I just picked up a US import of Nintendogs for the DS and have spent the last few hours playing around with it. It’s been a huge hit in Japan with a lot of hype behind it and I couldn’t see why so I mainly blind bought it out of pure curiosity, not really having played with a virtual pet in years.
So anyway, I grabbed Dachshund & Friends because I have a shih tzu and I’m also partial to dachshunds and golden retrievers, and started off with the shih tzu. Since the markings are freakishly similar to my real dog, Poppy, I gave it the same name. One of these two is the real deal, one is from the game, and both are frightened of big sticks:
Since then I’ve been fiddling with the game, playing with all the functions and admiring the absolutely fantastic (not to mention impossibly cute) animation. I haven’t used a virtual pet since the whole Tamagotchi thing in 1996 when I queued outside Toys R Us at 7am but Nintendogs, beyond being one of the most graphically impressive, is actually fairly entertaining.
It’s not the kind of thing that you’re going to be playing for hours on end since you’re pretty limited in what you can do in a day without your puppy getting “tired”, but it’s a nice little time waster than I can see myself wasting a few minutes a day on for a while yet, as I’d imagine that once you get over the initial hurdles there’s a lot more that you can do – dog shows, for example. For those who aren’t convinced about the unique interface of the DS it’s also an interesting showcase; as much designed for and around the system (or even vice versa?) as Super Mario 64 was for the N64.