Shipping, the act of wanting two characters to romance one another, is present through most fandoms. It’s most recently come into the public eye because of the morality issues within shipping. When fans ship real people (usually actors) this can be disruptive to their normal lives and leaves them unable to shed their characters when their work is done. Similar issues arise when fans ship underage characters and incest. While these instances are obviously morally wrong, some argue that shipping, in general, is inherently wrong and needs to stop. However, it’s often hard to resist.
Shipping is one of the guilty pleasures of any fandom. Whether this it’s crack shipping (shipping two crazy, unrelated characters who will never get together) or a ship that finds its way into the canon of the work, there’s something satisfying about imagining the romantic lives of fiction characters. Fan art and fan fiction will often explore the “what ifs” of the world. While books, video games, and other media tell a linear story, fans will often create content that explores non-linear and non-canon side adventures with their favorite characters.
Not every video game has a romantic storyline available for its characters, but that doesn’t stop shipping. Sometimes shipping gets a little strange, but it comes from a place of passion for the characters. As long as approach shipping with an open mind and a conscious avoidance of problematic ships (like with children/adult relationships and real people), then it can be a fun way of exploring different aspects of characters and interacting with others in the fan community. Still, some ships are stranger than others. While some characters are clearly compatible, clearly, others see chemistry between characters that aren't as obvious to all fans.
15 Krogan And Quarian Love Story
Mass Effect fans seem to love pairing with Tali and shipping her with other characters. Simply in terms of personality, Grunt and Tali are one of the most confusing ships. Grunt was made specifically to be the ultimate Krogan, and Tali is the occasional hero of the Quarian people. They don’t seem like they would even get along, much less whisper sweet nothings to one another.
But, that’s part of the magic of shipping. Even two total opposites can find love in the minds of their fans and shippers. Grunt and Tali can be as cute or as raunchy as their shippers desire. Admittedly, this ship needs to majorly rework its characters’ personalities and desires in order to work, but the fans seem eager to put in the effort.
14 Peach Who?
Mario and Bowser definitely have strong feelings towards one another. In the game, it may be hatred, but fans have never let small details like that stop them from shipping. Fans recognize chemistry when they see it, and there is always something hidden below the surface.
Though Mario and Bowser seem to always fight over Peach, it stands to reason that Peach may just be a tool to keep bringing them together. No matter the world or adventure, Bowser always seems to be a present figure in Mario’s life. It’s not unheard of for enemies to fall in love. Even Shakespeare wrote about this very situation in Much Ado About Nothing. Mario and Bowser’s relationship is filled with chance meet-ups and drama, and Mario always seems to be chasing after Bowser. That sounds a lot like a classic love story.
13 Brains And Brawn: The Best Ultimate Power Combination
Overwatch has some of the most diverse characters of any first-person shooter. The game is deeply loved by fans, so it’s natural that some healthy shipping should emerge. In the Overwatch canon, Zarya and Mei are devoted to causes close to their hearts. Both are also unlikely fighters who use technology to defeat their enemies. Zarya’s immense strength makes her seem like the clear fighting type, but it is actually her devotion to her country that leads her to join the cause against the omnics.
Meanwhile, Mei relies on technology to stop climate devastation, something that she feels cannot be contributed simply to omnics. Though their worldviews and battle techniques may differ, fans still love to imagine the two together. The ultimate combination of brains and brawn, the two would make an interesting couple.
12 Star-Crossed Lovers
This is one of many ships that crosses games. Though Zelda and Samus appear in games like Super Smash Bros. together, they come from different worlds. Even so, bounty hunters and princesses are a known combination. Seen in classics like Star Wars, royalty and fighters who live on the edge of morality always seem to fall in love.
The connection between Samus and Zelda is clear. Despite appearing in different universes, they share a lot of similarities: they’re both strong, beautiful heroes of their respective stories. However, Samus has a distinct lack of personality in most of the Metroid franchise. This is an intentional move to allow the player to imagine his or herself as Samus. This also presents the opportunity for fans to insert a personality into Samus when imagining or creating fan content. Still, there remains a question of if this ship is mostly based in the two characters being beautiful women.
11 Birdie And The Beast
Known as Bazooie to their loyal shippers, Banjo and Kazooie are a more clear pairing than some of the other couples on this list. They’re best friends teaming up with each other to save the day and go on exciting adventures. There’s puzzles, fighting, rescuing a damsel in distress, and even music. This is a classic love story, except one of the characters is a bird and the other is a bear.
This interspecies relationship doesn’t seem to bother the Bazooie shippers. After all, Disney has been producing love stories with animals for quite some time. And some of the fan art also depicts Banjo and Kazooie as much more human than they are in the games. However, the chemistry with Banjo and Kazooie isn’t terribly upfront in the game. They come off more as good friends than they do lovers. Still, it’s common relationship advice to be friends first.
10 Zooming Towards Love
Something about Sonic just inspires raw physicality and romance. On nearly every corner of the internet, there are weird Sonic fan creations. Surprisingly, Knuckles and Shadow are one of the tamer ships. Still, the two represent the dark underbelly of the in-game Sonic world. Shadow is quite literally the dark version of Sonic, and Knuckle’s one-track mind and stoicism leads to conflict with the rest of the group.
However, if there’s one hedgehog who can drag Knuckle’s attention away from the Master Emerald, it’s Shadow. The romance between these two is akin all tragic star-crossed lovers. Both are dedicated to their cause, but they’re both flawed and have been hurt before. One has to wonder, are Shadow’s intentions pure? While Shadow may have done some heroic deeds, he is willing to do anything for his current mission, including leaving destruction in his wake. While their personalities and dedication may match, it may one day be the destruction of the couple.
9 You Must Love Science Almost As Much As Me
GlaDOS and Wheatley have a much more contentious relationship than some of the other couples on this list. In the Portal games, Wheatley’s purpose is to restrain GlaDOS. Fittingly, GlaDOS’s design seems to be modeled after a woman in bondage. Those facts make this ship steamy and rather risqué. Additionally, the second game, which introduces Wheatley, reveals that GLaDOS experiences an extreme euphoria when testing, driving her to test more. The erotic undertones are strong in this game.
This ship is based on love emerging from a power struggle. Both act as foils to Chell and each other. The saying “opposites attract” seems rather apt here. They have their similarities though. Both are sadistic, robotic beings of chaos, and Wheatley was literally designed to be compatible with GLaDOS’ systems. Perhaps not the best match, but the heart wants what the heart wants. Even if, in this case, the heart is code and mechanics.
8 Infected By This Ship
Fear brings a lot of strong physical and emotional reactions. When in a constant fight for survival, fear can save you, but it can also cause you to fall in love in unlikely places. This seems to be the case, according to shippers, with Ellis and Nick in Left 4 Dead 2. These playable characters seem to have little in common except survival. Their relationship has a rocky start, but, as the game goes on, Nick and Ellis reach a mutual respect for one another.
Sometimes, love can grow from mutual hatred, and their hatred of the infected has certainly brought these two close together. Though they come from different worlds, they must learn how to live in a new world with infected. As they build their lives together, some fans see sparks fly between the two characters.
7 More Issues Than The Capulets and Montagues
In the Mass Effect games, the Geth and the Quarians are in constant conflict with one another. The Quarians created the Geth, artificial lifeforms as servants. However, in creating intelligent beings, the Geth quickly rose up against their creators and enslavers. The first game shows the Geth only as enemies. Meanwhile, Tali, a Quarian, though oppressed, is your shipmate and friend. Once the player meets Legion, however, they learn the Geth’s true motivations and likely begin to sympathize with their plight.
Legion is not like the mindless Geth enemies in the first game. He’s serious, respectful, and philosophical. Ironically, based on personality alone, he seems like a good match for Tali. Despite this, Legion cannot be separated from the other Geth, as they are all a hivemind (hence his name). This brings interestingly implications to the ship. If Tali is shipped with Legion, is she shipped with all Geth?
6 If You Hear The Wumpa Thumpin' Don't Come A-Knockin'
Crash Bandicoot and Spyro take the animal shipping one step farther and add in a fictitious animal. While they are from separate series, they have appeared together in the same games. In real life, the games were developed close together socially and in proximity. The developers of both games became good friends due to their close workspaces. A demo for the first Spyro game was even included in Crash Bandicoot 3.
Though their developers never intended a romantic relationship, clearly the fans had other things in mind. While Crash and Spyro were promoting Happy Meals and acting as early PlayStation mascots, shippers saw chemistry flying between the two. Despite the fact that these characters were made with PlayStation 1 graphics, some really nice fanart has come out of this ship. With cleaner lines and the right lighting, it’s much easier to see the connection between these two characters.
5 Race To The Top
Sonic and Tails are the quintessential best friends. They work towards the same goals and support one another. Even so, the more common ship would likely be Sonic and Amy Rose. If the characters’ relationships were solely to fulfill tropes, then Sonic and Amy are a clear match. However, Sonic fans are much more adventurous than that.
Amy is very much in love with Sonic, but does Sonic return those feelings? SEGA does not make it clear, but sometimes the company states that he is too shy to admit he has feelings for her. This actually gives more credence to the Sonic/Tails ship. Sonic has no reason to fear rejection, as Amy has made her intentions very clear. Could this shyness be a lie Sonic tells himself because he secretly harbors feelings for Tails, his best friend?
4 Passing Ships In The Night
Five Nights At Freddy’s somehow managed to make animatronic animals even scarier than they are in real life. Horror and video game fans alike delight in playing the terrifying game. Even though the characters are all murderous robot animals, fans of the franchise manage to find their ships with ease. In many fan creations, the characters are kinder and more sincere than their canon counterparts. In the fanon, a popular ship is Freddy Fazbear and Chica the Chicken.
Freddy and Chica have few motivations other than stuffing security guards into animatronic suits. However, the fan community has taken the game creation and made it their own. They imagine the creatures with distinct personalities. They also develop the interactions between the animals. In this collective imagination, Freddy and Chica are a clear pairing: good friends that have progressed their relationship from platonic to romantic love.
3 This Ship Cannot Be Nerfed
D.Va’s admiration for Mei is canon in Overwatch. She idolizes Mei for her ability to travel and see the world. Like the other Mei pairing on this list, D.Va and Mei have their differences, but they also share many similar qualities. Both women are kind, adorable, and devoted to their cause. Even their differences can be used to complement each other’s personalities.
Many shippers show off Mei and D.Va’s opposite personalities when creating content. D.Va is shown as outgoing and playful, while Mei is much more reserved and easily embarrassed. The shippers show the two nervously expressing their feelings for one another, and it nearly always ends in showing a mutual love for one another. While Mei’s theme may be cold, D.Va always heats her up, and, like any good gamer, D.Va earns her hearts.
2 Siren Songs
Cuphead has been praised for its ingenuity in theme and animation. However, some fans are focusing on the chemistry between Mugman, the game’s second player character, and Cala Maria, one of the bosses in the game. Cala Maria flirts with Cuphead and Mugman through her fights with them, which has led to a somewhat canon ship of the two characters.
Even in new games like Cuphead, ships quickly emerge. Ironically, it seems to have emerged the quickest for Cala Maria, a nautical themed character. If Cala Maria and Mugman could set their differences aside, they may be a good couple. Cala Maria clearly shows interest in the heroes by flirting with them before their battle. Plus, a Cuphead romance game would look amazing.
1 A Ship That Transcends All
Pikachu and a Creeper from Minecraft are the definition of a crack ship. Not only are they not from the same universe, but it seems odd that anyone would ship anyone or anything with a Creeper. Creepers seem to be mostly mindless beings that mess up your day in Minecraft. Pikachu is a cute Pokémon and the delightful sidekick of Ash in the popular television series. Neither one seems suited for a romantic relationship, but this ship has loyal shippers.
This ship has more questions than it has answers. There isn’t just one Creeper nor Pikachu in the respective games, so is it simply the mascot of each? How did they meet? What do they do on dates? How do they communicate? And, perhaps the most pressing question, why?