Over the course of any game, you’re likely to become attached to a couple of characters. But there’s something about video game animals that gets us all choked up—while we might come to love our humanoid party members, there’s nothing like the attachment that comes from having a cute little animal in your party.
These are just a few of our favorite video game animals, even though they sometimes make our lives more difficult by stumbling into enemy fire, pulling enemies we’re not ready for yet, or any number of AI issues that get us killed. We still love them.
Dogmeat is a Man’s Best Friend
Though the return of the Fallout series in Fallout 4 was a huge announcement in and of itself, even better was the news that Dogmeat, the series’ recurring dog companion, would be immortal in the game’s next installation. Dogs have been companions to human beings for a very long time, and in the vast, irradiated wastelands of the Fallout series, Dogmeat is the one constant you can count on.
That is, until, like so many other video game animals, he dies on you. While Fallout 3 includes the Puppies! perk, allowing you to recruit one of Dogmeat’s tougher offspring, it’s hard not to get attached to the original, making his loss a real blow, especially at low levels. The loss of a beloved pet is only made worse by Fallout‘s bleak landscape, and it’s still a tearjerker every time Dogmeat doesn’t make it through a fight.
Pikachu Thunderwaves its Way Into Our Hearts
While just about every Pokémon counts as a great video game animal, there’s a special place in our hearts for Pikachu, beloved companion of Ash and the first to refuse a PokéBall in-game, making him an adorable little follower in Pokémon Yellow. While he might have made the first battle with Brock unbearably difficult if you didn’t round out your party with other Pokémon and there are far stronger electric types to be found over the course of the game, it’s hard to ditch that cute little bugger.
Pokémon Yellow was the first instance of the love and happiness measurement that became especially popular in games like Pokémon X and Y, and watching his expression grow from passive to full-on love is enough to get you attached. While some people might be okay with stuffing him in the PC and replacing him with something better, we can only imagine that adorable little face looking sad without his trainer at his side.
Epona Epitomizes the Noble Steed
The Legend of Zelda is an iconic game, and Ocarina of Time was many gamers’ introduction to the series. The game was also the introduction of Epona, Link’s faithful horse, setting off a relationship between a hero and his loyal steed that has spanned the course of several games.
What makes Epona special is that she’s an important part of the Zelda mythos—she’s not just any horse, but rather part of the ongoing legend of the series. When Link first meets her, she’s shy and wild, and it’s only by playing her song that Link can earn her trust and encourage her to return to him when he returns in the future. Epona makes travel through the world of Hyrule much easier, and the addition of horseback combat make her not only lovable, but incredibly useful, as well.
Riding to Victory and Defeat on Shadow of the Colossus’ Agro
Shadow of the Colossus is a huge and lonely game that would feel almost hopeless were it not for Wander’s loyal horse, Agro. Traveling from the temple to the collosi would take ages without Agro, and while the controls might be a little aggravating at times, the horse plays a vital role in helping Wander achieve his goals, and not just because he gets him from point A to point B.
Because most of the game is free from dialog, the relationship between Agro and Wander is felt rather than spoken. With the enormous world to explore and a dark past, Agro is Wander’s only friend and the only person—for lack of a better word—that hasn’t ostracized him for his quest. While their end might not be a happy one, this bond between them is one of the best examples of the attachment we feel toward video game animals.
What video game animals are your favorites?