The Dating Secrets of Your Favorite Video Game Characters

Nathan Drake has recently purchased a new MacBook, after talking to several of his friends about it for several weeks. He has done more discussing the MacBook than he has actually using it, and secretly he enjoys causing the icons to sort of ‘pop' along the bar at the bottom of the screen more than he enjoys operating the various applications that have come with his new Apple experience.

After ‘striking out' at several casual open bar nights – generally because he opens most conversations by stating ‘so I've just gotten the new MacBook, yeah, it's pretty sweet' – Nathan Drake one night at home alone decides, after close to two glasses of Pinot Grigio, to create an eHarmony dating profile. He decides to upload a picture of him standing beside a large airplane on some sort of landing strip because he believes it lends him a pleasant combination of ‘adventuresome' and ‘approachable.'

However, due to a combination of overwhelm in regards to filling out personality quizzes and sudden-onset fatigue brought on by the Pinot Grigio, Nathan Drake's eHarmony profile remains largely incomplete, featuring mostly the picture of himself, a tagline indicating he is "looking for my Treasure ;)" and little else. Unbeknownst to him, though, this isn't the reason why after three separate attempts the site reported via email that it had failed to find his perfect match.

The reason is actually that Nathan Drake had believed the approximate 1/6 of Elena's face/hair that has been cropped out of the left extreme of the photograph was not noticeable/insignificant to potential significant others that might have been browsing his profile. In fact, it was a total ‘red flag' that made most visitors to his profile think, "wow, this jerk cropped out his ex". Ultimately the only response Nathan Drake received to his eHarmony profile was a message from a 52 year-old divorced father of four who was extremely interested in Christianity and lived approximately 400 miles outside of his geographic radius.

The Dating Secrets of Your Favorite Video Game Characters

Bowser has actually eschewed most traditional dating sites in the past; when his friends come over to smoke weed and play his Wii and give him some good-natured crap about his vague, evasive attitude as regards internet dating he generally presents the excuse that his distinctly dinosauric features are probably unlikely to ‘play well' on appearance-oriented sites such as OKCupid. When his friends respond with things to the effect of "come on man, some chicks dig that" or "how do you know if you don't even try" or "why don't you try Craigslist" he grows ever more vague and evasive, eventually surly, until he ends up yelling something like "I'm still fragile, okay" [regarding the woman known as ‘Princess' from LiveJournal and all the awkward drama surrounding ‘Princess' which his friends are basically at a loss for how to deal with/sick of effing hearing about].

Bowser's internet dating behavior is largely oriented around ‘friending' women he thinks are attractive on Facebook and spending a few weeks ‘liking' all of their statuses while being generally hesitant to initiate any more elaborate contact. Bowser expresses his interest in a woman by typing ‘neat photo' into a comment on a picture of her that was added ~2 years ago.

Occasionally he develops online relationships that may/may not ‘go somewhere.' When his friends ask how his love life is going he says "I get laid, okay," out of the corner of his reptilian lips in a fashion he thinks seems cavalier and/or cool.

The Dating Secrets of Your Favorite Video Game Characters

Chell spent months tailoring and revising her OKCupid profile; in fact, from the date of its conception until the present (about 2 years), she has devoted about four days out of every week to editing the OKCupid profile, making subtle grammatical tweaks to her personal descriptors in order to match the image of herself she hopes to project to potential suitors. For example, in the "I'm Really Good At" section, Chell had originally listed "naps; the gun range; problem-solving, long leaps", but shortly thereafter edited it to read simply "Athletics", in the hopes of sounding somewhat more mysterious/piquant.

She does not respond to IMs delivered to her on OKCupid; in fact, she often copies and pastes the coarsest solicitations and circulates them on her Tumblr for the amusement of her friends/internet followers. Despite this and many similar behaviors that have created the impression of Chell as a desirable/popular frequent dater, even those who could be considered her closer ‘IRL friends' struggle to nail down precisely the extent to which Chell actually dates/engages in real relationships with other people.

She is wont to mention in conversation stuff re: "guys" or "this guy" or "this one time" with a slightly over-rehearsed body language but few specifics, but because she is sort of a stand-offish [read: difficult] person, rarely is anyone ever inclined to press her for specifics. Chell occasionally changes her Facebook relationship status to ‘It's Complicated,' but never indicates it to be ‘with' anyone.

The Dating Secrets of Your Favorite Video Game Characters

Sonic the Hedgehog now has a profile active on nearly every dating site in existence, although when asked (Tails is the only one who asks) he will maintain that he only nurtures a sort of casual interest in dating, like, "not looking for anything," he'd answer, putting on shades indoors while putting his feet up on an inherited ottoman. Sonic frequently insists he has "a lot going on right now," without specifying, necessarily, what "a lot" entails, or occasionally listing a few minor impending engagements in the sort of vaunted fashion that is designed to make him sound busier than he is.

He actually attracts a lot of prospective dates from various matches across various dating sites who are drawn to his public profile/history as a fairly significant pop culture figure, and on the dates he tells them that music networks are interested in potentially developing reality programming based on his efforts to find the perfect partner, except he doesn't really know if he wants to go through all of that because he is a ‘down-to-earth' kind of guy who just wants to meet a normal special girl, before adding that there, like, really would be a lot of money in it if he ‘went with' the network. It's to the point where basically the same words come out of his mouth on each date he attends. He rarely removes the sunglasses.

Most of the time he attracts unstable individuals significantly younger than he is, many of whom are working out issues related to their fathers. Sonic the Hedgehog generally engages in very short-lived, dysfunctional and materialistic relationships with these individuals that tend to end mostly due to his failure to communicate with acuity via text message, i.e a girl tries to text him via iPhone elaborately about her personal feelings and Sonic ruins it all by replying on his Blackberry ‘o i c.'

The Dating Secrets of Your Favorite Video Game Characters

Zelda does not care for traditional dating sites per se. She generally hangs out on mIRC under really obscure aliases so that when she occasionally makes reference to the fact she is a female and/or princess most of the people in her ‘scene' accuse her of lying, having an identity crisis or of being a melodramatic faker. It's true that when Zelda was 14 or 15 she had a highly melodramatic MySpace page on which she regularly blogged in regards to ‘feeling trapped'; having ‘dark thoughts' that she would quickly reassure everyone were not serious as soon as her online friends expressed concern for her, or about drama going on in the cosplay group in which she peripherally participated. During her teens Zelda had a 2-3 year period during which she only posted pictures of her mother's two cats, which she claimed were her cats.

Now, though, she spends her time virulently mocking MySpace, using Tumblr on a near 12 hour per day basis, and becoming enamored of cosplayers, artists and writers whom she finds through blog networks/Twitter. Her blog is set to ‘private' but those who have earned their way into her somewhat vague inner circle have the privilege of reading entries about this or that much older man with whom she has decided to live on an average of a year or two before having a public, explosive breakup after which she wonders who will support her financially next.

Leigh Alexander is editor-at-large for Gamasutra, author of the Sexy Videogameland blog, columnist in Edge Magazine and games editor at Nylon Guys, in addition to freelancing reviews and criticism to a wide variety of outlets. Her monthly column at Kotaku deals with cultural issues surrounding games and gamers. She can be reached at leighalexander1 AT gmail DOT com.