Romantic comedies follow a basic formula—boy meets girl, boy and girl undergo challenges before they become a couple, and then boy and girl kiss to live happily ever after. There will be some variation of the formula, but it will always follow these simple principles. Some variations may sound good in theory but can be poorly executed. The recent Netflix teen romantic comedy Sierra Burgess Is a Loser is a prime example of a badly done movie with good intentions.
A staple of most BioWare games are the romance options and paths you can choose from. Whenever a new game is announced from the developer, one of the things fans instantly think about are the potential romances players will get to experience. Mass Effect: Andromeda is BioWare’s fourth game in the Mass Effect series, but with a brand new story and a whole new cast of characters. Andromeda has very loose ties to the original trilogy and is meant to stand apart from it. The game’s sort of blank slate gives players the opportunity to follow the adventures of Pathfinder Ryder and his/her team as they travel the galaxy in search of a new home. Finding viable home worlds is a tall order, but no one ever said a little bit of romance couldn’t be on the table either. Andromeda has a number of romance options for a female/male Ryder to choose to cozy up to. My first playthrough of the video game led me to choose crisis response specialist for the Andromeda Initiative Liam Kosta as my Ryder’s love interest.
My first introduction with Bioware games started with Dragon Age: Origins. I immediately got swept up in the idea of choices, how your choices affect the world around you, and having the ability to build bonds of friendship or romance with key companions in your game. Some characters will have you sit up and take notice, like Alistair of Origins did for me, and other characters will easily have you forgetting them just as soon as you met them. It wasn’t always love at first sight between Cullen and I, but that all changed when he became a key supporting character and romance option for Dragon Age: Inquisition.
There’s something about a good love story that gives the romantic at heart butterflies at the pit of their stomach and leaves you on a euphoric high for days. Having always been a romantic for as long as I can remember, I naturally gravitated towards the shojo manga genre. I consumed almost any title that had a love story, an art style that my eyes couldn’t stop feasting on, or if the title came from a favorite mangaka I adored (or comes highly recommended in shojo manga reading circles).
These days, and as I have stated in a past post, I’ve lost track of the current titles in shojo manga. I’ve been content with sticking to much older and established series to complete my ongoing collection. When there’s an opportunity to check out the manga getting published these days at my local bookstore, I find myself less excited about the current generation of manga.
Back when I was first introduced to the wide and wonderful world of shojo manga, I lived and breathed anything with romance, beautiful illustrations, and hunky shojo men that are the stuff of fantasy. Among my favorite manga series I’ve read and consider to be absolute classics now are Cardcaptor Sakura, Fushigi Yugi, Sailor Moon, Revolutionary Girl Utena, and Hana Yori Dango. I used to consider myself to be on the cutting edge of shojo manga. I would know what the latest titles are and what’s soon to come to the U.S. These days, I find my manga reading more stuck in the past and finding myself more lost than I ever was before about what titles I should be adding to my reading collection.
It’s tough to find shojo manga that feels fresh and less predictable, like most media these days. I read a ton of shojo because I like the romance and art better than most shonen manga. I’m not saying there aren’t any good shonen manga out there, but shojo is what I’m more likely to buy.
One of my favorite mangakas is Matsuri Hino of Vampire Knight fame. I love her artwork and the Vampire Knight series, though it has been quite some time since I’ve continued reading it. Any of her work that has made its way to being translated for North American readers, I just about bought. This includes another series she did before Vampire Knight called MeruPuri: Marchen Prince.
Zombies are everywhere. They have invaded our TV screens with the popularity of The Walking Dead, books like The Zombie Survival Guide, video games like Left For Dead, and with movies like Warm Bodies. When you think of zombies, you think of decaying corpses with their dead eyes and an insatiable lust for brains. How is it possible to make a zombie desirable to a flesh and blood girl who is still alive? Warm Bodies somehow crafts this unlikely love story, which is both sweet and likeable.
When it comes to Bioware games the draw for playing them are for the story, the characters, and your ability to romance certain characters in the game…if you want to of course. I’ve romanced Alistair from Dragon Age: Origins, Anders from Dragon Age 2, and now Kaidan from the Mass Effect series. At some point I plan on writing a post where I compare these Bioware men and how they rate against each other. For now, this post will focus on my impressions of Kaidan as a love interest. After finishing Mass Effect 3 I realized I have a lot to say about this Alliance military soldier. Any comments I make concerning the romance with Kaidan has been experienced as a female Shepard.
You know a story and character is well written when you are very much invested in a game, book, film, or television show. I find myself oddly falling for a video game character. You heard me. My heart has been snatched up by none other than Alistair of Dragon Age Origins.
I’m still plugging away several hours into the game as much as I can during the week or weekends. The game is very engaging with characters you either love, hate, or don’t know quite what to feel for them. Add really good and convincing voice acting to these characters and you start thinking these computer animated characters are living and breathing human beings.
I definitely drool over handsome men that are drawn or animated nicely. I can probably list a bunch of crushes I have on fictional characters from manga and anime, but that may be best to save for a possible future post. The only difference is that I don’t think any of my crushes on these wonderful hunk of men have stuck with me as long as Alistair. After I finish reading a book or watch the last episode of an anime, I move onto the next crush-worthy cutie who will capture my interest and imagination. This time I can’t shake off Alistair.
Never mind that Alistair oozes sex appeal appearance wise, but he also has the sexy British accent to go with his manly physique. Anything that comes out of his mouth, whether he’s trying to add humor to a gloomy situation or is romancing my Human Noble Rogue made female Grey Warden, he says it with such deep sincerity and adorableness. It’s hard to resist!
Whenever Alistair gazes adoringly at your female Grey Warden, it’s as if he is talking directly to you. This character has a way of pulling at the heart strings and making you swoon. Every time there is a romantic scene between my character and Alistair, I easily melt in my seat. I find myself blushing or my heart fluttering at the sight of him or his loving words. Insane, right? I can understand why a lot of females who play Dragon Age Origins and romance Alistair in the game fall hard for him. He is the epitome of a near perfect male. I will admit that Alistair is a bit whiny at times in the game but I am able to overlook it. And Alistair is a virgin! How cute is he when he tries to explain his lack of inexperience in the love department to your character?
I think by the time I finish playing this game (and there will be plenty of replays in the near future after the first playthrough), Alistair will still linger in my mind. He is one of the few fictional characters I have encountered where I actually wish he was real. I want to find myself an Alistair.
I stumbled upon a blog entry by Natania Barron of GeekMom who wrote a post back in April about her love for Alistair and her dissatisfaction with romancing Anders, a character found in Dragon Age 2. Her post is very entertaining and echoes the same dilemma as I have for falling so hard and hopelessly in love with Alistair.
It makes you wonder if anyone else, gamer or not, have fallen for fictional characters that don’t exist. You may think you are crazy for succumbing to such a silly thing, but it’s all in good fun. I know it will be hard to top my absolute love for Alistair.