With a new year comes a new Zodiac animal and much like the monkey of 2016, 2017's rooster is a species with a rich and storied history in games. Alongside their more feminine chicken counterparts, these little cluckers have been popping up for decades, sometimes in lead roles and sometimes as mere background dressing or cannon fodder. Here's some of our favourite fowl from over the years...
A lady we're very familiar with, Matilda has been almost ever-present in Rovio's Angry Birds series from the 2009 original right up to our own Angry Birds Action! last year. Somewhat surprisingly for a character who frequently drops bombs on farmyard animals, she is considered the least "angry" of the regular Angry Birds clan and often acts as a soothing voice of reason in the film and animated series.
Cluckin' Bell Staff
Imposters in humiliating dress they may be, but you've got to hand it to the staff at Cluckin' Bell outlets in the Grand Theft Auto franchise. Regardless of how many times psychotic players begin firing grenade launchers in their store, they'll continue to turn up for work day after day, dishing up unethically-sourced chicken in a politely sarcastic manner. Yum.
As quintessentially Zelda as two-year delays, cuccos are a chicken-like species that regularly pop up in villages and farms across Hyrule. Cute and docile at first, the unassuming cuccos are however strictly not to be messed with. Give one a bash with your sword and you'll soon feel the wrath of a very angry swarm of invincible cuccos, who will ravage you until you leave the area or (more likely) drop down dead.
The Crossy Road Chicken
Back in 2014, indie studio Hipster Whale decided they'd like to answer the question of "why did the chicken cross the road", then lo and behold the seeds were sown for a breakout indie hit. The resulting game's mascot and player character was cute, retro-looking and tragically condemned to eventually become roadkill every single time.
The connoisseurs choice in kart-racing to some, Diddy Kong Racing never quite captured the public's imagination like rival MarioKart 64 and so most of its characters disappeared without trace fairly quickly. This was a fate that befell Drumstick the rooster, a speedy and competent heavyweight who you could unlock halfway through the game. Sadly unlike Conker, the foul-mouthed squirrel who also featured on the roster, Drumstick never made an appearance anywhere else.
The One Getting Throttled in Street Fighter 2
Whilst not all the birds on this list can lay claim to grandiose achievements, few have to suffer the indignity that befell one poor chicken in Street Fighter 2. If you ever found yourself brawling in Chun-Li's stage back in 1992 you may remember this poor, wretched background creature condemned to a throttling until the end of the final round. We can only hope that this tormented avian gets its revenge one day.