The Best Animal Husbandry of the Year 2012: Far Cry 3
Come, says the cassowary, turn my hide into a wallet. Come, says the tiger, carve a knapsack from my flanks. Come, says the bear, blow me up with semtex even though you’ve already maxed-out the size of your grenade pouch. You are a hunter. I am your prey. This is Nature.
Assassin's Creed 3 may have had a button which let you tickle sheep under the chin and Black Ops 2 may have single-handedly devalued the price of glue with its laissez-faire attitude to horse welfare, but it is undoubtedly Far Cry 3 which has most profoundly changed my relationship with the animal kingdom. Not only did Ubisoft’s open world shooter prove tapirs to be little more than snuffling jam-bombs, begging to be burst beneath the wheels of a hurtling jeep, but its crafting mechanic has made me view the entire natural world with a newly utilitarian avarice.
Once, I was afraid of sharks. Now I realise that their primary role on this planet is not as ferocious, pitiless predators of the deep, but as floating hand-bag farms, eager to be stuffed full of trombones, saucy photographs of dwarves, traffic cones and other assorted beachcomber tat.
As I stand on the back of my boat, machine-gunning the crystal blue waters, I like to imagine I am Ernest Hemingway.
The downside is that I now can’t help but look at someone’s pet shih tzu and calculate the number of gas canisters it could feasibly hold.
Runners-up: Assassin's Creed 3's sheep tickling, Black Ops 2's Afghani burrowing horse