"Very Far Away Horse" Game Cover Confuses Gamers
If you’ve been hanging out on Social Media recently, you may have seen the above image somewhere already. It’s been on the front pages of Reddit and 9Gag repeatedly, and has been widely shared on Twitter.
The image prompts a number of questions, the most pressing of which may be “is this an actual game?” or “wait, why is this rated Teen?”
And while the latter question may not have a definitive response, the former can sadly be answered with a firm “no.”
The game cover for “Very Far Away Horse” has been created specifically to amuse. It is unfortunately not a real game.
To the best of my knowledge, the image first appeared online in March 2019, after the real object was photographed in the Obvious Plant's Museum of Toys pop-up exhibition in Los Angeles, and shared on Twitter by popular YouTuber Michael Stevens of Vsauce among others.
Obvious Plant is an art/comedy project by Jeff Wysaski, who creates slightly strange toys and game covers and places them in stores and other places, which he documents on his blog and social media pages. The pop-up exhibition featured various of these “alternate reality toys and games” and even contained a life-size action figure case for visitors to step into as a photo opportunity.
According to a Tweet from March 7th by the Obvious Plant Twitter account, the “Very Far Away Horse” piece in particular was made by Australian cartoonist Ben Ward specifically for the exhibition. Ward is known online by his Twitter handle @pixelatedboat and has become online-famous — among other things — for coining the term Milkshake Duck, which is something of a meta commentary on virality itself.
When reposted and re-shared to other platforms online, the exhibition context has often been lost and in some cases deliberately obfuscated, with people in this reddit thread naming Very Far Away Horse as their favorite game and praising its gameplay.
Although some comments on Reddit claim the image is old, I cannot find any uploads of it from before March 2019.
In the discussions around the image, one can also find a handful of commenters expressing their hopes for the game to be real, which I am of course gratiously inclined to interpret as a general desire for better horse games. And although “Very Far Away Horse” may not be a priority of horse games that I think should exist, far be it from me to curb anyone’s enthusiasm about any imaginary horse game.
The Mane Quest has shown up in over 3000 google searches for the fake game’s title in March and April 2019. Many of those will undoubtedly only have been looking for the knowledge of whether or not the game is real, but I cannot help but wonder how many people were genuinely hoping for it to be a good horse game, sadly rare as those are.