When I was a little girl, I longed to play some of the same games that my cousins did but never really had a chance. Thankfully, this didn’t leave me with a shortage of games to play. I was obsessed with horses as a child and there were a fair bit of gaming options that catered to that love. I spent hours upon hours playing Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron and Barbie Horse Adventures: Blue Ribbon Race on my GameBoy Advance SP and at least as many hours, if not more, on the computer with Mary King’s Riding Star, Barbie Horse Adventures: Mystery Ride, and the Starshine Legacy game series.
These games sadly got left in my childhood, not forgotten but unreachable nonetheless. Fast forward through the next ten or so years to my third year of college. Depressed and anxious, I longed for those carefree days of childhood innocence. I spent hours trying to google what some of the best horse games available were. These searches prompted the same results over and over. Nearly all of them being games like Howrse—a free online game where you get to raise, train, breed, and compete with your horses. While the game is intriguing, most likely more for younger players, it doesn’t hold interest for very long and also lacked one extremely important detail: the ability to actually explore. Howrse is little more than a picture of a horse on the screen with various stats surrounding it. You don’t get to actually interact with the animal or do anything to participate in events beyond clicking the button to have your horse in that event.
So, I kept searching for a game that could offer this experience that was also playable on my MacBook and stumbled across Star Stable Online (SSO). SSO is a MMORPG that instantly provided that experience I was searching for. I first began playing SSO six years ago and the game starting its 10th birthday celebration which is INSANE to me because I can’t believe it’s been six years since I found it. I won’t spoil too much about SSO here because I will be sharing an official review of the game here in a couple weeks. I may not log into SSO as often as did in the original days, I still look forward to the weekly updates and that chance to just feel like a kid again through the game, especially since the game is built around the same lore as the Starshine Legacy games.
The love I have for SSO hasn’t stopped me from wishing for more options though. Over the years, and especially the last few months, I have continued to repeat my google search and have continued to be met with the same results with the exception of one new addition that appeared on one single blog ranking. Having come to accept and love my status as a gamer came with the bonus that I now realize that I can search for games that might even remotely fit my criteria through the Steam Store and the Nintendo E-Shop. These store searches yielded several potential games and I want to try them all.
This is where we come in now. Due to the amount of titles that I’d never seen or heard of before, I am launching what I’m calling the Horse Game Project. This project will be a vast series of reviews of these games in addition to an eventual post ranking the games against each other and how well they meet certain criteria. My hope is that someone much like myself will stumble upon this project and find the game (or games) that are exactly what they want or that maybe even someone hoping to try something new will discover that longed for title.
Now I’m off, not back into the oblivion I hid in all summer, but to a world where horses roam and childhood dreams can be fulfilled. I’ll be seeing y’all soon!