Why I Love: Picking up chickens

I have a thing for chickens. Put a chicken in a game and I am at least 10% more likely to enjoy that game. Why? Hell, I don’t know. They just strike me as such ridiculous creatures, so pleasantly absurd, with their clucking and their tiny beaks and their fluffy feathers. It doesn’t even have to be a real chicken, per se; I’m inordinately fond of Final Fantasy’s chocobos and Phantasy Star Online’s rag rappies, too, who are at best only chickenesque. I am happy to engage with these birds in any way the game lets me (except kicking them...I’m not a monster) but what I like doing more than anything else is picking them up in Story of Seasons.

Story of Seasons is from the original makers of long-running franchise Harvest Moon, the Grand Poobah of farming sims. (Stardew Valley fans, if you have a 3DS, I highly recommend snagging Story of Seasons.) Your goal in Story of Seasons is to run a successful farm any way you see fit. Maybe you want to sell delicious jam, or sell a line of clothing, or grow really incredible cucumbers. There’s also a robust array of livestock for you to raise: bunnies, cows, sheep, alpacas, and of course, chickens. The secret to raising prize-winning livestock is keeping them happy and healthy - feed them every day, don’t leave them out in the rain, brush them, that sort of thing. But for your chickens to truly feel loved, you must pick them up once a day.

It doesn’t really make much sense for a chicken to enjoy being yoinked out of place and held aloft like a feathered Simba, but for these cluckers it's a tiny slice of heaven. They make delighted chicken noises deep in their little chicken throats and express their glee with a tiny, perfect heart. Baby chicks can only peep their pleasure, but they, too enjoy a good round of upsie. Your chickens start off fairly ambivalent to your presence, but pick them up enough, and they shall express their delight with flapping and bouncing. It’s delightful... and utterly ridiculous.

It makes sense for your cows and sheep to appreciate all the work you put into them; they need to be brushed every day, and milked or sheared. Even your bunnies need daily brushings for maximum happiness. But chickens are simple creatures. Amongst the many complicated machinations required to keep a farm humming, they are blessedly easy to care for. A quick hoist and they are beside themselves with glee. If only everything were so easy to please.

I love you, my chickens, you goofy birds. Let your sublime happiness at the smallest of gestures be a lesson to us all. I shall return on the morrow and once again help you rise above the barn floor.

Susan Arendt

Susan was once Managing Editor US at GamesRadar, but has since gone on to become a skilled freelance journalist, editor, producer, and content manager. She is now 1/3 of @Continuepod, 1/2 of @BeastiesLl, co-founder of @TakeThisOrg, and Apex Editor, Fluid Group.