Eggs are more fun when they're interactive
Yesterday was Easter Sunday, and aside from our enjoyment of stating the obvious, we bring that up because Easter is a time for contemplation. Specifically for contemplating eggs. Not only are they delicious in both their natural and chocolate forms, but theyre fun to paint and hide, a ritual that apparently has something to do with the death and rebirth of a messiah over two millennia ago.
Unsurprisingly, the omnipresent ovoids have also played key roles in games over the years, and you know what lets just cut the crap and get to the eggs already.
7. Charlie from Eggs of Steel
Anthropomorphized eggs are strangely rare in video games, and rarer still are ones whod actually be trusted with the job of night watchman at a steel mill. Charlie may be living evidence of why that is, considering that, in the first few minutes of his strange little quasi-3D platformer, his abject incompetence nearly brings the whole place crashing down on itself.
Charlies infuriatingly chirpy voice and weirdly inappropriate, Popeye-like patter set him off on the wrong foot with the audience right away, and continue to do so as he yelps and cackles his way through the rest of his boring-ass game. For all his faults, though, he does tend to get splattered a lot, and his steel-worker ensemble is just tough-looking enough to make him an almost-credible (if incredibly annoying) hero. And his game, while tedious, is oddly interesting to look at, using 2D sprites of 3D-rendered graphics to create an illusion (however shaky) of 3D gameplay.
Also, hes got a nemesis named Blast Furnace Bill whos get this a disfigured, evil genius egg in steel armor. Although he cant be that much of a genius, considering that he continually harasses Charlie with robots and hazards, when as a fellow steel-mill employee, it would be much quicker (and more responsible) to simply report Charlies gross incompetence to his superiors.
Above: Actually, maybe we should have made this entry about him
So yeah, Charlies not one of the better eggs. But we threw him on here anyway, because A) hes still more interesting than roughly 95 percent of video-game eggs, and B) hes about to make the rest of these entries look amazing.
6. Penguin Land egg
If watching March of the Penguins taught us anything, its that the lives of penguins are centered mainly on keeping their fragile eggs safe from the elements. And if you ever wanted to see that concept made into a game, then Segas Penguin Land series has you covered, as its lone penguin protagonist strives to push its huge egg down a series of platforms without shattering it.
This isnt an egg with a personality or any great purpose; its just an egg. However, your existence depends on keeping that egg safe. The penguin himself doesnt have lives that deplete as he runs afoul of crushing traps and bullying polar bears; he is inconsequential and expendable compared to his stock of eggs, which are extremely limited. This creates a driving need to keep the egg out of harms way, and because of that need, the egg becomes unimaginably important. You will project your emotions onto the egg. You will imagine a rich future shared by the egg and the penguin, if only you can get it down to the bottom safely.
And what does that future involve? Well, it depends on which of the Penguin Land games youre playing. In the original, getting the egg down to the bottom delivers it into the hands of the penguins spaceship crew, who carry it off into the dark recesses of their vessel to probe its albumen in a surprise twist ending worthy of Rod Serling. In the Genesis version, he pushes it down to his wife, at which point it cracks open and reveals a flower. Then either she swoons or he blushes, or she turns her head in disgust at the strange aberration and he turns red from the embarrassment.
Above: Possibly both. Its kind of hard to tell
5. American McGees Humpty Dumpty
Like so much else in the dystopian version of Wonderland glimpsed in 2000s Alice, this Humpty Dumpty is a piece of work. He doesnt say anything; he just perches on a rock, tapping his cigar ash and waiting for players to notice him. And when they do, the reaction is almost uniformly holy shit, what is that?
Apparently ravaged by the same forces that turned Wonderland into a nightmare (or just by a great fall, whichever), this Humpty is huge and shattered, with only half a face for glowering at you in a menacing (but not exactly threatening) way. And the bit of exposed egg poking out from where his right eye used to be is unquestionably hard-boiled, sending a clear signal that this is not the same effete little gentleman who Alice encountered years before.
This is an angry Humpty Dumpty. A Humpty Dumpty for the aughts. A Humpty Dumpty who smells cordite and blood in the night, who dishes out two-fisted justice in the night to the thugs and pimps who make the streets mean. This is a Humpty Dumpty whos seen things, whos done things, and who frankly couldnt care less who you are or what you have to say about it.
Or he could just be a particularly effective piece of animatronic set-dressing for a memorably dark game. Whatever.
Plenty of Pokemon have weird childhood issues. Cubone, for example, likes to strut around wearing its mothers skull, and Pokemon like Yamask arent born, but enter the world as the spirits of the dead (hinting at a truly terrifying afterlife laying in wait for Pokemons protagonists). However, Togepi is the only one that refuses to ever leave its egg, insisting on wearing the splintered husk everywhere it goes in an extreme case of arrested development. If Togepi were capable of carrying large wads of cash, it would be every psychiatrists wet dream.
Its easy to dismiss Togepis disgusting eggshell fixation as just a by-product of it being an anthropomorphized-egg Pokemon. In fact, you may actually need to do that, because otherwise its hard not to see this thing is super-gross. Eggshells are kind of nasty at the best of times, and Togepi has been wearing the one it was born in since well, since it was born. Imagine what it smells like under there. Probably like egg farts and raw sewage.
Above: Also we think it might be pooping in there
Despite its creepy inability to leave the (literal and metaphorical) womb, however, theres something undeniably adorable about Togepi, assuming you can overlook that the spikes jutting out of its head emit poison. (Its not entirely clear how said poison is emitted, so were just going to imagine that it sprays the stuff in every direction, like a particularly loathsome sprinkler.) And to be fair, when Togepi evolves (into Togetic or Togekiss), it does learn to leave its shell sort of. Given that those creatures have the same markings on their bellies as Togepi has on its shell, were guessing the shell acquired a life of its own and spread across Togepis entire body, encasing the host organism completely and assuming control.
Above: The horror the horror
3. The Wind Fish's Egg
Other than maybe the egg from Penguin Land, its difficult to think of an ovoid embryo thats been as central to its games plot as the Wind Fishs Egg from Legend of Zelda: Links Awakening. Sitting high atop a mountain, it dominates the landscape of the island of Koholint. And while it looks like a ridiculous speckled thing sitting atop a pedestal that barely contains it, its importance cant be understated.
Inside the egg sleeps the Wind Fish, the magical creature whos dreamed up Koholint and everyone on it except for Link himself, who washed up on its shores after a shipwreck. Koholints a beautiful place, but its a dream thats gotten out of control, and is in danger of being overrun by monstrous nightmares. In order to save Koholint, Link must destroy it and the Wind Fishs Egg is the key.
Above: Hey, wait a THATS A MAMMAL! And apparently also a very drowsy glam-rocker
Its the big MacGuffin that drives the plot, and players are aware from early on that its going to be their eventual destination. Its where everything youve worked for pays off, as Link brings together eight magical instruments that can wake the eggs inhabitant, and its where everything will end for players, for Link and for Koholint itself, which will cease to exist when the Wind Fish wakes. Eggs are traditionally symbols of birth and renewal, but this may be one of the only times that symbolism is applied directly to something that is, in fact, a doomsday device (however imaginary said doomsday might be).
Possibly the only anthropomorphized egg to ever enjoy any kind of lasting success or adulation from fans, Dizzy is for many older UK gamers a mascot on the same level as Mario and Sonic, emblematic of an era in gaming that was, for them, dominated by the ZX Spectrum computer. And to be fair, Dizzys pretty unique, occupying a series of balls-hard games that blend platforming with adventure-game-esque item puzzles and very few lives.
Dizzy exists as an egg for one very simple reason: eggs are easy to animate. And while hes been depicted numerous ways on his boxes (usually with an assortment of hats), Dizzys always depicted onscreen the same way: as a grinning, googly eyed ovum with boxing gloves and a habit of rolling after jumps, something that tends to send him right the hell off cliffs if youre not careful.
Sadly, love for Dizzy appears to be a UK-only phenomenon, as his only real exposure in the US came from the somewhat ill-received NES/Genesis Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy, which made the series clumsy action more demanding (without really making it less clumsy) and its adventure-game elements more awkward. Even so, Dizzy soldiered on through nine core games and a handful of spinoffs in Europe before eventually petering out around 1994, only to come back last year with an iOS remake of his sixth game, Prince of the Yolkfolk.
Above: Not too bad for an egg, especially for an egg that barely made it out of Britain
1. Yoshi egg
All right, this ones cheating a little, because where all the other eggs on this list are singular, the term Yoshi egg actually encompasses a wide variety of eggs spread out across numerous games. But their ubiquity and versatility makes them hard to ignore, and considering that Yoshis a purportedly male character, hes left an awful lot of these things laying around over the years.
Yoshi eggs started out fairly simple; in 1991s Super Mario World, they were a power-up, albeit a really cool one; find an egg, and itd hatch into a dinosaur that you could ride. Later in the game, different-colored ones started appearing, giving you little hatchling Yoshis that youd have to carry in front of you like a bulldozer blade, running into enemies so that your new pet could swallow enough to become a full-sized Yoshi.
It was in Super Mario World 2: Yoshis Island that these things really came into their own, though. As Yoshi ate enemies, hed immediately metabolize them into eggs, which followed him around in a line and could then be used as ammunition. Not only was this an awesome (and possibly scatological) use for enemies, but it made the eggs much more central to the gameplay than when theyd just held a new friend for Mario to ride.
This also set the standard for the way theyd appear in future games, particularly the Smash Bros. series, in which Yoshi can gulp down opponents and encase them in eggs. This of course raises some interesting questions as to just what the hell is going on inside that dinosaurs body, and what purpose eggs really serve for the species, considering Yoshi also uses them as safe hiding places in games like Super Mario Galaxy 2.
Probably better not to dwell on it, then, and just concentrate on how awesome those eggs are. And not what Mario or Samus go through when theyre rocketed through Yoshis digestive tract and wind up encased in an egg.
What did we miss?
Obviously we've left out a lot of prominent eggs from gaming's long and convoluted history. Is one of them your favorite? Are eggs better as inanimate objects, or do you prefer it when they have faces and personalities? Discuss.
And yeah, we know, you disagree with us. We're wrong about one of the entries, or we forgot something, or we're stupid for not including your favorite thing. It's fine, we get it.
Don't just sit there shouting at the screen, though - comment below and let us know what you think.