Author’s note: Here is an article I found on my Google Drive this morning. I don’t know if it ever got published. Enjoy!
How I Love Protagonists (Sexually)
There are a lot of games I play where I fall in love with the characters in wholesome ways, where I end up at the end of the game and wanting to spend more time with them. It could be that I feel empathetic about them, their plight, the way they were treated, or maybe I identified with their goals or history.
For some reason, Natalya from Goldeneye comes to mind. Now now, I know in the game she was a terrible nuisance, which is a wonderful way to describe the constant way she ran in front of my horribly automatic machinegun with a nudist-colony type of abandon. But I had seen the movie, and I had watched her fall into the crater created by the Goldeneye blast. I watched how she bewilderedly and softly stepped through the sparking wreckage of the Bunker after watching all of her friends get murdered. I marveled at her ingenuity at being able to hide in the cabinet after making it look like she hid in the ducts.
Yes, after the 4th time she ran in front of my gun, and I stopped my shrieking for her violent death (which had really already been fulfilled), I remembered the memories that made her one of my favorite characters, and a true ‘Bond Girl’.
The way that I love Natalya doesn’t hold a candle for the fervor with which I hold Kaidan Alenko. My friends will tell you that my dedication (they would say fanaticism or obsession) to Alenko translates to a Tumblr filled with images and fanfiction of Alenko and John Shepard in a wide range of relationships.
Like the way I fell in love with Natalya, Kaidan’s softer demeanor radiates with me. He’s protective of his friends, fiercely loyal, and holds his values close to his chest. He’s logical, but also contains a personality expressive of emotion.
I think it’s important to say that I haven’t even played the Citadel DLC yet. I was actually restarting my Mass Effect character (Joshua Shepard, a blond Paragon with a mustache and a flavor-saver) by reimporting him and getting him to level 60 in order to min/max my playthrough for ONE FINAL TIME. I got to the middle of Mass Effect 2 before losing interest, BUT when I finally do get to the third one, I am going to romance the shit out of Kaidan for the second time, because he’s worth it and get that Citadel apartment so I can do him in the fanciest of digs.
There is a lot of polite banter on the internet about Kaidan’s sexuality. Some say he’s straight, others gay, and all kinds of Kinsey-scales in between. But here’s the wonderful part of Mass Effect: the choices. This is the only time I can tell you that being gay is a choice. You can make your wonderful Jane or John Shepard, and set them free to rip the clothes off of the same sex.
Regardless of who he’s fucking, he’s that guy that you’ve waited your entire life for because he knows who you are, completely. He knows what you’re capable of, and he knows how to support that, and push you forward.
And that ass.
There is a ridiculously low count of gay characters in video games. Here is a list of games with gay characters that I know of:
1) Mass Effect.
This is probably another reason I’m such a fan of Kaidan, because he represents me. He makes me feel welcome in a land meant for the straight adult male.
I’m exceedingly lucky in my life because I don’t deal with a lot of horribly blatant homophobia. If people make me feel uncomfortable, I just mute/block/defriend/unfollow them. I would like to think I’d call people out on it, but I think really I’d just ignore it. So if someone made me feel bad for making two characters burning-in-church gay, I’d tell them to fuck themselves, and move on.
Besides my homobro Kaidan, another character that I fell in love with, is Vaas Montenegro from Far Cry 3, only partly because of the game. I’m going to say right now that I did not finish that game. I played the shit out of it, but then there was a bunker and I heard a snake. The realism of the snakes biting your arm made me too much of a pussy to play.
The reason I wanted to start playing it is because of Vaas. I started by watching the Youtube videos of him torturing Chris and man, I fell in love. This guy was as terrible a person as I am. Just like Kaidan hit the parts of me that were soft and lovable, Vaas hit the parts of me that were cruel and vengeful. This was a guy I could crush my enemies with. He was a man that wouldn’t judge me for getting out of a vehicle and destroying a bitch for cutting me off at a stop sign by my house.
And that accent! The artful way his mouth moves and the way he picks and pronounces his words. He was a thoughtful asshole. He’s bright, he’s articulate, he’s clever.
Michael Mando is the man who both voiced and modeled for Vaas. When I looked at his other roles, I found that he has a history of playing men who are just the slightest bit off-kilter. I watched a dramatic slice of a movie where he argues with a woman he impregnated, eventually the two get into a fight; he punches her stomach. It is not easy to watch, but he’s a powerful actor.
I’ve always been a fan of Ulfric Stormcloak. He’s an attractive Nord, with a voice that could tear you to pieces (haha, I got jokes). This is a man that is dedicated to his cause and will give his life and the life of everyone else to restore the name of Talos to the pantheon of the Gods.
Four times out of five I sided with Ulfric because he is a genuine badass. The man killed a king! He killed an ally in the name of his God. He tore his province in half and would rather risk destruction than give up the name of his Savior.
He certainly doesn’t make an argument for picking your battles, but if you hear him talk to his general Galmar Stone-fist, his love and passion for the countryside he was fighting to free from the religious oppression of the asshole Thalmor is illustrated brilliantly.
I mentioned his voice in passing, but the richness and depth of his voice makes me wet. Vladimir Kulich’s voice makes me want to go to his house and record everything he ever says.
“Where is the newspaper?”
“Can you get me some juice?”
“I would like a McDouble with extra cheese, and super-size my fries with a large blood of my enemies.”
Can you even imagine him talking dirty? Um, sorry, I need a moment.
An Xbox Live friend and I like to text dirty pictures of video game characters back and forth. He shared some wonderful pictures of mechanic Ellis riding on tough-guy biker Francis, both from Left4Dead, while I shared Kaidan getting his dick sucked by John Shepard.
He has a thing for Ellis while I prefer Francis because he hates everything. I feel like we could ruminate well together over all the woes of everyday life, like airplanes, the army, Ayn Rand, barns, Bill’s plan, birds, boats, boat people, bridges, Canada, car alarms, churches, the cold, cops, doctors, elevators, electric fences, fish, flying, generators, goodbyes, helicopters, hospitals, hotels, islands, jumping, lawyers, malls, mazes, mondays, mountains, parades, prisons, sewers, small towns, snow, stairs, steam pipes, subways, suicide missions, Tanks (both zombies and the military types?), trains and their yards, tunnels (sorry Tunnelman), turnpikes, vampires, vans, boomer vomit, walking, whispering, woods, and finally, zombies.
Seriously, that is only what I found on a list on the internet. I’m sure he hates many, many more things, like cold barns full of flying fish hunted by birds saying goodbyes by a train-themed hotel guarded by police officers.
That’s some pretty awesome characterization right? But no, Francis doesn’t stop there! He cares about his friends; he knows he will only survive if they work as a team. All four characters mourn and cuss upon the death of any of their allies.
His muscles don’t hurt my perception of him either.
So I guess the point of all my words are that you fall in love with a character because of their characterization: their flaws, their pros and cons, their lovely faces, their sadistic smiles, and most of the time in my case, the way their bodies wear those clothes (because seriously Kaidan, look at dat booty).
These characters draw you back because you are immersed in their survival and their stories. If Vaas, Kaidan, Ulfric, and Francis only had their looks about them, eventually I would get bored, but something about their personalities makes me want to find out everything about them! I want to know how Kaidan drinks his coffee. Does he prefer like I do (full of sugar but no cream, to cut down on calories)? Does Francis get his vests from the Buckle like I would (doubtful)? Would Ulfric invite me to some creepy Talos ritual where we dance naked in Windhelm? Most importantly, would Vaas pull on my nipple rings and call me a bitch before he jabs his tongue down my throat? These are things I want to know!