Joeblade

Nintendogs Revisited

I thought I’d just update you all on the state of my puppies, Buckley the beagle, Titus the King Charles spaniel and Cardigan the dachshund; they are dead. I killed them.

This probably sounds harsher than it should. I suppose, technically, I didn’t kill them as such, but I did delete them. The problem was that after a couple of months they had just become a bit dull. I was only opening my DS once a day to feed them because in the end, though the puppies are brilliantly realised, the game itself is fairly limiting and repetitive.

This isn’t to say I’ve changed my mind about it — I’d still recommend it to DS owners who want to play something unique, and getting more than two months out of a game is good mileage as far as I’m concerned (particularly as I sold it on ebay for the same price as I bought it for). The problem was that it wasn’t long before I’d seen everything the game had to offer me. There were other breeds to unlock — I’d have liked to have seen the Jack Russell and the Dalmation — but, minor differences aside, the dogs all do tend to act alike. The game describes them as having different personalities but I could never see that.

The competitions — discus, obediance, agility — were easily mastered and suffered from a problem many Nintendo games suffer from, which is forcing you to sit though the same lines of dialogue again and again and again before letting you get on with things. Actually, I admit I never mastered the obediance trial, because this involved me teaching the dogs voice commands and I live with people who would have overheard. Frankly, my dignity can only take so much.

I never managed to investigate ‘Bark Mode’. I tried, I really did, I carried my DS around Oxford with me a lot but it didn’t bark once. I was disappointed by that, but I suppose unless you live in Tokyo or somewhere similar it’s to be expected.

It’s a shame; I would have liked to have kept the game, returning to it occasionally when I was in the mood because it was a pleasant way of killing time. But the game insists you play every day, otherwise your puppies turn into starved, flea-bitten maniacs, which I resented.

By Paul Haine, in