Who was your first video game crush?

Pixelated love

Admit it: at some point in your tender youth, you had a crush on a video game character. Don't worry, it's nothing to be embarrassed about. Well, okay, maybe it's a little embarrassing, but no worse than any of the other dumb stuff you did as a kid, like calling your teacher mommy or sticking your tongue to a frozen flagpole. In fact, falling for a digital heartthrob might be one of the least silly things we did as impressionable youths, because it means we connected with those characters on a deeper, more personal level. That's a lot less humiliating than that time you snorted apple cider powder to make the cool kids like you.

That in mind, these infatuations shouldn't be buried, the torch you once carried for beloved gaming beaus repressed along with the memory of what you used to look like in braces. Cherish it, embrace it, bring it out in the open here for some light-hearted ribbing! We'll even go first, and tell you our first video game crushes and why we liked them soooooooo much. Just make sure to tell us yours when we're through. Pinkie swear.

Sophia Tong felt all a-flutter over Cecil

I had to go way back for this one. Like 1991 back. But this is funny in a way, because I don't think my taste in guys have really changed. Maybe I've always liked men/boys who were quiet and shrouded in mystery. I'm sympathetic to those who struggle internally. This particular crush was noble, brave, as well as modest and shy. He fought for what he believed in, so I admire a man who stands up for what's right. He also got the girl, (sadly, not me) but it proved that despite his moody ways and questionable past, he was still someone who deserved to be loved.

Anyway, that person was Cecil from Final Fantasy IV. Yes, that's right. He's a 16-bit sprite and I wanted to marry him. Or someone like him. Rosa was one lucky gal. Come on, I was like, 11. What did I know? By the time Squall from Final Fantasy VIII came around I had moved on. I don't know what it is about Final Fantasy guys, but I love them. Maybe it's the hair?

Marle was Maxwell McGee's dream girl

To understand my crush on Marle you must first understand how I played games when I was a kid. Games weren't just some collection of challenges to be overcome en route from beginning to end. They were entire worlds for me to inhabit. Inside my own head I would compose little stories and scenarios for the characters to act out on screen. I would pretend Chrono wasn't on some grand adventure; instead, he was just an average kid who ran errands for his single mother in the quiet town of Truce. Playing house, basically.

Taking this grand delusion a step further, I would sometimes rename my party members after friends in my real life. Enter Marle. She typically got named after a whoever I had a crush on at the time, in the vain hope that Chrono and Marle's in-game relationship would somehow foreshadow my own love life. It didn't. However, it did give scenes, such as this one, an extra punch of emotion.

Ashley Reed had a (not-so-eternal) love for Shuyin

Even in my tween years I had a thing for bodyguards with a heart of gold or maybe I just liked big guns. In any case, my love for the tender-hearted and heavily armed resulted in a crush on, of all people, Shuyin from Final Fantasy X-2. He might seem like a malevolent poltergeist at first, second, and every subsequent glance, because that's accurate and congratulations on your survival instincts. But you get to see a gentle side of him when he thinks Yuna is his deceased charge/girlfriend Lenne, and you realize that once upon a time he was just a guy who loved a girl very much, and lost himself when he lost her.

Of course, as I got older I realized that kind of obsession is beyond unhealthy, but at the time it seemed so romantic. He loved her so much that he wandered the world for 1000 years looking for her, and in the end only seeing her again could save him. I wanted someone to love me like that, so my crush on him was deep and true. Even now their love story makes me feel a twinge of happy nostalgia. But don't worry, like I said, I'm over that and have moved on to better things. Namely Basch from FFXII. Much better.

Connor Sheridan was a Yae guy

I was only eight or nine when I first played Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon, and everything about it overwhelmed me. The massive semi-historical map made my budding Japanophile heart sing, the constant barrage of cultural references made my head spin, and the meandering quest structure made me lose track of what I was supposed to do next. But I didn't mind aimlessly wandering around feudal towns and fields for hours as long as Yae was there.

Why Yae in particular? Well, for one, she takes this shit way more seriously than Goemon and Ebisumaru - she fights with a sword instead of a pipe or oversized mallet, and wears a cute determined frown instead of a goofy grin. She can also transform into a mermaid (which is totally hot). Full disclosure, though: I was super hung-up on frustrated security specialists with long, unnaturally colored hair, since I had a thing for Kiyone from Tenchi Muyo and Misato from Neon Genesis Evangelion a few years later. But it all started when that green-haired kunoichi infiltrated my heart. Wait, did I mention she gets a bazooka? Yeah, ninja girl with a bazooka. I could've just said that.

Lucas Sullivan had the hots for a very specific Chun-Li

I'm not ashamed to say that I had a thing for Chun-Li as a kid. Who wouldn't admire the First Lady of fighting games, with her adorable hair buns, spiked bracelets, and immaculately toned thighs? But here's the thing: Chun-Li first caught my eye not in a video game, but on the brightly lit backglass of a pinball machine. Gottlieb's Street Fighter 2, to be exact.

Looking at this depiction of Chun-Li now, it's laughably bad - her proportions are ridiculously wonky, particularly her head that looks like Angelina Jolie's face stretched across an Alien skull. But at the time, I had no concept of what pantyhose were, so I thought Chun-Li's legs were just a darker shade than her arms. And my young, pre-pubescent mind imagined that maybe Chun-Li arrived sans underwear for this particular street fight, and an errant breeze pushing her short qipao skirt might reveal things that frankly I didn't know existed. I think something awakened in me that day.

Henry Gilbert's heart belonged to Celes

At the age of 13, Final Fantasy VI had easily the deepest story Id ever experienced in any game, and I came to feel really close to the characters, most of all Celes. Not only was she a strong lady who got ample screen time to show off her moral fiber, but her performance in the then-revelatory opera scene was like she was singing a song directly to you.

That musical moment made a connection with many players, myself included, and it made her my favorite lady in the game. Yes, digital ladies Cammy and Melina may have been more conventionally sexy, but I felt a deeper connection to Celes after all our time together that no simple thong could overtake.

My heart will go on

There you have it: the GamesRadar video game crushes of yesteryear, and now we can all laugh and shake our heads at our youthful naivete. Now it's your turn - remember, you pinkie swore! Tell us about the video game character you carried a torch for, and don't worry. Your crush is no stranger or more unrealistic than the world's crush on Ryan Gosling. I'm pretty sure he was made in a lab somewhere.

Can you feel the love tonight? Then keep it up with the Top 7 Greatest love stories in gaming and 11 video game couples who aren't in relationships (but should be).