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Obsessed With Taking Care of Virtual Animals

By Susan Patterson

If you think about your childhood, it probably seemed perfectly normal to take care of an inanimate object like they were a living, breathing creature.  Take for instance the Tamagotchi.  We pestered our parents to death for it and ultimately let it die when we couldn’t take care of it at school.  Then there was Furbies, Digimon, Pokemon, and multiple flavors of Pokemon.

Now we live in the digital age with computers, cell phones, iPads, Smartphones, and just about any device one can imagine or rip off from Star Trek.  This allows a whole new generation to go crazy taking care of virtual farms, virtual animals, virtual kitchens, etc.

Take for instance Farmville.  How many million of people have bugged their Facebook friends wanting to get some tools or seeds or whatever they can beg off their buddies.  Another more recent game if Pet Rescue Saga.  Take people’s love of animals and throw in some SPCA attitude and millions of people are going nuts trying to save animals.

Horses are also getting a ton of play nowadays.  The most disturbing of these trends, sorry guys, is the Brony revolution.  Yes, those male My Little Pony lovers are sweeping the internet and there is even an upcoming BronyCon. 

I must admit that I am a bit perplexed by this concept as most guys wouldn’t have been caught dead playing with or watching My Little Pony when I was a kid.

Now one game makes perfect sense to me is the virtual horse game known as Star Stable.  This kids game allows kids to take their horse and go on various adventures in an attempt to pay off the horse.  During their adventures they get to battle evil land developers and go on dozens of easy adventures. 

Basically it is a girl and their horse.  Notice I said GIRL and their horse Brony nation.  GIRL!

Why do we enjoy taking care of imaginary animals?  What draws us to pour our time and our love into these “creatures.”  Looking at it from a practical aspect, we get all the practical benefit of owning a pet without all the mess and time commitment that owning a living creature entails.

Next, we can shape our relationship however we desire.  We are only limited to our imaginations.  Our fake animals always love us and do what we want.  They put up with us as much or as little as they want.

And admit it, fake animals many times are easier than a relationship.  They don’t cry when you don’t talk with them (except maybe Furbies.)  You don’t have to buy them dinner.  Best of all, you don’t have to leave the seat down.  With the obvious exception of what a fake animal can’t provide, they are the perfect companion.

Loving a fake animal isn’t really all that weird.  They help to fill an emotional gap many of us need until we can find the real thing to take it’s place.  So maybe we shouldn’t judge, except maybe Bronies. 

Bronies still creep me out.

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