We here at MTV Multiplayer love animals.
Yes, we do. Especially virtual ones (no shedding).
And that's why we'll let other video game websites squabble over competitions to name the Greatest Video Game Ever. We're after something far more grand.
We are now launching a year-long quest to name the Greatest Animal In Video Game History. And we will need your help.
It's time our video game animal friends got the appreciation they deserve. Whether used for travel, companionship and/or battle, there have been many video game animals that we'll never forget. So every month we'll list the nominations for the best beasts from a certain category -- dogs, cats, and so on. At the end of the month, our Blue Ribbon panel will choose the winning creature for the species. Then, as 2008 draws to a close, we'll choose the very best animal across all species.
Throughout this process we will depend on you to remind us of any animals we forgot.
To start this grand effort, we are channeling our inner equestrian to nominate a shortlist of Greatest Horse In Video Game History. (Voting concludes at the end of the month.) From a variety of no-names to unforgettable life-savers, these are the some of the most beloved video game horses we came up with for consideration:
Link's loyal companion Epona has not only carried him around long distances throughout the series, but she's also helped him in multiple horseback battles, most recently the final epic fight with Ganondorf in "The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess." And -- bonus points -- she has her own song.
Pegasus in "God of War II"
What kind of horse would be worthy for the most formidable Spartan warrior? A flying one, of course! Pegasus was equally as fearsome as his master and rode Kratos through some of the toughest aerial battles.
Agro in "Shadow of the Colossus"
When a man named Wander is charged with saving a girl's life by beating not one or two but 16 giant bosses called "colossi," there's only one companion who helps him throughout this massive undertaking: a noble steed named Agro. Like Lassie, Agro also comes when Wander calls.
The Horse in "Sunset Riders"
Levels in this classic Konami title had you riding your trusty steed to do Wild West-like things such as chasing trains and shooting enemies in the desert.
The Horses in "Gun"
This game could've been called "Horse" as well as "Gun" considering how much you need your four-legged buddy to complete the game.
Your horse in the Crusades-era epic can help you kill quickly and then make a hasty getaway. These horses may also be the only ones capable of going incognito, but walking sloooowly.
Hudson Horstachio in "Viva Pinata"
Via a shop called "Sensual Stoneworks," your avatar can mate with an adult unicorn to produce an ever-so-cute baby unicorn. (And yes, to us, a unicorn is a type of horse.)
The Horses in "World of Warcraft"
Getting your first mount -- which could be a horse -- at level 40 in the popular MMORPG allows you to travel 60% faster than on foot throughout the lands of Azeroth. That's good, because walking sucks.
Evolved from Ponyta, this Pokehorse has hooves harder than diamonds and a flaming mane that will burn enemies to a crisp. And at a full gallop, Rapidash can reach 150 m.p.h. (they don't call it "Rapidash" for nuthin'!).
The Horses in "Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion"
The first ridable mounts in the "Elder Scrolls" series, "Oblivion'"'s steeds help the player travel while he/she completes all the minutiae the highly detailed action-RPG could muster.
Robots meet the Ol' West in this SNES rail-shooter. The game's protagonist is a mechanical sheriff named Tin Star who rides his metallic horse while shooting members of the Bad Oil Gang.
The Horse in "Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master"
The most venerated game in the series, "Shinobi III" had protagonist Joe Musashi riding a horse through certain levels, helping him hunt down baddies while jumping over pesky obstacles.
The Horse in "Gun.Smoke"
Nameless and randomly placed throughout the game, the horse's purpose in "Gun.Smoke" is to protect western bounty hunter Billy Bob for up to three hits. Sort of like a four-legged bodyguard.
Shadow in "Darkwatch"
Shadow, the vampiric horse of blood-sucking outlaw Jericho Cross (natch), heeds his master's call. With Shadow, Cross has unlimited ammo and a quick attack speed. Shadow also never gets tired. You know, because he's an undead horse.
Ixion in "Final Fantasy X"
The aeon of lightning appears as a white unicorn with magic defense attributes. Ixion's also got a special move called "Thor's Hammer," which channels electrical energy from the tip of its horn to lift enemies into the air and electrocute them.
Odin is not a just horse per se, but when the Esper summon appears, he rides in on his six-legged steed (yeah, count 'em), and he immediately kills foes by slicing them in half. So with Odin in tow, this horse has a leg or two up on the competition (sorry). [UPDATE: Helpful commenters have reminded me that the name of Odin's horse is Sleipnir... not that it's going to matter. He ain't winning!]
We know we forgot some. Do you have more beloved video game horses to add? Weigh in on your favorites and check back at the end of the month for the results!
[UPDATE 1/30: Our all-star panel of judges chose the winner. Check it out here.]