Today, my last at Polygon after nearly four beautiful, pink, geometric years, I want to be remembered as I was: a woman with a wild cackle, horrible time management, but a calendar that was never too packed to take a meeting with you. A woman who promised to show up to work early, but instead stayed late every day, sometimes until the office lights shut off. A woman who amassed a lot of stuffed animals and displayed them all on her desk with age-inappropriate pride.
But mostly, I want to be remembered as a woman who had a lot of love to go around, baybee. A woman who fell super hard and super fast for anything.
Mostly boys. Fictional boys. Video game boys.
I am unabashedly, hopelessly, unimpeachably prone to crushes. Bad ones — like, sweaty palms-level bad. Painful ones that feel like I'm getting punched in the stomach every time I think of them. Very stupid ones, a.k.a. almost all of them, because crushes are a stupid waste of time. And sometimes super bizarre ones.
To be clear, that's "super bizarre" by your average person's standards. I feel like it's fair to generalize here: I'm not calling any of y'all normies, but I'm just saying that you most likely have never called a Pokémon your boyfriend.
Before my line-toeing days as Polygon's resident serial liker come to a close, I thought it may be helpful to leave behind a list of video game boys I'm still laying claim to. The rules are: No one is allowed to steal my mans, nor dare diss them. I will be watching.
- Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog knows how I feel about him. He's sent me cupcakes before. We've had a heartbreaking reunions and goodbyes at E3s past. And he knows that I have defended him when no one else would; I have written paeans to his secret greatness that no one else wanted me to write. And I did it because he was my first crush, dating all the way back to when I was a six-year-old in day camp who refused to go to the bathroom so that I could finish my Sonic the Hedgehog picture book. Things went badly from there, but not when it comes to my relationship with Sonic. OK, maybe I haven't really liked any of his games since Sonic Generations — but my love of this blue mammalian Tony Hawk's Pro Skater wannabe springs eternal.
- Detective Pikachu
My love for the generic Pikachu is maternal, not romantic. Gross, man; Pikachu is a baby. But Detective Pikachu isn't; Detective Pikachu is a man. Combining the caring eyes and blushing cheeks of Pikachu with the thirst and zeal of a twentysomething player, Detective Pikachu won me over. I found a kindred spirit in this flirty Pokemon who was also doomed to try and fail, try and fail, try and fail ... Is it weird to crush on a Pokémon, I ask myself? Not anymore; Ryan Reynolds voices Pika P.I. now, and he's pretty hot himself. Also, Detective Pikachu says "hell," so I feel OK about the whole endeavor.
- Solid Snake
Remember when everyone freaked out about Snake's butt after the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate reveal? Polygon senior editor Patricia Hernandez interviewed me about the debacle back when she was at The Verge — such was my, and everyone else's, dismay.
"Although Snake is definitely meant to be an attractive action hero, it’s his butt that really does the work for him," I apparently said last June. "It’s not just good to look at, but it also almost feels like we’re expected to look; no other part of his body is so pronounced in that suit, especially when he’s crawling across the floor. And so when Snake’s butt changes size, of course we’re going to notice."
Snake was the first non-cutesy man I ever cared for in my entire life, real or fake. This is a significant happening for me, albeit not one that's really ever been repeated. Metal Gear Solid is also the first non-cutesy gaming franchise I've ever cared for in my entire life. That the two crushes go hand in hand is no accident; something about Snake awakens a fire in me, that burns with some kind of sexy passion for ... hiding in cardboard boxes and trying to punch snipers to death. It's like the first time you love someone who makes you feel like you can do anything, recklessly and probably to everyone's detriment.
- Fox McCloud
I've been obsessed with Fox since I played Super Smash Bros. on the N64 as a kid. Back then, boys still had cooties, I still didn't know how to tie my shoes, and my diet still exclusively consisted of pizza, cookies, and ice cream. If only Fox could come hang with me and eat four ice cream sandwiches in one sitting, I'd think; maybe he would rub my back when I threw up, because don't eat all that, dude.
I like stoic guys, cool guys, mascot-y guys with one really specific skill. The only thing Fox is especially good at is flying the Arwing and shooting other planes down. I dig that. I'm only good at throwing up after eating a lot of ice cream. My theory may have been disproven by Star Fox whatever-the-heck on Wii U, a terrible game we declined to review because it was so dang boring. I played some of it, and I came away brokenhearted. Maybe my crush isn't even good at the one thing he's supposed good at. He still manages to be good at making my heart feel all full and sparkly, though; we'll always have Super Smash Bros.
I feel like Fire Emblem has grown in popularity since my time at Polygon, which is great. It's a great series, full of challenging gameplay and great characters that shine despite those convoluted-as-heck stories. When Super Smash Bros. Ultimate came out, though, I remembered, while I can distinguish between all those blue-haired swordsboys, the haters can't tell them apart. And they don't care to. But Marth is very different from Chrom who is every different from Ike, even if they have a lot of superficial similarities. Marth is the lithe one with the dumb outfit; Ike is the hot one with the big thighs. I am team Ike, always; give me that heavy, please. I will stand behind Fire Emblem, and I will stand behind Ike as he leads the gigantic pack of playable Smash Bros. fighters into the sun. I will also probably grab and squeeze his thighs.
I'm glad I was at Polygon to see the release of three eternally delayed games: Kingdom Hearts 3, The Last Guardian, and Final Fantasy 15. Final Fantasy 15 at least reaffirmed something I'd long thought about myself: I love a good anime boy. That game has plenty of them; Simone and I even ranked them in order of hotness one time. I'm generally not so into the Final Fantasy folks; they're not usually in line with my anime boy loving tendencies, which fall more along the lines of rail-thin, sad, school uniform-wearing JRPG squad leaders. Prompto is none of the above. I think that's what I like about him: He challenged my preconceptions about what a crush-worthy anime husband should be. He just loves his best friends, who are also pretty hot; he's got a big, dumb smile and an obsession with selfies. He's not good at them, but neither am I! We're basically the same, and maybe that's not so bad.
Griffin McElroy, we tried. We tried to get Polygon to play Undertale, a game we loved enough to vote for Game of the Year 2015. A game we loved enough to publicly lambast our coworkers for not playing, because if they had, it would have been Game of the Year 2015, man. In the years since, more people have played on our recommendations, though, introducing them to my most low-key crush.
Sans is the more underrated of the two skeletons designed to make players clam up and question why they're attracted to sentient bones. I refuse to face this part of myself, clearly! Instead, I just continue to love Sans and his shit-eating grin. I love his color-changing eyes. I love how he plays the trombone. I love how he doesn't care about doing his job for nihilistic reasons. Inspiring. Mostly, I love that he's one of the funniest characters in this remarkably clever game. I don't want to fight my friends for his love, but I also want everyone to play this dang game and understand why I love him.
I've loved all of these boys for years and years. But I'm heading elsewhere now; not somewhere too far, or maybe even too different. But I am prone to the melodrama, so everything feels like a lot right now. Which, clearly, is nothing new for me. These are the boys I hope to keep carrying forward with me into my next adventure — just as I will always take my own memories of Polygon along for the ride.
~ Adios, baybee ~