February 23, 2011

Top 10 Canines In Video Game History

     Throughout the years, many video games have featured animal characters that have been utilized creatively to the plot and gameplay. To narrow it down to only 10 entries, I based the list on a number of factors. These include their design, abilities, and overall impact to the game's experience. Here is the list of the Top 10 Canines in Video Game History.

#10. Skoll from World of Warcraft 
Skoll is a lightning infused worg (what wolves are called in WoW) that can be found in the mountains of Storm Peaks, located within the continent of Northrend. What makes Skoll so special is that certain players can tame him and keep him permanently as a combat pet. The catch? You need to play as the Hunter class and have incredible patience and luck. Skoll spawns randomly throughout the mountains, and does not reappear for many hours once he has been slain or tamed. This can be an incredibly frustrating ordeal as many people will literally "camp" sites for hours where he has been known to appear.
#9. Repede from Tales of Vesperia 
Repede is an anthropomorphic dog who enjoys smoking a pipe. No, you didn't misread that. Tales of Vesperia is a relatively recent release of the acclaimed role-playing franchise Tales. Apart from reminding you of your grandfather, Repede plays an important part of the game. He offers advice to other characters in crucial situations, as well helps out with the combat. His weapon of choice? Daggers. It's not that often you come across a character who is best described as a knife-wielding talking dog. It is certainly the uniqueness factor that has earned Repede a spot on the list.

#8. Attack Dogs from Call of Duty
If you thought Call of Duty games were just about humans killing other humans with guns, you were wrong. Since Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, German Shepherds have made an appearance in single player mode as attack dogs for the enemies. Once the dog has pounced on you, there is only a few seconds to react before you are killed. In the World at War and Black Op installments of Call of Duty, the dogs became available for multiplayer use. In Black Ops, once a player has amounted a killstreak (kills without dying) of 11, they may call for the dogs. They will scurry around the map for the short duration and will attack your enemies and kill with one bite. Friendly dogs are seen as German Shepherds whereas enemy dogs are seen as Belgian Shepherds.

#7. MA-39 Cerberus from Resident Evil

The MA-39 Cerberus is the name given to the Tyrant Virus (abbreviated t-virus) infected Doberman Pinschers found in Raccoon City. The t-virus was a virus created by the Umbrella Corporation to aid in the creation of superhuman mutants for the purpose of warfare. Making appearances in many titles in the Resident Evil franchise, the MA-39 Cerberus is unlike most of the other zombies. What separates this zombie dog from the humanoid zombies is that most zombies are slow, and relatively easy to take down. However, the MA-39 Cerberus is quick, agile and dangerous as they travel in packs. The player must react fast and have precise aim with their weapons, or it's game over.

#6. Snubbull/Granbull from Pokémon
Although there have been other dog, wolf, and fox based Pokémon created, none of them stand out as much as Snubbull and Granbull. While obviously being designed around a bulldog, this Pokémon goes from cute looking to frightening as it reaches level 24 and evolves into Granbull. Snubbull was first introduced in the second generation of Pokémon in the Gameboy Color versions of Pokémon Gold & Silver. Although Snubbull and Granbull are considered Normal-Type Pokémon, Dark-Type and Ghost-Type moves can be learned through leveling making them great additions to your Pokémon party. 

#5. Daigoro from Final Fantasy X
In many of the Final Fantasy games, strong creatures called aeons may be summoned to aid your party in battle. In most cases, an aeon is gained through completing puzzle based tasks at various temples through out the world. However, Daigoro's master, a samurai named Yojimbo, can only be gained if you pay him gil (gold). What is also unique about this acquisition is that the player must also pay Yojimbo every time they want Daigoro to attack the designated enemy. Although the upkeep can be costly, it is a worthwhile investment to have Yojimbo and Daigoro join your party.

#4. PaRappa from PaRappa the Rapper
Is there anything cooler than a talking dog? Yes there is- a talking dog that also raps. PaRappa made his debut on the Playstation back in 1997 and became an instant hit. Each stage contains an instructor and has you rap the previous line they have said in a back and forth manner. The actual rapping is done by precisely repeating the combination of buttons that show up on the screen. If the player's timing is good, they will repeat whatever the instructor says. If the timing is bad, what PaRappa says won't be understandable.

#3. Amaterasu from Ōkami 
In Ōkami, you play as the Japanese goddess Amaterasu that is in the form of a white wolf. In the game, you control Amaterasu in a beautifully crafted environment with a unique cel-shaded design. The game is centered around Japanese mythology and has many unique gameplay elements. The most interesting component of the game has to be the use of the Celestial Brush. To use the Celestial Brush, the player pauses the game and uses the brush to draw and aid Amaterasu in different situations such as combat, puzzles, and platform elements. For defeating enemies, Amaterasu gains yen (money) which can be used to purchase better weapons and items for use. Amaterasu easily makes #3 on the list with her beautiful design and gameplay mechanics.

#2. Fox McCloud from Star Fox
Making his debut nearly two decades ago on the Super Nintendo, Fox McCloud has become notable among Nintendo fans. Fox McCloud is part of a group of space mercenaries together named Star Fox who pilot a starfighter named Arwing. Fox McCloud isn't the only animal on the Arwing. His comrades also include the intelligent frog named Slippy Toad and the skilled falcon pilot named Falco Lombardi. Making a number of titles through out the years, the Star Fox series has become one of the iconic rail shooters to date. Fox has even appeared in a number of other games including an adventure game spin-off named Star Fox Adventures for the Gamecube and has also appeared in all three of the Super Smash Brothers titles. Even with his cutting edge weapons and technical knowledge, Fox McCloud is only second. Surprisingly, it is another fox who claims the number one spot.

 #1. Tails from Sonic the Hedgehog
Tails, whose official given name is Miles Prower, earns the number one spot as the top canine in video game history. Making his playable debut in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Tails became an instant favorite. With speeds capable of reaching Sonic's level, it is Tails' flying ability that sets him apart from the other characters in the Sonic franchise. Tails can use both of his tails to attack enemies. More importantly, he can use his tails to fly. Not only can Tails fly naturally, but he is also a master mechanic and pilot. Tails is the creator of a red biplane named the Tornado. Throughout the series, the Tornado would be upgraded and become more advanced. The Tornado 3, which was featured in Sonic Adventure 2, can switch to a land form and even contains a missile launcher. With Tails amazing abilities, it is clear why he easily earns the number one spot.

February 18, 2011

What should you name your pet?

    Choosing a name for your new dog can be a difficult decision to make. It is important to choose a name that fits the animal well, but would also be relatively easy to pronounce. Ideally, you would want a name that is no longer than two syllables, as anything longer may be tedious for you to repeat and difficult for the animal to respond to. Also, you may want to avoid human names (at least in your native language) as it may cause confusion in certain situations.

     Many ask about where the huskies' names come from. Senka "shadow" and Zima "winter" originate from various Slavic languages (Russian, Serbian, etc.). Try playing around with Google Translate in various languages to see what you can come up with!

February 13, 2011

Blog Updated!

      Separate tabs have been made to make navigation through the blog much easier. You can find the links in white text near the top of the page in the blue banner. Bookmark and follow the blog for more future content!

February 9, 2011

It's getting very cold outside, protect your pets!

     Today was extremely chilly in the Midwest! It reached -3 degrees Fahrenheit, and nearly -15 degrees with wind chill!. Did you know Siberian Huskies thrive on cold weather? Siberian Huskies have been known to work under conditions near -80 degrees! However, Senka's wooly hair could be dangerous in those conditions since his fur would take much longer to dry as opposed to the short-haired variety. But, if you have other breeds of dogs, particularly smaller breeds, make every effort you can to provide them with adequate shelter! If you can't bring them in your house, a garage should be good enough. Keep warm!

February 4, 2011

Check out this amazing artwork!

     White Spirit Wolf Artwork was kind enough to create the digital art of Senka and Zima (The banner of the top of this blog) Visit the site for more amazing artwork! Very beautiful work! I highly suggest contacting them if you want drawings done of a similar fashion. Check out the portfolio!