Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!
June 11, 2019 8:15 AM   Subscribe

Fowl Play: Chickens in Video Games [Forces of Geek] “In video games however, chickens have a long and varied history, they’ve become something of a joke and have also been treated pretty badly so it’s no surprise that in some games they are straight up evil. [...] Chicken abuse has been a constant and re-occurring theme in gaming. For some reason, we enjoy attacking them, mocking them and using their limited ability of short range flight for our own means. [...] Then again, some of the chickens in games are so formidable I wonder if it’s a commentary on their treatment in the real world, what would chickens like to do to us humans as recompense for our treatment of them?”

• People are figuring out the dead chickens can be used as storage space in Skyrim because 2019 is clearly messing with us [GamesRadar+]
“Skyrim is almost eight years old, yet people are still discovering weird stuff you can pull off in Bethesda's high fantasy RPG. The latest did-I-read-that-right issue is that people on Reddit have figured out that you can use dead chickens as storage space in the game, meaning that you can - if you want to be given weird looks by everyone in its world - drag a dead chicken around behind you. Why not use your own inventory, I hear you ask? If you're over encumbered in Skyrim and don't want to ditch that glass battleaxe or your steel plate armor, you can manipulate the laws of physics and grossness to shove 'em in a chicken.”
• In Breath of the Wild, chickens are the best secret weapon [Polygon]
“A game as big as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has endless tricks to discover. Our favorite thus far may be this very, very silly one that turns chickens into deadly weapons, captured by one YouTuber [Videogamedunkey] among several other must-watch moments. [...] The way to make that work is by leading a cucco into a fight by holding them above Link’s head. Somehow, they’ll become protective of Hylian hero instead of trying to peck his brains out. That single cucco will gather up all of its friends to take on Link’s enemy. This little goof is present in other Zelda games, too, but Breath of the Wild’s version is both oddly touching and truly hilarious.”
• Assassin's Creed Odyssey Players Are Getting Their Asses Kicked By Chickens [Kotaku]
“If you’ve put any time into Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, you’ve probably encountered some aggressive wildlife. Lions, boars, and dogs roam the Greek landscape looking for blood. But you never expect a chicken attack. You don’t want to piss off a chicken in Odyssey. They are small, aggressive, and they attack for seemingly no reason. Unlike a lion, which is an apex predator, a chicken is a tiny domesticated creature that has no business attacking well-armored mercenaries. They will, though. Odyssey players on the game’s Reddit page have spent the past few days commiserating over the brutality of the Greek chicken. Many players have offered their advice for dealing with chickens in a thread appropriately titled “What’s the chickens’ problem problem in Odyssey?””
posted by Fizz (55 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
We have now reached Peak Fizz.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:21 AM on June 11 [13 favorites]


Gill and Gilbert do silly things with chickens in Breath of the Wild.

I've done a fair amount of urban chickenkeeping education in the past week (we had a city chicken coop tour on Sunday) so I've spent quite a lot of time recently explaining why roosters are not legal in the city limits even though hens are perfectly legal. It's because they're assholes, that's why. Hens are assholes too, but more to each other than anyone else. Roosters are equal-opportunity assholes. I fully believe they would attack an armored mercenary, and I would give them even odds on winning.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:24 AM on June 11 [7 favorites]


soren - Yeah, that was my exact thought on the Odyssey video. That looked like a rooster to me, and hell yeah they'll attack for no reason! They don't care that you're wearing armor and have a sword, they're mean and stupid.

I've got a couple of hens, and while they get VERY cranky if I pick them up, the best they can do is a half-hearted peck
posted by KirTakat at 8:27 AM on June 11


In Stardew Valley, you can reach the heart of a bitter alcoholic character, help restore him to health, and marry him by means of his chickens. Shane's kind of a load, but the fandom loves him, and what can I say, the man likes chickens.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:29 AM on June 11 [14 favorites]


My first memory of chickens in video games was Heretic's Morph Ovum that let you turn enemies or other players into chickens. It was a very frustrating experience to be a chicken.
posted by mattamatic at 8:45 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]


Ha, in Odyssey I actively avoid chickens whenever possible. The main town in Keos frequently turns into a free for all between soldiers, pirates, lions and wild boars aplenty, but I've seen a chicken kill two people there. Feathered murder-balls.
posted by aramaic at 8:46 AM on June 11


Feathered murder-balls.

But which came first, the feathers or murder?
posted by Fizz at 8:47 AM on June 11


Hens are vicious too. I used to have to wear over gloves to gather eggs from my grandmother’s chickens.

And they love to eat broken eggs.
posted by Peach at 8:49 AM on June 11


Chickens cop a bunch of abuse early on in Guacamelee, but are given their due later in the game. The moment when - transformed into a chicken - you realise you will have to not only flee from foes. but also defeat them, is an awesome one.
posted by ominous_paws at 8:50 AM on June 11


Obligatory. Less obligatory.

Poultry is the default irl cannon fodder. FPS's live on a steady diet of zombies, Nazis, and orcs. Humanity lives on chickens.

In Futurama's "300 Hundred Wingwangs" episode, each character is given $300 by tax rebate (a riff on Dubya's wildly popular and wildly theater tax policy gimmick). Loveable tramp Zoidberg becomes increasingly disillusioned with the value of his windfall, until finally using it to set a picnic for his friends and acquaintances. What did he serve? Turkey dogs. Shitty poultry food. While it doesn't play for vegetarians, he was happy to provide cheap, tasty food which could be consumed by adherents to every major religion.

I don't know the name of the first man who found and caught a chicken, but it might as well be Adam.
posted by es_de_bah at 9:13 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]


Actually, the chickens in Zelda are not protective of anyone but their own. They will happily peck the dirt (or other object of their ire) while you have your ass handed to you. They attack en masse anyone who strikes a chicken, they will attack Link if he is so dumb as to accidentally hit one. You use this to your advantage by making sure your enemies hit the chicken first.
/pedant
posted by domo at 9:16 AM on June 11 [3 favorites]


In nethack the corpses of footrices (cockatrices, chickatrices) can be used as a weapon. It is referred to as "wielding a rubber chicken". And if you are polymorphed into something with petrification resistance, eating a footrice gives the message, "This tastes just like chicken!"
posted by jim in austin at 9:23 AM on June 11 [3 favorites]


Chickens in video games and other media give actual chickens a bad name.
posted by wierdo at 9:24 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]


Chickens in video games and other media give actual chickens a bad name.

I have cared for actual chickens. You are mistaken.
posted by The Bellman at 9:36 AM on June 11 [18 favorites]


Eh, I'm literally watching five feral chickens eat bugs in my front yard as I write this. As long as you aren't a lizard or a bug, they're pretty inoffensive. Raccoons, squirrels, and opossum are far more destructive and have the added bonus of rabies.
posted by wierdo at 10:00 AM on June 11 [4 favorites]


"A CHICKEN!?!?"

I have cared for actual chickens. You are mistaken.

Chickens are little chicken-brained dinosaurs. A two foot tall rooster will happily chase a fully grown adult around and do a perfectly functional imitation of a velociraptor.

We're just lucky they're not six feet tall. They'd be fucking terrifying.
posted by loquacious at 10:02 AM on June 11 [6 favorites]


My favourite appearance of a chicken in a computer game is in Yakuza 0, see here. The scene is a little bit slow, but you can skip the bowling part of the video and jump to the appearance of the chicken here. (Spoiler: The chicken is not hurt and becomes one of your most useful employees.)
posted by erdferkel at 10:04 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: The chicken is not hurt and becomes one of your most useful employees.
posted by Fizz at 10:09 AM on June 11 [9 favorites]


We're just lucky they're not six feet tall. They'd be fucking terrifying.

The chickatrices in FFXV are that tall (or even taller) and that's just the baby chicks. But even with their little pinched mean faces they're still pretty darn cute. Unless there's a whole flock of them D: 🐤🐥🐤🐤🐥
posted by sexyrobot at 10:20 AM on June 11


Raccoons, squirrels, and opossum are far more destructive and have the added bonus of rabies.

Don't forget deer in your list of "cute lovable animals that suck, actually".

You know what's great for controlling deer tick populations by the way? Chickens.
posted by tobascodagama at 10:29 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]


that one island in odyssey where the big deadly boss is FURIOUS MURDER CHICKENS is the best island
posted by poffin boffin at 10:45 AM on June 11


the various chicken iterations in assassin's creed have always been my favourite (feedable, pettable, murderous demons) until i finally played witcher 3 and realized i could hypnotize chickens to follow me around delightedly and now my temporarily loyal chicken army is my favourite.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:50 AM on June 11 [4 favorites]




Zero mention of the chicken crossbow in Redneck Rampage. I call fowl play.
posted by prinado at 10:52 AM on June 11 [3 favorites]


My avatar in the one game I play every day, in which no one and nothing ever dies, is a chicken with an Amelia Earhart flight helmet. Bawk on!
posted by maggieb at 10:59 AM on June 11


> Countess Elena: In Stardew Valley, you can reach the heart of a bitter alcoholic character, help restore him to health, and marry him by means of his chickens. Shane's kind of a load, but the fandom loves him, and what can I say, the man likes chickens.

You can pry my Void Chicken (her name is Evil Whispers) out of my cold dead hands.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:01 AM on June 11 [5 favorites]


No mention of chickens in Dungeon Keeper, which poofed into an explosion of feathers when you slapped them around?

Or the (admittedly lesser known) Twitchy, the purified undead chicken from Guild Wars 2?
posted by Foosnark at 11:02 AM on June 11


My favorite mod for Quake was Catch The Chicken. Does anyone remember that? You scored points by holding on to the chicken but in doing so you were unable to use your weapons and the chicken would squawk, giving away your position.
posted by cazoo at 11:17 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]


Well to hear Werner Herzog tell it, "Look into the eyes of a chicken and you will see real stupidity. It is a kind of bottomless stupidity, a fiendish stupidity. They are the most horrifying, cannibalistic and nightmarish creatures in the world."

That being said, I'm with Rock Steady when it comes to void chickens. How else am I supposed to make weird mayonnaise and win Krobus's heart?
posted by nightrecordings at 11:26 AM on June 11 [3 favorites]


CTRL + F, no mention of the chicken mini-quest from the original Baldur's Gate?!?!
> Raccoons, squirrels, and opossum are far more destructive and have the added bonus of rabies.
(American) opossums are highly resistant to rabies, and they eat all the ticks they can catch.
posted by Fiberoptic Zebroid and The Hypnagogic Jerks at 11:33 AM on June 11 [6 favorites]


We're just lucky they're not six feet tall. They'd be fucking terrifying.

We have partial data on this: turkeys are about twice as big as chickens, and four times as big of aggressive antisocial assholes. I'd feel safe calling this an n^2 problem. Six-foot-tall chickens absolutely would not stop, ever, until you are dead.
posted by Mayor West at 11:37 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]


Six-foot-tall chickens absolutely would not stop, ever, until you are dead.

In the scientific community, we call this 'the John Hammond effect'.
posted by Fizz at 11:40 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]


Six-foot-tall chickens absolutely would not stop, ever, until you are dead.

exhibit a: the accursed emu
posted by poffin boffin at 11:46 AM on June 11 [6 favorites]


Zero mention of the chicken crossbow in Redneck Rampage. I call fowl play.
-----
No mention of chickens in Dungeon Keeper, which poofed into an explosion of feathers when you slapped them around?
-----
CTRL + F, no mention of the chicken mini-quest from the original Baldur's Gate?!?!

Also conspicuously missing: the Secret Chicken Level from Dungeon Siege. (Gas Powered Games' answer to Diablo II's Cow Level.) Beat the boss chicken and it drops a ranged projectile weapon that fires exploding chickens.
posted by radwolf76 at 12:09 PM on June 11


I only feel a little guilty about punting chickens in Fable, tracking chicken kicking achievements in Fable, and participating in the Chicken Kicking Contest in Fable. They shouldn't have made it such a satisfying experience. Chickens in the Fable series.
posted by ApathyGirl at 12:22 PM on June 11


If you're over encumbered in Skyrim and don't want to ditch that glass battleaxe or your steel plate armor, you can manipulate the laws of physics and grossness to shove 'em in a chicken.”

Gamer Ernie Anastos: "Keep on fucking stuffing that chicken!"
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:04 PM on June 11


Despite the four extremely pampered chickens living in my yard, I am inclined to agree with Werner Herzog. They are deeply stupid creatures, and the current top banana is just a terrible asshole. Lately she has taken to, uh, mounting her subordinates like a humpy dog at the dog park but with more pecking and screeching.

One day this past winter, when there was snow on the ground, I had to go out and rescue the chickens one evening because they flew from their (covered) run over the snow to land underneath the deck (no snow). But then they couldn't figure out how to get back over the snow to the run and coop again. I went out there at dusk and found them all huddled up underneath the deck, all looking at me like, "So this is how it ends. It is unpossible for us to walk or fly over that snow to get back to the safety of our coop. Adieu, adieu, for we will now die of exposure or raccoon or both." I had to pick up each and every one of them individually and insert them each into the coop.

The next day they did the exact same thing again.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:15 PM on June 11 [15 favorites]


Then again, some of the chickens in games are so formidable I wonder if it’s a commentary on their treatment in the real world, what would chickens like to do to us humans as recompense for our treatment of them?

I think this reverses causality. Clearly our desire to bother chickens in video games is an evolutionary adaption to cope with the 150 million years that the chickens’ ancestors kept the mammals down.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:47 PM on June 11 [5 favorites]


Chicken Chaser?
posted by symbioid at 1:49 PM on June 11


I know, it doesn't make any sense, but I can't help it:

MeFi: We will now die of exposure or raccoon or both.
posted by The Bellman at 2:13 PM on June 11


I once had a dream where murderous chickens attacked and killed people. I was stepping over corpses. It was terrifying. I have never trusted chickens since. My subconscious clearly knows something, as do all these game designers.

(I would have loved to marry Shane in Stardew Valley but he never stops drinking! Even in a fictional game I refuse to marry an active alcoholic! Not even for blue chickens!)
posted by stillnocturnal at 2:34 PM on June 11 [2 favorites]


exhibit a: the accursed emu

Or cassowaries. Six feet tall, razor-sharp claws, can run up to 30mph, and have literally murdered people. Like the hideous lovechild of a turkey and a velociraptor.
posted by dephlogisticated at 2:54 PM on June 11 [1 favorite]


In Rimworld I sometimes let a chicken overpopulation problem develop, which is usually taken care of by their mindless attacks on anyone raiding the colony, regardless of whether they're 20-foot-tall robot killing machines or not.

(the winter thins 'em out pretty good, too)
posted by praemunire at 3:19 PM on June 11


Chicken Chaser?

I was going to post an article and I just realized, I forgot to include it in my round-up.

• Cock'in. This was a Real Game, Once. [Kotaku]
“Cock'in. For the Commodore 64 and Spectrum. You take the eggs, and then the fish bites you on the elbow, and then you wear chicken hats, and what? Oh, that's just the box art. The actual game had you playing as a cock, protecting your brood of eggs from things like rats and foxes, and when you find a moment's respite you can...wander off screen and fuck some chickens. So, yeah. Cock'in. You just couldn't get away with this stuff any more. Sadly. Some people may know the game by its alternate title, "Chickin Chase". If you do, I'm sorry you've missed out on the chance to call it Cock'in all these years.”
posted by Fizz at 4:04 PM on June 11 [2 favorites]


The actual game had you playing as a cock,

To be fair, this is true of a lot of games.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:13 PM on June 11 [4 favorites]


Back in olden World of Warcraft days, there was a salt flat in the middle of nowhere. On the salt flats, there was a racetrack where Goblins and Gnomes would try to resolve their rivalry via engineering, and other Goblins & Gnomes would make their money by betting on the races.. There were vendors selling all sorts of questionable treats and souvenirs.

One of the vendors was a mage, Magus Tirith. He had a story something like: "I used to polymorph people into chickens. I was exiled for this "crime". Don't worry, I don't do it any more. Hey! Do you want to buy a chicken?!?" And he'd sell you a pet chicken for a gold piece. This is probably my favorite chicken in a video game.

Also fond of the witch doctor in Diablo 3, who has an optional ability to turn into an angry chicken and then peck zombies and demons to death. While running around at ludicrous speeds and clucking furiously.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 4:18 PM on June 11 [3 favorites]


Still waiting for my Save the Chicken Foundation patch from Activision.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 4:35 PM on June 11 [2 favorites]


Madre de Dios! Es El Pollo Diablo!
posted by darksasami at 5:48 PM on June 11 [2 favorites]


I once had a dream where murderous chickens attacked and killed people. I was stepping over corpses. It was terrifying. I have never trusted chickens since.

Narrator: It wasn't a dream. SCP handled it.
posted by loquacious at 7:41 PM on June 11 [5 favorites]


Also, I'm hesitant to admit that for some strange reason I speak fluent chicken.

I can only really do it around chickens, especially free ranging yard small farm chickens. I'm so fluent I can startle the keepers of these chickens by continuing to speak chicken in odd places or moments where one does not expect to hear a chicken, like back inside the house, right after we get into a car to go somewhere or even just over someone's shoulder as we sit around a patio table in a yard or something. Multiple times I've had chicken owners or wranglers earnestly react with "Oh shit how'd a chicken get in here!?" But the weird skill fades after I'm not hanging out with some chickens. It's just as fluent or convincing in other situations.

What do chickens say?

Well, mainly they swear a whole lot. I mean a whole lot. Constantly. Much of it is actually so offensive that I'm going to have to redact most of the directly translatable vocubulary to make it safe and uncontroversial for MeFi, because the direct translations are a litany of some of most offensive words in human language, including some really choice ones from antiquity that we've lost.

The untranslatable parts that are chicken-dialect specific swear words and slang are often even worse and downright scatological, crude, species-ist, and even alarmingly violent. It is evident that chickens have an entire culture and mythology that's not entirely unlike parts of Klingon culture - things we would find brutish and offensive are cherished and nuanced qualities.

For one example the chicken words for "Hello." are essentially best translated to English simply as "Fuck you." This also holds true for "How are you?", "You look nice today." and "What a fine day." There are nuances in the inflection but... they use that address and greeting for almost everything. Worse, "I love you." is most commonly translated as "Fuck everything about you."

A example of a high, fine and rare compliment in chicken is "Fuck everything you've ever seen or will ever see!" Note: The chicken words for "see" and "peck" are synonyms. Same phonetic word, different inflection, so "Fuck everything you've ever pecked or will ever peck!" also works and is functionally the same.

There is, for another example, an entire art to the scratch and peck, with stylistic and ritualistic interpretations that go beyond functional hunting. A certain flourish and aggressiveness to the peck, a jaunty cock and angle of the head, the crisp snap of a beak and lash of wattles. Skateboarders or snowboarders would call this "steeze". A chicken can say many things to other chickens just by pecking with emphasis, energy and style, like brandishing a cutlass or a battle cry, or a cold shoulder or rolled eyes.

What do they actually say? Do you really want to know? Fine. Remember, this is the boring censored and politically correct version. Take all of the swear words you know and all of the worst epithets you've ever heard and sprinkle them liberally in there and make it sound worse than the really shouty parts of a really shouty Tarantino flick.

It sounds something like this:

"Awwwwww fuuuuuuck. Whaaaaaaat the fuuuuuck is thaaaaaaat? Fuuuuuuuuckinaaaay. Awwwwwww fuuuuuuck awwwww fuuuuuuuuuuuck, Not aaaaanother fuuuuuuuckin' eeeeegg! I'mmm gooooonna fuuuuck shiiiiiit uuuuup. Fuuuck shiiiit uuuuup, aaay! Shiiiiiiit, I waaaant to fuuuuck uuup some fuuuuuuckin' buuugs, aaaay? Aaaare yoooooou fuuuuckin' looking at meeee youuuu fuuuuuuckin' moooonkeeeey? Fuuuuuuuuuuck youuuuuuu! Fuuuuuuck the suuuuuuuunshine of aaaaaaall of youuuuur aaaaancestors youuuuuu faaaat moooooooonkey! Awwww fuuuuuuuuck yooooouuu soooo muuuuuch! I'll fuuuuuuckin cuuuuut yoooou! Awwwwwwww shiiiiiit, I'm gooooonna fuuuuuuuuuuuck youuuuu uuuuuup too! Awwwwwwww fuuuuuuck yeeeeeah I'm a fuuuuuckin' chicken, who are yoouuuuu caaaallling a chicken, chicken? Fuuuuuuuckin ayyyyyyy!!"

And, well, there you have it. I'm sorry if you can't unhear this the next time you hear some chickens, but it's true. They're fascinatingly, astoundingly horrible and even frightening creatures. They truly do not give a fuck about anything or anyone much at all, and this is a fine and admirable way to be for a chicken.

It is often said by many wise people it is best to do your best to stay friends with chickens and not make enemies of them.
posted by loquacious at 8:33 PM on June 11 [14 favorites]


I read pretty much all the way down and am horrified that no one has mentioned Final Fantasy Tactics, where you _play_as_a_chicken_ if your bravery stat dips too low. I think you have to do that on purpose to get the final summon actually
posted by pagrus at 10:36 PM on June 11


I looooooved the chickens (hen hens, roostros, and chickadoos) in Slime Rancher! I watched my partner play this game and the chickens were so cute :3
posted by batter_my_heart at 10:56 PM on June 11 [2 favorites]


There are quests and achievements in Lord of the RIngs Online for "Chicken Play." As in, you play as a chicken. Your powers are run and search for worms. You can only chat in Chicken channels with the other players who are also chickens. There's an 8-hour long quest to roam all over Middle Earth as a Level 1 chicken. The sole reward for which is the title, "Crosser of Roads."

I am not making any of this up.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:34 AM on June 12 [1 favorite]


It's also traditional that whenever a new landmass is added to the game players will organize a "Chicken Run" marathon to get as deep into the new territory as possible, assisted by non-chicken players who keep the route clear of enemies, etc.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:15 AM on June 12 [1 favorite]


Six-foot-tall chickens absolutely would not stop, ever, until you are dead.

Please see Chuckie Egg (1983) for more details: ZX Spectrum, BBC Micro, C64.

(the Amstrad CPC had the best version but I can't find one that's playable online)
posted by scruss at 1:22 AM on June 17


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