As a young female, I had my first crush at the age of 5. He was a very young Mickey Rooney in National Velvet. From then on, my life in crushes was a rich world of fictional heroes, from Mr Darcy to Captain Hook. I wasn’t exposed to Video Games until much later, but it makes sense now that my Mickey Rooney was someone else’s Link from Zelda.
So, I did some research and interviewed a whole lot of people. I discovered that video game crushes go far beyond surface level attraction. With the rise of narrative structures and character arcs in video games, players create connections with characters they travel through heaven and hell with. With the added ability to romance characters, video game crushes add dimension to the ability for players to lose themselves in-game.
Screenshot of Lara Croft – Square Enix Productions
The Cool Female
Two guesses on the most popular/crush-worthy character of either gender (and the second one doesn’t count!). That’s right! Lara Croft has set the tone for cool and kick-butt female characters since she emerged, in the Square Enix produced Tomb Raider series in 1996. Beautiful, intelligent, sarcastic, and brave, she set the tone for all of us females to live up to. There is a whole list of female kick-butt characters that are totally crush-worthy. This includes Jill Valentine (Resident Evil), and Ivy (Soul Caliber).
The well-muscled and attractive male
This one is also fairly self explanatory. For quite some time females were in video games as simple eye candy. Now there’s some male characters there for men to envy and women to ogle. Nathan Drake (Uncharted) is a prime example. These characters are usually well muscled, slightly sarcastic, maybe a little bitter from experience, strong, and maybe a little damaged.
Nathan Drake – Uncharted 4 Screenshot
The One You Can’t Have
If I had a dollar for each time someone said “I like the only character you can’t romance.” There are some fun and obvious psychological things you can do with that one, but nevertheless it is a trend that I saw in my research. The most popular character to wear this title was Varric from Dragon Age. He’s a dwarf with a mysterious and mildly tormented past. He wields a secret identity beneath the visage of a bar frequenter and carries a bow called Bianca with a story you’ll never learn. It’s no wonder he’s popular for those of us who enjoy pining.
The First Crush and/or deeper connection
Many of us played video games from childhood, through teen years, into early adulthood, and now middle age (the average age of the gamer is 31). So, some of us have first crushes, from the world of video games, that we hold dear. I received private communications from a couple people who tentatively came forward to share their deeper crushes. One lovely lady still kept a framed image on her desk of Jade Curtiss from Tales of the Abyss on her desk (As well as two tattoos).
Some crushes and connections grow over time, through longer games. Sera from Dragon Age Inquisition is a controversial character. Some players find her annoying, others think she’s cute. Some can’t get enough as her personality shines through as they progress through the game.
Varric – Dragon Age Screenshot
Yes, we know, irreverent, dangerous, sarcastic, and maybe slightly villainous characters are really cool, complex and attractive. Sarah Kerrigan came up a few times in my research. She’s been voted a top character by Game Spot and is consistently name in top character lists across the internet. She was listed as both the 23rd “hottest” fictional woman of the year by UGO Entertainment,and as the most evil woman in video gaming by Complex. Interview subjects seem to have a disclaimer of “I don’t know what that says about me” when listing a less than likable character as their crush. I think it makes them pretty darn human.
Sarah Kerrigan – StarCraft Screenshot
The Weird One
“I’m probably the only person that thinks this but…[insert name] is totally dreamy.”
Trust me, you’re not the only one to think that.
There are as many different types of crushes as there are people. If you show a character with a personality and story, you’ll probably be able to find at least a couple people who have serious crushes on them. Some of the odd character crushes we came across: Synthetic PD (with some serious noir vibes) Nick Valentine garnered a couple mentions (also points back to the one that we can’t have as Nick Valentine can’t be romanced) and Ganondorf may have been a serious choice (we’re not completely convinced either way).
So, who was your first video game crush?