Video games are not immune to the entertainment industry’s suspicion that something is only worth engaging with if it’s choc-full of good looking people. Actually, in this regard, it appears the video game industry took the hyper-attractive baton and ran with it. It’s partly the reason why video games, more than any other medium, are subject to discussions around the prominent use of women as a reward.
It would be surprising to learn that any female character developed before the early 2000s was done so without frequent reference to the adjective ‘busty.’ Men didn’t escape unscathed either. Although different in that they were employed to hype up a character’s strength and not their sexuality, it’s undeniable that many a weapon-wielding hero graced the cover of 90s games with a number of rippling muscles that had hitherto gone undiscovered by any physician anywhere. We see you, Wolfenstein 3D (1992), we see you.
Putting our grievances and morals aside (as we often have to do when it comes to our favourite titles), this has resulted in a good thirty years of head-spinning, butterflies-inducing video game characters that would straight-up kill it on Tinder IRL. Not all of these are truly date-able. There are some that are just too extra, even in their own respective kooky universes. Here’s our list of fifteen hot video game characters you’d date in a second if you ever had the chance, and five just not worth the risk.
15 Dateable: Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)
Lady Croft was always going to be a staple here. In truth, she’s considered by some to be the first-ever sex symbol spawned from a video game franchise. Originally modeled after Tank Girl and singer Neneh Cherry, Lara hit the ground running with an incredible franchise that’s gone on to span over two decades.
So, what makes Lara Croft such a catch? Well, for one thing, she’s got the hips, bust, and hair that make up the trifecta of idealized Western beauty. Then there’s the small issue of her immense wealth, leaving loads of disposable income for romantic getaways to the Philippines. You’ll also never run out of anything to talk about, considering she holds a whopping SIX Guinness World Records, including one for the best-selling video game heroine in history. You could certainly do worse.
14 Dateable: Tali'Zorah (Mass Effect)
This one’s a little more controversial. Taking a close inspection of Tali'Zorah, you might not immediately pin her as the best-looking engineer ever to pass through Mass Relay. Mostly, you'll have noticed, because you can't see much of her face. You also get the impression that your first kiss would come with a distinctly doctors-roomish smell. Not yum.
But there’s no helping it. You can’t choose who you fall for. In this case, maybe it was all those times facing the Reapers side-by-side. War changes you. You see things. Experiencing that with someone inevitably seals a bond. One minute you’re teasing Tali for always being so serious. The next you’re sharing a painfully awkward dance in the Citadel’s Purgatory Bar. It happens. We’re all suckers for a bad-ass AF uniform, after all.
13 Dateable: Michonne (Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Michonne)
Telltale have a habit of making an already gritty story that much grittier. This proved to be a tall order where Michonne’s story was concerned. She’s got a fair amount of baggage owing to some tragic losses at the hands of her graphic novelist creators, Robert Kirman, Charlie Adlard, and Tony Moore.
Yet, the series managed to make a brilliant stereotype-free version of everyone’s favourite Walking Dead character. You might understandably question whether Michonne’s history would make for the kind of carefree, flirty relationships advertised in women’s perfume commercials. It wouldn’t. But then you’d also never have to worry in any zombie-related situations. Honestly, have you SEEN her with a katana? She’s also got a law degree, and the best arms in the industry.
12 Undateable: Quiet (Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain)
We know Hideo Kojima is an oddball genius in many respects, but it’s tricky to shake the feeling that he’s not very interested in anything vaguely resembling a fair portrayal of female strength. Take Phantom Pain’s Quiet, for instance. Her abysmal uniform is explained by her - get this - need to breathe through her skin.
She also isn’t given the benefit of even one line of dialogue. She can’t speak English you see. A brilliant piece of realism in a game that’s just told you a woman is capable of breathing through her skin. That’s why her name is Quiet, isn’t it, Kojima? Ha. Ha. Ha. If you’re a fan of dating people who have any agency in life, get to wear clothes, or those allowed even one opinion on anything, Quiet is not your bae.
11 Dateable: Tracer (Overwatch)
We’re aware that Tracer’s initial overtly-sexual victory pose was a sensitive issue relating to the ‘women as reward’ trope we mentioned earlier, but hear us out. Not only is Tracer excellent with Pulse Pistols (handy in a pinch), she can also WARP time, people! That’s already head and shoulders above your other partners who, we remind you once more, couldn’t manipulate time.
Say ‘goodbye forever’ to being late for key appointments, and never again will you have to live with whatever ridiculous thing you just said to that new acquaintance. Not on Tracer’s watch. Plus, she’s also got a reputation for being a super thoughtful gift giver. Finally a fighter you can also take home to meet your parents. Then there’s the accent. Don’t get us started.
10 Dateable: Aela the Huntress (Elder Scrolls: Skyrim)
Many Skyrim inhabitants spend their waking (and sleeping) hours drunk on mead, wine, or skooma, if the week was bad enough. Aela the Huntress looks like she's mostly stayed clear of places like her town's own Bannered Mare, and instead whiles away her hours with bench-presses and archery practice. That's right. Aela showed us how cool women with bows and arrows are way before The Hunger Games ever did. Give kudos where kudos are due.
Then there's her loyalty — which is second to none. Whichever intrepid explorer is lucky to land this tough cuddle buddy has a lover for life. At your request, she’ll happily leave the life she known in the Whiterun Hold, and journey on with you. You can’t buy that kind of commitment. But you can buy archery training, which unfortunately does not come cheap, even after marital bliss. Should of put it in the prenup.
9 Dateable: Yennefer of Vengerberg (The Witcher)
Yennefer is kind of the whole package. She's got skills, she's got looks, and she could magic your way into a beautiful future together. Yes, she's a little attached to Geralt. Can you blame her? And it's going to be difficult to beat the battle-worn voice, chiseled jaw, and piercing blue eyes. But it can be done, people.
Just get him filled up to the brim with potions. Have you seen how the toxins affect his face? That's his looks gone. Now, all you need to do to crush it in the personality department is not to cheat on Yennefer with any available human, sorceress, monster - whatever. Just don't do that and you're miles better for Yennefer than Geralt ever could be. Love is in the air!
8 Undateable: Nadine Ross (Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End)
South African mercenary, Nadine Ross, is classically good-looking. There’s little fighting that. But as we’ve just observed, she’s a South African mercenary. That’s the worse kind! With original ties to the Apartheid government, these are not people you want to play around with. Think about it. Shady people hanging around your shared house all the time. Late nights wondering which innocent lives your partner might be taking at any given time, which civil wars are being started where.
You don’t need that kind of stress in your life. Plus, have you seen her physique? She’s definitely on an all-meat diet. Bad breath and fussy eating habits don’t a happy relationship make. In all honesty, that could probably apply to almost everyone on this list. But still! A mercenary!
7 Dateable: Miranda Lawson (Mass Effect)
There was no way we could leave Miranda off this list. Oh, Miranda. Miranda, Miranda, Miranda. How long will you keep playing this game with Shepard? Especially when a more suitable candidate is ready for you just on the other side of sentience? (That creeped us out, too.)
Miranda is the perfect partner for space enthusiasts, though we wouldn’t complain if Miranda was ever given something a bit more comfortable to wear. No one wants ‘How in the Horse Head Nebula did you get into that?’ to be the first thing someone thinks of on seeing their battle uniform. Indeed, all the mysteries of the Mass Effect universe can never compete with our complete lack of understanding around how Miranda ever manages to fit into her clothes.
6 Dateable: Faith Connors (Mirror's Edge)
Faith Connors is a woman who understands the need for practical shoes. Off the bat, that's probably one of the most refreshing things entertainment's seen in years. *Cue horror flashbacks of Bryce Dallas Howard's 'Claire' in Jurassic World (2015).*
That aside, Faith also has some mightily impressive parkour skills. Think of all those times you did something cool in Assassin's Creed. Jumped over or slid under something at the last minute. Now, look at a mound of dirt. Try to visualize the connection. That was a convoluted way to say yo ain't got nothing on Ms. Connor. If you managed to grab her attention long enough to go steady long-term, think of how much you'll save on gym fees. You could also get matching tattoos, if you're into that type of thing.
5 Dateable: Emily Kaldwin (Dishonored 2)
It’s a little creepy that you watched her grow up in the first Dishonored, we know. But in Dishonored 2, Emily has emerged as a capable leader, ready to defend her kingdom and take on her intense role as Empress of the Isles. We’re into that kind of female empowerment, and really anything that makes Dunwall just the least bit more pleasant to traverse.
Hate walking everywhere? Emily’s Far Reach has you covered. On top of this, Emily’s beauty is often mesmerizing (sorry), and she’s got the best sense of style in the whole of Karnaca and beyond. The downside of your relationship might be Emily’s divided loyalties. After all, you’ll never be number one to royalty as long as there’s a kingdom to rule.
4 Dateable: Mary Read (Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag)
The sixth major installment in the Assassin’s Creed series, Black Flag (2013) boasts one of the most interesting character reveals in the action-adventure genre. Starting the game as James Kidd, this infamous pirate who helped build Nassau from the ground is later shown to be Mary Read, a woman forced to conceal her identity in order to prosper as a pirate.
Player character, Edward Kenway, is as surprised as we were to see James Kidd cut his hand to use the blood for lipstick and blusher, loosen his hair, and voila, transform into Mary Read. We’re not sure who we’d prefer to meet first, but it’s obvious that Read/Kidd’s attractiveness isn’t bound by gender norms. Also, anyone who looks that good after they’ve smeared themselves with their own blood deserves a nod.
3 Dateable: Samantha Giddings (Until Dawn)
Voice actor, Hayden Panettiere, has had a loyal following since her cheerleading days in Heroes (2006-2010), and she’s every bit as gorgeous girl-next-door in Until Dawn. True, it’s difficult to immerse yourself in her sparkling wit and equally enchanting smile while she’s running or hiding for her life throughout the game. But in the game’s few precious moments of downtime, players quickly realize that Sam’s the smartest and sweetest of the lot.
Not apparently difficult in a group that chose to commemorate the disappearance of two sisters by returning to the scene of the crime for a massive rager. Ignore all of that. Instead, think about all the other, less disturbing places you could go on your next winter break. The Swiss Alps, for instance. Maybe the Rocky Mountains. Assuming Sam makes it ‘til then, of course.
2 Dateable: Ciri (The Witcher 3)
Ciri features the same white-grey hair as her adoptive father, Geralt, but manages to wear it infinitely better. She’s also very good at arranging herself with pieces of leather that seem to have little-to-no function, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Not as preoccupied with love as her father is, you’ll nonetheless have to share Ciri with another - her tireless efforts to help others in need. Yes, Ciri is married to her work. But, hey, she’s a stunning princess with incredible superpowers. We think you could probably get over the workaholic aspects of your relationship if you tried hard enough. Just treat her well lest both her and Geralt feel the need for payback. Believe us, you do not want that.
1 Undateable: Kitana (Mortal Kombat)
We’re not generally fans of people who find that many creative ways to dismember their enemies. Not really our thing. But it's difficult to resist the neighbourhood badass, even of they've probably got more than a few arrest warrants out on them. Keeps things exciting, maybe? No! Resist you must.
It will be fun for a while, definitely. There will be a touching moment where Kitana shows you how to throw one of her deadly fans. Another when she uses said fan to cut some flowers for you on your birthday. But there's all that worrying. Less for Kitana, and more for whichever poor soul was foolish enough to annoy her. There's no taming her. Kitana's never going to be the husky pacifist of your dreams, friend.