Bunnies are often depicted in media and popular culture as small, fluffy, adorable little buck-toothed bundles of cuteness, so far as deifying a rabbit and incorporating it into Easter traditions, somehow associating the mammal with colourful eggs and the consumption of unhealthy quantities of chocolate effigies made in its image. However, not all lagomorphs are love and cuddles - as Australia would be happy to tell you - and in video games, more often than not rabbits will be psychopathic murderers.
Since the brief season in which the ritualistic worship of a paranormal rabbit is socially acceptable is upon us, let's take a look, in no particular order, at the best and baddest hares in video games who could send the Easter Bunny packing.
Jazz Jackrabbit (Jazz Jackrabbit)
Jazz Jackrabbit is the green anthropomorphic rabbit protagonist of the franchise named after him. The first game, which came out in 1994, was a side scrolling action platformer that had Jazz go on an epic quest that parodies the classic tale The Tortoise and the Hare. Jazz must save the princess Eva Earlong from the devious evil turtle Devan Shell and his various minions in all sorts of crazy, colourful lcoations.
Jazz Jackrabbit went on to be a major hit, and was followed by a sequel in 1998 where Jazz was joined by his cooler brother Spaz in which they had to rescue Earlong's wedding ring from, once again, Devan Shell. The series wound down after, with Jazz Jackrabbit 2 being followed only by a handheld reboot with a stylistic redesign, turning Jazz into a Han Solo knockoff, and a cancelled 3D third installment.
Incidentally, Jazz Jackrabbit was created by a company that was called Epic Megagames, at the time. Having dropped the "mega" from the equation, the same company is known today as the industry titan Epic Games, famous for a little game called Fortnite - maybe you heard of it. While Fortnite has a Jazz Jackrabbit easter egg, the games are ironically not available on the Epic Games Store; instead, you can pick them up on GOG.
Raving Rabbids (Rayman)
Rabbits, aside of their overbearing cuteness, are also known for their extreme promiscuity and tendency to breed with alarming efficiency. Maybe they should have been the mascots of Valentine's Day instead of Easter, but we digress. In one case, a subset of virtual rabbits have multiplied to the point of completely taking over a franchise, defeating Rayman himself with sheer numbers alone.
Originating as a group of incompetent antagonists in the once-renowned platformer series Rayman, the apparent popularity of the "Rabbids" resulted in them constantly getting more screentime until finally Ubisoft dropped all pretense and separated them from Rayman, turning Rabbids into its own franchise. Rayman is happily starring in his own platformer games once again.
The comically deranged and mischievous Rabbids have starred in a series of mainly party games, getting up to all sorts of outlandish shenanigans that inexplicably often include toilet plungers, screaming, and slapstick comedy.
Ash (Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit)
We're starting to see a pattern here... Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit is once again a side scrolling action platformer featuring a rabbit, and definitely does not subscribe to the school of thought where rabbits are cute, loveable creatures. In this world, hell is real and is ruled by a rabbit - Ash.
Nothing more than a skeleton of a rabbit, Ash is the prince of hell and has a reputation to maintain - something put into peril when photos of him playing with, instead of immolating, a rubber ducky are shared on whatever social platform is popular in the underworld. Being the entirely rational being he is, Ash decides the best course of action is to murder everyone in hell.
The game, Hell Yeah!, is chock full of comic violence, cartoon blood and all kinds of funky enemy designs. Though the high-speed action platformer is universally praised for its visuals, the controls are widely considered clunky - which is understandable. Have you ever tried controlling an angry rabbit skeleton?
Available as Lugaru: The Rabbit's Foot and Lugaru HD, this open-source rabbit martial arts game from 2005 was the precursor of the much better known and popular Overgrowth - though the latter mostly lacked narrative elements present in the former.
Lugaru is set in the far future where humanity has gone extinct and animals gained sentience, and the game is named after the island home of rabbit society. Turner is a highly trained ninja rabbit out for blood after a pack of wolves slaughtered all of his rabbit family and rabbit friends.
In a surprising turn for a game with such an outlandish premise, Lugaru actually sports a fairly deep storyline with drama and mature themes tackling population balance, the necessity of predators in ecosystems, misanthropy, jadedness and more. Overgrowth, available on Steam, is a sequel to Lugaru.
Max (Sam & Max)
While the Sam & Max series began as comics, the story-driven adventure games helped a great deal with its popularization, and were developed with the direct involvement of creator Steve Purcell. A pair of anthropomorphic animal detectives, Sam and Max are the ultimate buddy cop team up in a whimsical world.
Max is the rabbit half of the pair, though he is described in-game as a hyperkinetic, three-foot rabbity thing", having a personal preference of lagomorph as the correct nomenclature. He's definitely somewhere on the rabbit spectrum, but it isn't quite certain where - similar to the rabbids, in a way.
That can also be said of his personality, albeit injected with a lot more actual intelligence. Don't tell this to him though, as he might be liable to shoot you for it.
Harvey (Edna & Harvey)
Do plush rabbits count? Since Edna sure things they do, we'll play along.
Harvey is the inanimate half of the dynamic duo Edna & Harvey, who debuted in the 2008 Daedalic adventure game that began its life as a German university project. Edna wakes up without any memories in a mental hospital along with Harvey, her plush rabbit. Throughout the game, where the aim is to escape the institution, Edna will speak to the toy rabbit as a means of coping.
We're not going to spoil the rather disturbing twists in the story, but suffice it to say that not all about Harvey is meets the eye.
Cream the Rabbit (Sonic the Hedgehog)
We wouldn't wish the fate of being a part of the Sonic franchise onto our worst enemies - not because of the games themselves (though in some cases, yes) but because of the rather deviant fandom. Cream is an anthropomorphic rabbit girl who can fly by flapping her ears, and is the daughter of Vanilla the Rabbit.
Similarly to most of the animal-folk of the Sonic franchise, Cream was living a quiet, idyllic life until Robotnik rolled around with his Badniks and fouled everything up. Cream has the misfortune of being characterized as childish and naive, and for the love of god do not delve too deep into a google search of her.
Peppy Hare (Star Fox)
Immortalized with the "do a barrel roll!" meme, Peppy Hare is the most experienced member of the Star Fox mercenary team, having served with distinction for years in the Cornerian military. Fighting for justice and freedom in the honor of his late wife Vivian Hare and alongside his daughter Lucy Hare, Peppy has been a sort of father figure for Fox McCloud after the supposed death of James.
Though the coloration of his fur changes between depictions, Peppy Hare can always be easily identified by his signature coat and thoughtful expression. Peppy Hare has appeared in some form or other in just about every Star Fox game out there.
Giving Jazz Jackrabbit a run for his money as the resident action hero parody bunny, Hoppy is an even more comically jacked out parody of actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, complete with Terminator homage in ClayFighter 3: Judgement Day and Austrian accent.
Known also as the Battle Bunny, Hoppy goes from ridiculously muscular anthropomorphic rabbit with a red bandana and ammo belts to being a partially cybernetic killing machine. In the storyline - such as it is - he eventually achieves stardom as an actor, typecast into the role of the "rabinator".
Zero III (Zero Escape)
Since Zero Escape is best described as "Saw, except Anime", it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that a creepy toyetic avatar is used by the actual killer to communicate with the characters. In this case, instead of a stupid doll on a tricycle, we have a holographic rabbit referred to as Zero the third.
Appearing in Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward, Zero III is the avatar used by an advanced AI to appear before the 9 people kidnapped and forced to go through the various potentially fatal puzzle rooms of the game. The colorful, cute appearance of this holographic avatar belies its sinister purpose, though you'd soon grow to hate it due to its personality nonetheless.