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Joy In Anthropomorphism: The 10 Best Video Games With Animal Protagonists

Anthropomorphism is, by definition, the attribution of human characteristics to other animals (a definition which can also extend to other non-living things, such as plants, objects, spirits and even organizations). Though nearly all creative mediums have delved into the personification of animals - be it in literary stories such as Watership Down or in filmmaking with Pixar's A Bug's Life - video games have always taken a certain pleasure in granting players the chance to play as walking, talking animal characters.

1. Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (1992) (Sega Genesis) (Developer: Sonic Team)

The second entry in the Sonic The Hedgehog series took a darker turn, rendering its environments and enemies with more attitude and steampunk aesthetics, resulting in the most purely enjoyable Sonic game ever made. This time, Sega’s iconic blue spike-head is joined by a bumbling accomplice, the aptly named Miles “Tails” Prower, a character who came to be despised by everyone who let him run on autopilot for his careless attitude to death. Worth mentioning are Sonic 2‘s cool 3D special stages, which place players on a track and have them dodging left and right, collecting rings and avoiding bombs.

2. Ecco The Dolphin (1992) (Sega Genesis) (Developer: Novotrade International)

Even though the company that made Ecco the Dolphin sound like a shady pharmaceutical company, their 1992 adventure game remains one of Sega Genesis’ most intriguing titles. Centered on a dolphin’s bizarre plight as he tries to locate the missing members of his family (who are mystery sucked into a strange swirling vortex in the sky), Ecco the Dolphin is noteworthy for its odd, spooky and unnerving atmosphere. As you navigate the empty seas, searching for clues, it’s clear that this game was reaching for a more mature audience – something enforced by its general difficulty. But for its strange tone alone, Ecco the Dolphin deserves to be remembered: how was so much atmosphere conveyed with just 16 bits?

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About the author

T.J. Barnard