Being a vegetarian gamer does make it hard to fully relate to some of the characters with whom I'm supposed. When the cast of Streets of Rage is gleefully beating up thugs and scarfing down street turkey, I can’t help but feel a little left out. So I decided to see with whom exactly I could relate.
Turns out, this list was a bit harder to fill than I thought it would be. Believe me, meticulous Wikia research was conducted to bring you this list, factoring in both in-game actions and character history. For example, Mario is only ever seen eating mushrooms, beans, and herbs in the games. But if you leave him alone to fall asleep in Super Mario 64, he sleep-talks about spaghetti and ravioli. And since I can’t guarantee these are of the veggie variety, he’s off my list!
Now that that’s all out of the way, we can begin taking a look at five of gaming's best vegetarians.
5. Link — 'The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time'
Yes, Link. The Hero of Time himself is a vegetarian in this specific game. The only food or drink we see him partake in is Lon Lon Milk (from the cows at the Lon Lon Ranch, obviously). The reason it’s only this specific games is that, in most future titles, the red and blue potions you can drink to refill health and magic (respectively) are made from Monster Jelly! In Ocarina of Time, the red potion recipe is kept secret, and other potions you can make use mushrooms as the main ingredient.
This incarnation of Link was raised by the Kokiri, a tribe of simple forest imps that are presided over by a giant, sentient tree. I like to think that Link’s vegetarianism is his own lifestyle choice.
Putting Link on this list does come with one caveat though... he tends to roam the land hacking down any non-human he comes across. Bugs, lizard men, wolves, bats, living skeletons, no one is safe! But hey, at least he never ate a burger made from this guy:
...That’s something right?
4. Jack — 'BioShock'
Warning: story spoilers for 'BioShock' to follow
In BioShock, Jack spends the whole time trapped in the failed underwater utopia, Rapture. So, naturally, food options would be a bit limited 20,000 leagues under the sea in a city inhabited by mutants and failed experiments.
BioShock’s food offerings include creme-filled cake, pep bars, and potato chips. All washed down with a myriad of alcoholic beverages.
Not the best overall diet, but vegetarian nonetheless. Granted, Jack’s strange diet of protein bars, creme cakes, and whiskey is more a product of his current circumstances, but not a lot is known about Jack outside of this game. You do find out late game that he was grown in a test tube and is only about 4 years old, so, for all we know, he could have lived on a rudimentary paste containing all essential vitamins and minerals before we see him!
3. Jade — 'Beyond Good and Evil'
Jade lives on the futuristic Orwellian planet of Hyllis, a world inhabited by anthropomorphic animals such as bird-humanoids, cow-humanoids, and shark-humanoids who all live and work together. You can imagine that the prospect of eating animals might be a bit taboo in this world.
Jade’s official occupation is a photo-journalist, which allows her fund the orphanage she helps run with her pig-man Uncle Pey’J. Early on in the games, she also gets recruited by the IRIS Network, an underground rebel organization which gets information out to the public that the government tries to cover up. She’s a progressive liberal hero and an inspiration to freedom fighters everywhere.
The only foods we see Jade eat in the world are Starkos, which looks a bit like a stale slice of sponge cake, and K-Bups, which look like an alien berry growth...thing? Both are described as “synthetic food of the Hillyan people," so I would assume that most of the population is vegetarian/vegan. After all, eating meat might get a bit awkward when you’re neighbors are a sentient pig and cow.
2. The Villager — 'Animal Crossing'
Here’s another girl that lives and works with animal people. Towns in Animal Crossing typically only have one human living there. You’re tasked with looking after the town because your animal neighbors don’t seem to care enough to do it themselves. Regardless of their shortcomings, Villager is a friend to all of her animal peers.
The Villager really is a little farming hero, as she does all her own forestry and gardening work, cleans up any weeds and rubbish left on the ground, and generally make the town a better place for everyone. Embodying the simple life, she barely has a carbon footprint, and there’s no way in the game to harm any of the creatures (except for the cockroaches that occasionally invade your home).
The only food you can actively eat in the game are fruits, coconuts, and turnips. So, as far as we see, she lives on a strict vegan diet. I would say she's one of the most animal-friendly human characters in gaming.
1. Bulbasaur — Pokémon franchise
Good old number #001. Out of the (now 622) Pokemon, Bulbasaur will always be my favorite, because he was the first Pokemon I ever picked back in 1999 on my 11th birthday. Bulbasaur is a Grass/Poison type and is basically a little dinosaur with a closed flower bud on his back. He’s a solid choice for any young trainer, as he boasts impressive special-attack and defense stats.
The world of Pokemon does seem pretty animal friendly at a glance. Everyone talks about how much they love their Pokemon, which are the animals of their world. However, there are some references to humans eating Pokemon; specifically, they mention that the wild duck Pokemon, Farfetch’d, was nearly hunted to extinction! There’s also the Donphan (or elephant) in the room regarding all of the government-sanctioned animal fighting that goes on. They tell you that the Pokemon like battling and leveling up, but do they really know that?
All the items you can feed your Pokemon are made from berries, and the potions that restore your health are sprays, according to the in-game art. So, it’s likely that all Pokemon owned by trainers are vegetarian by circumstance. Bulbasaur goes a step further and can produce his own nourishing seeds from the bud on its back. So, in addition being a vegan, he’s self-sustaining, too.
He can also take in sunlight through his flower bud and fire it back out in the form of the devastating Solar Beam attack, one of the strongest grass-type attacks out there. A true eco warrior, Bulbasaur is more than worthy of being the number one vegetarian in gaming.
Disagree? Know something or someone I’ve glaringly omitted? Feel free to leave any suggestions in the comments.
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