High Horse: I am not your mount

High Horse is a rotating opinion column in which GamesRadar editors and guest writers are invited to express their personal thoughts on games, the people who play them and the industry at large.

It’s not easy being a horse, especially a horse who writes for human gamers. Don’t take this personally, but you guys don’t seem to understand the basic rules of your own native language. After looking at some of the comments on this site, I can say with confidence that I’ve met dogs with a better grasp of English grammar than you. And I’m not even talking about your run-of-the-mill Yale bulldogs (they’re the worst). I’m talking about everyday canines of the smell-another-dog’s-ass-at-the-park variety. Seriously, people. There’s a spell check feature built into the commenting system below. If you can’t figure that out, let me put you in touch with this guy I know named Sparky. He offers ESL lessons for a reasonable fee. But I digress.

Today, I’m here to talk about ignorance, the way the videogame industry continues to promote the subjugation of equines, and the misconception that we are nothing more than an object.

I am not your mount. I am not a pet for human girls to groom. I am a horse, like my father before me, and I deserve better. From Red Dead Redemption to The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, I continue to see excellent games waste the opportunity to do more with mares and stallions.

Saddled by weak, bi-pedal protagonists, equines continue to bear the burden of gaming’s most pedestrian tasks. We walk. We trot. We gallop. And on the rare occasion, you might hear some actual voice work with a faint whinny or two thrown in for kicks. But once the non-horse protagonist arrives at his destination, the average equid inevitably finds itself tossed aside like so many used tissues.

Above: Red Dead Redemption protagonist John Marston is a so-called “good guy” who also supports the subjugation of horses

I used to dream of the horse apocalypse, the day when herds around the world might unite to break free from the shackles of our domesticated comforts, trampling slow and fat humans who dare to stand before us to claim their concrete jungles for ourselves. But years spent living and working amongst non-horses has sobered me, and I’ve begrudgingly come to terms with the fact that the equid revolution will probably never become a reality – at least not during my lifetime.

But that realization will never stop me from wanting more titles brave enough to take a step beyond the confines of your kind’s narrow perception of non-humans. Rainbow Studios’ 2009 release of Deadly Creatures was a huge step forward for non-human gamers. Starring a scorpion and tarantula as the title’s main protagonists, Deadly Creatures showed that you don’t always need a playable bipedal protagonist to create a successful gaming experience.


  • pinoklin - February 11, 2012 10:17 a.m.

    dear buttercup. what´s your opinion on my little pony: friendship is magic? i am a brony and would love to know how you think
  • sirdilznik - February 11, 2012 9:14 a.m.

    Buttercup delivers the goods, as always. Thoroughly enjoyable article.
  • joabbuac - February 11, 2012 6:58 a.m.

    I treated Agro with much respect in Shadow of the Colossus, even though he was an annoying bastard sometimes.
  • Asloveszuko - February 15, 2012 5:30 a.m.

    Amen to that. Loved that horse, but controlling him was like riding a bike with cooking oil on the wheels on glare ice.
  • Slayer11496 - February 11, 2012 3:44 a.m.

    Actually, better personified horses would be a nice touch. We all loved our dog in Fable II right?
  • jmcgrotty - February 11, 2012 1:22 a.m.

    At the expense of looking stupid to Buttercup, and as others have asked, what spell check does the comments section? I am guessing that maybe a site editor has this feature, but not the average person?
  • marioman50 - February 10, 2012 11:21 p.m.

    Hey Buttercup, what did you think of the movie "War Horse"?
  • SpadesSlick - February 10, 2012 9:10 p.m.

    An excellent buttercup article as always, even if buttercup represents the fringe far right movements infecting the equine population.
  • sonicskateboard - February 10, 2012 8:36 p.m.

    Buttercup just admit your jealous of humans' opposable thumbs. Controllers were designed for primates. All your horse brethren will have to stick to writing video game articles and playing the pc or kinect for horses. Horses playing dance central?
  • Trollkitten - April 4, 2014 4:43 p.m.

    "Horses playing Dance Central?" Cannot... unsee...
  • NightCrawler_358 - February 10, 2012 8:21 p.m.

    Can we get some serious articles about how game developers have completely ignored the integration of hoof-friendly controls in their games? Somebody needs to speak up about it.
  • Grif - February 10, 2012 5:47 p.m.

    I love Buttercup's articles.
  • LiaraLoveSlave - February 10, 2012 5:39 p.m.

    This edition of High Horse brought to you by a high horse. So meta.
  • EwoksTasteLikeChicken - February 10, 2012 5:17 p.m.

    Poor Buttercup. Poor horses.
  • MCN2011 - February 10, 2012 4:25 p.m.

    Buttercup, what is your opinion of the N64 game Space Station Silicon Valley? That allowed you to play as a number of non-human creatures (albeit in robot form). I think there may have also been horses, but I can't quite remember.
  • Mezolitik - February 10, 2012 3:16 p.m.

    A horse helped me defeat a dragon yesterday. The dragon ate the stable owner, and then attacked the horse. But the dragon-born and the horse-born were victorious. A giant helped me today, but that wasn't anywhere near as interesting.
  • talleyXIV - February 10, 2012 3:14 p.m.

    Why did Sarah Jessica Parker start writing for Gamesradar?
  • BladedFalcon - February 11, 2012 9:04 a.m.

    Oh lol XD ..Hey, that's not nice! Buttercup's not so ugly as to be insulted that way! D:
  • CameronPoe - February 10, 2012 2:29 p.m.

    I called it... Great article!
  • jonathancaddock - February 10, 2012 2:20 p.m.

    So you think horses aren't utilized as well as they could be in games? Also your readers have poor grammar. Padded out to make an entire article... Has it been a slow week?

Showing 1-20 of 29 comments

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