CliffHorse Analysis Part 2: The Horse

What do animals say about humanity?


Welcome Back, today let’s talk about perhaps the main topic of this game, the horse.

What could a horse represent? Of all the things you find in video games how do you analyze something so direct yet so abstract. The horse in Cliffhorse could mean quite anything so this post is going to focus more on my personal opinion rather than what I think the creator Notch intended.

When you look at a piece of art it is often that you will find the creators essence placed into his work. Edgar Allen Poe for instance experienced great hardships throughout his life and often incorporated this into his work. I believe that Cliffhorse is similar to this idea but in a different sort of twist. If you ask someone what it means to play a video game you may get an answer explaining how you can live another life through someone else creation. I would agree with this idea and I think this is what Notch was trying to accomplish. It doesn’t matter what the player character looks like or how he acts. The player holding the controller and what he chooses to do is all that really matters. The actions of the player as he or she controls the horse creates a personal story for that player in specific. Going along with my previous post you can see why Notch chose to create such ambiguous obstacles. He wanted to create a landscape not a story. He wanted to allow his players to craft there own story much like he did in mine craft. Each part of this game is specifically built to allow the player to roam free. There is no intended narrative, no forced mechanics and now tutorial. Just like real life your placed into an unknown world and given free reign. You aren’t directly told the rules and there is no overlying goal. You create these things for yourself. Notch clearly wanted to make something that was a piece of himself but also a piece of his fans, he wanted to give back to the community. I may be alone in thinking this but I have experienced few games that have ever demonstrated this level of realism, and if the game represents realism then each piece of the game represents something in the players life. The Cliffs represent hardships, the ball represent companionship and the horse represents the player.

Thanks again for reading, sorry I didn’t post last week I have been pretty busy with school and such. I promise I will get at least 2 more of these out by the beginning of March.


Written By James Murphy



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