I love mythology and cryptozoology. I love monsters and creatures that form part of a society’s culture. Since I was a child, this was a subject that had always captivated me. Fear of the unknown, be it exterior or interior, is something always present in human nature. It was this primal emotion that let their imagination fly giving shape, names and even personalities to phenomenons they couldn’t understand at that moment. As a result, giving form to what does not have form brings a “sense” of safety and control over the imagined.
This fascination of mine for the topic, only grew deeper when I entered the gaming world. I still remember fondly games like Age of Mythology and the Pantheon of gods and impossible creatures, the savage and brutal monsters from God of War and, in recent years, The Witcher 3 with his influence on the primitive and dark roots of eastern European folklore. Video games had become a perfect platform for these creatures of imagination. Today I want to talk about five of them, perhaps even unknown to you… creatures a little bit different from your standard trolls, orcs, werewolves. Some of the most common monster used in video games.
I know, I know. This might not be any different from your typical gnome/goblin, but I still think there is a nice concept that could be implemented from here. This malign gnome inhabits some of the castle ruins from Scotland. People could feel tempted to explore these places, but they would do well keeping distance. Could it be the residence of a red cap? It can be distinguished from afar by his, hence the name, red cap, and his also red eyes.
It moves very fast even if is using metal boots. Red cap seeks out its victims using blood to maintain the red color of his cap. Although being short in height, he can beat even the strongest man. He can only be repelled if the victim manages to chant some holy words from The Bible before the red cap plunges his sharp claws into him.
As for the video game part, wouldn’t be interesting if there were an enemy in a video game in which you are helpless against? The best thing you could do is keep it at bay with fire, chants, symbols or magic.
Bunyips are Australian aquatic monsters. There are different species of them on various parts of the land. Some have dog-like faces with tails resembling lizards or fishes. Others have long necks and peaks displaying matted manes. Difficulties with his description come from few people surviving encounters with the beast. One thing all the species have in common is a low and deep growl that can be heard specially in the rain, in swamps, or even rivers. When their lairs dry, bunyips hibernate by digging into the mud.
Video game part: Just look at it. Tell me something like this isn’t something you would pay a professional monster hunter to capture or get rid of.
Kelpies are aquatic horses from Scottish rivers. Kelpies can appear both in human or equine form. As humans, they come out of the water with the appearance of a ragged man waiting for some unsuspecting traveler to pass by. The Kelpie will then jump onto the back of their horse. The first thing the terrified horseman notices of this unexpected passenger are two hairy arms around his waist in a deadly hug. Once the Kelpie gets tired of playing, he jumps back into the water.
When the Kelpie appears in equine form, he awaits for a weary traveler. If someone is foolish enough to ride him, he would run to the water, swimming quickly to the deepest part. If the unfortunate rider doesn’t know how to swim, he will be in very big trouble.
Video game part: This could be a random event
Whowies are nocturnal creatures from Australia. About twenty feet long, half reptile, half insect. It has six insect legs, a lizard head and a body covered by scales and a snake tail. At night, the Whowie would crawl into grounds where people were sleeping and proceed to devour anyone who couldn’t get away. Thirty to sixty people could disappear down his cavernous mouth during one of those raids.
Video game part: Aren’t dragons already worn out? Why not a giant insect-lizard as the apex predator you hope to never encounter in the middle of night?
Before the arrival of white men to Australia, Wandjinas used to show themselves to the indigenous people. A notable characteristic of the Wandjinas is their headdress, similar in some way to an astronaut’s helmet. Wandjinas are weather spirits. Humanoid in form, but three times the height of a human. Their colors can range from black to yellow or orange. They live deep in the mountains and come out to change stations. They have eyes but no mouths and it is said that the “suits” they wear prevent all atmospheric phenomenons escaping from their bodies. Should they have a breach on their suit, the power coming from the gap would cause never-ending rains and cyclones.
Video game part! We simply hadn’t seen something like this. This is something I’ve always wanted. More than enemies, or creatures that drop loot or resources, I want to see a game that fully implements beings in a believable way in the world they inhabit. In other words, an as an example, if Wandjinas were in a game, they would be that ancient and powerful aspect of the world that is best to leave untouched. Should you dare to do so, it could mean unleashing unbinding terrible forces upon the world. Players have been accustomed to be rewarded when they kill something of epic proportions, but should you really be rewarded for messing with the equilibrium of nature itself?
As a side note, three of the five come from Australian myths. Maybe it’s time someone considered using this old country’s mythos as a setting for a game?
Smith, W. R. (2003) Myths and Legends of the Australian Aborigines. Dover Publications, Mineola