Is it a taboo to find videogame characters attractive? My girlfriend recently admitted to finding Kaim from Lost Odyssey attractive (he is a handsome if somewhat introspective chap) and I’m certainly not above admitting that I have found a few videogame characters attractive over the years, but honestly, it has never been beyond a passing “oh, she’s kind of pretty” kind of way. It’s not like I’ve ever seen one up on screen and thought, you know what, I’d love to spend time with that girl – maybe even take her out on a date. Well, not until now anyway.
While playing the rather brilliant Enslaved, I came to the realisation that Trip ‘is’ the kind of girl I would love to spend some time with and, heck, I’d totally want to take her out on a date (if I was single of course…….and if she was real). And I’m not talking the kind of date in which I’d be trying all my best moves. No, I’d want to take Trip out, treat her with respect and then walk her to her door and act like a proper gentleman – you know, all chivalrous and shit…..certainly not the way I would treat Kasumi from Dead or Alive.
The fact of the matter is, while playing Enslaved, I developed some kind of lame crush on Trip, much in the same way I have a lame crush on Zooey Deschanel. They both have that air of adorableness, made up of equal parts cuteness, inteligence, beauty and vulnerability that I just love. Why did this suddenly happen? Was it the believable, minimalist dialogue? How about the outstanding artists over at Team Ninja that made her look quite as attractive as she does (and she is outrageously attractive)? Well, while I’d agree that both do contribute towards my first virtual crush, I’d say it was a combination of the brilliant motion capture work by actress, Lindsey Shaw and the fact that Trip is one of the first videogame characters in which I actually believed that something was going on behind her big, beautifully rendered eyes.
Rather than falling into that old videogame trope of explaining away everything that is going on, Team Ninja relied on the acting skills of Lindsey Shaw and their own skills as animators to bring Trip to life and my God did their choice pay dividends. Short of a few too many orders being barked out in line with the games fundamental mechanics, Trip’s vulnerability and inner strength are both successfully portrayed with as little as a tilt of the head and a widening of the eye.
This achievement not only made the characters of Enslaved some of the most three dimensional seen in videogame history, but also, and maybe for this first time, made me forget that the characters up on screen weren’t real. Oh, it also gave me my first videogame crush…..and for that, Team Ninja, I salute you.
So, anyone else rocking their own videogame crush or should I be seeking out professional help?
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