Not for the Dinner Table: Birds in Games

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and we’re all still recovering from the massive amount of food that we put into our bodies. Crafting a feast fit for royalty, my girlfriend and I successfully dominated our first-ever attempt at roasting a turkey. We may be eating leftovers for awhile… In the meantime, it’s time to relax – so sit back and enjoy my Top Ten list of birds in video games!


10) The birds of Angry Birds (Mobile 2009)

He doesn’t look so angry.

Who knew that a phone app from 2009 could spawn such a massive franchise? I never got into this game because I had already spent plenty of time playing similar titles over on ebaumsworld.com. But, the rest of the world poured so much money into this game that we now have books, movies, and even a TV series. Next Thanksgiving, we’ll have to pull some recipes from the Angry Birds cookbook that apparently is a thing.

9) Birdfaces from Super Mario Bros 2 USA (NES 1988)

The eater becomes the eatee.

You’ve just defeated Birdo by chucking its own eggs directly into its face. Now it’s time to lift the glowing orb that was inside its stomach in order to…open the mouth of a disembodied bird head? Super Mario Bros 2 was not a dream. It was a nightmare – and Birdfaces were direct evidence of this fact. To make matters worse, the game spends 6 worlds teaching you that Birdfaces are portals to the next level…until you get to world 7. A lone Birdface stands before you with its glowing key orb seemingly unprotected. Awesome. Lift the orb. Walk right in. NOPE! IT’S ALIVE! This Birdface flies off the wall and begins an onslaught of revenge. I hope you’re ready to play the entire level over again.

8) Pidgey from Pokemon Red/Blue (Gameboy 1996)

Pidgey used gust. It was super effective!

When I played Pokemon Blue, Pidgey ended up being my main through-and-through – and it was also the first or second Pokemon that I had ever caught. I figured that one was probably good enough and proceeded to play the rest of the game with just a party of an overpowered Pidgey and…the others. Of course, this meant that I had to go back and grind when I finally ran into difficult fights. I made it all the way to Champion Road and decided to quit the game because the grinding was so severe. To this day, I’ve never finished Pokemon. I’m hoping the same won’t be said come this January…

7) Storm Eagle from Mega Man X (Super Nintendo 1993)

Your flight has been cancelled.

Fighting Storm Eagle for the first time immediately gave me Link’s Awakening Evil Eagle vibes. Both bosses fly at you from off screen, both blast you with gusts of wind that you must push back against, and both battles have the risk of falling off the edge. Storm Eagle, of course, is infinitely more cool because he doesn’t have a Grim Creeper riding on his back.

6) Falco Lombardi from Star Fox (Super Nintendo 1993)

“Eyes forward, Fox!”

Known for his snarky attitude and blunt comebacks, Falco is a reliable pilot on the Star Fox team. If Falco was being attacked by enemies, I genuinely wanted to help him out – unlike some other members who were flying by my side (::cough:: Slippy ::cough::). I love that he’s also a playable character in the Smash Bros series appearing as early as Super Smash Bros Melee. There was a time when I tried to learn him as one of my main fighters, but I never got the hang of him and mostly found myself just dashing off the side of the stage. Perhaps I should stick to having him as a companion in the air.

5) Kaepora Gaebora from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64 1998)

At all costs, avoid selecting “No.”

I could make a list of birds from the Zelda series alone (I apologize in advance for the amount of Zelda on this list). The owl from Ocarina of Time is iconic in that it talks forever and a simple slip of the hand can extend your play session by several minutes if you accidentally ask him to divulge the plot again. It’s interesting that Nintendo chose to use this character as a way of advancing the story when recent Zelda games have done such a good job of letting the player discover the story on their own. A wise, old owl? I’d rather spend my time with this guy:

4) Kazooie from Banjo Kazooie (N64 1998)

“Can it talk?”
“Better than you can, Goggle Boy!”

While it can be argued that Banjo is the main character of Banjo-Kazooie, it is Kazooie who makes this game so fun. Without Kazooie, there’d be no witty banter (well, I guess that isn’t entirely true…). Without Kazooie, there’d be no Talon Trot. Without Kazooie, there’d be no flying! Honestly, maybe we need a Kazooie solo game. Sorry, Banjo. You can go back to Diddy Kong Racing.

3) Cuccos from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES 1991)

On the next episode of “When Animals Attack!”

A classic case of curiosity killing the cat, we all fell for the cucco’s trap when we realized that it couldn’t be killed. “How many hits does it take???” we wondered. The answer is infinity. Cucco is the alpha and the omega. Bow to your new Lord, the Cucco. You dare defy the Cucco? FEEL ITS WRATH! PETA is watching.

2) Squawks from Donkey Kong Country (SNES 1994)

When Dad asks you to hold the flashlight.

Easily my favorite animal buddy in the Donkey Kong Country series, Squawks has held a long list of jobs. In the first game, he simply lit the way for you in some of the darker levels (um where the heck was he for Blackout Basement??). The second and third game gave him a stronger role in which he could fly you around a la Tails and also spit projectiles at your enemies. Cool! Seems like he’s getting better and better with each new game! What will they do with him next???

Oh, he’s an item now………..


Honorable Mentions:

The Sand Bird from Super Mario Sunshine (Gamecube 2002)

Mr. Sand Bird, bring me a coin.

Banana Birds and the Banana Bird Queen
from Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble! (SNES 1996)

After I’m finished with K. Rool, he won’t even be able to look at a banana again.

The Flute Boy’s Bird from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES 1991)

An upgrade from being whisked away by a tornado.

Crimson Loftwing from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii 2011)

Give a little whistle.

1) Chocobos from the Final Fantasy series (first appeared in FF2; Famicom 1988)

Kweh?
Kweh!

My love for the chocobo runs deep! I remember the wonder of discovering a chocobo forest for the first time back when I was in elementary school during my time with Final Fantasy IV. Of course, my friend and I had no idea how to pronounce their names (we would put the emphasis on the second syllable). Regardless, we were enthralled with all the different types of birds we were seeing. The white ones could heal us. We could ride the yellows ones. And…what’s this? Smells like chocobos?? Hmmmmm, well….try this carrot, I guess? OMG A FAT CHOCOBO! Okay, it wasn’t really that exciting because the fat chocobos just acted as storage boxes for items. But, it was a big deal at the time. By far, what I loved the most about the chocobos was the MUSIC. I would ride around the map for as long as I could just to let the track loop. With each new Final Fantasy game, I appreciated so much hearing the new variations on the theme. Take a listen below to my first experience with the theme in FF4 and then my favorite variation from FF9.

“Chocobo Theme” from Final Fantasy 4
“Vamo Alla Flamenco” from Final Fantasy 9

Thanks for taking time to read my list! What are some of your favorite instances of birds in games? Let me know in a comment below. Also, if you’re liking my content, consider following or subscribing to this blog via e-mail to have content delivered directly to your inbox!

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Published by erichagmann

Arranger / Pianist / Vocalist / Educator / Gamer

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