Some president once said that farms are the backbone of our nation. Video games are one of the nation’s most beloved pastimes. Does this mean that farms are by extension, the backbone of video games? Obviously! So let’s take a look at some of the best ones.
Moo Moo Meadows (Mario Kart Series)
This farm can only be experienced from behind the wheel of a go kart. Moo Moo Meadows seems to be a very large ranch, which must be a real joy for all the cows residing there. Little is known about the origins of the Meadows, but its expansive roadway makes for a simple, fun Mario Kart track. Its banjo-licking tune has undoubtedly been the soundtrack to many a childhood fight, but if you started a brawl over losing on Moo Moo Meadows, you must have been pretty terrible at Mario Kart. All told, an incredibly serious mole infestation and the constant noise of all those karts must drive the cows crazy, so Moo Moo Meadows isn’t the most idyllic place.
The Epsilon Farm (GTA: San Andreas)
Who doesn’t love a good cult? Rockstar has used the Epsilon program as a brilliant jab at scientology throughout the GTA series, but the Epsilon Farm is the best example of the kooky bunch. A clear reference to the infamous Scientology Ranch, the farmhouse has glowing blue lights flashing from within, and trigger-happy ranch hands will attack you if you go anywhere near the place. Weather on the farm is always foggy during the night, and the place is creepy as all hell. CJ is only required to venture onto the cult’s grounds once to steal their combine harvester, but the outright appearance of the Epsilon Program is very cool to see in person.
Chocobo Farm (Final Fantasy VII)
Chocobos are everyone’s favorite chicken-based monstrosities from the Final Fantasy series — they look like somebody split an emu. And the Chocobo Farm is apparently the only place in the world that has the capability of breeding the giant birds. The farm itself is a fairly unimportant area, but it’s pretty fun to explore, and gives the player the ability to breed their own Chocobos — they’ll even do a happy yet simultaneously terrifying dance for you! The Chocobo Farm makes an appearance in Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, and is also mentioned in Dirge of Cerberus. Everyone remembers Dirge of Cerberus right? Right…?
Human Ranches (Tales of Symphonia)
The Desians are a simple bunch of people with simple tastes: exospheres, world domination, and concentration camps. The four Human Ranches house prisoners who are forced to harvest exospheres before being killed, and they serve as dungeons in Symphonia. It’s pretty hardcore of the Desians to have an economy based solely genocide. Luckily, all the ranches have a very convenient self-destruct button. The Human Ranches are a really dark thing to include in an otherwise bright and innocent game, but damn if they don’t demonstrate the real evil of the Desians (and why humans make terrible livestock).
Lon Lon Ranch (Legend of Zelda Series)
When you picture video game farms, do you really think of anything else? The Lon Lon Ranch and all its variations have made many appearances across the Zelda franchise, gracing Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask (as the Romani Ranch), Four Swords Adventures, and The Minish Cap. The Lon Lon Ranch gave us Epona, perhaps the most beloved animal companion in the history of games, and it has an incredibly iconic theme that puts a smile on anyone’s face. Ranch hand Talon became one of the most relatable characters in the Zelda series, probably because everyone has an uncle exactly like him. All of this adds up to an incredible amount nostalgia for the Lon Lon Ranch, which earns it the top spot.
What are your favorite agricultural gaming instances, a.k.a. farms? Let me know in the comments!
Justin Rob runs the video game blog Skip to the Score. Check it our for more video game goodness!