After five hours of Eternal Sonata, I can finally admit it to myself: I have a crush on Frederic Chopin. Before you start laughing, think back over all the games you've played. Maybe you were so absorbed in the storyline you didn't even realize it. Put down your controller in hushed reverance for all of Sephiroth's cut scenes? Waited patiently for all the moments you could get extra glimpses of Lara's endowments? Maybe your heart even fluttered any time Balthier was dashing and debonair, dangerously straddling the line between androgny and rampant homosexuality. Either way, more of you are guilty of this crime than you'd like to admit: The Video Game Crush.
Your average non-gamer (or even some gamers who have never experienced the phenomenon) will be quick to say,"Why would you get a crush on someone who isn't even real? That''s stupid." Stupid, perhaps, but I can't help but think about all the imaginary people I'll fallen a little in love with, and not just in video games. Ender Wiggin in the Orson Scott Card novels is one of my long standing not-real crushes. How can any logical person find themselves in this position? The answer is simple: The heart is not logical, and a video game is an ideal setting to entertain illogical things. You're already flying along the coast of the Etrian Sea Universe in an armored flying narwhale wearing a crown of igloos, so why not fall in love with the Princess of Obscuria?
It also seems that when we play games, we get to meet many characters who we will never meet the real life equivalent of. I am pretty much assured that I will never meet anyone as metrosexual as the Final Fantasy boys until I head straight to the streets of Harajuku, so it makes sense that those characters might be a little fascinating. As far as female crushworthy characters are concerned, the formula is even simpler: Few real world women kick ass and look as sexy doing it as the Lara Crofts and Chun Lis of the world. Then there's the sweet and helpless formula, which Aerith of Final Fantasy fame is the reigning queen of. She looks so sweet while she's being stabbed through the chest with a sword, doesn't she?
Some people think it's ridiculous, but in my mind having a crush on a character in a game is as normal as getting choked up when a great game ends. If the character designers meshed well with the writers and did their job right, they created characters that were ultimately real enough to emotionally engage you -- something that seems to be getting harder and harder in RPGs every day. It's a compliment to their skills that I can't stop thinking about that dreamy Chopin. The voice actors, of course, are the glue that holds it all together. In a modern era of gaming that makes fully voice acted games the norm, they bring these characters to life or leave them behind to blend into the scenery.
So, got a crush? You can admit it. It's okay. Unless your crush happens to be Pyramid Head, in which case you're an ill little gerbil and really should be confined to a damp room with no doors. Really, it takes all kinds.