Over the years we've enjoyed steering some of the animal kingdom's most awesome specimens through some pretty awesome games. Banjo the bear. Donkey Kong the ape. Amaterasu the wolf. We've loved them all. But it's not always nature's most magnificent beasts that game makers deem suitable for the role of hero. Some creatures that have made the jump from wildlife to virtual life are little more than food chain filler. And these are those pathetic animals of which we speak.
A snail, as seen in Snail Maze (Sega Master System, 1986)
Snails are rubbish because:
* Don't move so fast
* A bit too much like slugs
* Eat nothing but salad
* Have a tiny brain
* Don't like salt
* The French eat them
Sure it was free and hidden away, but what Sega in-patient thought to build such a tedious sounding game into the Master System? Snail Maze. The prospect of navigating a hermaphrodite mollusc through a complex network of paths was never ever going to stop anyone from firing up Golden Axe Warrior or Alex Kidd in Miracle World. A snail, in a maze. It's pretty much the polar opposite of a good idea.
At least Sega - famous for making animals move faster than nature intended - had the good sense to do away with the 'snails-pace' and bestow its little labyrinth traveller with an uncharacteristic quickness. But still, bloody Snail Mazzzzzzzzzzzzz...
A frog, as seen in Frogger (Arcade, 1981)
Frogs are rubbish because:
* Squash easy
* Actually enjoy eating flies
* Slimy, not cute
* The female squirts egg spawn while having sex
* Kermit nowhere near as good as Fozzie
* The French eat them
If we were going to make a game about an animal crossing the road, we definitely wouldn't choose a frog. We'd probably go for an elephant or rhino. Something a bit less likely to die beneath the wheels of an automobile. And why are the vehicles in Frogger the same size as the frog? What's the deal?
Even more madder, why do the Frogger frogs die when they fall in the river? Wouldn't the ability to swim be at least *one* good reason to be playing as a frog? Conclusion: frogs are fail...
A worm, as seen in Earthworm Jim (Mega Drive/Genesis, 1994)
Worms are rubbish because:
* Hard to tell which end is which
* Always being eaten by other animals
* Not very tasty in sandwiches
* Shrivel up and die in the sun
* Frequently get chopped in half
* They don't mind eating shit
Just to clarify, we're not saying that Earthworm Jim is rubbish. Far from it. Earthworm Jim is awesome. But let's face it, if Earthworm Jim hadn't been the accidental recipient of the 'Ultra-high-tech-indestructible-super-space-cyber-suit' and had remained a rubbish common earthworm, then his game would have been about as enjoyable as this:
And, of course, residing on the lowest chink of the food chain as earthworms do, Jim would have been susceptible to a lot more of this:
Next: Even more completely rubbish animals!