On playing the big, bad spider: Overview

This post is a follow-up to an earlier post where I outlined the problem of spider representation in popular culture. Here, I will give an overview of all of the (digital, mostly) games where you can play as a spider, or that feature spider protagonists. There will be a few examples where I stretch the concept of protagonist to include what I see as meaningful representation. List presented in no particular order (release dates in parentheses, but note that many of these games have regular updates):

  • League of Legends (2009), a popular online multiplayer game, where you can play as Elise, the Spider Queen. Elise has a human form and a spider form. In League of Legends, you control a single champion from a third-person view (Elise is one of many champions).
  • In both DOTA (2003) and DOTA 2 (2013), you have the opportunity to play as Black Arachnia, the Broodmother. Like League of Legends (the original DOTA mod was the inspiration for many MOBAs), you control your character from a third-person perspective. Unlike League of Legends, you can control multiple units at once. The Broodmother spawns spiderlings out of the corpses of her enemies; these spiderlings are also controllable.
  • In Don’t Starve (2013), which has single-player and multiplayer capability (as of June 2015 with the release of Don’t Starve Together), you can choose to play as Webber. Webber is a boy who was eaten by a spider—it’s complicated, but Webber is effectively a spider-human hybrid with an affinity for spiders. Don’t Starve also has the player control one character from a third-person perspective.
  • In Arachnophilia (2008), a free online flash game hosted on a variety of sites, you control a spider trying to build an effective web. Insects fly through your web, and depending on the insect, are either caught or break your web. Different insects provide you with extra stats or do more damage. It’s a cute flash game about web-building, although the interface could be smoother.
  • The card game Hearthstone (2014) features a few spider cards, although it’s debatable whether they count for this. In Hearthstone you play as a hero and then play minions (cards), and there isn’t really a spider hero. I’m arguing that since they’re your minions they count as protagonists for the purposes of this post—although it’s definitely possible that I’m just swayed by the cute spider tank. Look at it!
  • That’s all I can think of, although I’m sure there are some oversights here. I’m pretty confident that there are a number of board or card games with spiders (Betrayal at House on the Hill seems particularly suited to this), but I haven’t played them or played those scenarios so I can’t say. Feel free to comment and point me towards additions to the list!

3 thoughts on “On playing the big, bad spider: Overview

  1. Deadly Creatures is the only AAA game(published by THQ and features Billy Bob Thorton as a VA) I know of that features a spider protagonist. It frequently comes to my mind regrading spiders in games, though I guess despite the praise from critics it is still an overlooked title. It was a Wii game about surviving the wilderness of the desert. Although the spider, an adult tarantula, is only playable in half of the levels. The other half is comprised of playing a scorpion.

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