High Horse is a rotating opinion column in which GamesRadar editors and guest writers are invited to express their personal thoughts on games, the people who play them and the industry at large.
It’s not easy being a horse, especially a horse who writes for human gamers. Don’t take this personally, but you guys don’t seem to understand the basic rules of your own native language. After looking at some of the comments on this site, I can say with confidence that I’ve met dogs with a better grasp of English grammar than you. And I’m not even talking about your run-of-the-mill Yale bulldogs (they’re the worst). I’m talking about everyday canines of the smell-another-dog’s-ass-at-the-park variety. Seriously, people. There’s a spell check feature built into the commenting system below. If you can’t figure that out, let me put you in touch with this guy I know named Sparky. He offers ESL lessons for a reasonable fee. But I digress.
Today, I’m here to talk about ignorance, the way the videogame industry continues to promote the subjugation of equines, and the misconception that we are nothing more than an object.
I am not your mount. I am not a pet for human girls to groom. I am a horse, like my father before me, and I deserve better. From Red Dead Redemption to The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, I continue to see excellent games waste the opportunity to do more with mares and stallions.
Saddled by weak, bi-pedal protagonists, equines continue to bear the burden of gaming’s most pedestrian tasks. We walk. We trot. We gallop. And on the rare occasion, you might hear some actual voice work with a faint whinny or two thrown in for kicks. But once the non-horse protagonist arrives at his destination, the average equid inevitably finds itself tossed aside like so many used tissues.
I used to dream of the horse apocalypse, the day when herds around the world might unite to break free from the shackles of our domesticated comforts, trampling slow and fat humans who dare to stand before us to claim their concrete jungles for ourselves. But years spent living and working amongst non-horses has sobered me, and I’ve begrudgingly come to terms with the fact that the equid revolution will probably never become a reality – at least not during my lifetime.
But that realization will never stop me from wanting more titles brave enough to take a step beyond the confines of your kind’s narrow perception of non-humans. Rainbow Studios’ 2009 release of Deadly Creatures was a huge step forward for non-human gamers. Starring a scorpion and tarantula as the title’s main protagonists, Deadly Creatures showed that you don’t always need a playable bipedal protagonist to create a successful gaming experience.