The cutest creatures in gaming

Spring is finally here and it’s my favourite time of year. Easter is not far over the horizon too with its promise of family get-togethers and too-much-chocolate, as well as additional time to dedicate to video games over an extended weekend.

These aren’t the only reasons why it’s my favourite season however. There’s another, fluffier element which puts spring on top: all the newborn animals which will soon be hopping about. From downy chicks and paddling ducklings, to bouncing lambs and fluttering butterflies, there’s plenty to get all gooey-eyed over during the next few months. Here’s a round-up of some of the cutest animals in video games in honour this time of year and all things adorable.

The Dog from Fable

I might be a cat person myself but even I can appreciate just how gorgeous the Dog from the Fable series is. After saving him from a bully at the start of the second title, he’ll loyally remain by your side through all sorts of battles and you can show him he’s a ‘good boy’ by petting him. His appearance will change in line with your Hero’s alignment, turning him into happy, friendly companion who looks like a yellow Labrador if you’re very good. Forget a sword – this is one Dog who’s definitely a Hero’s best friend.

Chocobos from Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy X, video game, Chocobo, bird, chickenAs mentioned in a recent post, I’ve played very little of the Final Fantasy series – but even I know what a Chocobo is. My favourite spring animal are fluffy chicks so this is an excellent entry for our list! They’re incredibly cute when young and grow up to be intelligent and friendly, helping characters on their journeys by allowing themselves to be ridden. They also demonstrate an ability to communicate with other sentient creatures and can be ferocious in combat; they’d be the perfect animal to take along on your daily commute to work.

Vladdy from Maize

Maize, video game, bear, Vladdy, robot, animatronicSo Vladdy might not technically be a ‘creature’ seeing as he’s a robot you make partway through Maize, but he’s still awesome because he’s always there to remind you how ridiculous everything is. He bears (pun intended) a striking resemblance to an animatronic toy from our childhoods but he isn’t as sickly-sweet; here’s a character who throws constant insults at you in his Russian accent while stomping around the room, squeaking as he goes. It turns out to be a beautiful love-hate relationship, and his grumpiness just makes him even more endearing.

The Minions from Overlord

Overlord, video game, town, Spree, Minions, goblins, beer, drinkingThis entry on our list is a lovable mix of naughty and nice: the Minions from Overlord get up to all sorts if mischief through the series but they’re weirdly cute while doing so. Sure, they’re a bit scaly with murderous intentions; like guzzling down beer before weeing everywhere; and want to eat the ‘sheepies’ and club the baby deals to death. But their zest for life and questionable fashion-sense make them strangely adorable despite all that, and their funny little sayings are bound to put a smile on anyone’s face.

Slimes from Slime Rancher

Slime Rancher, video game, Pink Slimes, blobs, cute, aliensSlimes are gelatinous bell-shaped aliens that live in the Far, Far Range and their permanently happy expressions and high-pitched voices make them one seriously adorable creature. They’re soft, squishy and very happy to be around people; plus their plorts (diamond-shaped items they produce after being fed) are used to manufacture everything from food products to household cleaners, therefore making them incredibly useful too. Don’t tell me you can look at that image and then not want to give them a cuddle.

Trico from The Last Guardian

The Last Guardian, video game, Trico, animal, beast, phoenix, griffin, boyAt the start of The Last Guardian, Trico can be a little intimidating: he’s absolutely huge, terribly distressed and not entirely pleased about your attention. Over the course of the game however he turns into a loyal companion who doesn’t leave your side. That makes him all the more cute; Trico might be far bigger than a lot of the other creatures on this list and doesn’t always do as he’s told, but it’s hard to resist those gorgeous eyes and playful nature as he plays like a kitten with objects in the environment.

The cat from The Preposterous Awesomeness of Everything

The Preposterous Awesomeness of Everything, TPAoE, cat pops up, cat, kitten, menu screenThe Preposterous Awesomeness of Everything not only has one of the longest names in gaming, it also has one of the quirkiest styles. Its cut-and-paste design and offbeat humour make it a delight to play if you have a few hours to spare. And even if you don’t, it’s still worth installing and loading up because there’s a nice little surprise waiting on the menu screen: click on the ‘cat pops up’ option and that’s exactly what happens. What’s even better is that that fluffy little kitten greets you for no reason other than to make you laugh.

Pretty much any creature from Botanicula

Botanicula, video game, creatures, tadpoles, plantsBotanicula is a funny little adventure game about five friends: tiny creatures who set out on an amazing journey to save the last seed from their home tree from horrible evil parasites. Amanita Design have such a way with characters and almost every single one in this title is has its own style of cuteness. Click on them and they’ll react in a variety of ways, from a humorous animation to a quirky human-made sound; and they manage to tell an entire story without saying a single word. Just go and play it.

Now don’t tell me you didn’t say ‘Aw!’ at least once while reading through that list. If you know of any adorable creatures which should be added, please do let everyone know in the comments below!

Creature comforts: video game pets

At the end of April, Ian over at Adventure Rules ran the first ever Charming and Open event. He invited readers to ask him questions but there was a catch: in return, he could ask them a question of his own. I decided to query Ian about the location in a video game he’d most like to visit; and he asked me about my memories of The Secret of Monkey Island.

It was such a good idea that many of us were very happy when he announced another Charming and Open event at the beginning of December! Austin from Reaper Interactive enquired about his most embarrassing gaming moment; Chris from OverThinker Y wanted to know which gaming character he’d least like to meet down a dark alley; and Retro Redress asked Ian to tell us the one game he’s always wanted to complete but never has.

Head over to Adventure Rules to check out more of the great posts published as a result. My question to the lovely Ian this time was: which video game character would you most like to meet in real life and why? The one he posed to me in return is below, and this is my answer.

If you could choose any creature from a video game to be your pet, what would you choose and why?

The Last Guardian turned out to be one of the most touching and thoughtful games I’ve ever played, and a title which creates one of the most believable bonds between a human and an animal. It’s therefore no surprise that my immediate reaction to this question was Trico: a giant griffin-like creature whose name can be taken to mean a portmanteau of ‘bird’ and ‘cat’ in Japanese.

The Last Guardian, video game, Trico, animal, beast, phoenix, griffin, boy

But thinking about it harder, I realised how completely impractical this would be. He’d never be able to fit in the house and would therefore have to sleep in the garden, which would almost certainly annoy the neighbours. I dread to think how much the weekly food bill would be – and that’s even if we could find a glowing-barrel stockist. And I’m not sure our cats would be best pleased about us getting a Trico as a pet.

On top of all that, this is a video game creature which needs to be free of captivity. His fear of the stained-glass eyes dotted around the environment in The Last Guardian paints a picture of the traumatic conditioning he’s been subjected to for years and, after going on such a long journey to ensure the boy’s safety, doesn’t he deserve a little peace and happiness in return? So no Trico.

How about Crow, the talking bird? He’s one of my favourite characters from The Longest Journey series: a womaniser who’s partial to fleeting visits with birds replete with kisses but he’s fiercely loyal and has a great sense of humour. He wouldn’t take up as much space as a giant griffin-like creature and we already have a bird-feeder in the garden, so board and lodging are taken care of.

Dreamfall Chapters, video game, Crow, bird, library

He would be the sort of pet that would look out for my stepson and I get the impression the two of them would be inseparable. That would be a source of comfort for myself and my other-half: the teenage years are fast approaching so someone who’s going to help keep him on the right track would be much appreciated. While Ethan is away during the week, Crow could fly over to see him and make sure he’s doing ok.

But this is a creature who, despite being able to speak fowl language (pun intended), prefers a ‘decent conversation with people as bird twitter can be somewhat limited’. Does that mean he’d want to involve us in endless discussion after a long day at work, when all we want to do is crash out on the sofa and play video games? And what about the cats: perhaps they might take to living with a new winged-pet a little too well. So no Crow.

How about a Slime from Slime Rancher then? These are gelatinous ball-shaped aliens that live in the Far, Far Range; and their permanently-happy expressions and high-pitched voices make them seriously adorable. There are a number of different species but the Pink Slime is the easiest to look after as they’ll eat all three main food types in the game: fruit, meat and veggies.

Slime Rancher, video game, Pink Slimes, blobs, cute, aliens

They’re soft, squishy and very happy to be around people so there’d be no need to worry when our friends bring their young children over for a visit. In addition, their plorts (diamond-shaped items they produce after being fed) are used to manufacture everything from food products to household cleaners. My other-half and I could therefore sell them at the Plort Market to generate a second income – kerching!

But there’s the danger of our pet turning into a Largo Slime and this in turn transforming into a Tarr, a creature who seeks only to consume and replicate. I’m also not sure Pete would be happy taking a Pink Slime out for regular walks where all the neighbours could see. Add to these downsides the fact that our cats would constantly be covered in sticky stuff and therefore need constant brushing. So no Pink Slime.

It seems as though a lot of animals within video games, regardless of how adorable they are, would make a pretty lousy pet. Whether it’s issues with space and food bills, incessant talking and attention-seeking, or the threat of it turning into a hostile creature, there’s always something that would put you off keeping one in your own house.

Link, Zelda, cats

I think it might be best if we just stick with our cats, Link and Zelda. They might leave fur all over the house, steal the quilt while we’re sleeping at night, and want to sit on our laps while we’re trying to play video games. But we love those little fluffballs and wouldn’t do without them.