According to the Chinese zodiac, 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit. Those born in the Year of the Rabbit tend to be sensitive, graceful, and perhaps even a bit snobbish. In honor of the Rabbit, below is a list of the top 10 video game rabbits that have graced our consoles over the years and their contributions to gaming. From teachers, to warriors, to guides, and comedians, these rabbits are a talented herd. Rabbit rabbit!
10. Vibri – Vib-Ribbon (PlayStation)
Greatly overlooked, Vib-Ribbon was a rhythm game that created obstacles for a rabbit named Vibri to hop over based on the beat of a song. Each obstacle, pit, or block requires special button commands for her to pass. The crazier the song, the more obstacles appear. Whenever you score high enough in each level, Vibri congratulates you by singing you a victory song.
The game’s graphics are very basic and Vibri is nothing more than a few vector lines put together. But what made the game unique was that once loaded, the game could be swapped out for any music CD you wanted and it would make unique levels based on your music selection. Vibri may not have been as popular as some rapping dogs back in her time, but her game was much more tricky – especially if you played it listening to a heavy metal track.
Buneary, the small fluffy bunny that makes its appearance in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, evolves only when it reaches a high enough level of happiness with its trainer. You can give it massages, feed it sweet muffin-like poffin, or give it tangy lemonade to drink to make it happier. If it faints in battle, it will lose happiness points. Once it evolves, it becomes the very feminine looking Lopunny, a rabbit Pokémon with delicate ears. “If they are touched roughly, it kicks with its graceful legs.”
Lopunny could be considered a very sexualized bunny, even by its Pokédex description above. But in fact, it’s just an embodiment of the graceful and serene side of some rabbits. Following a few Pokémon that looked like rabbits, but weren’t really classified as such – I’m looking at you Nidoran and Azumarrill – Buneary and Lopunny were the first real rabbits to come along after four generations of Pokémon games.
8. Yumigami – Okami (Playstation 2)
When you look at the full moon at night and fix your gaze at its shadows, do you see a rabbit? Japanese legend tells of a rabbit pounding rice cake in a mortar on the surface of the moon where his reflection still remains. This legend could have been started by someone who looked at the moon one night and saw that some of the craters looked like a rabbit.
Regardless of its origin, this legend is preserved in Okami, where one of the Celestial Brushes you control is Yumigami, a god that takes the form of a rabbit. The spirit of the moon lives on in this brush and by drawing a crescent shape in the sky, day turns to night and night begins anew. Despite being the Sun Goddess Amaterasus’s opposite, Yumigami holds the same values for peace and tranquility and helps you defeat the evil Yami in the final battle in the game.
7. Alice – Bloody Roar (PlayStation)
If you thought being of mixed race was confusing enough, get a load of Alice. Aside from being half German and half Japanese, she’s also part rabbit. After being kidnapped by the evil Tylon Corporation and turned into a Zoanthrope, Alice was given the ability to turn into a human sized rabbit complete with all its perks.
A quiet and caring person by nature, Alice’s animal transformation is perhaps symbolic of her personality. The white rabbit she becomes can still be a worthy adversary as her jumps and kicks are one of the best in the game. Never underestimate a white fluffy bunny that knows self defense.
A rabbit that’s so late, very late, for an important date that he hops away. While this may sound like something out of a Lewis Carroll book, there is a yellow rabbit in the basement of Peach’s Castle that says the same thing to you as you try to catch him. He has two Power Stars too and won’t give them up until you catch him.
The interesting thing about this bunny is that you can use him to access a glitch that lets you bypass one of the star doors that would normally require 30 stars to open. You can exploit this glitch by picking him up and approaching a door and dropping him. Mario will get pushed through the door when he drops him. MIPS gets his name from Microprocessor without Interlocked Pipeline Stages. Great name, Nintendo.
5. Robbit – Jumping Flash! (PlayStation)
Rabbits are known for hopping, but this robotic bunny takes it to the extreme. When you play Jumping Flash!, you’ll be playing the game through Robbit’s eyes and you’ll see the world slowly slip away from under you every time you jump. The game’s camera tilts downward and you’ll see where you’re landing.
Robbit’s game was one of the most unique platform titles of its time as it let you walk freely in a three-dimensional space with full control of the camera, beating that famous plumber to the punch. Sure, Mario can jump. But Robbit soars. Every time you play his game, you’ll realize how fearless some rabbits can actually be. Well, maybe the robotic variety.
One of the first enemies you face in the game, the lowly Rabite has been around since the beginning of the Mana series. Despite having an innocent face and cute features, this creature uses jump attacks to hit your party members. Some species give their name justice too and can give nasty bites. In Legend of Mana, you can even hatch them from eggs and raise them as pets that you can take to battle with you.
Rabites are Mana’s version of the Chocobo and have become the series’ mascot. You can find them in the form of many types of collectible merchandise and paraphernalia too. The best thing about owning a rabite plushie is that you won’t have to clean its soiled cage.
The Genesis had a blue hedgehog, and what abnormally colored woodland creature did the PC try to get as their mascot? Why, a green rabbit of course! Jazz, however, has a different agenda in mind and that is to rescue Princess Eva Earlong of his native planet Carrotus that is being ravaged by the evil mastermind Devan Shell, a tortoise.
In a true battle of hare vs. tortoise, Jasaazz Rabbit games give us a tough representation of the rabbit. Complete with a red bandana of courage and armed with a blue blaster, Jazz fights for his planet’s freedom and provides a better moral than any Aesop fable could muster. Did slow and steady win the race? Not on his planet.
Teaching us spelling and making a game out of it, Reader Rabbit was some people’s first computer game that actually could have been considered homework. Since 1986, his games have taught us the difference between short and long vowel sounds and the basics of reading and language arts. His matching games and puzzles were fun segues from normal schoolwork that you wouldn’t realize you were actually learning until it was too late.
Over the years, Reader Rabbit has gained many friends that help him in his adventures in learning. He can even teach you basic math if you want. Perhaps one of the first computer games introduced in schools, Reader Rabbit and his friends taught us that gaming is a part of learning and that education games can be as great a tool as any textbook out there.
The oldest member of Team Star Fox, Peppy has seen it all. As a member on the first Star Fox team, he was betrayed by his teammate and witnessed his close friend die at the hands of the evil Andross. Later on, he becomes the wise teammate on Fox’s team and finally helps avenge his friend’s death by defeating the evils of his solar system. Eventually becoming General of the Cornerian Army, Peppy still remains ever humble and lets his experience speak for itself.
Peppy has always been the experienced one, the one who would tell you to “do a barrel roll” to avoid enemy fire and to remind you how “you’re becoming more like your father.” His warm words give you guidance throughout the cold emptiness of space. And his sincerity reminds you that benevolence still exists among the evils you face in your adventures. Always “trust your instincts.”
We hope that these rabbits and the year 2011 will bring everyone some good news, good times, and good gaming. Any rabbits you think should have made the list? Let us know!