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Birds. Innocuous, feathered, beaky sods, with no greater purpose in the world than to keep at bay the ever-present worm scourge and tweet annoyingly to alert you to the fact that you've pulled another all-nighter on Fallout. In real life, their uses are limited. In games though, free of conventional physics, conventional anatomy and conventional avian-durability ratings, they're a whole lot more fun.
So much so, in fact, that we've managed to come up with a list of the best seven complete interaction-types with birds that games can provide. Or, as you may prefer to call it, a Top 7 things you can do with birds in games. Yeah. Yeah that's what we're going to call it.
As seen in: Angry Birds, Yeti Sports, Tiny Wings, Fable II, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
If there’s one thing that gaming has done for the avian species it’s help them fly. Non-flying birds like penguins, chickens and whatever the fuck those ones in Angry Birds are supposed to be have all been given the power of flight. Via, erm, catapults, foot-to-ass power kicks, and baseball bats, like in Yeti Sports, .
OK, so apart from guiding the little fella to the clouds in Tiny Wings we're simply taking advantage of birds' misfortune for our own pleasure. Or even Achievements, as showcased in Fable II, where hoofing a chicken up it’s feathery backside grabs you the Chicken Kicker award.
Although we’d never dream of performing such cruelty in real life, there is something supremely satisfying about sending birds skywards in games. Whether it’s using them as ammunition in Angry Birds or simply sending them long, you have to admit it’s lovely cheap thrill.
As seen in: Fable III, Final Fantasy VII, Shenmue 2
The real world has racing pigeons. But where's the fun in racing pigeons? You can't ride racing pigeons. Chocobos, however – that's a totally different kettle of giant ostriches. Chocobos were always your first mode of transport in Final Fantasy games before you got the airship, but it wasn't until Final fantasy VII on PSone that you could race them. Preserving stamina, marvelling at the (sort of) impressive 3D graphics… it was awesome. Not to mention some much-needed light relief. Nothing takes your mind off the death of an innocent flower girl quite like a giant yellow bird race.
They even got their own game – Chocobo Racing. And then their own adventure game. In fact, who cares about RPGs? Let's just race big yellow birds and be done with it.
Speaking of which, you'd think that racing birds would be beneath big, important RPGs, wouldn't you? Yet even Shenmue 2 has a duck racing minigame. Hopefully it wasn't the straw that broke the camel's back and pushed the possibility of another Shenmue game just past the 'viable sequel' stage and into the 'yeah… never finishing this' stage.