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My Horse & Me :: Developer Q&A

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By: Gary
Horse lovers rejoice! The new My Horse & Me game is trotting its way towards the DS, PC and Wii game systems in February 2008. This virtual pet game comes from a team of Atari and the International Equestrian Federation. It lets you own a horse, care for it, feed it, and enter into all kinds of events to show it off and win awards. Gary got so excited he ran all the way to the Atari head office so he could talk to the developers about the game. Unfortunately, he's a bit out of shape so it took him three days to get his breath back. Once he'd recovered the friendly folks at Atari chatted with him and here's what they had to say about My Horse & Me.

Gary: What makes My Horse & Me a must-have game for horse fans?
Dane Cypel: This is the first equestrian title endorsed by the Federation Equestrian International (FEI.) It gives the player several options to play on world renowned tracks and features extensive customizable horse care game play that's fun and challenging.

Gary: How many mini-games are there to play? Do you have to unlock some of them or do you get them all right away?
Dane: Well, within the versions between the PC, Wii and Nintendo DS, there are many mini-games which can be played. The DS has six mini-games in the form of Challenges. Certain Challenges need to be completed to train the horse in different techniques. These can be done at any time, though some will have to be done to teach these techniques to progress through the game. The PC and Wii both have seven mini-games which can be played at any time.

Gary: What did the International Equestrian Federation do to help make this game?
Dane: The Federation Equestrian International helped in guiding us into making the perfect horse riding game. They provided us with the knowledge and details which are found within the Equestrian sport. Surprisingly, some of us were not familiar with these rules and guidelines, but thanks to the FEI, they taught us a lot of interesting things which we used to make this game great.

Gary: What breeds of horse can you choose to ride? How about ponies?
Dane: The breed of horse in My Horse & Me closely resembles a sport horse. The horse looks similar to a Warmblood breed of horse, it can be customized to fit anyone's preference. Ponies, unfortunately, are still too young to compete in our competition, so they have not been included. [Editor's note: ponies are not baby horses. Doh!]

Gary: What kind of gear can you dress your horse up with? How about giant sunglasses and other funny clothes?
Dane: My Horse & Me is a game which gives a person who always wanted a horse, a horse of their own to take care of and ride. That being said, there is also a level of reality which exists to create a true, life-like experience. A players horse can be dressed up with a saddle, a saddle pad. The horse's mane and coat can also be customized. Also, the DS version of My Horse & Me allows the player to improve their horse's stall, giving it that extra level of customization.

Gary: How about feeding it Doritos and Pop Tarts? What can you feed your horse?
Dane: Too many Doritos and Pop Tarts are just as bad for a horse as they are for humans! A player's horse has to be in a perfect physical condition to compete! There is an intricate feeding system included in the DS version, where a player can feed their horse a variety of nutritious foods.

Gary: How many horses do you get to play with? Can you breed them and raise foals?
Dane: In order to establish a closer bond between the player and their horse, the player can only have one horse. Though with the horse, the player can choose a name for it, change the mane and coat color at any time, for those who get tired of one color all the time, and can provide their horse with different equipment. At this time, breeding is not included with the game.

Gary: What does the multiplayer for PC and Wii let you do?
Dane: Multiplayer for both versions allows for a player to ride against their friends in a number of challenges, perfect for a party, sleepover, or just a general fun time.

Gary: What are some famous real-world tracks and leagues you'll find in this game?
Dane: There are stadiums and other real-world locations, but I don't want to spoil any surprises!

Gary: Did you work with real horses to get the game ones looking just right? Was there a favorite horse that everybody like to work with?
Dane: The in-game horses were modeled after real-life horses with great care. Everyone had such a great time, each horse was someone's favorite.

Gary: How many people that helped make this game own horses?
Dane: Since horses are expensive, not many, but thanks to this game, each person had their own horse in-game which they could call their own.

Gary: If you had a horse, what kind would it be and what would you name it?
Dane: I would have any type of sport horse. They are fast and powerful. I would then name it Pegasus, since Pegasus in Greek Mythology was a flying horse. I would imagine riding such a powerful horse would be similar to flying.

Gary: What part of My Horse & Me is your favorite?
Dane: My favorite part is the customization of both the horses and the character. There are so many combinations and unlockable costumes that it'll take determination and skill to unlock them all!

Gary: What tips do you have for people who want to keep their horse super happy?
Dane: Take care of your horse. Brushing its coat and making sure it is clean is just as important as winning first place.

Gary: Any final words to the people surfing through Kidzworld?
Dane: My final word would be, don't let the name My Horse & Me fool you. This game is a great experience which can be enjoyed by girls and boys of any age. People young and old can finally have that horse they always wanted!

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