I was 3/4 of the way through Dragon Age: Awakening when I got a frantic text from Jennifer Culp. “GO BACK AND START FROM THE BEGINNING. I DON’T CARE HOW FAR YOU ARE. JUST DO IT.”
I responded with something glib like, “LOL NOPE.” But soon I understood that I’d made a huge mistake. By releasing Anders and denying him entrance to the Grey Wardens, which I didn’t think was a huge deal at the time I did it, I had lost Ser Pounce-a-Lot. Within four hours of realizing this mistake, I decided I did want to start over.
Since age 4 and Raphael the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, I have been a person who entertains enthusiastic crushes on fictional characters. Somewhere between then and now I got tired of being embarrassed about this proclivity and became an unabashed celebrant of my passion for a select group of fake dudes (and some ladies, but since I’m opposite sex-inclined I’m going to use masculine pronouns from here on out).
These crushes have focused on subjects lifted from books (holla, Duncan Idaho), movies and TV shows (everybody in the world has these, so nobody thinks it’s weird), and video games. Oh hell yeah, video games. I think it makes a lot of sense. (I would, wouldn’t I?) But really: you spend a lot of time with a character while playing, either controlling his actions or working alongside him to achieve goals. In games that include a love quest, the lure of furthered intimacy with your crush object functions quite handily as a carrot to keep you slogging along through main quest goals. Not that every main quest goal is a slog, but it’s always nice to look forward to gettin’ your flirt on between long fighting sequences.
A good game crush isn’t a necessary prerequisite for an enjoyable game, obviously, but it can do a great deal to enhance certain games. BioWare has used the romance quest to great effect in many titles, and I’ve enjoyed almost every one I’ve played. After last weekend, I may have discovered my biggest problem with my least favorite BioWare game, Dragon Age II: I picked the wrong guy.