The galloping return of the “Game of the Horses”

Key art image provided by the Horse Tales Emerald Valley Ranch PR team

When I was a kid growing up in the 2000s, the games industry still felt a bit inaccessible, and games were often uncharted and uncharted territory. All the guns, the research, and gasp! the swear words were too much for my single-digit brain. I still thought they were cool though, because of course games are Cold. And watching my brothers go to town in a video game made me long for gaming experiences that spoke to me.

Fortunately (or unfortunately) for me, I had a real interest in the most reviled animal in pop culture: the horse. Yes, I was a “horse girl”. He loved those things more than life itself, and since horses were often too expensive to daydream about, he would have been adrift in the wasteland of Have-Not-Horses were it not for the horse game market designed to play alone in exactly that fact.

Yes, there was a whole market for horse games in the past, often with some championship jockey’s name attached. Petz Horsez. Championship Rider. Let’s ride. barn secrets. These were the most common titles, often repurposed depending on who bought the game license, as studios like THQ and EA passed them off as cheap cash grabs. In the eyes of a “hardcore” gamer, they would probably be considered shovelware by modern standards.

But for me? They were at home – the ultimate fulfillment of wishes. In these games, you could have a ton of horses in your own stable, on your property, and all you had to do was groom them, ride them, and live your goddamn life. Darling. In what world can you do that, unless you’re like a nepotistic baby or something?

Unfortunately, not everyone gets their wishes fulfilled through virtual animal care, and I fully understand that: many of these games were dumb and poorly made, with no lasting power beyond their core mechanics. Compared to other games of the time, such as Forgot either mass effectthere was no way this niche genre could continue to survive.

Thus ended the era of the horse game.

… Until very recently.

your own league

A few years ago, I discovered a blog called The Mane Quest, which is dedicated to the representation and survival of not just the horse game genre, but horses in games in general. Alice, the person who runs the blog, is also a game developer, so her comment is informed and enlightening, especially for people like me who have noticed the same sort of thing in horse games and are happy to have a community to talk about them in.

What prompted the writing of this article was when a representative from the Microids studio contacted me about their upcoming game, Horse Tales: Emerald Valley Ranch. I had already read about this game on TMQ, as Alice is the creative producer of the game, and the fact that I kept hearing more about it told me that it wasn’t just a lukewarm shrug move, it’s a serious move, bring back this genre not only for the market of cheap children’s games, but for everyone to enjoy it with authenticity and quality.


Doesn’t this look absolutely delicious? It is stardew valley but with greater emphasis on horses. It seems so relaxing and sweet, the kind of thing that, in my opinion, should have been seriously capitalized on by now. weather behind.

Alice had this to say about the project in her blog post about it:

I’m incredibly excited for all of you to see what we’ve been up to and try it out for yourselves. Of course, I’m biased here: I’m directly involved and I absolutely want this project to succeed so I can make more good horse games in Aesir in the future, but I really think that Horse Tales – Emerald Valley Ranch has the opportunity to catapult the often neglected genre of horse games to a whole new level and show the market how much untapped potential there is for peaceful open world games with prominent equestrian components.


And for those who still doubt the ability of horse games to relax and captivate the player, I must emphasize that a good horse game is not that different from a good farming simulator. They both involve a level of relaxation and engagement that stimulates the human brain in a very peaceful yet productive way. For the lazy, here are the highlights of the game:

Stable expansion and resource gathering: Your crumbling family heritage is a blank canvas: as you progress through quests and explore the world, you’ll find building blueprints that unlock horse care and customization features. In order to build the buildings in suitable construction spaces, you will need resources such as different types of wood and stone, which you will find in the open world.

Horse Traits: Horses have personality traits that influence how they behave in the world: some horses prefer forests to fields or vice versa, others are afraid of heights. Some of these traits can be trained to improve, others are unchanging personality quirks.

Breed horses: Our horses have a genetic pattern based very closely on the genetics of real life horses. While not a 100% accurate simulation, Horse Tales – Emerald Valley Ranch It will definitely be able to satisfy players interested in strategic color, stat, and trait play. To breed horses (or tame wild horses!), you need enough resources in your state, which means building buildings for food, shelter, and activity to support your animals.

Make yourself a name: By helping people, competing in races, and exploring new areas in the world, you earn Fame, which will give you access to more building space in your base of operations and estates in Cape Emerald. You can optimize this in several ways: gaining fame through horse racing, for example, is directly influenced by your horse’s Charisma value, as well as its current condition.

Personalization: You can play as a male or female character. Dialogue is kept as gender-neutral as possible, and all clothing and hairstyle options are available regardless of which character model you choose at the start, giving you plenty of room to play as a main character of whatever gender and expression you desire. .

A lush and large open world: This part is perhaps the most obvious from the announcement trailer, but it still deserves to be said: our team at Aesir have created an absolutely beautiful colorful open world with dozens of enchanting locations and little secrets to discover.


For those who are not familiar with horse games, these are pretty advanced qualities that we have wanted for a long time! Horses in games are often rather bland and uninteresting, whose only real qualities are speed and coat color. games like breath of the wild Y red dead redemption 2 they’ve upped their game, no doubt, but they’re still not total “horse games.” Sometimes a bitch just wants to ride her bloody horse without worrying about O’Driscolls or Guardians, right?

Little champions, new and old

Star Stable Art (Star Stable Entertainment)

Of course, this isn’t the only horse game coming out to keep your ears tuned. Many teams and/or individuals have been hard at work on their own projects; Whether or not these projects come to fruition remains to be seen, but they are definitely indicative of current market desires.

Unbridled: That Horse Game has been gaining a lot of fanfare, and if you join their Patreon, you can watch the game unfold in real time. For a project that has really only been under the discretion of one person, it looks great.

then there is rivershine ranchwhich I’m especially excited about as it’s being developed by Cozy Bee Games, the makers of games as cozy as Lemon cake Y history of alchemy. The horses look a little stiff, sure, but the aesthetic is perfect, and at the end of the day, isn’t that all we want, folks?

Of course, I couldn’t finish this article without paying homage to my favorite horse game series. star stable is a Swedish horse game series that I first discovered as a child, and was fascinated by the funky graphics and weird sci-fi plots. The original games Starlight Legacy series, have been configured to be compatible with the browser (click this link to access them). They’re incredibly fun and silly, and only take a couple of hours each, so I’d recommend at least giving them a try.

But they have since expanded into a larger franchise, star stable, which began as CD-ROM titles where you could buy and race horses in the fictional world of Jorvik, and has now expanded into an MMORPG. I had no idea this MMO even existed until the lockdown kicked in, and like many mugged college graduates who suddenly had no parties or offices to go to, I began searching for memories of my youth. Full disclosure, I have since played the shit out of this MMO that is, for all intents and purposes, for kids. It is the closest thing I have found to fulfill my desire to have several horses without paying rent or having to take care of them.

However, to top off this article, I would like to pay my respects to horse island, a flash game from the old days, trying to teach kids about economics while doing very little to prevent chat crimes. It was my first experience with strangers denying me, and I miss it so much. There were all kinds of fun quests to complete, and the wild horse mechanic, where you just have to risk standing on a tile that has a wild horse on it, still pops up in my dreams sometimes.

I mean, it’s not gone forever, but I refuse to download suspicious flash plugins, so in my heart, it’s gone. Rest in Palomino, horse island. Thanks for giving me my first lesson on the horrors of virtual capitalism. Cremello 4 Life server.

In any case, I am very excited about this turn in the market and I look forward to seeing and supporting all the beautiful new projects that are coming out. Horse Tales: Emerald Valley Ranch launches November 15 in North America, for PC, Switch, PS4, and PS5. I look forward to seeing all of your beautiful virtual horses, along with mine!

(featured image: Microids/Aesir)

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