I’ve always loved video games for their ability to pull me in. I become completely surrounded, because a well-designed game invites you in and makes you feel right at home.
They create an entirely new world where anything can happen—and part of creating that alternate reality is the characters and creatures that inhabit it.
Of course, I’m the type of person who tends to like interacting with pets, so it just makes sense that I’d become obsessed with creatures. Here are a few of my favourites!
My first encounter with them was in World of Final Fantasy, where you can capture and put them in your stacks. They’re incredibly useful, with many healing and recovery abilities, and very tough pompoms, kupo.
Then, I ran into them in the more developed world of Final Fantasy XIV, where they live as actual residents and not mirages of creatures that exist in other planes, and where they apparently like to play pranks on unsuspecting travelers who can’t see them. That’s my kind of critter right there.
They’re basically chubby cats with wings, pompoms, and sass. What more do you need?
Sticking with the Final Fantasy theme here, chocobos also make the list. I ran into these happy birds in World of Final Fantasy, where the first creature you encounter is a chocochick with an eggshell hat.
I later learned that chocochick is also the word for the girls who run the shops, and although my family does call me a crazy bird lady, I wouldn’t say I quite reach that level!
They’re also much friendlier than my pet bird.
Chocobos and moogles have a unique, intertwined story that gives them a shared appeal, too. The only thing better than well-conceived creatures is a well-conceived story to go with them!
I first fell in love with this creature when I played Pokémon HeartGold. To be entirely honest, I don’t remember if I even knew what the blue squiggle creature I caught by the dragon gym was, let alone what it would grow into.
I just liked it.
It really stole my heart when it grew into a giant, doofy dragon who generally made happy faces at me when we walked around.
Fun fact: In the lore of Pokémon, Dragonites are typically very intelligent, gentle giants who will happily be your best friend—and who will wreck anyone who tries to steal your lunch money.
I played Yoshi’s Island for the GBA long before I ever encountered a Mario-labeled game, so this little guy has some serious nostalgia for me. I loved playing that game—although I don’t think I ever beat it—because it actually took a fair amount of skill to play.
Yoshi is all about those skill shots.
I also got to run around as several colourful Yoshis, gobbling up baddies, turning them into eggy projectiles, and making adorable noises the whole time.
Fun fact: Expert Gamer magazine once ran an April Fools prank claiming you could unlock a Yoshi “evolution” from a Dragonite.