It's not easy being a horse, especially a horse during these tough economic times. Despite the huge federal deficit, massive layoffs, and two wars, American humans will find the time and money to waste on useless gifts for friends and family members this holiday season.
Like sheep lined up for the slaughter, they gather in droves to attend Black Friday sales. There, the humans will procure unsightly sweaters for the nephew they never see, dresses for the niece too fat to wear them, home appliances for mother's domestic prison, gift cards for unappreciative sons, and books about the civil war for the father who stopped loving them years ago. But I digress.
Considering the dysfunctional state of your society, the human desire for escapism is something I really do relate to. And when it comes to taking a break from the utter disappointment that is your life, you could do much worse than games. Unless, of course, you're talking about the ones featured here.
Above: This year, a human shopper stormed a Los Angeles Wal-Mart on Black Friday, using a can of pepper spray on fellow customers while hunting for an Xbox. Merry Christmas
Why do human girls dream of horses? Is it because our strong backs offer more stability than their jobless fathers? Are we more nurturing than their chain smoking mothers? Do we help them become more attractive to boys? The answer to these questions is yes. But the veracity of these truisms does not excuse the insult to horses represented by titles like I Love Horses: Rider's Paradise.
Preying on the pastoral fantasies and pony wishes of its target audience, Rider's Paradise tries to wrap the practice of horse care in a pretty box. But all the verdant fields and rainbows in the world won't stop this title from stumbling right out of the starting gate.
The embarrassingly bad English from the game's voice cast might not be so grating to the ears if the sound levels weren't so messed up and you could actually hear what they were saying half the time. Not that it'd really matter. This "plot-driven" title finds you playing a human girl charged with saving a farm in trouble. It's a story so lazy and contrived it feels like it might work better as the premise for an adult film.
To its credit, the game's unbearable single player campaign won't last long. Clocking in at a little over four hours, it's a short ride at best. But don't expect to get any satisfaction from returning to its stiff animations, simplified riding mechanics, and ridiculous green fields complete with butterflies.