Confession: My First Video Game Crush

Who was your first video-game crush? It’s okay to admit that you had one. The self-loathing nerd mindset, popular online some fifteen years back, will make you pretend that you are above such things and, indeed, were above such things even when you were a hormonal adolescent or an innocently enamored child.

Well, that’s no longer a problem. Today’s Internet is stocked with adults openly confessing and exploring their current crushes on fictional characters, and most of them seem all the healthier for it. So don’t be afraid.

In fact, my first crush on a video game character is embarrassing only because it’s obscure. A lot of young geeks found their first infatuation with popular characters like Samus Aran, Chun Li, Ryu and/or Ken, Chris Redfield, Lara Croft, and Terry Bogard. Mine was well off that radar.

It was the spring of 1991, and I was at a neighbor kid’s birthday party. Said kid was the lucky sort whose parents liked video games a lot and bought a new one almost every week, so plenty of other children showed up. Several new games appeared at the party, and one of them was Super Spike V’Ball. We started a match, and the referee appeared in a little portrait.

“Oh,” said one of the other kids present. “She’s the ref…”

 “She’s BEAUTIFUL,” I’m afraid I blurted out.

A brief and humiliating silence followed. The other kid had just been uncertain about the referee’s role in this, which made my response all the stranger. Fortunately, everyone was either confused or polite enough to ignore what I’d just said, and we went back to figuring out Super Spike V’Ball’s serving mechanics.