It’s no secret that the couple that plays together, stays together, but if you need proof, look no further than Game Informer’s October 2016 feature, highlighting how more people than ever are using video games to enhance their relationships. Those doing the long-distance thing benefit most from online games, but when’s the last time you shared a couch and a controller? Whether for Valentine’s Day or any day, really, here’s what you should be playing when you’re together.
Games of choice
Choice-driven games are best played with company for the sole fact that they inspire so much commentary. Do you A) abandon the buddy system in the face of a zombie ambush? Or B) brave the horde and become the distraction? Two heads always outweigh one in these situations, so it helps to have your beau beside you. Short downloadables such as the surprisingly good Life Is Strange (it’s all teen angst until you start fiddling with the fabric of time!) and Telltale’s The Walking Dead series prescribe a quick fix, but if you’ve ordered in, invest in a moody, investigative drama like Heavy Rain, or the cinematic horror of Until Dawn, where every choice you make has detrimental consequences.
Games that bring out your competitive side
If you ever want to see a person’s true colors, challenge them to a round of Mario Kart. It will either go well— “This is fun, pass me a beer”— or to hell— “If you’re a cheater in the game, how do I know you’re not a cheater in life?” (If you’re dating an emotionally stable person, it should go fine.) First-person shooter franchises such as Call of Duty and Halo were tailor-made for split-screen showdowns, but don’t disregard third-person titles like Gears of War 4, where almost everything is local player friendly. Fighting games such as Super Smash Bros., Street Fighter V and the upcoming DC brawler Injustice 2 also make the cut. Opting for something more casual? Try Rocket League, a sleeper-hit soccer game played with battle cars. Doesn’t sound too competitive until you realize RL is an officially sponsored e-sports title.
Games about teamwork
These days, it’s more fun than ever to play for the same team. Co-op games construct an interesting bond between players—and partners. It’s fulfilling to watch each other succeed, whether you’re scoring goals in FIFA 17, solving puzzles in Portal 2, or mowing down bullymongs in Borderlands: The Handsome Collection. A personal go-to has always been Minecraft, just for the sake of its repetitive, but tranquil nature. And we hope you still have your old Rock Band and Guitar Hero gear. Nothing says relationship goals like banging out a Fleetwood Mac song on expert difficulty.
Games you watch through your fingers
The scary movie date is classic, but it doesn’t hold a candle to a good old fashioned horror game. You too can be that clueless couple who wanders into the abandoned outhouse! Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, the newest of the fright franchise, should be at the top of your list. If you’ve got a PlayStation VR, you can experience the game in virtual reality. Just remember it’s not real, and that’s totally just your significant other breathing down your neck like that. Another recommendation is the Five Nights at Freddy’s series. Homicidal animatronics in a Chuck E. Cheese-esque environment make for great jump scares, hand holding and paranoia. And with Alien Covenant hitting theaters in May, the game Alien: Isolation is a must. It looks like the original film and feels like it, too. Now if you’re really dedicated to a dark and stormy night, break out the Dead Space series or Outlast. Okay maybe not Outlast—if you still want to enjoy sleeping next to each other comfortably, or at all.