How one couple fell in love while exploring Thedas.
They met while studying gaming in school, and they fell in love while exploring Thedas.
The rich story and epic characters of Dragon Age Inquisition have been special to a lot of people around the world, but none more so than Alex Tardif and his fiancé, Sam.
This is their very Dragon Age love story.
How did you and your fiancé get interested in games?
Alex: I've been playing video games since I was little. Some of the first ones I played were the Oddworld games and The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall.
Sam: I've been playing video games almost before I can remember! My brothers had a Sega Genesis and I still remember playing Sonic, Power Ranger games, and Sword of Vermilion.
When my brother John got a PlayStation, that's when the fun really started. I can't imagine the amount of hours I sunk into the Twisted Metal games. Spyro and Crash Bandicoot are still among my all-time favorites!
How often do you play DAI together?
Sam: It's funny that you say "together." When Dragon Age: Inquisition first came out, we would come home after work and sit right next to each other with our headphones on, not saying a word until we went to bed. It's kind of funny to picture, but we would talk and talk about Inquisition whenever we weren't on our computers.
I had to take a break from playing it for a couple of months, because I was making Dragon Age costumes for PAX East 2015!
How did you meet?
Alex: Sam and I met at college. We were both in a game development program—she was in art and I was in programming. We happened to end up on the same team for a big project. We just sort of clicked, it was a feeling of being home whenever we were together.
How long have you been dating?
Alex: Just over three years now!
When did you know for sure that you wanted to be together? Was there a moment that you can recall?
Sam: When we started talking, it was like, in the back of my mind, I knew and felt that I belonged with him. We were discussing a class assignment one day, and he suddenly invited me on a walk by the river near our apartment complex.
As we were walking, I couldn't even look at him once. I'm normally a shy person, but this was advanced shyness. I remember there was a moment after we started dating when I knew it was true love. We were joking about something, and I remember thinking that as long as I had his smile, everything would be okay.
Alex: We went for a walk by Lake Champlain and spent hours talking together about everything. It's like we knew each other without even knowing each other. That's why I proposed in that same spot three years later!
Funny enough, I think one of the very first conversations we had was who we picked to romance in Mass Effect. She still swoons over Garrus now and then when Alistair and Cullen aren't looking haha.
Tell us about the early days of your relationship – what did you guys do for fun? How did you spend time together?
Alex: Honestly the early days were filled with a lot of hard work. We were going into our senior year, and so while we were in physical proximity of each other, we spent a lot of time on our student projects.
The fun stuff usually involved food and video games. We would find new things to cook together—we made a particularly inedible batch of homemade mac and cheese once. Usually when I'm involved in the process, it doesn't end well!
We played a lot of Guild Wars 2, Killing Floor, and the gloriously ridiculous masterpiece that is The Ship.
Tell us a bit about your relationship now—what do you guys do for fun?
Alex: We're kind of the quiet types when it comes to day-to-day fun; we play video games together (of course!), watch movies, Skype with our friends. We like getting together with people and playing board games, that's always a lot of fun. Sam loves to draw and paint, and I love to pretend I'm doing something while watching her do that.
Sam: We still do plenty of gaming, and we always will. Mostly, we just like quiet nights at home. We have a lot of what we call "movie dates." We'll settle in with popcorn and other snacks and watch a movie together.
What is it about DAI that allowed you guys to bond while playing?
Alex: It was the combination of a lot of things. We'd never both played a game at the same time that had this level of emotional investment, so when the big moments happened we could just turn to each other instantly relate to each other.
We both work full-time, so the average night went like this: we’d come home, eat dinner as fast as possible, play DAI for a few hours, get in bed, and talk about DAI together until we fell asleep. Especially when we both hit that transition to Skyhold—we spent days talking about that perfectly executed masterpiece.
We talked about who we were romancing and how those were going, and who we were bringing with us in our party. Our jaws dropping at the sight of Alistair and Morrigan making their appearances, and Leliana's transformation into the spymaster badass she is today.
The laughter and tears of having the whole gang together for a game of Wicked Grace. We both got so attached to the characters and the world, and we got to do it together.
Sam: Dragon Age is all about the characters for us. Every time we found a new companion, we would talk about him/her, and what we liked and disliked. Who our favorites were, who our core team was, and who we were romancing.
The appearances from Alistair and Morrigan really got us excited. I think what we bonded over the most is the scene at the end of the In Your Heart Shall Burn mission. The Inquisition singing and the reveal of Skyhold were very emotional for the both of us.
That's the moment we realized that this game is more than a game—it's a true adventure.
Is there something about video games in general that you’ve always been drawn to?
Sam: I've always loved that feeling of escape to get away from everything for a little while. I really love exploring other worlds. Bioware games especially have done something for me no other games have done; they also give me a sense of heroism. Sure, every game has its "hero," but the characters from Dragon Age and Mass Effect are just miles beyond every other game in terms of that.
Alex: It's the ability to experience and interact with a whole other world. Books, TV, and movies let you see other worlds, but games are the only ones that let you practically live and breathe in it. That's why I became a game developer, because what could be better than helping create those new worlds?
How did you decide to propose with a DAI-themed ring?
It was the first game we both really connected with together, and since video games are such a huge part of our lives (both individually and together), it seemed like the perfect ring for her. I wanted to give her a little bit of that Inquisitor romance in real life.
Walk us through the process of getting a DAI ring. How did you find a place who would create it?
This was hard at first. I contacted a couple of very popular custom ring designers on Etsy, but one just stopped communicating with me altogether and the other came up with a design that just didn't feel quite right. I called one or two other places after that, but they wouldn't do game-focused rings because it was too "non-traditional".
I was starting to wonder if it was even going to happen, but then I stumbled upon Takayas Custom Jewelry. They were fantastic and extremely talented. I presented the idea and the DAI logo, and they loved it and ran with it. A month later, they got back to me with the design they came up with, and it was perfect.
What was going through your mind when you proposed?
Nothing and everything at the same time. We're never nervous around each other, but I was so nervous that I wasn't going to remember everything I wanted to say. The thing is it's hard to express how much someone means to you when they mean SO much, but I did the best I could.
After I finally finished babbling and popped the question, she had the biggest smile on her face that I've ever seen, so I guess I did okay!
So where’s the wedding?
Sam: Before Alex even proposed, we had briefly discussed having a wedding inspired by the masquerade at the Winter Palace. Especially now, when I have my beautiful Inquisition ring, I think it's definitely appropriate that we go through with it! I've been going through both bridal magazines and Dragon Age art, for inspiration.
Learn more about Dragon Age: Inquisition here.
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