Thursday, May 7, 2015

Animals in Video Games

Two of my favorite video games that I played when I was younger was Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon. Animal Crossing is essentially a game where you are the only human in a town of walking, talking animals. These animals are anthropomorphized greatly, living in houses, wearing human clothes and even having cute catchphrases. In Animal Crossing there are cats, dogs, rabbits, birds, cows, squirrels, sheep and so much more. Interestingly though, insects or fish can be "caught" in the game and given to the museum (whose curator is an owl) or sold to the town store (run by a raccoon). The game is still a favorite of mine to this day, though I haven't played it in a long time. And I find that the personalities of the animals usually very much resemble how animals act in real life. The cats can be more pompous, the squirrels can be excitable, and so on.

In Harvest Moon you become a farmer and raise animals and crops. It's the ideal farm that you'd like to image your food came from, not those factory farms we hear about in the news. In Harvest Moon, you and every other character is basically vegetarian unless it comes to fish. You don't eat animals in the game (again with the exception of fish), you only use the cows for their milk and the chickens for their eggs and the sheep for their wool. It's the idyllic, pastoral farm and the game is very calming to play. You can earn money in the game by fishing, selling animal goods, selling crops or going mining. When you have enough money you can buy machines to make wool into yarn, or make milk into butter or cheese.

Both of these games were a big part of my childhood and I enjoy looking back and seeing what a large part animals played in my experience and overall enjoyment of these games. Feel free to comment on what video games you enjoy that have a large component to do with animals!

1 comment:


    I also grew up with Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon so I'm glad someone had thought to post about them!
    Starting with Harvest Moon- It's a cute little farming simulator that has you growing crops and raising your own animals. I was personally a better rancher than farmer and found that breeding and selling animal products was a much better source of income in the game. It has a value system in which the better your relationship was with the animal, the better products you would receive from them. Every day I would take my animals out for some sunshine, talk to each of them, pet them on the head, pick them up (if I could), brush them, and maintain their overall health. It rewarded kind treatment and having happy animals created happier gameplay.

    As for Animal Crossing, I don't even know where to begin. It's probably on my top three list and I've played lots of games (as an ex-game design major, I should!). If I ever have a bad day, this game cheers me right back up. As the player, you move into a little animal village and are basically in servitude to Tom Nook, the owner of the house you buy. I guess a lot of the game is you earning 'bells' (the currency) to pay him back and expand your house... and pay him back.... and expand your house.... I swear, it's a lot better than I make it out to be. Anyways, in the animal town, you're surrounded by a bunch of animal neighbors who are (usually) super kind. I don't think it would have had the same effect if the animals were replaced by other humans because with people, you can create drama. Animals seem much more innocent. The game has that sort of feel- very carefree. I like escaping into this world when I don't want to deal with other people. It's probably the cutest game anyone can ever play.