#664 Nintendogs

Posted: 8th October 2021 by Jeroen in Games
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1006th played so far

Genre: Simulation
Platform: Nintendo DS
Year of Release: 2005
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Publisher: Nintendo

I’ve skipped really dealing with these sorts of ‘pet simulations’, with Eyepet being the other main item on the list (that isn’t a life simulation where you’re influencing humans). Where Eyepet was just as impressive because of the technology of the camera behind it, here we have a game that really is just a pet game that you can carry everywhere with you.


More than any other genre, simulation is just a grab bag of games that emulate some sort of real (or not so real) activity. We’ve covered flight simulators as a genre a few days ago and will be covering management and life simulations later, which leaves us with even more of a grab bag. We’ve got a hacking simulation, a photography safari simulation and a sub marine simulator just to name a few. Action games are similarly vague, but here it really sounds like there’s no link at all.

With that said, I did enjoy all of them for different reasons, and there’s something about the purity of focus that these games have. They know what they’re doing and they focus on making that work.

Our Thoughts

While, of course, I know that the dogs in this game aren’t real, when you see them run up to you on your DS screen they are incredibly convincing. I started with a husky – a happy and fluffy boy – and it’s a lot of fun seeing him run around, play with his toys and being excited about his food. The game obviously has compromises elsewhere – taking your dog for a walk requires you to set out a route after which he’ll walk along a scrolling background, but you share his excited when he discovers something new… and isn’t too grumpy at going the wrong way. You’re dealing with a number of stats, but it’s not something you always want to worry about.

There was one element that got to me while playing though, and it’s why I didn’t end up playing as much as I could. The game relies heavily on voice commands. You need to talk to your puppy, teach it its name and some commands. The voice recognition isn’t entirely great, but I managed to make it work with some tips from the internet. It made playing it more awkward, though. While it’s fine to play in a quiet environment, I usually find these games to be best while having some quiet TV on in the background – an episode of Midsomer Murder for example – and having to shout at my DS is off putting both to watching the TV show and those watching with me.

Final Thoughts

While Nintendogs is awkward to play – I can’t see myself taking it with me on a commute as I like to imagine myself doing with these portable games – ignoring the voice input it makes for a nice little simulation to raise a dog with. It’s adorable and surprisingly realistic and, to be fair, I had to deal with a lot less shedding. It’s a nice enough game.