In response to Chris Wheeler's Youthful Indiscretions: As a writer, I can understand the developer/artist who sees his "beach volleyball" girls as human beings; his "daughters." Anyone who creates characters brings to life aspects of his or her inner being. Our characters are - to us - as human as anyone else.
While the connection to our characters isn't physical and cannot be physical (Pygmalion is a STORY) it is superior to a real life connection in this one way: it always meets our needs. Even if your character is a mass murderer, he or she is going to be there and meet some inner need. As the ancient Roman said, "I am human; nothing human is alien to me."
In literature, you always sense when a character is being manipulated. That's when you put the book down and never pick it up again. We say, "She's acting out of character," or "She doesn't have the ring of truth any more." Just as people resist manipulation, real characters resist manipulation by the writer. Many writers have spoken of their characters going off and doing whatever they wanted to do. The successful writers are the ones who let this happen.
This is what you're up against trying to give a character sexual behavior. If she goes for every boy with a mouse in his hand, what is she? Certainly not real - not what we know as human. Or, if human, something human that elicits contempt. The real problem is, as soon as you, or the gamer, can manipulate her, she is no longer real.
Second, as a step-father, I say Mr. Wheeler is wrong (manipulative) about what fathers ought to feel for their daughters. Biological fathers back me up on this. My three (step) daughters brought many boys and young men home. None of them, not even the ones they married, were ever good enough from my point of view. That is what fathers really feel, for a variety of complex reasons I won't go into here. The father who "lets go" isn't quite complete - or he's only one type, and a sad one at that.
Example: After my second daughter announced her engagement to Alex, I took my son-in-law (married to eldest daughter) aside at a holiday gathering and said to him, "Well, Robert, we have to talk."
In response to 4 Days, from the Escapist Lounge: I think that the phenomenon you are experiencing is common to all gamers, or at least all gamers who are old enough to have serious jobs. There is a camaraderie, an understanding, a shared culture that causes them to be eminently accepting of others, and the places where they congregate seem to often be places where a gamer feels welcome. Glad to hear that the Escapist is no different.
I'm looking forward to the unique perspective you will no doubt bring to The Escapist, Russ!
In response to 4 Days, from the Escapist Lounge: Russ man, you are living the dream. I can't imagine getting paid to write relatively freely about what you love. Furthermore, it sounds like you are surrounded by folks who share in the dream. Keep it up, 'cause you are giving a youngin' some hope that it can be done. I know that I am not alone in wishing you the best of luck!
In response to Chris Dahlen's Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, from the Escapist Lounge: One thing that really has to be stressed is the relative maturity of romance in Black Isle RPGs. Most of the characters there are mature and they behave like that in-game, you can feel that in their romances. The believability of the writing really made it for me in Baldur's Gate, Torment and KOTORs. It is just so rewarding to play an RPG where love is not only the "teen heartbreak" sort.
In response to Laura Bularca's We Play, from the Escapist Lounge: I still don't see what there is to talk about, let alone write an article on. So there are 2 game companies in Bucharest (well, 3 if you count Gameloft separately from Ubisoft). So they have made a grand total of 3 successful non-handheld games so far. There are also a bunch of startups that are trying to get things going, but haven't produced anything so far. How can this make you say that game development is taking off in Romania? I say there's no need to get overly excited about something that hasn't happened yet.