The video game universe is littered with animal mascots and characters from lizards to monkeys, cats to frogs and bears to bandicoots. While all these animals are great I have grown quite fond of the bird mascot. Ever since the days of the mischievous Tweety Bird, I have noticed an evolution of what kind of characters birds can be morphed into. While most animal mascots usually only limit one or two characters per animal, the bird has, dare I say, spread its wings to different parts of the video game universe. From birds that can fly spaceships to more simple folk who’s main goal is to fly in between pipes, they have integrated themselves with some of gaming’s greatest. While there are quite a few birds that could fit into the best of the best, like every contest of competition, there is only room for a select few.
The Angry Birds – Angry Birds
This group of kamikaze birds that exploded onto the scene when a group of pigs decided to capture the birds’ eggs and eat them. In a classic battle for gang territory, the Angry Birds team up to fight and destroy the evil, thieving pigs and their complicated yet rickety structures which they were somehow able to build with no hands to speak of. With each more complicated structure to knock down, we are given a new and equally destructive bird to topple it. Starting off we have the basic red bird which has no special abilities, and the list grows from there: the blue bird which splits into three smaller birds for a carpet bomb effect, the yellow triangle bird which comes at the pigs like a missile and penetrates structures easily, the white bird which pops out an egg bomb, the boomerang bird which swings around to take out the pigs from a new angle, the list goes on. Angry Birds has become so ingrained into our psyche that there are game spin-offs, a few books and even a full length movie in the works.
The Chocobo – Final Fantasy
As big as an ostrich and one of the fastest creatures in the video game world, the Chocobo has been the signature mode of transportation in the Final Fantasy series since Final Fantasy II. Chocobos have been in every Final Final fantasy game in some form: as transportation, summoned creatures, playing cards, Pokémon-like battle partners, and even raising your Chocobo to compete in races for money and prestige. Originally colored yellow, there have been Chocobos in many colors including Red, Black, Green and White each with their different properties and skills that made them a trusted ally. Chocobos have become so popular that they even got their own series of video games where you can finally play as them. Ever since we first heard the signature Chocobo call “Kweh” (or in some cases “Wark”) we have never stopped loving them. And neither has Youtube sensation Brentalfloss, who even wrote a song about Chocobos using their signature theme song as inspiration.
Sgt. Byrd-Spyro the Dragon
“Byrd, James Byrd.” Sgt. Byrd is a secret agent penguin who was raised by hummingbirds and is every James Bond stereotype rolled into one. The hummingbirds taught Sgt. Byrd many things including how to fly. This allows him to use his BAM or Bird-to-Air Missiles with awesome effectiveness and makes him a suitable ally for Spyro in battle against especially tough bosses such as Spike, a gun-toting giant, from Spyro: Year of the Dragon. He can also drop bombs that he carries with his feet, and has even acquired a jet pack which allows him to fly faster. Out of Spyro’s allies, he has been one of the few to stick with Spyro through most of his dangerous quests always finding a way to lend him his aid, whether it’s clearing out a few rhynocs or helping take out other worldly villains like Dr. Neo Cortex (Crash Bandicoot).
The Evil Chicken – RuneScape
Unfortunately for Zelda fans, there is only room for one chicken on this list, and the winner was the dangerous Evil Chicken from the multiplayer online game RuneScape. Originally created as a random event, the Evil Chicken could attack whenever he so desired and it didn’t matter what you were doing. If you were chopping down trees, he could attack you; if you were fishing, guess who you snagged on your fishing line; and even if you were underwater, that wouldn’t stop him as he would put on a scuba helmet and come after you like Jaws. Not only could he hunt you down but to make matters worse, he could talk and would insult you at every turn during your epic battle to get rid of this pest. Despite his many origin stories from gaining self-awareness to being a demon that a wizard incidentally summoned, we do know that he hates humans and chickens alike and has even been known to kill and devour his own kind. Later on as RuneScape changed, so did the Evil Chicken. He retired from attacking players to becoming part of a quest where you had to kill him to take his egg that he was guarding, and yes he did lay the egg himself, which gets weird because the chicken is most definitely a rooster.
Pecker – Jak and Daxter
Half monkey and half macaw, Pecker is the rival mutant animal to Daxter in the Jak series. He is loud, annoying and a smart alec, so he is pretty much like Daxter in every way. Pecker started off as the interpreter for the old and wise Onin. Although she cannot talk, Pecker can understand her by her hand motions but often twists the words around or draws unnecessary conclusions from what she is motioning for him to say. After the events of Jak 2, when Jak and Daxter are cast into the wasteland, he inexplicably joins them until he becomes the adviser for Damas in Haven City, while also using Damas to try and assert his dominance–which didn’t work out too well. After Damas’s downfall, Pecker went and returned to his previous master Onin and continued to be her interpreter. Throughout the story, Daxter and Pecker get into arguments which almost escalate till others have to break them apart. At one point, they actually did get to duke it out, but it was quickly broken up without a clear winner.
Pidgey – Pokémon
Pokémon has many species of birds, each more impressive than the first. To get an appreciation for the bevy of bird Pokemon, you have to travel back to the first bird you encounter. The first one you see as you leave your home at a young age to capture animals and force them to fight each other, Pidgey. If you’ve watched the cartoon, it was also one of Ash’s first Pokémon he captured after Pikachu expertly took out a whole flock of them. I will admit right now that Pidgey is weak and one of the most annoying Pokémon in the original games because, like with Zubat in caves, Pidgey just keeps appearing no matter where you go. It’s all Pidgey all the time, which gets equally frustrating when you are trying to find rarer Pokémon, yet all you keep getting is that little tiny bird. If you haven’t experienced this horror, then you do not know true pain. Eventually, that pain does wear off after your Pidgey evolves into the vastly superior forms of Pidgeotto and Pidgeot. Despite its many many flaws, Pidgey was the first bird we was saw and that could have been a symbol for how your wings are taking flight as a Pokémon trainer and how you are gaining your freedom; or maybe it was a Pokemon that was just for the birds (Yyyyyeeeeaaaaaaahhhhh!).
As in the real animal kingdom, there are so many birds in the video game universe that we can’t account for all of them. Whether they are out there playing hero or just flying around to annoy us, there is no mistaking how important birds are to certain elements of a game. What are some of your favorite video game birds, let us know below!