Gaming's Other Great Rodents

Hackers have cracked the Nintendo Switch all the way open, Bethesda sues the Westworld game developers, and Overwatch gets infested with rodents—in a good way! All these topics and more on this episode of Kotaku XP, our weekly video about hot game stuff.

When preparing the show this week, I knew I wanted to end on the Overwatch new hero reveal, because Hammond is a hamster. I told myself, “This would be a good time to have a lightning-round discussion about controllable rodents in video games.” I promised myself I would not think too hard about it. The workday passed.


Well, when we got into the recording studio, I guess I’d psyched myself out way too hard: I had succeeded in not considering playable gamevermin all day. During our recording, we came up with a measly 6.5 examples.

As I write this post, I find myself thinking of so many more that did not come to me during the show: Sparkster from Rocket Knight Adventures is a possum, which is a rodent. Then there’s Punky Skunk from Punky Skunk for the original PlayStation.


Wait. I just Googled “Skunk” and, whoa: skunks aren’t rodents. I didn’t know that.

Bandicoots, also, are not rodents.

Oh no: hedgehogs aren’t rodents, either. So we actually only thought of 5.5 playable rodents.

I feel like such a fraud for not knowing that hedgehogs aren’t rodents. Apparently many varieties of vermin (aka “varmints”) aren’t technically rodents.

Hey, I just remembered you can play as a rat in Claymates for the Super Nintendo! So there’s that. I don’t need Google to tell me rats are rodents.


Oh man—Hamtaro. Pikachu. There are probably a hundred more.

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The only rodent in gaming worth talking about is Boo, the Miniature Giant Space Hamster from Baldur’s Gate. Are other gaming rodents encouraged to go for the eyes? I think not.