Turning Red/Kingdom Hearts

Sick of The “Bachelorette?” Let’s Spice It Up With Video Game Men!

Is this the new boyfriend you were talking about, Steve Lacy?

I don’t anticipate that our readership will be very familiar with The Bachelor franchise, considering it’s a show with fairly archaic standards regarding dating and marriage. Unfortunately for me, the various social and familial scenes I’ve found myself in over the last few years have made me more than well-acquainted with the current state of “Bach Nash.”

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The most recent season of The Bachelorette featured two leading ladies, for the first time in franchise history, and these ladies recently wrapped up their seasons with underwhelming results. Rachel picked Tino, who cheated on her pretty much immediately. And Gabby picked Erich, who also cheated, sort of: he left a girl to be on the show, you know, for “fame.” He also turned out to be racist. It doesn’t take an expert on the series to figure that the sort of men who go on this show would end up being less than ideal in real life.

Now, you might be asking, Mad, I came here for video games, on a website for geeks, and you’re forcing me to read some arbitrary bullshit about a series that goes against every single one of my values. What the hell are you on about? I’ll tell you what I’m on about, friend: shows like this only reinforce my longstanding belief that society is still hellbent on convincing women that they need to settle HARD. And like, yeah, I think anyone who genuinely believes they have a shot at love on a barely-repressed-horny-Southern-Christian-Mom-lovin’ reality TV show probably isn’t a real catch anyways, but it’s always been so apparent to me that the women in the franchise bring it all to the table, while the men just sorta coast on flowery words and emotional unavailability. You know, just like dating in real life.

Where video games come in is that they provide a nice break for people who are attracted to men, because A) it’s a playground with no real-life consequences where you can explore and have fun, and B) these men are fucking hot, dude!!! Seriously! Sometimes you just need to spend some fake time around fake men who take care of themselves and demonstrate basic social skills. I find that it helps psych me up for the next time I go out with the girlies—like hell yes, I am a princess.

(Credit: Disney)

So, to all my people who are also attracted to men, here are the men I’d personally put on a season of Video Game Bachelor(ette), where I welcome to you participate as the lead. Because we hear way too much about how women look in video games, and I think we ought to shake things up a little.

Alistair Theirin (Dragon Age)

(Bioware)

We can’t use emojis in our articles, but I just really want to enunciate the fact that OB.VI.OUS.LY. Alistair is in this article. Like come on, he’s the internet’s first boyfriend, he’s our little guy, our precious manbaby. Alistair was every teen girl’s introduction to RPGs, and good lord, did he do his job.

You wouldn’t think that such a normal looking dude would have that kind of an impact on people, but the proof is in the pudding, folks. Just search fanart of Alistair Theirin and you’ll understand.

Varric Tethras (Dragon Age)

(Bioware)

Now, aside from Alistair, the Dragon Age series has a plethora of dudes to get freaky over. Lots of people love Fenris for his Final Fantasy aesthetic, many have strong feelings about ex-fantasy-cop Cullen Rutherford, and some of my favorite people are into BDSM Baddie Iron Bull.

But me? I gotta give the honorary Dragon Age Baddie spot to Varric Tethras. Varric is objectively one of the hottest guys in the series, and his power is only enhanced by the fact that you can’t do anything about it. Varric is taken, folks: he’s taken by his craft as a writer (love it), by his voluminous chesthair (LOVE it), and, most notably, by the chokehold his ex still has on him (that’s rough, buddy). And also, one of the old writers on the team thought dwarf romances would be “weird.”

Which, like. My guy. You can’t give us the dusty ass, overly-machismo men in Inquisition and expect us NOT to yearn for Varric, the fun-lovin’ party boy of my dreams. Cullen, babe, what we have isn’t that deep, you were my second choice. I’ll always hold a candle for my partner in crime.

Arthur Morgan (Red Dead Redemption 2)

(Rockstar)

Nobody was expecting to love Arthur Morgan as much as they loved John Marston, but in the end, we not only got a beloved new franchise lead—we also got a bona fide hunk. Sure, Marston was good looking in his own way, but it was in a distinctly raccoon-esque way: kinda grimy, nasty, and greasy.

But Arthur? Arthur is classically handsome. He’s well over 6 feet tall, has a beautiful pair of fanfiction-colored eyes, and I mean, just look at that face. It’s the face of your first Western movie as a little girl, making you realize that maybe Hollywood had a point in capitalizing on the genre. Plus, he’s just a big, sensitive bear of a man, who likes to sketch horses in his journal, write introspective asides about his day-to-day tasks, and draw little hearts next to his lady love’s name. Oh my god????

Charles Smith (Red Dead Redemption 2)

(Rockstar)

Of course, a game with One Hot Cowboy wouldn’t be complete without his Hot Cowboy Best Friend. AKA Charles Smith, who I was simping for hard throughout both of my playthroughs of Red Dead 2.

In an ideal world, Rockstar would have gone the modern route and given us two romance options: Sadie Adler (who was implied to be the original romance option, before that route was scrapped), and Charles, both of whom are Arthur’s closest friends (exempting John, who was more like a little brother in my opinion) and with whom he has several intimate moments. Not gonna lie, that would have been a tough call, considering Arthur keeps attractive company. But Charles gets points in killing poachers, ditching Dutch to support the Wapiti, taking care of Arthur when he was sick, and, of course, being dreamy.

Last we see him, he’s heading up North to find a wife. So, um, unrelated…I may head out to Canada in a bit, don’t ask too many questions.

Zagreus (Hades)

Hades game Zag joining Meg and Than
(Supergiant)

I’ve never been very interested in roguelike games, so I kept putting off Hades until it went on sale earlier this year. And, well, I now understand the hype that surrounded Zagreus when the game first came out.

In a game where pretty much everyone is attractive (yes, even Skelly), Zagreus really takes the cake for me, because yes, he’s physically hot, but he’s ALSO got that soft-ass voice. My god. I thought he was gonna be some edgy DeviantArt dude. I should have had more faith in Supergiant, they’ve never let me down before, and they definitely didn’t this time. Zagreus is just charming, and expressive, and wow, he rocks the Short King lifestyle.

Plus, he’s just so nice to everyone.

Claude Von Riegan (Fire Emblem)

Fire Emblem: Awakening Screenshot.
(Nintendo)

Well, c’mon guys, we had to have at least two Fire Emblem characters. And of course one of them was gonna be Claude. Pretty much everyone loves Claude: he’s incredibly charismatic and handsome, and even though his overall story route gets knocked for being shallow, it’d be wrong to knock him as a shallow character by proxy.

This pretty boy has depth. He carries the baggage of having parentage from a nation that’s rampantly discriminated against, yet he understands his privileges and seeks to use them to widen Fodlan’s barriers and create a more understanding, tolerant world. And yeah, sure, he can be an asshole in order to achieve his goals, but he’s an ass I can get behind.

…hold up—

Dimitri Alexandre Blaiddyd (Fire Emblem)

(Nintendo)

On the flip side, I’d generally say the hottest men in Three Houses are in the Blue Lions house. Dedue is the full package, Felix does it all for the emo-loving crowd, Ashe is adorable and sweet, and I mean, Sylvain is the problematic manwhore of my dreams, I adore him.

But Dimitri is the one that got most of us newcomers into this series in the first place. In 2019, all these Dimitri compilations were frontloading my feeds, and I saw him in each and every thumbnail and felt like I was personally being attacked with how delightfully grunge this anime man was. Good lord. You know Dimitri would have been into Nirvana before they went mainstream. Dimitri would have gone to all the Bikini Kill concerts and listened when they shouted “girls to the front.” Dimitri not only respects women, he knows better than to neg a woman when she tells him she likes shoegaze, too. The worst thing I can think of is that he probably cries after sex, and I mean, hey, that makes two of us.

Ifan Ben-Mezd (Divinity: Original Sin 2)

(Larian)

I don’t even know how to properly write about Ifan Ben-Mezd. He’s from Divinity: Original Sin 2, he likes wolves, he’s an ex-military man seeking to redeem himself, and he’s got one of the best written romances I’ve ever played through in a video game. Also he’s gorgeous.

Play Divinity. Keep Ifan in your party. Party with him in the Undertavern. Take him under the decks of your ship. Live your Silver Fox Whirlwind Romance dreams.

V (Devil May Cry)

(Capcom)

I hate how much I’m outing myself on this list, but dammit, it’s for the people. I’ve never been into the Devil May Cry series, or the type of genre it plays into, but I always did respect how wild and out there they were with their character and world designs. V is absolutely part of that equation.

I could potentially spoil a lot about the game and its characters if I talk about him in great length, so all you gotta know is, he’s the version of your college situationship who played in a band and did poetry slams on the side if he wasn’t a completely manipulative toolbag. V is delightfully tropey and in all the best ways. V is to us what Ramona Flowers is to all the Scott Pilgrims of the world. To aforementioned Scotts seeking Ramonas, my advice would be to grow your hair out, adopt a sense of style that isn’t a t-shirt and jeans, and read some more books. Maybe something will happen.

Link (The Legend of Zelda)

(Nintendo)

Mmhm. Oh yeah. I had to put at least one majorly iconic figure on this list. Characters like Geralt, Nathan Drake, and Leon felt a little too basic for my tastes, although your mileage may vary. But Link?

Of COURSE Link is on this list. Link is the reason many of us got into games in the first place! Link’s Ocarina of Time design had to be eye-catching because it was the series’ first 3D title, and Yusuke Nakano, his illustrator at the time, decided to base him off a famous actor. Many theorize this actor was young Leonardo DiCaprio, who may have grown into a douchebag, but was pretty fine back in the day.

I remember the first time I saw Link pop up on my TV. I was playing Super Smash Bros. with my neighbors and was shocked to see a cute guy in a game full of plumbers, Pokemon, and dinosaurs. Fast forward several years, and we now also have Twilight Princess Link, Skyward Sword Link, and Breath of the Wild Link, if that’s what you’re into (I’d argue a lot of people are).

We love you, Link. Thank you for being there for us when there were way too many “Zero Suit Samus-Likes” out there.

(Featured Image: Pixar/Disney)


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Author
Image of Madeline Carpou
Madeline Carpou
Madeline (she/her) is a staff writer with a focus on AANHPI and mixed-race representation. She enjoys covering a wide variety of topics, but her primary beats are music and gaming. Her journey into digital media began in college, primarily regarding audio: in 2018, she started producing her own music, which helped her secure a radio show and co-produce a local history podcast through 2019 and 2020. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz summa cum laude, her focus shifted to digital writing, where she's happy to say her History degree has certainly come in handy! When she's not working, she enjoys taking long walks, playing the guitar, and writing her own little stories (which may or may not ever see the light of day).