Brett Elston, Senior Nintendo Editor: As someone born in the ‘80s, my maturity level has grown in tandem with the games industry. In 1985, for example, I was five years old and only wanted to run, jump and maybe throw fireballs at turtles. Kissing girls, or even playing as a girl was out of the question. Girls were stupid, filthy creatures of pity, not cool enough to understand my totally awesome Wrecking Crew and Mach Rider skills. Then, as I aged, so did games. Our first “Mature” titles started to trickle out as I turned 15 and 16… the perfect age for an idiotic crush.
Above: ZOMG it’s a g-g-g-girl!
And lo, right around the time I smartly realized girls were, in fact, incredible beings worthy of fawning admiration, there were suddenly plenty of strong female leads to enjoy. Chun Li was tough, yes, but for whatever reason the polygonal mess that was Jill Valentine was the first fake girl I really couldn’t take my eyes off of. I think it has something to do with the fact that she was so attainable, just a cop in the woods, lost in a scary house. I wanted to protect her, but secretly knew she would take charge if another walking corpse shambled through the door.
Above: The real-life actress, bad as she was, helped make a personal connection
Samus was a space-age bounty hunter. Lara Croft was a millionaire globetrotting anthropologist. The aforementioned Chun Li was already in several games kicking ass all over the planet. And here was Jill, with her normal name, normal build and normal demeanor, trapped in the most abnormal of situations.
Above: Did you know rectangles could be this alluring?
Plus she was a brunette, which happens to be the hottest thing in the world. I say “was” because - for no goddamn reason - Jill is blonde in her most recent appearance. (RIP my boner.)
Brett's most recent crush: Etna (Disgaea)
Carolyn Gudmundson, Production Editor:
Girls are total pervs sometimes. When my best friend and I played through Ocarina of Time together back in 1998, we spent the duration of the Fire Temple portion talking about how hot Link looked in the red (Goron) tunic. Not the traditional green tunic. Not the ho-hum blue tunic. ONLY the red tunic.
Above: So close and yet so far…
Why the red tunic? For starters, red is a passionate, spicy color. Second, the red tunic imbues Link with extra strength, like the ability to walk on lava. You have to be pretty tough to walk on lava, and tough is sexy. Also, it may have helped that our spirits had yet to be broken by the infamous water temple.
Maybe the whole crush was a joke, or maybe it was serious, but the line was uncomfortably blurry either way. All I know is that when the idea of a child Link in red tunic suddenly seemed creepy, things had gone too far.
Carolyn's most recent crush: Professor Rowan (Pokemon Platinum)
Matt Cundy, Associate Editor UK:
I spent a fair portion of the '80s in arcades, feeding coins to the Gauntlet machine. And I always played as Thyra the Valkyrie. On screen she was a barely distinguishable top-down cluster of pixels, but the cabinet artwork made her look desirably hot (especially if you were into Conan, Boris Vallejo
and barely-dressed fantasy babes). If I couldn't play as Thyra, I wouldn't play. Simple as that. And my love for Thyra was the start of my ongoing life choice of always selecting the female character.
In the spirit of any good crush, here’s a poem that I wrote dedicated to Thyra:
Lovely Thyra Valkyrie,
Your armour stats doth pleasure me,
Shield is strong and sword of might,
Let us plunder dungeons all the night,
I am bewitched, besieged by your beauty,
If you were real I'd cop a feel of your booty,
Who to play? It don't take brains,
That I want to fill your slot with my hot loose change.
Matt's most recent crush: Sheva Alomar (Resident Evil 5)
Chris Antista, Associate Features Editor:
My mother loves to bring up early signs of my gayness using alleged quotes like, “When I grow up, I’m going to marry Big Bird!” Okay, had I known the ambiguous man-Muppet was swinging lumber underneath those yellow feathers, maybe I would’ve bumped Prairie Dawn up as the object of my affection since she met my only other, extremely rudimentary lady criteria.
Above: Just about any answer will disappoint your parents
If I may further portray myself as the gayest second grader on the planet, I was also immensely fond of the color pink. Now this was the ‘80s - pink was awesome and not necessarily fabulous. Pink was Trapper Keepers, Jams shorts, Boogey Boards and the absolute best flavor of candy. Ahhh… and then there was Birdo.
Not only was “she” pink, “she” wore a bow, which up until this point was the undisputed mark of femininity (Minnie Mouse, Ms Pac-Man, etc) Thing was, I never owned Super Mario 2 - I just rented it damn near every week. When I finally obtained a copy two years later, I got my first look at the manual.
Thankfully, reading the manual was not common practice in grade school, so I received zero ridicule from my heterosexual peers. But the fear never left. Should someone recall the doodles of Birdo and me sitting on tree branches and watching sunsets, I would’ve doubtlessly been “outed” in front of everybody and doused with pig’s blood (a common practice in Southern US public schools.) So yes: I played The Crying Game… and f***in’ beat it!
Chris's most recent crush: Bridget (Guilty Gear)