A small subset of the people I occasionally game with have Nintendo DS's and all of them are all sorts of excited about Nintendogs, the puppy ownership simulation game coming out in August. It has already release in Japan and sent sales of the DS through the roof, as most Japanese citizens dwell in apartments that are not conducive to canine cohabitation. When I first read about the game, I dismissed it as being something like those foul Tamigochi that appeared years ago. After spending some time reading up on it and watching videos of it in action, I am positively smitten. Let it not be said that SuburbanJoe's opinions are set in harsh, unyielding stone. Nay, his opinions are set in far more pliable material, like Jell-O or Velveeta. You can read up on the game here, here and here. That last link is a particularly interesting article as to whether it's actually a game or not, from a game design perspective. It is, in case you were worried.
This raises a conundrum, as I don't have a DS at the moment, and are loathe to buy one, given that my other handheld is stingy with the game loving (see previous post). However with Nintendogs and the upcoming Advance Wars Dual Strike, that's as much handheld fun as I think I can pack into one existance. I tend to only need one or two handheld games at a time, as I play them less than other games, therby lasting much longer. The fact that you can unlock and purchase new items and dogs in Nintendogs means I'll play it, quite possibly, forever.
I did notice, that while the gamut of dog behaviors are represented in Nintendogs, I feel, based on experience with my own two mangy mutts, that the game is missing things that truly define the dog owning experience. It is in this spirit that I recommend Nintendo add the following actions to the dogs of Nintendogs.
1. Dog doesn't come when called because he's too busy eating poop.
2. Aforementioned dog needs to be brought to vet to have teeth cleaned at great expense and application of anesthesia because all he eats is poop and the only only denstist who recommends consumption of fecal matter for dental care isn't really a dentist, just a crazy, homeless guy with a toothbrush.
3. New dog is brought in to be company for first dog. First dog hates new dog. Over the course of 9 years, hatred blossoms into mild tolerance.
4. New dog destroys carpeting of apartment causing security deposit to go bye-bye.
5. New dog destroys carpeting of second apartment causing security deposit to go bye-bye and 8 page (both sides) letter from crazy, Jesus-freak landlord.
6. Original dog repeatedly humps your bedtime pillow off the bed and into the middle of the bedroom floor, so furious is his copulation.
7. Original dog has birthday. You buy him soft dog food to celebrate, despite the fact that consumption of soft dog food causes poops that could drive the dead from their final resting places. Second dog picks this day to eat a pin. Yes, a pin. The vet provides two solutions. One involves surgery to go in and get the pin. Other involves new dog eating soft dog food earmarked for original dog, in the hope that the food will surround the pin and make it easier to pass. Original dog gets bupkiss.
8. Original dog is resting on back of couch. New dog plows into original dog, sending him careening over the side and smashing into wooden clothes rack. Rack breaks. Thankfully, dog does not.
9. When driving, if the car drops below 45 miles per hour, original dog whines at a pitch that causes involuntary evacuation of one's bowels.
10. New dog goes out to use bathroom at 10PM and decides to eat some grass along the way. New dog picks 2AM to make repeated attempts at hacking up lone blade of grass lodged in her throat. Hacking wakes both owners, many, many times.
I don't think I'm asking for much, just a few experience that will make the game so much more immersive. I'll even bring the DS into my bedroom so it can awaken me at 2AM with fervent hacking.