It's not easy being a horse, especially a horse who works in the videogames industry. Since I accepted the position of Senior Wildlife Editor at GamesRadar, I've had to make some serious adjustments to my lifestyle. Gone are the daily amenities I once took for granted at my old ranch in Agoura Hills. Small comforts, like my regular servings of ground oats are hard to come by in the heart of San Francisco. Do you have any idea how much fresh produce costs at my local market? And don't even get me started on the puny human portions at my local diner. 'Big breakfast,' my ass. But I digress.
It's no secret that I hold a certain level of distain for my bipedal gaming compatriots. But despite your weak frames and slovenly habits, I have always been jealous of a particular physical skill you humans have always excelled at: climbing. Unlike most non-horse gamers, I actually enjoy the occasional foray into what you hermetic humans refer to as 'outside.' I've swam in both the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean, crossed the Mississippi River, and surveyed Yosemite National Park from the peak of the Half-Dome trail. But actual climbing, the physical act of moving oneself up vertically, has always been a dream dangly just beyond the reach of my powerful front hooves, which is why today, we're going to take a look at the Top 7 most important climbers in the history of gaming, the ones that make me wish I wasn't a horse.
7. The Climber, as seen in Crazy Climber
We begin with Crazy Climber, one of gaming's first sincere attempts to seriously explore the fine art of virtual climbing. The original Japanese arcade game was developed by Nihon Bussan (the creators of Booby Kids and Soldier Girl Amazon) and released in Japan in 1980. It was later brought over to the United States in 1982 by Taito America.
Crazy Climber was one of the first 'building-climber' games, setting the standard for many wall-scaling-type titles that followed. Players took control of a puny (and unnamed) human climber, the goal being to get to the top of the skyscraper. The angry residents of the skyscraper you were scaling didn't take kindly to your shenanigans. They did everything they could to thwart your progress, slamming windows shut over your weak non-horse digits and even tossing flower pots and bits of fruit to send you spiraling down to your doom.
But the most frightening challenge of all was the giant King Kong-like ape, which would harass your human climber during later stages in the game. The frightening creature would return in Crazy Climber Wii, a Japanese remake that was never released in western markets.
Above: There were many Crazy Climber ports for home consoles. Here we see Crazy Climber for the NES (left), and the return of the angry ape in Crazy Climber Wii (right)
6. Lizzy, George and Raph, as seen in Rampage
I won't lie to you. As a horse, I experience a bit of schadenfreude every time I play Rampage. Although I love videogames and consider myself a member of the core gaming community, one can't be entirely pro-equestrian without being a bit anti-human. Perhaps that's why I'm drawn towards the rampant destruction of the human-made cities across North America in Rampage. Your concrete jungles may be impressive from a technological standpoint, but they've also been built over the trampled homes of my non-human ancestors. Believe me, the irony of me relishing in the act of laying waste to a human-made metropolis while enjoying the cozy comforts of your manmade arcades is not lost on me. But I digress.
If Crazy Climber laid the foundation for the building-scaling genre, then Rampage took that idea, and climbed with it to its highest peak. The three-player arcade game starred Lizzy (a Godzilla-like dinosaur), George (a King Kong-like ape), and Ralph (a gigantic werewolf). The goal was simple: destroy all the buildings and survive. Despite the size of these giant anthropormorphic monsters, they were quite nimble, allowing you to quickly scale buildings, hopping back and forth between towers as you pummeled them with your powerful fists.
Perhaps Rampage represents mankind's regret for replacing our pastoral plains with their concrete jungles. In the 1997 sequel Rampage World Tour, it was revealed that Lizzy, George, and Ralph's terrifying monster forms are the results of experiments by Scumlabs, an evil corporation headed by unethical and irresponsible non-horses.
Above: Rampage World Tour