Animals and video games: zoomorphic protagonists • Terzo Binario News

The videogame is a creative universe that thrives on categorizations. Like any large enough context, the need inevitably arises at some point to organize different works by placing them under different labels and categories.

Some of these, of course, are mostly used: sports, historical, real-time strategic video games or dynamic adventures, with infinite possible combinations suitable also for high school competitions.

Other categories, on the other hand, are much less used, falling more into the category of curiosities: among these, certainly video games with zoomorphic protagonists.

Whether it’s real animals or more or less imaginative reinterpretations, the video game world has repeatedly produced titles with protagonists taken from the realm of nature, ranging from unpretentious titles to real milestones of videogaming.

Starting with titles from unsuspecting times, it is definitely impossible not to think of an arcade classic like Frogger: Released in 1981, it has proved to be a cornerstone of the arcade genre, receiving, in over forty years of honored career, countless conversions, remakes and adaptations for every type and generation of consoles. The protagonist, as suggested by the title, is a frog: the player is called to make them cross a road and a river full of obstacles and, moving in an orthogonal direction, reach a safe zone.

A meaningful name for too Snakebased on a videogame application introduced in the 1970s but whose fame exploded twenty years later, when it came to Nokia mobile phones. The protagonist is a snake in constant movement that, with each object eaten, stretches by a pixel: having to avoid touching obstacles or itself, it is a title in which the aim is to postpone the game over as much as possible. Even the series Worms, turn-based strategy icon of the 90s, falls into the group: as obvious from the name, the protagonists are simple worms, but with a decidedly over the top arsenal.

Looking at Japan, the feeling with animal protagonists seems to be particularly pronounced. Sega’s mascot is Sonic the hedgehog, protagonist in the titles of the franchise Sonic And even at the cinema: characterized by extreme speed, the titles that see him as protagonist since 1991 are cornerstones of the platform genre. Even Yoshi, from Nintendo, is a central character of the platform: the green dinosaur is the mount of Super Mario and, in the series Yoshi’s Island, becomes the protagonist directly. Another videogame icon is linked to Super Mario: Donkey Kong. The protagonist, prototype of Mario, is contrasted by the gorilla Donkey Kong who will give the name to the entire franchise: a series that has grown to become an icon of the arcade genre, above all thanks to the various Donkey Kong Land, in which numerous other protagonists have been introduced simian.


Primates that are also at the center of numerous other titles, such as Ancestors: The Humankind Origin which sees the protagonist, in a markedly survival title, a member of a clan of simian hominids. Black Myth: Wukongexpected for 2023, is instead an action RPG openly inspired by the soulslike genre: the protagonist is a monkey based on the Chinese mythological figure Sun Wukong, already an inspiration for various works as in the case of protagonist of the Dragon Ball manga. Even in the world of online slot machines, where thinking about a protagonist would seem difficult compared to a more generic theme, there are examples: this is the case of King Kong Jackpotsone of the most prominent products of the varied offer of PokerStars Casino and characterized by a colossal monkey, further demonstration of how it is a particularly represented animal.

The series needs no introduction Crash Bandicoot, reference point of the platform genre during the 90s and fresh from the dust with a remake of 2017 and a fourth chapter of 2020: the protagonist is a marsupial widespread especially in Australia, the bandicoot in fact. Also in 2020 it was released Maneater which, as evoked by the title, puts the player in control of a shark: halfway between an open world and an action RPG, it is one of the most recent examples of animal protagonists. Even more recent is the case of Stray: released last Julyit is an adventure-style title starring a stray cat.

Other examples could be given in quantity: from Goat of Dutyparody of a shooter but with goats as protagonists, ad angry Birdswhich stages a feud between birds and pigs, up to Spirit of the North, which has a fox as its protagonist. These are titles that add to the exponents of a trend that runs through the history of video games, and it seems not to want to stop.

Published on Wednesday, November 2, 2022 @ 12:47:50 © REPRODUCTION RESERVED

Animals and video games: zoomorphic protagonists • Terzo Binario News