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[SATIRE] Tropes vs Wolves

Don Parsons / January 11, 2015 at 12:00 PM / Featured, Gaming, KekRaptor

Trigger warning: Satire. Welcome to Tropes vs Wolves, where we investigate the game tropes and the games themselves that have led to the further diminishing and destruction of one of nature’s top predators – the Wolf. The belittling and hurtful use of the wolf in many of our gaming environments causes spill over into the real world, desensitizing us to the plight of this noble and courageous beast.

Video Games have many tropes and patterns within them, and while any individual game may not be a significant issue, the masses of games that utilize them are. Thus, we will discuss some of the problematic trends and tropes in some particularly troubling games that are damaging wolves and people alike.

We can start with games’ tendency to arrange foes in order of threats to make the game more entry friendly for the player. This is supposed to allow them to fight foes that are an appropriate challenge at the time. However, in games, typically animals are the lowest level of threat, followed often by humans, and then into supernatural or mechanical if games have those.

In World of Warcraft, wolves come invarious levels, but the grey wolf starts at level 1, a threat for low level characters, leading to a lack of respect from the game and its millions of subscribers. Blizzard’s reckless disregard will lead to less consideration for the wolf’s conservation status, as they are misrepresented as weak, unimportant, and numerous.

Ravaged Wolf Corpse

What games often leave the wolf as… before they loot it mercilessly for their own evil profit

Experience points also clearly cater to the devaluation of the great wolf. In many games, the only way to acquire experience is to kill things. As we discussed above, the wolf is part of the animal clique that is often put at the low level when experience is most vital for players to start doing things. Thus, in many cases they begin to grind and kill many of the same creatures – such as the poor wolves in the area who get repeatedly murdered in the name of experience.

Aiding and abetting are the incredibly abundant Fetch Quests. These quests require you to get something and bring it back. In many cases, these quests ask for things such as 20 wolf pelts. Given that many of these games use random loot, it is often necessary to kill more than 20 wolves to get 20 pelts. Of course, the very idea that you should hunt wolves for pelts, and get rewarded for it, is yet another indication of how game tropes attack the noble and embattled wolf.

To illustrate some of these points and some others, I’ll use a few game examples here. Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magica Obsura is an older RPG that has wolves in it from the start. The first issue we should notice is that early on they have ailing wolves, and they are among some of the first things you fight. However, as the following Let’s Play by Chris Avellone shows, Arcanum did manage to capture the power of the wolf more thoroughly.

Even here there is an issue though. Setting wolves up this way can greatly increase agitation with them. Chris Avellone as he plays through Season 0, grows more and more frustrated with wolves and this may in fact lead to him taking it out on wolves in the future. That might happen to any gamer who gets into a frustrated situation like this, therefore causing further harm to the poor wolf.

A game that has a lot more wolf in it is the Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. In this game the protagonist, Link, turns into a wolf when he goes into the twilight realm. While Wolf Link is powerful and useful, Link in the game is not happy to be this way and his first focus seems to be getting back to normal form. Seriously – you get to become the powerful predator with super jumping powers and scent and you want to be a boy again? What specieism!

Wolf Link

This wolf has been ridden by another creature, chained, and now faces the ultimate indignity – spanking

Additionally, when in wolf form Midna rides Wolf Link. No wolf would actually suffer that, and this is further proof of the degradation of the wolf  which this game promotes. To make matters worse, while he is Wolf Link, the people in the world react with fear. While this may seem appropriate, as a wolf is a fearsome predator, this makes the wolf form less useful and thus devalues the wolf in the players mind.

Link is in many ways just aping a wolf. He doesn’t live the life, have the proper behaviors, or the patterns that a proper predator as powerful as the wolf would have. People, and especially animals, are able to quickly identify him as Link in this form. This further mocks the wolf in a game that is supposed to be about empowering it. The whole game insults the wolf, and everyone who has played or seen it, has been exposed to its toxicity towards the great and valiant wolf.

Games degrade the wolf, and that roleplaying game or action game you are playing, is probably part of it. They put them out there in the early levels to be slaughtered en masse for the appeasement of players and the temporary power thrill of seeing them conquer a powerful predator. The wolf is often scorned in the games – and even those that try to portray it better are full of issues that must be addressed or else the moral fiber of our society as well as a great species will be destroyed.

I hope you enjoyed this article. I would like to remind you that it was satire and written firmly tongue in cheek. Tropes vs Wolves image is courtesy of Lucy Walcott and that formed the idea for this piece. If you’d like to see more great content – support TechRaptor on Patreon! We aren’t a non-profit but we are aiming to deliver you the best in games and tech news, reviews, and content!


Don Parsons

News Editor

I've been a gamer for years of various types starting with the Sega Genesis and Shining Force when I was young. If I'm not playing video games, I'm often roleplaying, reading, writing, or pondering things brought up by speculative fiction.



  • mrwizeass

    Lol hilarious article! Are you gonna go for the full effect and delete any comment that isn’t completely kissing your ass?

  • coboney

    Heh – thanks for the compliment. Not going to delete anything or block anyone. Humour is in the end, subjective. Though if I get requests from people about stats and backing up I might talk with the rest about doing a sequel with some of the faux fact stuff I cut idea wise due to not quite fitting the format I was satirizing

  • coboney

    Its part of the satirization of the style that I was going for they often include trigger warnings about the topic so I put there what I thought was fitting.

  • Alex Three

    Pretty sure Isuun wouldn’t have gotten away with that lip if Amaterasu were human!

  • Damian Salcedo

    Ok, now you just need to raise $100 000 dollars to make 4 more articles in the span of 2 years!

  • coboney

    Well you can donate to Techraptor’s Patreon! And I guarantee a quicker turn around then 2 years having looked up some more stuff that got cut!

  • rpsgc

    Your ‘trigger warning’ triggered me. I am now triggered by triggers. Some days even the Tigris river triggers me.

  • biztron

    Y’all need to check your canine privilege.

  • Why wasn’t Bigby Wolf mentioned in this article?

  • coboney

    Sadly in my aim at it I was forced to discard all the times that Bigby Wolf gets unfairly insulted throughout the game. If I do a sequel at some point that would be in my top list of things to investigate and report!

  • Yosharian

    A spanking! A spanking!

  • AgentBJ09

    He’s a werewolf, which I think merits an article all it’s own.

  • EscapeVelocity

    You forgot to disclose your affiliations with PETA & the World Wildlife Fund.

  • NorBdelta

    Woooh, wooooh! This article is really offensive to my culture. It needs to be taken down and the author should be re-educated to be better in tune and culturally aware of individuals who self-identify as wolves.

  • SevTheBear

    Hilarious piece. Love it. Lucy has great sense of humor and I hope we will see more of it 🙂

    11/10

  • 33

    You did an article on wolves and didn’t mention Wolf Quest. I feel as though you’re blindly ignoring good examples of wolf characters so you can push an agenda.

  • No, he is not a werewolf. His glamour is what makes him appear humanized, when in reality he is just one big dang wolf. You see his real form in a book before he turns into one during the fight at the end. Remember this?

  • jennytablina

    Also the Pokemon Poochyena shows up early on in Ruby and Sapphire as low level fodder – it’s technically not a wolf, but still an example of a wild canine not getting it’s dues! At least on the upside you can catch one and evolve it to Mightyena, which is a more respectable display of wolves.

  • AgentBJ09

    I stopped playing after the first chapter, so no, didn’t see that. (Got bored of Telltale’s gameplay style and the 360 complete collection disk was a trainwreck to use.)

  • PossiblyCthulhu

    Check your Patreonage

  • Irishdragon5

    Remember, the more you disagree with this, the more you prove it right!

  • sluntchop

    Yeah, women are just like wolves!

  • hots

    Patreon
    Patrearchy
    Conincidence?

  • DynastyStar

    There is a huge lack of wolves in videogames. Really, the only playable character that I’ve ever played as that is a wolf is Blanca from Shadow Hearts: Covenant, if you wanna see some brief footage of Blanca, you can watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4y0FMVOfEI starting at roughly 1:21 You can watch the whole thing if you want, but it does have some spoilers on some of the enemies of the game, and some plot points that subtly carry over from the original Shadow Hearts. Though he’s more of a side-character, you do play as JUST him at one part of the game.

    Another game that has alot to do with wolves is Sang-Froid: Tales of Werewolves, which is a french-Canadian game, I’d suggest either playing the demo or looking up Totalbiscuit’s WTF Is… on the game if you haven’t seen it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__IMV0bpxCI and here’s the Store Page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/227220/

    Other than that, there’s not really that many games that are centered around wolves, or have a playable character as a wolf.

    Oh yeah, and LoZ, but I haven’t played the majority of Legend of Zeldas, which includes the one where you transform into a wolf.

  • Zanard Bell

    This triggered my Wolf’s Rain feels. I demand a retraction and donate to my Patreon.

  • coboney

    Ah – I think honestly Wolf Among Us is the best Telltale one yet really. They had a better focus and setting, which let characters do better then Walking Dead’s myriad of characters that keep dying

  • Owen Wreford

    I’ve been studying wolf ethology and conservation for a few years now, and honestly it has started to really sadden me to see them just be put into games just as filler content. There probably is a case to be made for some sort of “tropes vs wolves”, certainly more than “tropes versus women”. I mean, they kill less humans than dogs do. Just something that has been on my mid for a long time now.

  • chizwoz

    I’ve always thought a genuine series that someone could do, which would have far more evidence for it and far less evidence against it, would be Tropes VS Skinheads. Bald men (either through shaving or hair loss) are routinely portrayed in a negative way in the media.