The scientifically named Equus caballus, is primarily represented in gaming as a mode of transportation, such as Epona in the Legend of Zelda or the Kentucky saddler in Red Dead Redemption.
The accompaniment of a horse allows the player to traverse the landscape quickly and more efficiently, while also giving a more grandiose understanding of the true breadth of the landscape presented to the player.
Frequently, the horse is integrated into game play as a means to immerse the player by establishing an interdependence with the beast. This is illustrated by the presence of Epona in Ocarina of Time, and Twilight Princess, where the creature is introduced early in the game, removed from the game play in a contextualized manner, and then reintroduced and established as a emotional point of contact, referring to the earlier storyline as a period of innocence and naivety, and also as a significant game play mechanic, allowing the player to reach otherwise inaccessible areas.
The player's equine accompaniment is also occasionally used as a major plot device, as exemplified by the character Wander's horse Agro in The Shadow of the Colossus. Agro is present throughout the storyline and is Wander's only companion. The expansive landscape and overwhelming presentation of the Colossi create a significant reliance upon Agro, and establish riding the animal as a point of safety and comfort. The eventual sacrifice presented in the story gives the player a true appreciation of Wander's dedication to his cause, and a feeling of inescapable finality and vulnerability to the player.
The horse is also portrayed as an obstacle to the players goals, typically being ridden by an opponent. Sometimes a point of weakness, where the fairly large target of the horse can be gunned down easily in a pursuit situation to leave the enemy in the distance, or also as an empowering element, giving the opponent superior height and charging speed.
The horse can also be given over as a vanity item in games. Something to be groomed and maintained, or adorned with exorbitant, superfluous armor.
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