Let's face it, being human can be boring and one of the main reasons we play video games is to depart from the normal. By adding animals into games – as both companions and playable characters – developers give us the chance to ride a faithful horse into the sunset, fly into the air with our creepy-but-socially-acceptable raccoon tail, race about a forest as a powerful wolf, and more.
This list is a look at our favorite animals and anthropomorphic companions, NPCs, and main characters. As we're only taking a look at Gameranx's top ten, there will obviously be a few left off the list. Different games have made larger impacts on gamers, it's what makes us each special little 8-bit snowflakes. So if your favorite animal has been left off of the list, be sure to add it in the comments and let us know!
Max – Sam & Max
Now, I love Sam quite a lot, but nothing compares with Max's wild and unhinged behavior. The Sam and Max series pairs the level-headed dog and chaotic neutral bunny in many sticky situations. Interestingly enough, Max manages to say something completely insane, topping any ridiculous situation the pair could possibly be in. Waving his gun around like a madman, Max is unpredictable. On the outside he is a cuddly white bunny, but on the inside he is a crazed maniac with a mouth like a sailor.
Blathers – Animal Crossing
I know, I know, you might be shouting at your computer the names of all the other animals you feel should have been included in this list, but Blathers is a key member of the Animal Crossing society. Without the upkeep of the history and art museum, your town would be a shell of its former self. He spends the time recognizing all the fossils you dig up, framing and hanging the paintings you buy from that sly fox, Red, and feeding all the fish you drag from the sea. Blathers is an integral part of the community, and he is taking his rightful place on this list.
Tails – Sonic the Hedgehog
Miles "Tails" Prower has the most fantastic name known to video game characters. Miles. Prower. Miles per hour. Hopefully I didn't just blow your mind back there. As Sonic's first official partner, Tails fluttered around zones by your side and offered some competitive gameplay between you and your best friend.
Frog – Chrono Trigger
Chrono Trigger's Frog unintentionally stole the spotlight from every other character in the game by just being a fantastically written character. Originally named Glenn – and quite human – Frog is seeking revenge for Cyrus. Frog believes that if he had been stronger, he could have saved Cyrus from Magus. As a result, you have a quite strong, humble, and noble character that consistently insists he isn't that great. By the end of Chrono Trigger, Frog has cemented a place in our hearts and we are all cutting onions over his story arc.
Agro – Shadow of the Colossus
Just thinking about Agro brings a tear to my eye. In the forbidden region, Agro was Wanderer's only friend. This horse wasn't just a vehicle, she was integral in the defeat of certain colossi and was heavily invested in Wanderer's success. I've never cried for any other animal in a video game, but even imagining that loyal horse makes my eyes start to water.
Amaterasu – Okami
Some people might argue that Amaterasu isn't a wolf, but a god that can take any form she likes. She might not be the most cuddly wolf, which is why Chibiterasu exists. Amaterasu is a beautiful creature, endowed with glorious red markings, and fits in perfectly with the overall aesthetic of the game. I didn't have much of a choice in this matter, after all, she is a god.
Sonic – Sonic the Hedgehog
I don't know how this list could count without me mentioning the most popular – and only – hedgehog in gaming history. Although I learned from the official cartoon that Sonic loved chili dogs, a different personality came to life on the Sega Genesis. Running with the bunnies and other forest creatures gave the hard-nosed hedgehog a soft side. Gamers fell in love with that surprised look on Sonic's face when you ran him right into some spikes, almost like he was breaking the fourth wall and saying "Why are you so bad at video games?"
Epona – Legend of Zelda
It makes sense that there's another horse on this list, especially when you're talking about Link's legendary horse, Epona. With her own summoning song on the Ocarina, Epona is probably the most well-known horse in all video games. She originally showed up in Ocarina of Time, then Majora's Mask and Twilight Princess. Outside of that trio, Epona has only made a few cameos in other Zelda titles, but everytime she surfaces, it means Link is going to have a distinct advantage against enemies – even in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
Fox McCloud – Star Fox
As leader of the Star Fox team, seeker of vengeance for his father, and a level-headed fighter, Fox McCloud has always been one of the gaming community's favorite heroes. He is such a badass without throwing his weight around, and that humble nature makes fans go crazy. Fox has appeared in every Smash Bros. game to date and is consistently a go-to character for fast attacks and a plethora of space-tech.
Yoshi – Super Mario Bros. series
When it comes to pet dinosaurs, no other creature can beat Yoshi. His first appearance was in Super Mario World, one of the most fantastic titles to ever grace the Super Nintendo. Mario and Yoshi are thick as thieves, even when you have to ditch him at the end of a level in the name of survival. With his own games and his own Kart, Yoshi is revered as one of the most loved Mario characters and for good reason. That's why he rounds out the top ten list of best animals in video games.