We all know that the world of video gaming characters is a tragically shallow one. For the most part, the men serve only to look tough whilst killing people, and the women serve only to titilate. In a realm of relatively simplistic fiction in an underused entertainment medium, how does one emotionally connect to a character? How does one sympathize with a character? Grow to like them? Indeed, want to have sex with them?
I can't answer those questions (not without a great deal of self-motivation and a heapin' helpin' of pretension, anyway), so why not just count down a bunch of unconventionally attractive video game characters that are worth wanting to have sex with?
Daisy – Super Mario Land/ Mario Tennis
I know, I know – why not Peach? Well, to be perfectly honest, Peach is sort of a moron. She’s been kidnapped by Bowser God knows how many times, and yet she has never once had the intelligence to install, say, some security measures in her castle. No machine gun turrets. No armed guards. Nothing. Peach is perfectly content to sit around, waiting for Bowser to kidnap her. Princess Daisy, on the other hand, has only been kidnapped once, and not even by a disgruntled subject: while Peach’s constant kidnappings arise from the fact that she is simply not taking care of a large portion of the Mushroom Kingdom’s population, Daisy was nabbed by a greedy alien named Tatanga who saw the majesty of Daisy’s kingdom of Sarasaland and wished to rule it for himself. Princess Daisy is such an accomplished ruler that she made a friggin’ space alien jealous of her managerial skills.
Not to mention that after Mario dispatched Tatanga, Daisy never went kidnapped again: though we are never explicitly told why this is the case, it would be fair to assume that Daisy had the foresight to install the kidnapping countermeasures that Peach is either too stubborn or too stupid to implement.
Plus, I’m more of a brunette kind of guy.
Carmen Sandiego – Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
I’ve tackled this subject before in greater detail, but it bears repeating: Carmen Sandiego may well be the hottest female in video gaming history. She’s hot, intelligent, slightly mysterious, and secretly altruistic (she doesn’t steal for the money – she steals so children will learn geography, math, and grammar whilst chasing her). If you don’t want to have sex with Carmen Sandiego, you may want to check and make sure you still have a pulse.
Daria Morgendorffer– Daria’s Inferno
I’m fully aware that Daria was originally a TV character. I’m also aware that only about two people on the planet have played Daria’s Inferno, and that I am both of them. Neither of these facts make a difference. Daria typified the thick glasses-wearing, down-dressing, unenthusiastic teenager who remains far smarter than her contemporaries way before the emo movement ever took shape. Where today’s fans of Connor Oberst and Jesse Lacey model their lifestyles around the appearance of unhappy intelligence instead of going through the trouble to actually you know, be intelligent, Daria was genuinely irritated at every aspect of her life for more or less legitimate reasons.
Apart from her (equally hot) artist friend Jane, Daria’s world is inhabited by morons and failures; yet, as said previously, this worldview has been completely ripped off and adopted by the emo crowd and no longer means anything -- especially when its members start webslinging. Still, though, it’s nice to be able to look at a character and think back on the days where animated men were animated men, animated women had realistically-sized breasts, and quiet, unhappy people actually had something to say.
Mona Sax – Max Payne
Not because she’s hot, or intelligent, or even particularly interesting. No, my desire to have sex with Mona Sax stems entirely from one simple fact: she is the only woman on the planet with the ability to enter bullet-time. Yeah, the chick from Heavenly Sword can throw a projectile weapon and control it in slow-motion, but Mona’s far superior method of bullet-time came first. Honestly, just imagine the sexual possibilities of a mate who had the capability to go into bullet-time. Not only does bullet-time slow the world down in the Max Payne games, but it also improves your aim and the deadliness of your shots.
You see where I’m going with this?
Not only would the sex be slower and more dramatic, but it’d have that much more oomph: every thrust would have an accompanying gunshot sound effect, every glob of sweat would gracefully fly through the air in a choreographed ballet of bodily moisture. I would have normally preferred to have sex with Max Payne, but can you imagine how much he’d whine afterwards?:
“It was all finished. The final thrust was an exclamation mark to everything that had led to this point. I released my finger from the trigger. And then it was over.”
Uh, okay. I’ll call you, I guess?
“The flesh of fallen angels.”
I don’t –
“It was colder than the devil's heart, raining ice pitchforks as if the heavens were ready to fall. I was already so far past the point-of-no-return I couldn't remember what it had looked like when I had passed it.”
Christ, you weren’t so great yoursel—
“It isn't how good you are, it's chaos and luck and anyone who thinks differently is a fool.”
Heavy, exasperated sigh.
The Tenth Doctor – Attack of the Graske
Again, another original TV character who only incidentally starred in a video game (though it’s not the type of game I would have preferred), but, again: my list, my penis, my rules. Aaron and I had a conversation about this and essentially reached the same conclusion: not only is the Tenth Doctor the most atypically handsome and charming version of the character in the entire history of Doctor Who, he’s also one of the Doctor’s most multifaceted incarnations (second only to Sylvester McCoy’s scheming Seventh doctor).
The Tenth Doctor is cute and funny and charming and hyperintelligent, but he’s also somewhat merciless (“No second chances. I’m that sort of a man.”) and frequently intimidating. He manages to combine all the aspects of the consummate British gentleman with the roguish qualities of an American action badass, resulting in the single most doable Time Lord the world has ever seen. He's the kind of guy who, if you crossed him, he'd ruin the lives of you, your family, and all of your friends, but he'd do so with the utmost politeness and charm.
Plus, he’s totally nonviolent – something you don’t really see in video gaming anymore.
Sybil Pandemik – Sam and Max: Season One
Some might call her flighty, or indecisive, or maybe a teensy-weensy bit ditzy, and they’d be right. Yet therein lies the inherent hotness of Sybil Pandemik (best name ever, by the way – it sounds like the noise you’d make if you gargled a combination of orange juice and ball bearings). Sybil constantly reinvents herself, never quite happy with the state of her life: throughout the span of Season One, Sybil works as a tattoo artist, psychiatrist, video game tester (!), and a professional witness, amongst other occupations. A relationship with Sybil would be difficult, but never dull.
One would never fall into the all-too-familiar trappings of a relationship gone on too long, where the mates stagnate and tell each other the same stories, visit the same places, and get worked into a routine that nothing but death or divorce can possibly break. With Sybil, there would be no routine, and therefore no way of getting bored. Sure, I might eventually grow tired of her indecisiveness, but it’s a fair bet that her current job – as Queen of Canada – has perks of its own, should she choose to keep it long enough. Not to mention, Canadian people are really cute.
Not Lara Croft
Apart from the fact that most of her games suck, Lara Croft’s entire life is a sham. She’s basically a well-endowed version of Indiana Jones, except…well, except nothing. She’s just Indy with big gazongas. Sex with that ripoff artist would feel like sloppy seconds: if I wanted to have sex with Harrison Ford (and who doesn’t), I’d just have sex with Harrison Ford.
Tandi - Fallout
The city of Shady Sands is a boring-ass place. Other than the not at all exciting task of clearing out the nearby radscorpion caves, they have essentially no quests to offer the player upon his arrival. The only characters of note in the town are Aradesh, the town wiseman (voiced by the dude who plays Monk), and his daughter, Tandi. Tandi is pretty much bored out of her mind, and longs for some action – action she ironically gets, once raiders invade the town and take Tandi hostage.After saving her, your character can make a move on Tandi, and I’ve always been curious why she refuses; I just saved your life, lady. The least I should get is a date.
But the more I think about it, the more I like the fact that it is impossible for the player to get his virtual rocks off with Tandi. Tandi is an intelligent, charming young girl, and her denial of sex makes her at least three times as classy as any other female character one might meet in the world of Fallout. Additionally, Tandi has the intelligence and the skills to form the New California Republic after getting saved by the Vault Dweller: in fact, she’s one of the only characters from Fallout to survive and appear in Fallout 2. She’s like 90 or something, so I’m not saying I’d still hit it at that age (53 is my cutoff), but you still have to admire a woman with staying power like that.
Yorda – Ico
Her crazy bitchtalk notwithstanding, Yorda is the ultimate minimalist girlfriend. She never speaks English, her motives and origins must be completely inferred, and the entire game revolves around her status as a magical creature of innocence.* I’m not entirely sure how the coitus would go (as is the case with Fumito Ueda’s games, we’re never explicity told what Yorda’s exact powers are – she can open doors and create bridges, but there’s gotta be more than just that), but part of the fun of dating Yorda is the fact that one would constantly have to deal with the evil, shadowy creatures who frequently attempt to drag her into the underworld.
While most video game baddies would be pretty much impossible to kill in real life, these enemies are easily dispatched with a few thwacks from a wooden stick. What does this have to do with a romantic relationship with Yorda? Well, it means two things: (A), that the relationship would never get boring so long as there are shadow-demons to be thwacked, and (B) my vigilance in fighting the shadow-demon-things would make Yorda essentially view me as a superhero, despite the fact that I’d be doing work a 12-year-old boy could do with the same level of efficiency.
Sheik – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Zelda, as a character, is infuriating. She stands around and does nothing of particular importance. She’s the keeper of the Triforce of Wisdom, despite the fact that we never see her do anything particularly wise and (like Princess Peach) she hasn’t had the foresight necessary to install better security measures to keep herself from repeatedly getting kidnapped.
But (omg spoilerz) when she turns into Sheik, she’s all action: she can kick ass, take names, and somehow sneak up on Link wherever he is, despite the fact that she obviously doesn’t have the keys or items necessary to reach the areas Link journeys to in his quest. She uses magic, she’s flexible like a ninja, and she’s interesting and enigmatic in all the ways that Princess Zelda will never be (seriously, how does Zelda get the goddamn series named after her when she does literally nothing?).
Yet I might not be so inclined to have sex with Zelda if she actually grows a penis when she turns into Sheik, or something. A few minutes ago I was under the impression that she just changed clothes, but after a quick Wikipedia search, I’ve found that Zelda may, in fact, change sexes when she transforms into Sheik. Which would make intercourse both difficult and confusing.
Not the DOA Girls
Big breasted, polygonal women who have nothing to do with their time other than beat each other up and play one of the most pointless sports known to man? I’ll pass. Ignoring occasional differences in skin tone and hair color, the DOA girls all look (and act) completely identical. Based solely on what the DOA games have shown us about the personalities of the individual women, it appears that they don’t have any: with no real backstory or character development, the only things driving these women to compete in the superviolent fighting tournament are the old, clichéd desires for revenge or fame.
Can you imagine having a decent conversation with a girl whose sole purpose in life is to beat other people to death, just so she can get a recording contract? And even ignoring the girls’ inability to take part in any informed sociopolitical discourse, those chicks are creepy as f*ck:
Just look at that blank, wide-eyed stare: she looks like a Barbie doll mixed with a Replicant. Thanks, but no thanks.
Elli – Harvest Moon 64
I couldn’t find a better picture of her other than her family tree, but Elli may be the only halfway-decent prospective mate in Harvest Moon 64. You’ve got Karen, a stuck-up bitch with dyed hair; Popuri the flower girl, whose red eyes prove that she may very well be the devil incarnate; and Ann, a farmhand who is almost certainly a lesbian. There’s also Maria, who is admittedly a pretty nice character, but the town mailman is already in love with her before the player even shows up on the scene. And Reverend Anthony Burch doesn’t steal women.** So, we’re left with Elli: a sweet, if a tad zaftig, baker who has nothing but kindness for pretty much every character in the game.
No matter how much of a dick you may be to Elli – whether you give her weeds instead of flowers, or if you try to steal her dog – she’ll still greet you with an encouraging word and perpetual kindness. She may also be the most low-maintenance mate in Harvest Moon history: instead of having to buy her flowers or expensive gifts, you can win her over simply by giving her food items. Buy her some eggs, and she’ll act as if they were gourmet chocolates. Buy her a cake, and she’ll react as if you’d just bought her a diamond the size of a fist -- this girl loves herself some food.
While her constant eating might ostensibly create a problem in the real world, Elli’s existence as a video game character means she will always retain the exact same (pleasantly plump) body figure. All in all: she’s nice, she’s generous, she’s a good cook, and she’ll never turn into a fattie. What’s not to like?
Jade and/or Alyx – Beyond Good & Evil and/or Half-Life 2
These two characters are identical in almost every way, and that’s not really a bad thing: Jade and Alyx are two of the most surprisingly sympathetic, three-dimensional characters in modern action video gaming. It’s pretty hard not to play through BG&E or HL2 and not feel a connection to either one of these chicks. They’re both intelligent, caring women of action: Jade may be the only video game character I know of who simultaneously runs an orphanage and fights against fascist alien oppressors, and Alyx…well, she doesn’t run an orphanage or anything, but she’s got Dog and that counts for something.
Both heroines manage to be tough and heroic without seeming androgynous, yet appropriately feminine without seeming girly. To be completely frank, we need to see more female video game characters like Jade and Alyx: you become connected to these women not through their virtual cup size or how high they can kick, but because they’re legitimately interesting characters who don’t fall into clichéd archetypes.
And I have sex with women who don’t fall into clichéd archetypes.
So, dear readers, are you man enough to admit which unconventional characters do you want to have sex with? That's what the comments are for.
*It’s worth pointing out that this list of characters I’d have sex with includes men on it, yet the phrase “a magical creature of innocence,” used in reference to a female, is by far the single gayest thing I’ve ever typed.
**Unless he really wants to.