My Pixelated Valentine: Gaming’s Top 5 Heartthrobs

4222580-valentine-pixel-hearts-couple-vector-illustrationHere at GUO we have a passion for pixels! In celebration of the annual love fest known throughout the world as St. Valentine’s Day, we analyzed the annals of gaming (Stop snickering!) and picked our Top 5 hunkiest heroes and sexiest sirens to ever share an adventure with you.


Alyx_Vance_first5) Alex Vance (Half Life 2)

You’d be hard pressed to find many gamers that weren’t smitten with one of video gaming’s most memorable sidekicks. The first time you open your eyes after a nasty tumble while attempting to escape the Combine in City 17, you know Alex is different. Neither another princess in need of rescue nor a fragile burden for escort missions, Alex Vance proves to be smart, capable, sincere, and flat out charming (“Zombine? Get it?”). Not simply a revolution for fictional characters, Alex was a breath of fresh air in terms of game mechanics. Finally we had a companion that didn’t require constant babysitting for fear of them being killed by a slight breeze or closing door. It’s no coincidence that Alex is the only NPC (non-playable character) to make our list. In fact, she may very well be the most ‘human’ video game character ever crafted.

That humanity even extends to Alex’s shockingly normal looks. This heroine is not one of the tarted up bombshells that dominate storytelling (both in games and film). She wears clothes on every part of her body, eschews make up, and wears her hair in an unflattering, yet practical, style. Raised by scientists and ‘employed’ as a freedom fighter, Alex never once comes across as stereotype of either. Her mixed heritage of Asian and African-American blood also makes Alex a notable and thoroughly unique character in gaming.

Honestly, Alex would have ranked much higher on our already short Top list if it were not for Valve’s painfully horrific stumbles in Half Life 2, Episode 2. Sadly, this ‘latest’ entry in the series sees the once fiercely independent and ingenuous leading lady reduced time and again to a confused, overly doting princess in need of rescue. Sigh…

4) Nathan Drake (Uncharted)

uncharted_drake_fortune_sc1While brainstorming this list with the Mrs., I barely had Drake’s name out of my mouth before she was jumping up and down, clapping and cheering. Ol’ Nate is a perfect storm of heroic handsomeness. Boyish grin, manly stubble, swaggering gait, and a sarcastic yet never sour attitude combine to make the PlayStation’s most memorable tomb robber one of the most enjoyable action heroes crafted in recent years.

Be it leaping through gunfights, clambering over ruins, or jumping from horseback to flatbed and back again, Drake always seems to keep it real. Nate’s character lifelike character animations sell the reality and general attitude of the character just as much as his witty one-liners. And let’s not forget the pompadour! You really need to be something special to pull off that hair.

While the Uncharted trilogy has only shown Nathan Drake’s romantic entanglements with two leading ladies, it’s obvious that the dashing rogue has left many a jilted girl in many a port of call.

3) Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)

lara-croftOMG she's totally got teh big b00bz! But there is so much more to Lara. She also has tiny shorts.

Lara Croft has always been a revelation for video gaming. Ever since her debut in 1996, Lara has remained one of gaming’s most capable and classiest action stars. Capable of incredible feats of gymnastics over impossible terrain, dead-eye precision with any number of firearms, and blessed with an ingenuity to overcome the most elaborate of ancient death-traps and twisted of shadowy conspiracies, Lara has repeatedly proved she can easily back-flip over over the competition in what is still a very male dominated medium.

Yet there is so much more to Lara than jumping, shooting, tomb raiding, and ample endowments. Lara Croft is also a millionaire, published author, mercenary, big-game hunter, archeologist, and scholar. Throw in the pony-tail and a British accent and there is no question that Lara is still one of the smartest, sexiest, and most powerful figures in gaming. How else can you explain the continued success of the franchise based on a character that was killed off in 1999?

And, OMG, she totally has teh big b00bz!

2) Commander Shepard (Mass Effect)

commander shepardShepard breaks step with most of the entries here. While the other characters on our list are warm, charming, and approachable, Shepard is none of these. Shepard is cold, boring, and sterile. So how is it that this cardboard cutout came to claim the number two spot on our list? Because Shepard is you. And you get a lot of intergalactic tail.

Mass Effect’s protagonist is unique in the fact that this character can be either male or female and wear a number of different faces. More than any other character represented here, the blank slate of the game’s lead allows us to project ourselves into this fictional universe by way of Shepard’s painfully banal presence. Of course, in a universe so dry and clich├ęd as Mass Effect, Shepard’s nearly non-existent personality is hardly a stretch. Perhaps that’s why it doesn’t seem quite so unbelievable that our hero gallivants across the Mass Effect universe as such a heartbreaker.

Due to the mutable gender and storyline of the Mass Effect series, Shepard has quite a few opportunities to knock boots with men, women, and hermaphroditic blue aliens from all space lanes. Only in an art so young as video games could a lead character so unlikable get away with bedding everyone from the genetically engineered perfect woman to an alien that always wears a protective environment suit for fear of contamination. Only in video games could Shepard be considered a heartthrob, let alone second only to…

1) Geralt of Rivia (The Witcher)

geralt the witcher“Women prefer ugly men to groomed dandies. And you’re ugly something mighty. Care for a romp?“ Thus spoke Margarita, madam of the Flotsam brothel. With a source so well versed in love, who are we to disagree?

The Witcher, Geralt of Rivia, The White Wolf quite easily tops our list of gaming’s love gods. The white-haired genetically modified monster slayer has traveled the lands from literature, to television, to film, and, finally, the digital realm of gaming. Through it all the brooding, scared, mutant, monster-hunting gigolo can’t seem to go more than 200 paces without getting a piece. From milkmaids to princesses, whores to homebodies, vampires to wood nymphs, and a double degree in dirtying sorceresses, there is seemingly no end of those ready to swoon under the golden gaze of this Witcher. If we tried to put a notch in the headboard for every one of Geralt’s conquests, we’d be left with a pile of sawdust.

Brooding yet funny, handsome yet ugly, powerful yet gentle, Geralt is equal parts Batman and James Bond in a fantasy world so dark and disgusting that you can’t help but want to revisit time after time. At least there’s a ‘good time’ to be had around every corner. It’s a good thing that the process that turned Geralt into the superhuman critter killer he is today has left him sterile and immune to disease!

No comments :

Post a Comment