Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sometimes When We Touch

"Romance and all its strategy / Leaves me battling with my pride / But through all the insecurity / Some tenderness survives / ... / I wanna hold you 'til I die / 'Til we both break down and cry / I wanna hold you 'til the fear in me subsides"

All right. Seriously. Fer reals this time. Everyone needs to back off with the hate on my Kai-Kai. "Back off with the what on Whosafudge now?" I'm talking about Staff Lieutenant Kaidan [pronounced KAY-den] Alenko, the human male squad member and "hunky" love interest for a female Commander Shepard in Mass Effect. Here he is exhibiting his biotic powers:

Egli è adorabile, sì? Sì. When you talk to him in-game, the guy seems pretty well-read and intelligent. But seriously, he's quite yummy. Kaidan is an Alliance marine, so he's got a hot little bod going on, plus--ok, hi--he has incredible biotic powers. Power is sexy; you can't deny it. He also has brooding, darkly handsome features reminiscent of Adrian "So Very Pretty" Pasdar from Heroes, including Lovely Angular Cheekbones.

I am a GIANT fan of LACs on The Pasdar, Sendhil Ramamurthy [Sendhil plays Mohandsome a.k.a. Mohinder on Heroes. Goddamn they have a fine collection of cheekbones on that show! Even the Haitian - shit, that dude could probably cut through your mind with just his cheekbones!], John Taylor from Duran Duran, Johnny Depp, and my beautiful and angular husband:

SIIIIIIIIIIIGH... Where was I? Oh, yes! Kaidan. Yeah, he's hot, too.

So what are people's issues? I've heard various complaints about how Kaidan is "boring" and "straight-laced" and even "whiny". I played as a female Shepard and romanced Kaidan and I didn't find him boring or whiny at all. Yes, he's wound up a little tight, but as a fellow butt-puckerer, I can respect that. Besides, Kai-Kai being wound up means I can be the one to wind him down. Meowr!

What I don't get is that some people call Kaidan "too sensitive". Erm, if I just spent 15 hours trying to save the galaxy by shooting aliens in the face and throwing robots in the air, the last person I want to come home to is an insensitive jerk. After tramping through all those planets and completing vital missions, what I really need is a back rub. And who's going to give me that? A sensitive man, that's who!

Here's where my editorial bias might come in. I was there when the romance plots were being written; I edited them. In a rare opportunity for BioWare's writers, the boys could bounce ideas off AN ACTUAL GIRL in the room, to see if they won their wives and girlfriends by accident or if they really can write this stuff convincingly. I remember one of the boys once asked, "So if I were Kaidan and I said [insert romantic cheese here] to you, what would you say?" Answer? I would giggle. Most of the time, the giggling gave way to outright guffawing, but sometimes, the giggling was girly giggling i.e. the response they were hoping for.

I know that a lot of guys like to play female characters in RPGs. After all, if you're going to spend 40+ hours in a game where the camera will be trained on your character, you will probably want to look at an attractive female avatar. However, this means that Kaidan will be a romance option for you. And here is my point, friends: Kaidan was girl-tested, girl-approved. By the end of the game, I had a special fondness for Kai-Kai. So much so that after the final grueling battle, I was looking forward to some shore leave with the boy.

So next week, while you're playing through Mass Effect [T-minus five days!] as a female Shepard, listen to some of the things Kaidan says and note how he says them. Observe how he interacts with Shepard, the way he comforts her during times of crisis, yet still respects that she is a strong, badass woman out to save the galaxy. This game just might get you laid.

"Sometimes When We Touch" by Dan Hill

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