Love. It’s a powerful feeling. A feeling that can transcend distance, time, and even cartridges and disks. In honor of Valentine’s Day, the GGA Video Games team decided to recall and reflect on our first video game crushes that made our hearts Level Up.

Emily: Marlin – Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life

I have always loved the Harvest Moon video games, so it’s no surprise that my first video game crush comes from one of them! One of my favorite titles is Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life which was the first title in the series to be released on the Game Cube. This game takes place in the quaint town of Forget-Me-Not Valley, where I fell in love with Marlin.

Marlin is the youngest brother of Vesta, the local produce farmer in the valley. He originally grew up in the city, but due to his illness, had to move to the country for his health. Younger Emily simply adored his greaser aesthetic and loner attitude (and I still do to this day)! Likewise, as you get to know him, he slowly warms up to you (even if you decide to marry Celia, the love of his life). I love me some broody character development! 

Even as the standard male farmer, I adored Marlin and would always build up my friendship with him. But then one day, my gamer crush dream came true with the release of Harvest Moon: Another Wonderful Life. In this version, you got to play as a FEMALE farmer and had the option to romance three bachelors in Forget-Me-Not Valley. And guess who was one of the bachelors? MARLIN. Finally in 2005, I was able to marry my first game crush and lived happily ever after on our very successful farm. 


Julia: Red – Saga Frontier

It is a warm day in the summer of 1998. My eight-year-old self is finally able to sit down and enjoy the game my older sister has been hogging all Spring. I boot up Saga Frontier and set off on my quest to complete all seven storylines. However, what I didn’t expect was to fall in love with one of the main protagonists, Red. 

He almost dies trying to help his father in the beginning and is saved by a mysterious man. Alkarl imbues him with superhuman powers and grants Red the superhero identity Alkaiser. Now Red’s mission is to rid the world of BlackX, the criminal organization responsible for killing his family. And he really looks good doing it!

If you are into guys like I am, wouldn’t you fall in love with him? His entire mission is out of love for his family. Not to mention out of the seven playable characters, he is supposed to be the tough silent brooding guy. Moreover, after playing his storyline, I searched for him constantly during the other narratives. But alas he never joins.

Now eight-year-old me did have a great imagination seeing as the in-game graphics weren’t the best. It also wasn’t until years later that we started to get any fanart on the internet. But Red was my first video game boyfriend regardless. So do my heart a favor Square Enix, and remake this game!


Tyler: Miranda Lawson – Mass Effect 2

If it wasn’t obvious from having her on my list of Mass Effect’s Top 7 Moments, Miranda Lawson was my first video game crush. Which could seem odd to other gamers: Why not someone nicer like Liara? Or more soulful like Thane? Surely, Miranda Lawson is just a cold-hearted, anti-alien overseer? Well, first impressions can often be deceiving. It helps to actually get to know a person. First of all, Miranda is gorgeous. Yes, yes: sex symbols, the male gaze, etc. I confess physical appearances do play a factor in my crushes. Also, Miranda’s romance results in what is arguably the steamiest sex scene of the entire trilogy. I’m only human! Remember, there are multiple factors that go into attraction beyond looks alone. 

Second, the poise and authority she carries. In the Lazarus cell, Miranda technically outranks Shepard. Liara and Tali can fawn over how “special” Shepard is, but Miranda doesn’t automatically put Shepard (i.e. the player) on a pedestal. She knows how to lead and command others, and I genuinely admire that confidence and influence. Third, her pro-Cerberus stance is fueled by a genuine desire to help others. Her determined focus on the mission has good reason: tens of billions of human lives are at stake. Others might write her off as heartless or bigoted, but once you break through that shell after her loyalty mission on Illium, it quickly becomes apparent that she is actually a nice and morally good person. 

Finally, in a romance, Miranda allows herself to be softer and more vulnerable. I could relate to a lot of the high expectations and self-doubt that Miranda suffered from. Everyone expects her to be a perfect genetically-engineered person, but she is secretly trying to figure out what the Hell she is doing. It is a genuinely attractive quality to see this powerful and beautiful person and understand that, just like me, they are also trying their best to make it all work. But whatever the excuse, what really matters is how we feel. I like who I like, and “I settle for nothing but the best”.


Who was YOUR first Video Game crush? Let us know in the comments below or on social media! 

This article was originally published on February 14, 2020.


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