Video Games

A Horse, a Horse! My Video Game for a Horse!

Canines have to take the back seat when it comes to man’s best friend in video games. All dogs can do is look cute and bark… you can’t even use them as a means of transportation. This is where the domesticated horse comes in. With an average top speed of 30mph, horses can outrun hoverboards, sloths and provisional license holders. This makes them the perfect companions to go on adventures with, and is essential for the pre-industrial open-world settings commonly used in games. So, let’s not foal around and take a look at the best of the best.

Roach (The Witcher):
Geralt’s horse gets the sympathy vote due to the sheer amount of shit she puts up with. Being the ride of a monster hunter means that Roach will encounter terrifying beasties on a daily basis; including but not limited to: trolls, griffins, werewolves and giant frogs. Naturally all she can do is run around and try not to get eaten or stabbed (horses can’t hold swords, making them fairly useless in a fight). Yet still she sticks around by Geralt’s side even when he constantly uses magic to brainwash her into being calm! If that wasn’t enough, Geralt likes to take trophies from the bounties he accomplishes to pretentiously show off how talented he is. Unfortunately another downside to being a horse is that you are unable speak English, so Roach can’t object to having severed heads displayed on her saddle. It’s clear that she has unwavering loyalty, otherwise she would’ve cantered sassily away many moons ago.

Imagine having a wyvern’s head attached to your butt. Credit: Saman Izadyar

Agro (Shadow of the Colossus):
Another example of extreme loyalty and affection can be found in the PlayStation 2 classic Shadow of the Colossus. Agro is the sole companion of Wander on his quest to resurrect a cursed girl named Mono. Wander must perform a controversial ritual that demands the death of 16 Colossi – huge, beautiful creatures that peacefully inhabit The Forbidden Lands. Without Agro, this task would be near impossible. Agro’s speed in particular is what make her so useful, helping in the battles against the faster moving colossi allowing Wander to dodge attacks and fire his bow whilst on horseback. Albeit, the stead’s most notable act <spoiler alert> comes later in the game in a scene that really stirrups your emotions. The pair must cross a suspiciously ancient stone bridge in order to reach the final Colossus. You can probably guess what happens. The bridge starts to collapse whilst Agro swiftly gallops and bucks Wander to the other side. Agro falls as Wander helplessly looks in despair.

I can’t find the words to explain how wonderful this game is.

Diamond Horse (Metal Gear Solid V):
As one would expect, Big Boss’s horse is the most tactical on this list. If James Bond didn’t drive luxurious Aston Martins then he would most definitely opt for D-Horse. Perhaps the most eminent of D-Horse’s abilities is the skill to defecate on command. A well placed poo can make light vehicles swerve out of control and incapacitate any driver with the misfortune to stumble upon this brown trap. A truly impressive trait for any horse to have and an absolute mare for provisional drivers everywhere.

I do now in fact have “D-Horse defecate” in my Google search history, but then I realized that you probably don’t want to see that

The Four Horses of the Apocalypse (Red Dead Redemption):
Now for more magical horses, in the Undead Nightmare add-on to everyone’s favourite cowboy simulator, zombies have taken over the American-Mexican border. With the undead comes an assortment of mythical creatures and amongst the sasquatches, chupacabras and jackalopes come Famine, Pestilence, War and Death. Each have their own unique superpowers that are very loosely based on their biblical interpretations; they are like the Avengers but wear saddles instead of tights. War is engulfed in flames and sets enemies on fire, Pestilence is covered in wounds and is surrounded by a sickly green mist that stuns the undead, Famine is accompanied by a swarm of locusts and is the fastest of all the horses and finally, the most powerful, Death who can elegantly make zombies’ heads explode on contact. Chasing these majestic beasts on your ordinary stead whilst trying to lasso and subsequently tame them is probably the most fun you can have whilst on a virtual horse.

Look at Pestilence’s eyes (far left), looks like he’s been playing too many video games

Shadowmere (The Elder Scrolls):
And finally we have the cool one. The horse that would most likely be wearing sunglasses, regardless of the weather. Admittedly one needs to be a pretty cool horse in order to be the prized possession of the Dark Brotherhood assassins. Shadowmere fits the criteria perfectly: he is immortal, he has glowing red eyes and he is an avid mountain climber. Unlike the other horses that cowardly run away from danger, Shadowmere stays and fights no matter who the foe is. An ancient dragon, a lowly peasant, a provisional licence holder. Shadowmere doesn’t care. He will crush them with his mighty hooves and he will have neigh regrets. When you earn him in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim he emerges out of a black pool of water and is surrounded by smoke for crying out loud. So cool.