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Chickens: The most HATED animal in video games?

Gallus gallus domesticus. The humble chicken. Scratcher of dirt. Layer of eggs. Clucker of clucks. As if the indignity of intensive farming and being perched at the wrong end of the Kentucky Fried food chain isn't enough, this stoic, domesticated fowl now finds itself the most hated, ridiculed and victimised animal in video games.

This cruel turn of events - the story of which we are charting in this article - has to be seen as yet another evolutionary blow for the bird that is incapable of sustaining flight over long distances without the aid of a jetpack or other aeronautical propulsion device.


The choking incident

It's widely accepted that Street Fighter II, released in the early 90s, contains the first example of virtual, orchestrated chicken abuse. Observant gamers at the time noticed that one of the background characters populating Chun-Li's stage was in the process of choking a live chicken.

But rather than cause distress, the three frames of crude animation were met with universal amusement thanks to the euphemistic connotations attached to the phrase 'choking the chicken'. Which roughly translated is man-talk for having a masturbation with oneself.

Until the arrival of Street Fighter II and its seemingly innocuous debasement of a flapping bird, the portrayal of chickens in games had been extremely favourable. The feathered farmyard animal's gaming career got off to an auspicious start in the 80s.


It hasn't always been shit for chickens

The chicken landed leading roles in Freeway (Activision's subtle, pseudo-political metaphor that rallied against the climate of aggressive urbanization) and Chickin' Chase (in which players took the role of a cock that shags a hen and has to protect the resultant eggs).

As you can see from the Freeway advert below, the chicken was a unique selling point for games in the 80s, so playing an Atari 2600 in a coop made perfect sense and was a tantalising prospect for savvy consumers. Unsurprisingly, the game was a hit.



However, the end of the 80s heralded the start of dark days for coop dwellers. And, despite a mini-renaissance in the shape of 1993's Alfred Chicken, the status of the world's most ubiquitous bird as a respected patron of gaming began its doomed journey on an alarming downward trajectory. Like an egg tossed from the window of a 747 cruising at 40,000 feet.

The chicken was rapidly relegated to the position of lowly collectible roasted foodstuff in titles such as Streets of Rage 2 and Capcom's 1994 coin-op, Alien vs Predator. But the future fate of the chicken was ultimately stuffed forever by a certain pointy-eared fairy lover.

Next: How Link single-handedly screwed the chicken...

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41 comments

  • seed814 - February 22, 2010 6:26 p.m.

    funny chickens but a warn ya the world will end 2012 because link had a spa at 1 XD
  • RogueRED - February 22, 2010 6:47 a.m.

    I actually got the "chicken kicker" achievment in fable ii
  • CountFenring - February 22, 2010 6:04 a.m.

    I remember kicking chickens in Fable for a hat. Good time, good times.
  • CommanderCrunch - February 22, 2010 3:31 a.m.

    You guys are forgetting about Mort the Chicken. That game was only about chickens and really should have been on this article. Even though I'm pretty much the only person who knows of that games existence.
  • hvymtl1 - February 22, 2010 12:04 a.m.

    FREAK'N D-LISH
  • Gameover333 - February 21, 2010 9:35 p.m.

    What about chickens in Fable? lol a random guy with weapons running up and kicking them cant be too fun for them.
  • crimson_soulreaper305 - February 20, 2010 7:42 p.m.

    Achievement Unlocked:"Colonel Sanderson" damn,ive got a sudden urge to kill,eat, and choke a chicken. @ReCaptcha: confused unions, whose side are you on?
  • misplacedokie - February 20, 2010 6:59 p.m.

    How about Chocobos in early FF series. Next thing to a chicken. Pick them, breed them, feed them, race them. I learned to hate those oversized Chickens
  • soccerclownking - February 20, 2010 4:53 p.m.

    ch1k3nz r t3h un1v3r541 n00bz ov t3h v1d30 94m3 wur1d
  • TheBoz - February 20, 2010 1:38 p.m.

    One very famous 80s game has been left out...Chuckie Egg. It spawned a sequel and was a very well known game on the 8-bit computers. I have the original somwhere. Google it, you can play a remake for free online. Just had a blast, still fun after all these years.
  • AuthorityFigure - February 20, 2010 1:54 a.m.

    Chickens are cursed because they are virtually defenseless and have big, juicy tits that everyone likes to eat.
  • tjkjr1992 - February 19, 2010 11:20 p.m.

    Ha ha. "Choke the chicken"
  • soren7550 - February 19, 2010 4:40 p.m.

    *shudders* Still remember those chicken attacks from 'Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons'
  • philipshaw - February 19, 2010 11:17 a.m.

    Great Article and I have that MW2 trophy so I'm part of the problem
  • TheSugarRay - February 19, 2010 6:03 a.m.

    My favorite chicken kill is in counter strike on the Venice map.
  • Cwf2008 - February 19, 2010 4:13 a.m.

    Mmm chicken...i mean those assholes are plotting world domination! Why else would we continuously attack them
  • sirpsychosexy - February 19, 2010 3:48 a.m.

    what about the chicken chaser achievement in fable II?
  • KevintheDot - February 19, 2010 3:05 a.m.

    I doubt many people would know of it, but in the Age of Mythology games, the cheat "Bawk Bawk Boom" gave you the chicken meteor shower. Chickens rained from the sky, stood up for a minute and then exploded into a cloud of poison gas. I hope they got their 72 virgins.
  • Spybreak8 - February 19, 2010 2:11 a.m.

    Hahah it is very true Chickens are hated in many games. First thing I thought of was zelda and fable when I read that article. The Street Fighter II thing was pretty funny. A good chicken is a dead chicken I always say well that until they start killing humans in a few thousand years.^^
  • nik41507 - February 19, 2010 12:36 a.m.

    @robotechandnarutosucks go away no one wants you here and your criticism of GR

Showing 1-20 of 41 comments

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