expectation

It has dawned on me that authors in choice of games and hosted games seem to a majority of the time over-idealized what romance and love truly is.

I understand their is a limitation in writing when it comes to the portrayal of relationships as it can come off as either geniue or very tropish (for a lack of a better word).

Now the question, are authors attempting to portray love as ideal or realistic? And are we the consumer at fault for badly setup romances? Also does this have an affect on more impressionable readers that a “happy romance” in a story must translate to reality?

I will state I am subscribed to the Aristotle view on love which may lead me to a personal bias.


Perhaps some specific examples will help us ground the discussion–what games, scenes, or relationships are you thinking of?


My opinion, love and romance is very subjective to be honest. Love in reality are very complex and a lots of variable comes into play. Writing it in text are very hard thing to do to make it as realistic as possible since the author is limited to their own experiences and what they consumed through media. I think this is the target of romance writers out there.

However we can’t expect the same situation if the story is focused on adventure or any other genre because truth to be told, not all writers are romance writers and for one, our point of view on love vary as well.

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I was reading the hero project open season and wanted to see all possible romances. As I was going through the story I noticed a lack of any ideological struggle all romance options where devoid of any idea of second guessing their opinion of the MC regardless of the MC’s ideological stats kingpin, hero or advocate. Their was no struggle conflict or even playful disagreement simply put it the MC was made for all of them regardless of that character’s ideals.

I suppose it is necessary to state my view of love is in line with Aristotle’s view of love. Not really a fan of this old Islamic idea of true love and love for love sake a Romeo and Juliet scenario if you will.


I must agree that most of the newer choice of games disappoint in this and other areas


It is truly simple.
If you are writing fantasy, idealistic.
If realism is an important aspect of your stories, however, then care to make it as realistic as possible.

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I disagree with this.
You can write a fantasy story, and still put a “realistic” romance inside.

To be honest, writing struggles and obstacles of a relationship isn’t that hard unless you’ve never been in a relationship. Just like @EditorAvila said, this might have something to do with us as the reader: We expect good romance. Ideal romance.


There’s a reason why the relationship status ‘it’s complicated’ exists in Fallen Hero.

I get the feeling that a lot of the time you need a lot of time to portray something somewhat real when it comes to emotions, romance, or friendship. But that takes time from the plot, so most writers never delve too deeply.


I think part of the problem lies in the terms “love interest” and “romance option” themselves. I don’t think those terms use the words love and romance the same way as we do in real life, and I certainly don’t think most authors believe that what they write is in any way reflective of the truth, or meant to portray real love. t’s not idealism; it’s an inadequacy of language to accurately describe the recreation of a concept sans several key dimensions. One can call a square a cube and everyone else will intuitively understand, but they’ll also know that they’ll never be the same thing.

Keep in mind that some stories are set over short time frames, and we often don’t get a 10 years later and it’s still rainbows and snuggles kind of scene. When you first crush on someone in real life, it often feels like love. You would die for them and live the rest of your life with the utmost devotion to them, regardless of ideological differences (which your imagination can even make into part of their attractiveness). I think of IF romances in general as existing in this honeymoon period: it’s inherently characterised by idealisation of the other person and the possible relationship, so it can look like portraying an idealised image of love.

I’ve never had the misfortune of falling in love, but from what I hear, it can be terrible and convoluted and for each case of true love, there are a thousand more missed chances. Of course some consumers would like something in which everything works out fine.

Are you asking whether readers would come to expect romances to go as smoothly in real life? Isn’t that the issue at the heart of the whole ‘does the portrayal of unhealthy relationships in popular fiction warrant censorship to protect impressionable readers’ debate? I’m sure others have said it more eloquently, but that’s a rather paternalistic attitude to take, and in any case, it’s not an issue limited to IF. Oscar Wilde is both a saint and a smartass, and in this case “life imitates art” leans more towards the smartass side.


I thinks its because the romances being portraying are the most idealistic time in a relationship, the beginning stages of “we’re official.” They’re not showing relationships 5 years later, when the passions cooled down.


Idealism vs truth? I Googled this (I thought truth was an ideal) and the results were a bunch of Pokemon forum discussions, not sure why.

Authors may idealize love but then again so do lovers. So the idealization of love in fiction is realistic.

Yes, however should you be writing a realistic tale, it would only make sense to also have this aspect match the rest. In fantasy, the rules of reality are bent to the will of the writer, therefore it does not matter.

The problem with the idea of “idealism vs truth” is that there’s no single answer to what “truth” is when it comes to romance. Some couples start off getting along really well and then get bored of each other and grow distant. Some couples argue constantly and literally have nothing positive to say about one another. Some couples, on the other hands are best friends who enjoy each others company and get along pretty much all the time.

To say, “It’s not realistic to have a romantic couple that doesn’t argue, because in real life, couples argue,” isn’t exactly accurate, since that doesn’t apply to all couples.


You’re kinda begging the question here by framing it as “idealism vs truth”. The antithesis of “idealism” is “cynicism”, and neither of them is inherently more true than the other (so please stop saying “realism” and “truth” when you mean “cynicism” :confounded:). I mean, I don’t disagree with some of the points you raise (such as that ideological differences should be something to work out rather than ignore), but I do feel that the points could be raised in a more helpful manner.

I’m not sure exactly what you’re saying Romeo and Juliet is, but if you’re saying it’s a story about idealistic love, it’s really not. Romeo is a dumb teenager who falls for every girl he meets, and Juliet is experiencing her first teenage crush with the exciting dangerous boy she met at a party (not that boring Paris her parents like). The relationship only proceeds the way it does because they’re forbidden from getting together, and I feel it’s pretty likely that had they lived, Romeo would have had a new girlfriend before the month was out. :roll_eyes:

I do agree that authors shouldn’t idealise abusive relationships, but this is sounding far more like “authors shouldn’t idealise any relationships”, which is completely different…


Truth is too big a word

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Perhaps it could be altered depending on how the player shapes their character. And yet, I believe that it would be an unnecessary effort to amplify the depth of such interactions, considering the author can focus on other, more significant parts of the whole, such as the plot. Unless, of course, romance is the main scope of the story. But in other cases, to me it’s just icing on the cake.

To be fair, he wasn’t advocating either for a cynical perspective on love. I might be wrong, but what I understood was more a non idealized view on it, which could be interpreted as presenting romance with a more ambivalent nature, so the term “truth” might not be the best, but neither the term “cynicism”.

And also, I would like to add that some people seem to take for granted that an idealized version of love should be a more happy or pleasant experience. However, there is something powerful about love when you write it as something that can persist in the face of adversity and tough moments, yes more imperfect, but sometimes more rewarding at the end.


You can disagree with someone ideologically and still love them completely. I imagine the partners of some politicians and political figures everywhere would, at some point, wonder on the wisdom of their beloved’s views and policies. But perhaps you consider the lack of debate between both partners to be unrealistic? Maybe it is, but who can say? Not everyone would voice their opinion, and there are all kinds of reasons why they wouldn’t.

As for Choice of Games Authors, you also have to understand that perhaps not all of them are professional writers, to the quality of the great authors of our age or any other. Perhaps they did not think to add such things, perhaps they wanted to but found it difficult, or perhaps they simply did not have the time or inclination. Or maybe these debates were had and resolved ‘behind the scenes’ as it were.

I have always wondered if this common cooling of passion is natural, in the sense that it cannot be helped and humans are powerless to prevent themselves losing passion for their beloved over time, or whether it is more due laziness or apathy on the part of one or both partners. But I guess that is because I am young and largely inexperienced. Maybe in some decade or more, I would have a more definite view.

I do not think he is advocating for cynicism for romances in these books, but more that he is advocating for a more objective, unbiased assessment of these romances with the intention to show the ‘reality’ of romantic life; which is, as I gather, a collection of good and bad experiences. Idealism or cynicism is just the imagined or biased assessments of, in this case, romances; focusing on all possible good or bad of said romance while ignoring it’s antithesis, and, in his view, this creates an unhelpful or even unhealthy impression of romance.

That is what I think he means. Do correct me if I am inaccurate, @EditorAvila.

I do not think people need to read idealised versions of reality to find idealism in the first place. But if we do not take an idealised view of romance then what view must we take of it? I think most people hope for the best, an idealistic view, in any given situation, and those that take a more cynical view typically would rather not get involved. In fact, I think most people imagine the world around them more than they actually see it, in a sense. Humans just seem to be like that, strangely.

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I don’t know about the Hero Project sequel, but I really enjoyed the conflict with Black Magic in the first trilogy.

I do kind of feel where you’re coming from, it really reminds me of how hackneyed and forced the idea of Lucky was. He’s just some guy we’re supposed to automatically like because he was our MC’s “first crush” and such a nice guy whereas the reader has no actual relationship with this character and I’m sitting here with a “who the fuck are you” kind of a thing.

Although the thing about making romances more realistic is that in order to really feel connected with a certain character you have spend a significant amount of time with them (much like in real life) a lot of stories don’t really allow for that or there’s simply too many love interests.


Slightly off topic but since I have very recently done an essay on Romeo and Juliet I’m here to be the annoying guy that corrects people!

I just need to find the essay first so I can use the big words I need to get a high grade