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Review: Nintendogs

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the woof-woof-for-the-win dept.

Portables (Games) 257

The unique elements of Nintendo's Dual Screen handheld have led to titles with very different gameplay. Warioware Touched and Kirby Canvas Curse typify the ways that Nintendo wants game designers to begin thinking about using their hardware. There are still new directions that Nintendo wants to push gaming, though, and they're not content to sit back and let others find the path. Non-game games, then, are what seems to be in store for the DS. Titles like Electroplankton, the music-making system, and the tamagotchi-esque Nintendogs are intended to bring non-gamers into the fold with interactive software that they can enjoy but aren't necessarily games. In the spirit of the non-game games, then, read on for my non-review of Nintendogs.

By non-review, I mean I'm not going to give this game a score. Moreover, if I was to give this game a score it would be a meaningless act. Unlike say, Daikatana (pause for laughter), where my opinion of the game could bear some relation to what your opinion of the game is likely to be, Nintendogs is a very different animal. If you don't like dogs, don't play this game. If you require long sweeping narratives with grandly composed music in your gaming chowder, don't play this game. If the thought of having to bathe a virtual creature gives you the shivers, don't play this game. Because, in a nutshell, Nintendogs is a virtual pet simulation where you pretend to have a dog. You feed the dog, you walk the dog, you play with the dog. And that's about it.

All that said, it is easily the most enjoyable Tamagotchi ripoff I've ever played with. When you first start the game, you're presented with a trip to the puppy mill. There are three versions of the game, and each one has different dog breeds available to play with. I got "Miniature Dachshund and Friends", and along with the title breed you also get the option to adopt Shih Tzu, Golden Retrievers, Beagles, Pugs, or Siberian Huskies. Even if you choose a larger breed, you needn't worry about ruined furniture; the dogs in this game are eternal puppies. Once you've gotten a puppy, the game puts you through a quick tutorial ... and then you're on your own. If you just want to sit around and rub your dog's tummy all day, that's cool.

On the other hand, if you just have to do something constructive with your puppy you can teach your critter tricks. By moving the stylus in certain ways, you can get your pup to approximate certain positions (sit, lie down) or actions (roll over, chase your tail). When they perform the trick with your stylus prompting, a little light bulb shows up on screen. If you press the icon, you're given the chance to say something into the built in microphone. Say roughly the same thing enough times, and your dog will associate that vocal imprint with the trick. The key with this is that, as good an idea as it is, the microphone isn't all that great. Multiple words (like "sit down" or "chase your tail") with distinct sounds are the best way to get the wee canine to do what you want.

Once you have it following your voice you can do what every dog owner dreams of: enter it in contests! Actually, the contests are phenomenally boring and are hosted by two incredibly annoying virtual yahoos. The only reason to enter a contest is if you want money ... and you're going to need it. In order to pick up dogs from the kennel, you need to spend money on them. At the start of the game you have more than enough to buy one dog, but if you want to buy any more you're definitely going to need to enter a few contests. Despite the annoyance factor, you've just got to do it. Having two dogs in the house is part of the whole fun of the game. The easiest contest is the obedience contest, which asks you to have your dog perform certain tricks in a specific order prompted by the game. You also have the option of entering your pooch into a frisbee competition or an obstacle course event. The frisbee toss is relatively easy once you get the hang of it, but the control for the obstacle course is terrible. Even with practice it's hard to know what the dog is going to do. Whether it's going to understand your stylus clicks enough to go through the little doggie tube in a timely fashion is critical to success in the contest, and the control just isn't there.

Personally, I much preferred one-on-one time with my dog (a Siberian Husky named Lupus) in the house or taking it for walks. Going for a walk isn't a terribly interactive event, but your dog enjoys it a whole lot. From your house you plan out the walking route, and can aim yourself and your dog at places like the park or the obstacle course arena. At the park you can play catch or practice with your frisbee, and at the arena you can get in some time with the awful jumps and tubes for the obstacle course competition. There are also cheaper second hand stores than the corner store near your place, where you can buy toys, food, and water. A walk mostly consists of you holding the dog's leash while it chugs along, occasionally stopping to wizz or poop. There are occasional points of interest, where your dog might find a gift for you or run into another dog owner out for a walk. The presents are cute, ranging from odd objects that you can use to play with your dogs to even odder fashion items that you can cruelly place on your animal. The other dog owners are know-it-alls, and seek to give you unasked for hints about how you should best play the game.

And really, who cares what they think? Nintendogs is entirely about what you can get out of it. Whatever makes you laugh or get warm fuzzies is the right thing for you to do. For example, for a reason that escapes me Nintendo thought that it would be important for you to know every place in the neighborhood that your dog has peed. They're marked by little blue dots on the mini-map showing your progress on your walk. The more your dog pees in a certain spot, the larger the dot gets. Though I know it isn't always the case with Nintendogs, Lupus only peed in places he'd already done so. By the time I was ready to write this article the mini-map resembled a smurf's version of mapquest.

The intelligence and responsiveness of the virtual puppies, as well as their individual personalities, is quite a sight to behold. Not only can you derive enjoyment from your interaction with the dogs, but if you have more than one in your house you can watch them play with each other. Some dogs are playful, some are lazy, and some are troublemakers. Together, a pair or trio of dogs is almost more than you can comprehend. You can only actually play with one dog at a time, but that doesn't stop the puppies from getting right up against the touch screen and struggling for your attention. Lupus and my wife's dog Erin would constantly battle each other for chew toys, affection, and (thanks their exuberant natures) who got to be standing at any given time. If you like animals at all, it's hard not to smile at the image of two happy puppies literally warring for your attention. Nintendo has really captured something intrinsic to the appeal of having a dog for a pet here, and everyone I've shown the game to has had a hard time putting it down. Even without the voice element (the voice commands only work for the dog's owner, obviously) it's hard not to be drawn in by their enthusiasm and wagging tails.

In the end, this unique title for the DS is all about who you are and the connection you can form with little virtual critters. If the idea of a virtual puppy isn't appealing to you, you're probably not going to get a lot of enjoyment out of Nintendogs. If the venerable PC titles "Catz" and "Dogz" were your thing back in the day or you were one of the people that made sure your Tamagotchi was fed regularly, these pups will be right up your alley. Judging by sales numbers the non-hardcore market has already adopted this title, and a dog of their own. Your mileage may vary, but Nintendo has a real accomplishment here.

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257 comments

Old Concept Revisited with more schmaltz (5, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558097)

Ah, the joys and travails of a virtual pet. [penny-arcade.com]

These concepts go a bit further back than Tamogachi, i.e. David Crane's Little Computer People [lemon64.com], which today would be something akin to a cross between Tamogachi and Sims, as you could interact with some little dude who lived in your C64. I thought it was a bizzare idea when I first saw in in development at Activision in Mountain View, back in 1985 (that's twenty years ago!) and it runs in only 64K of memory. Imagine David Crane coming out of retirement or someone else picking this old nut back up and injecting it with new life. IIRC the main fault of LCP was the limited repetoire of the character, which Nintendogs seems to take advantage of technology (i.e. lots of cheap memory) to hold more behaviour and possible courses of action.

I'd probably lean toward some other animal than a dog. A cat would be easy, it just eats and sleeps most of the time, though you could enjoy the thrill of virtual litterbox cleaning and dragging a string around while the cat chases, or even give it a brown paper shopping bag to hide in.

What animal would really make for an ideal pet? I've tried spiders, which are actually fascinating pets and that might be cool in a virtual way.

Re:Old Concept Revisited with more schmaltz (5, Interesting)

ninjakoala (890584) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558152)

What was really great about The Little Computer People Research Project (as it was called at least on the C64) was the concept.

The AI was fairly good and the possiblities were quite impressive - e.g. playing cards with your LCP buddy, have him write you letters, make him play music for you (if you ask nicely and he feels like it) and so on. With an LCP inside your computer life never gets boring.

There was a competition where you could win an amazing amount of money if you could make an LCPEnglish dictionary. I doubt anyone ever did though.

Re:Old Concept Revisited with more schmaltz (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558225)

The AI was fairly good and the possiblities were quite impressive - e.g. playing cards with your LCP buddy, have him write you letters, make him play music for you (if you ask nicely and he feels like it) and so on. With an LCP inside your computer life never gets boring.

Now I believe we call these worms and virii

There was a competition where you could win an amazing amount of money if you could make an LCPEnglish dictionary. I doubt anyone ever did though.

Seems like this "game" would have translated well to other languages. I imagine DC and Activision would have been wealthy beyond their imaginings if they'd marketed a japanese version.

Re:Old Concept Revisited with more schmaltz (0)

gunpowda (825571) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558178)

What animal would really make for an ideal pet?

There aren't that many euphonic alternatives. Nintenducks? Nintegnu! [poppyfields.net]

Re:Old Concept Revisited with more schmaltz (2, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558265)

There aren't that many euphonic alternatives.

Perhaps deer? Nintendoes

Or cross-licensing with FOX, NintenD'oh!

I think variation on wordplay is a preposterous limitation. I'd like to see a SDK for something like this where you effectively build the DNA of your creature.

Re:Old Concept Revisited with more schmaltz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13558220)

am i alone in remembering the mid 90s PC craze that was Catz, and latterly Dogz....how is nintendogs any different (apart from the fact it doesn't leave itself on my desktop)

Re:Old Concept Revisited with more schmaltz (2, Informative)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558560)

This seems to be the trend in "virtual pets". A certain type becomes very popular for a short period of time, only to be forgotten when the next techno fad comes along. Then, someone takes the exact same concept and reinvents almost the same virtual pet and it becomes very popular again, and the cycle repeats. I myself have never understood the obsession with a fake pet; it just doesn't do anything for me.

Re:Old Concept Revisited with more schmaltz (2, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558646)

I myself have never understood the obsession with a fake pet; it just doesn't do anything for me.

Like myself, you are probably nowhere near the target demographic for such a product anyway. These will probably immediately appeal to adolesent females in the same way the Tamogochi did.

Re:Old Concept Revisited with more schmaltz (4, Funny)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558448)

What animal would really make for an ideal pet?

Well, for Slashdotters, how about a virtual girlfriend?

Puppy love (5, Insightful)

ninjakoala (890584) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558119)

It's an excellent title and it's clear that an amazing amount of work has gone into making these critters very lifelike. I do have a dog IRL and the puppy behaves very much like him. There are of course still some limits (it's obvious that there are lots of event triggers, that can make things look unrealistic), but generally it's just an amazing piece of software and a great toy.

Now if you'll pardon me I'm off to win the master series in disc throwing ^_^

Re:Puppy love (3, Funny)

suitepotato (863945) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558228)

Well until they invent a dog simulation which has them behaving neurotically, rolling on their backs and pissing on themselves, eating their own feces, destroying garbage cans that professional garbage men can't, and figuring out how to turn door knobs to open pantry doors then I can't really say they are lifelike.

Re:Puppy love (4, Funny)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558540)

I hear there's a hidden "Hot Dog" mode in the game that will let your dog do everything you said plus maiming little children that can only be accessed with some patch from the internet. Apparently the ESRB has started to investigate and Jack Thompson is scheduled to speak on the subject on Friday.

Re:Puppy love (2, Interesting)

bonch (38532) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558242)

I love the little details, like when my pup lifts her leg and licks at the air when she's getting a belly rub, or scratches with her hindlegs at the ground after she's peed, just like my real-life chihuahua does. Watching the dogs interact with each other is particularly interesting and realistic. It's just a really well-done game with a lot of heart. I found the competitions to be quite fun, unlike Zonk. Especially the disc throwing, where you actually use the stylus to throw the discs.

It should be noted that the usually harsh Famitsu magazine gave this game a perfect 40 score.

Re:Puppy love (1)

TrekCycling (468080) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558254)

It is an excellent title. The DS is an excellent system. The non-reviewer rightfully points out that there are other games on this system that are similarly innovative. Meteos, Electroplankton, Kirby: Canvas Curse... the system is really hitting its stride with games that truly are totally different experiences.

Electroplankton is one of my favorites.

Re:Puppy love (1)

ninjakoala (890584) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558299)

Well, I haven't been this exited about a system since the Dreamcast. And before that the Amiga. So yes, I think the DS is pretty darned special and I've never owned so many games so early in a system's lifetime. Incidentally there's also a great homebrew scene [dcemu.co.uk].

Re:Puppy love (0, Offtopic)

CountBrass (590228) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558556)

As someone who owns a DS I'm really struggling to work out if your and the gp are serious. The DS I own is some over-large Frankenstein where demented Japanese engineers have taken an original Gameboy Advanced and, here's the clever bit, made it twice as big by bolting on a touch screen! Are you writing about some other DS?

I can just see the Gameboy DS SP: now with foodblender built it!

Re:Puppy love (1)

TrekCycling (468080) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558588)

Your point? I don't think anyone said it was the prettiest machine. Nor the most ergonomic. Just that it was one of the most innovative and fun to play to come out in quite some time.

Re:Puppy love (1)

ninjakoala (890584) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558766)

In the end it's all about the games. Who cares about shiny? I care about fun. And the DS is just a bundle of fun.

It's got adventure titles (Another Code, ScummVM), excellent control for strategy titles and typical mouse+keyboard games (Metroid Hunters controls become second nature after playing for a couple of minutes), brilliant variations on existing themes (Yoshi Touch & Go, Kirby's Cursed Canvas), awesome puzzle games (Meteos especially comes to mind) and a whole lot of entirely new things that we *haven't played before*.

How about that? Something brand new. That's what the gaming world has been crying for for the last decade or so with upgraded visuals and same-same gameplay (with a few exceptions obviously).

Nintendogs, Band Brothers, Electroplankton, Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan, dictionaries and brain exercisers (the latter two only in Japan so far), lawyer simulators and surgery simulators are either entirely new or very different on the DS. Even platform games can be very different due to their controls as the Kirby and Yoshi games show in each their own way.

Oh, and it doesn't hurt that Advance Wars Dual Strike is out. It's hands down the best turn-based strategy game I've ever played.

non-game games (4, Funny)

CSHARP123 (904951) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558135)

WTF is non-game games?

Re:non-game games (0, Troll)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558212)

WTF is non-game games?

A Cash cow for Nintendo without forcing Nintendo to actually create innovative gameplay for a revolutionary game.

Re:non-game games (4, Insightful)

focitrixilous P (690813) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558283)

A Cash cow for Nintendo without forcing Nintendo to actually create innovative gameplay for a revolutionary game.

Are you seriously telling me that you think a game where the sole point is to raise a dog using a handheld system with a touch screen and microphone ISN'T INNOVATIVE? It may not be your cup of tea, but it is innovative, at the very least.

Re:non-game games (1)

repruhsent (672799) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558335)

Fanboi Symptom #1:

Angry flames in CAPITAL LETTERS trying to beat someone down verbally for disagreeing that your favorite game isn't innovative.

Personally, I think Nintendogs is for people who are too stupid to go to their local animal shelter and actually adopt a dog. Either that, or you just want to sodomize one virtually.

Re:non-game games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13558353)

I couldn't care less about innovative; "innovative" is why we haven't had a TRUE Mario game since Super Mario World. Hurr hurr OMG MARIO's ON AN ISLAND RESORT WITH A WATER JETPACK HUR RHUR HUR. Ugh. Come on, just give me 2D Mario, 2D Castlevania, 2D Metroid -- introduce new types of gameplay into them if you want but when you stray too far from what made a franchise great, it starts turning into a parody.

Re:non-game games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13558399)

This is the most ridiculous comment ever posted by an AC since I posted -this- one.

Re:non-game games (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558578)

Calm down, relax a bit and wait until "The NEW Super Mario Bros" (working title) arrives for the DS.

Re:non-game games (1)

tont0r (868535) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558243)

one of 2 things.
1. i played this at best buy for alittle bit. definitely didnt spend time leveling anything up. didnt beat any bosses. didnt get any new weapons. didnt learn any new attacks. didnt get any gold. (see where this is going?)
2. its probably best example to tap into one of the few markets video games havent been able to touch which are females. (not trying to be sexist) i know there are girl gamers out there, but the majority of them arent. something like this will definitely attract them.
just my opinion

Re:non-game games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13558372)

I got $5 off a bra at LaSenza when I bought it at EB. That would be good, if I was a female.

Re:non-game games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13558290)

Well, you're familiar with a non-news news site. It's like that.

Re:non-game games (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558294)

WTF is non-game games?

I remember Russell Lieblich's Web Dimension and something else he created about 20 years ago which were more along the lines of "Experiences" No scores, no frags, just endless variation influenced by your input. Some of it was pretty cool.

Re:non-game games (2, Informative)

grumbel (592662) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558361)

'Non-game' refers to games that have no clear goal or end, but which are more like a sandbox, give the player a few toys and let him play, without dictating the direction into which the player plays.

Re:non-game games (4, Funny)

mblase (200735) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558614)

WTF is non-game games?

As near as I can tell, it's kind of like having tea and no tea.

Mouse petting (1)

rasty (212471) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558145)

I'm done with electronic petting since I've switched to an optical mouse and I don't have to do with the furballs that used to collect inside my mice anymore...! ;)

Are they STILL around? (-1, Flamebait)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558148)

Good, god! Are Tamagotchie's still around (whatever their latest name)? For god's sake, kill them.

The tamagotchie was never good. It was an impulse buy, a status symbol. All of them were forgotten in less then a month. The fact that Nintendo has tried to revive it is pathetic.

Oh I'm sure Nintendo will make a profit (which I guess is all they care about), but the DS could have offered a new innovation to handheld consoles. But instead, it's being used for tamagotchie rip-offs. Is this the best they could come up with?

Re:Are they STILL around? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13558204)

play around with it. It's a fantastic game, and designed with great care to detail.

If you still dont' like it then you have no soul, and I fear for your current, or potential future off spring.

ok mister cranky! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13558211)

sounds like someone's got a case of the Mondays!

The game is fun. It sounds dumb, but it's fun. If you play it and can honestly say you didn't enjoy it, I'd say there's something not hooked right in your brainpan. PUPPIES!

Re:Are they STILL around? (1)

One Div Zero (851169) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558219)

No, this is not the best they could come up with. Nor is it original. There were versions almost exactly the same known just as "Dogz" and "Catz" in the early 90s. I think you're just jealous because A: you never had a tomogachi and B: you still want nintendogs

Re:Are they STILL around? (1)

SailorMeeko (204259) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558246)

Really? They were all forgotten in a month? Wow, I still play with my Pocket Pikachu. What does that make me?

>The tamagotchie was never good. It was an impulse buy, a status symbol. All of them were forgotten in less then a month. The fact that Nintendo has tried to revive it is pathetic.

Re:Are they STILL around? (4, Funny)

OzPhIsH (560038) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558323)

I still play with my Pocket Pikachu.

Is that what the kids are calling it these days?

Re:Are they STILL around? (1)

mario64 (573112) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558444)

This is a trial game to make sure they have the controls and gameplay working....then....

We will get the POKEMON version, where you actualy raise and train your pokemon before going off to fight with him/her.
Then watch the sales rocket (people will then dump their Pocket Pikachu's).

Re:Are they STILL around? (2, Interesting)

shidoshi (567151) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558322)

Here's a crazy idea: if you don't like the idea, don't play the game. Everything then magically works out fine.

In Japan, this game is getting a LOT of casual and female gamers into the DS, which is good for Nintendo and good for the DS and good for gaming. These are people who never would have played games before, maybe because they didn't find them interesting or were intimidated by them. My girlfriend, for example, fell in love with Nintendogs the moment she saw it, and wants a DS now. Because of that interest, she's been paying a bit more attention to other DS games: she also wants Pac Pics, and she gets a kick out of Ouendan.

I'm not hoping for her to become a hardcore gamer or anything, but I like that she now has some interest in it, so that we have another thing we can share together.

Re:Are they STILL around? (1)

Flying Purple Wombat (787087) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558586)

In Japan, this game is getting a LOT of casual and female gamers into the DS, which is good for Nintendo and good for the DS and good for gaming.

In general, the Nintendo pocket systems (GameBoys, and now the DS) have had more games that appeal to girls than any other system. My son, age 16, and daughter, age 12, have been gamers since they could push buttons. We have at least one of nearly every game system ever made. My son plays many different games on all of them - there are a lot of games that appeal to males. My daugther rarely useses anything except her GBA or DS - that is where the games that appeal to her run.

Funny story - my daughter had a DS on day one, and was the first on her school bus to have one. Quote from a jealous 11 year old boy: "You got a DS!! No way! Girls can't play video games!"

Proud dad story - daughter got the DS because son bought it for her, with his own hard-earned cash!

Re:Are they STILL around? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13558387)

"The fact that Nintendo has tried to revive it is pathetic."

No, the fact that is pathetic is that you think Nintendogs could possibly be an attempt by Nintendo to revive Tamagotchi. The only resemblance it has to Tamagotchi at all is that the player takes care of a virtual pet. The game itself is extremely innovative, but with comments like you're making you don't seem the type to actually know about something before shooting your mouth off, so I doubt you'd know innovation if it hit you in the head. Your comments are uninformed and insipid - get a life and stop polluting the net with your feeble attempts at commentary.

Another pathetic fact is that for some reason Nintendogs is not considered a game because it doesn't adhere to the established formulae. That is a very narrow view to have. It begs the question, how do we define what a "game" is? Well if you believe what's printed here http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=game [reference.com] you might get the idea that "game" has a pretty broad definition.

Nintendogs is not only a game, it's a good game. The industry needs a lot more innovation like this if it's going to survive the deluge of cookie-cutter crap churned out by the likes of EA and Sony.

Aww (3, Funny)

42Penguins (861511) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558149)

Let me be the first to say it:
Awwwww. Ain't it cute?

Re:Aww (2, Funny)

hotdiggitydawg (881316) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558197)

How long until someone mods it so you can run one over in your Super Mario Kart?

Re:Aww (1)

gervaisc (904588) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558298)

I don't mean to sound cruel at all in this but that is the funniest thing that reply was the funniest thing I've read today. I have a dog and i love her, but virtually running it over with my mario cart... priceless.

Re:Aww (1)

Plaid Phantom (818438) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558816)

Mod up! I saw this and laughed for a solid minute. Friendly dog: Free to good home. Go Kart: Fairly cheap. Using your dog as koopa shell practice: priceless.

And this... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13558151)

THIS is a non-first-post!

Interesting about Nintendogs (5, Interesting)

bonch (38532) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558158)

What's interesting about the game is that it is really designed to be played for about 30 or so minutes at a time. You start it up, teach the dog some more tricks (I think it's 2 max per day), take it for a walk (which you can only do every 30 minutes), and train it for competitions. So must of the fun in the game comes from all the little details and things that happen as you perform the main tasks, and watching your dog change (my shy chihuahua grew "more confident" as I kept taking her for walks...she eventually started to listen to my commands better).

The only thing I wish for is that the dogs could grow up. I always thought it was fun watching that happen in older games like Dogz.

Why no Cubicleman? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13558270)

A non-game game where you enter numbers into spreadsheet cells. Sounds like non-fun to me.

Nintendo simplicity (5, Insightful)

mario64 (573112) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558303)

This is another example of Nintendo's gaming genius. Take a simple idea, make the gameplay simple to get to grips with, but program it well.
The game has been well thought out with some nice touches, but has not been made over-complex.

Games like this show that you do not need a top spec machine with flashy graphics to run an addictive game. Some of the most addictive games ever made have been simple, but they have a hidden depth (playability).

Well done to Nintendo, lets hope they keep up the good work.

Pee spots (5, Interesting)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558306)

For example, for a reason that escapes me Nintendo thought that it would be important for you to know every place in the neighborhood that your dog has peed. They're marked by little blue dots on the mini-map showing your progress on your walk. The more your dog pees in a certain spot, the larger the dot gets. Though I know it isn't always the case with Nintendogs, Lupus only peed in places he'd already done so. By the time I was ready to write this article the mini-map resembled a smurf's version of mapquest.

It's rumored that the dogs use this to mark territories. Notice that if you meet another dog during your walk, sometimes the mini-map will highlight the other dog's pee spot by making it blink in red, as though you're entering its territory. At this point, it's unknown what effect this has on the two dogs becoming playmates or fighting. There are a ton of weird undocumented little things like this in the game. I found a stick and a juice bottle, and I accidentally bopped my dog in the head with them during catch, and now he just growls and them and runs away when I bring them out. But he loves my kleenex box. Weird little virtual dogs, man.

This sucks.... (2, Funny)

wo1verin3 (473094) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558310)

... compared to my favourite new game.

Nintengirls!

Japanese Product Page [tecmo.co.jp]
Some blog [blogspot.com]
English Box Shot [www.home.no]

Re:This sucks.... (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558421)

OMG, is that a real product? There's a link to Tecmo, so I guess so. I wonder if that counts as adultery? "No Honey, it's a *niece* simulator, not a girlfriend simulator!"

Re:This sucks.... (2, Informative)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558504)

There are 100s of those games, for every kind of system in japan...

(although the more extreme ones arent on platforms that want to keep a "clean" image)

But you want a schoolgirl rape simulator complete with tactical map for stalking and capturing? No problem there...

Re:This sucks.... (2, Informative)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558647)

If I remember that correctly it's a gambling game where the big price is a minigame where you touch the female lead (a character that apparently has gained a fanbase in Japan already). Basically the next step for strip poker except it involves anime girls (and some non-poker games).

Re:This sucks.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13558592)

first two are legitimate, both of Touch de Rakushou! Pachislo Sengen: Rio de Carnival. Just minigame and casino simulation with the cheeky pictures.

3rd is fake.

Zonk the game reviewer now? (-1, Flamebait)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558313)

WTF? I mean seriously, I thought this was a *news* site. I've been a game reviewer for over 4 years, if I wanted game reviews I would go to a game review site, not to "Zonk" on /.

I find Zonk's abilities lacking and suggest you give up the attempts at reviewing games or go to a game review site and get a job. I am so sick and tired of Zonk and his bullshit around here I seriously am thining of ditching Slashdot altogether. After many years of faithful readership, I'm pretty much done. Zonk has been a plague on this site and no one is listening to the massive outrage at his abilities. It is quite apparent no one is running this ship, and if they are they are running it pretty loosely... too loosely for my tastes.

His "news" is always either a dupe, speculation, blatantly false, or tied to his game-reviewer-wannabe delusions. Zonk you are a disgrace.

Continuing the theme... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13558413)

Could one call this non-fanmail?

Re:Zonk the game reviewer now? (2, Insightful)

Otto (17870) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558447)

I am so sick and tired of Zonk and his bullshit around here I seriously am thining of ditching Slashdot altogether. After many years of faithful readership, I'm pretty much done.

It can't have been all that faithful if you haven't figured out how to remove articles from your personal view of /. yet.

Go to http://slashdot.org/users.pl?op=edithome [slashdot.org]. Click the Homepage tab at the top. Turn off the checkmark next to "Zonk" or anybody else you don't want to see.

It's not that difficult, guy.

Re:Zonk the game reviewer now? (3, Insightful)

stlhawkeye (868951) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558510)

I find Zonk's abilities lacking and suggest you give up the attempts at reviewing games or go to a game review site and get a job.

Perhaps you could tell us which publication, web site, or whatever you write for, so we could sample your work, and from it, form a more informed evaluation of the merits of you criticism?

Re:Zonk the game reviewer now? (1)

spun (1352) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558844)

Well, his profile on his blog [blogspot.com] says he is a network administrator, so I'm betting he writes game reviews only on said blog. Here's a sample sentence from his review of the latest Harry Potter book:

"What I find myself thinking through this one is if only all of the series had been written as this one, just how much better they could have been."

Pure poetry. Here's another from "Buying a Game Cube."

"Mario Party 5 was the first to get some action and it was a fun time, I was a bit lucky and still trounced her but it was as competitive, even, and fun a non-gamer and a hardcore gamer can have together."

Mr. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle.

Oh, great... (-1, Offtopic)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558338)

"When you first start the game, you're presented with a trip to the puppy mill."

Thanks for promoting the unnecessary breeding of dogs in shitty conditions, Nintendo. Does the game let you pick out a lovable (and often healthier) mutt from a rescue group or shelter?

Re:Oh, great... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13558697)

"When you first start the game, you're presented with a trip to the puppy mill."

Thanks for promoting the unnecessary breeding of dogs in shitty conditions, Nintendo. Does the game let you pick out a lovable (and often healthier) mutt from a rescue group or shelter?


Relax. The guy that wrote the review was just trying to be "funny" apparently. When the game starts, you go to the Kennel to get your dog, not a puppy mill.

Non Game games? (2, Funny)

ponds (728911) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558341)

Holy shit guys, Donald Rumsfeld is writing for Slashdot now! I would try out Nintendogs, but I just have too many known unknowns.

Not a game? (2, Insightful)

ZombieRoboNinja (905329) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558355)

So Nintendogs is a computerized experience designed to produce interactive enjoyment. How exactly is it not a "game"?

If other sandbox titles like The Sims can be considered games, I don't see any reason why Nintendogs doesn't deserve the title.

Thing to note about microphone (5, Informative)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558362)

Some people have been having trouble with their dog recognizing vocal commands, until they realized they were leaning forward and practically yelling into the DS mic. The mic is very sensitive, and you only need to speak clearly at room-level volume with the DS at a normal distance, and the game will recognize your voice much more clearly.

Pornstar signed Nintendo DS (1)

Fr4ncis (763671) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558376)

Here in Italy on eBay they're selling a Nintendo DS [cgi.ebay.it] that will be signed and delivered personally by Eva Henger [evahenger.com] (formerly a pornstar) including a copy of Nintendogs.. guess what will be the final price..

Minigames (5, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558423)

Bah, my pets were never that well-behaved. Bringing the frisbee back to you after you threw it - what is the fun in that? No, with my dogs you had to chase them down and pry it out of their mouths, while defending from the other dogs that were also trying to get at it. It made for some awesome games of base^H^H^H^Hcalvin ball.

Which brings me to the question of why these role playing games never include any decent side games. From everything I have talked to this game has the pet-owner emotional attachment parts down to a tee, but then you have all the boring things, that you would have in real life. I guess it has the redeeming factor of teaching kids responsibility, but as an adult I have enough of that, so it just comes acrossed as meaningless busy work - the infamous grind. Why not make the contests where you earn money more fun mini-games?

If you look at the old Atari games, most of them were nothing but mini games, and they fun. Now you have all these MMORPGs, where advancement and community is the entertaining aspect of the game, while the things you do to advance are dull, dull, dull. Something that Nintendo does very well in nearly all their games is combining fun gameplay with the opportunity for advancement (new things to unlock). I am still waiting for someone to create a MMORPG, take a cue from the old Atari games and newer games like Super Monkeyball, Mario Party, and approach the advancement tasks like they were mini-games that are fun to play in and of themselves. They would have to do a little more work to integrate them into the game (for immersion and all that), preferably happening in the same world. For example, being in a race should be implemented more like vehicles in FPS, rather than like Mario party where map screen and game screens are completely different. They would also have to include multiplayer coop games for the community aspects, and have different characters classes and stats would result in diffent advantages in the games. If anyone ever did this, it would be pure crack.

Re:Minigames (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13558750)

It sounds like you're on pure crack.

Foxtrot (5, Informative)

dividedsky319 (907852) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558426)

The nice thing about this game is that it can appeal to gamers and non gamers alike... Nintendo is really trying to reach out to the people that typically wouldn't pick up a gaming system, which is smart IMO. An untapped sector of the market.

Last week, the comic strip Foxtrot dealt with the mom and her wanting to play Nintendogs... it was pretty funny. Here's the first day's comic [ucomics.com], click "next date" to read the days following.

Sold out (1)

ribblem (886342) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558431)

I wanted to try this game but Nintendogs was sold out at all the local stores I tried. I was told that they don't expect any more until the end of September. I easly found a major online retailer that had it in stock and ordered it from them.

Heh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13558449)

I don't have a Nintendo handheld, but I do have my own dog who will forever think he's just a little puppy. Besides that, I've already spent hundreds of dollars on him, I can ACTUALLY pet him, ACTUALLY feed him, and ACTUALLY watch him and his antics as he tries to "play" (read: hump) the cats. So this sounds even dumber than the Tomaguchi game-thingy.

The problem with the word "game" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13558482)

I really applaud Nintendo for wanting to pushthe boundaries of what people can enjoy on portable devices. That is what it is in the end. We are too obsessed with the word "video game" that we don't think beyond that word.

If you work in the games industry, stop right now. Change your way of thinking. You are not in the GAMES industry. You are in the INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT industry. You are also in the business of creating FUN.

With those two labels in hand, you can see that your job is not coming up with a yet another way to move a stupid character around collecting and shooting stuff. Your job is to come up with things for people to have fun with.

I just hop people listen to what Nintendo is preaching.

Nintendogs is too much of a chore (5, Funny)

elcheesmo (646907) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558505)

I got Nintedogs about two weeks ago, and I enjoyed it for about the first week. Now it's starting to get old. The problem is that you have to actually feed the dog everyday. Shouldn't a virtual pet have the benefit of not having to be fed and washed like a real dog? I even tried setting the DS's game clock backwards to try to fool it, but it somehow knows if you've done that. The last straw was when one of the virtual people in the game yelled at me for not picking up my dog's virtual poop. Nintendogs needs a virtual shotgun so that I can end it Old Yeller style.

Re:Nintendogs is too much of a chore (3, Funny)

lowrydr310 (830514) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558764)

I only played the severly limited demo version at Target, but it would be really cool if you could pick up your dog's poop and fling it at the virtual person yelling at your for not picking it up.

Or how about a version with viscious pit bulls that you can sick on other helpless little dogs, or even on those people who yell at you for not cleaning up the poop? I wonder if there's a hidden "hot coffee" Nintendogs mod that has a virtual scene?

I'm not a big fan of having a real pet dog. I like playing with other peoples' dogs, but I don't want to take care of my own. I barely clean up after myself, and I don't want the responsibility of cleaning up after something that's almost as much of an animal as I am.

Worried (1)

tprime (673835) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558524)

I am becoming more and more worried about the big N. They are falling into the same hole that they started digging around the time the 'cube was released; the only truly innovative games (Warioware, Kirby, Nintendogs, etc.) are only being released by Nintendo. The GBA and its predecessors were vastly supported by many third parties. The gamecube hasn't been and it appears that the DS might now have the same problem. With the mystical controller of the Revolution I am concerned that any special features on it will only be supported 1st party.

Re:Worried (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558664)

Yeah, but I guess the question is, what else are they supposed to do at this point? They can't force third parties to make innovative games. If the third party developers aren't interested in making unique games with new control types, then they won't. Nintendo can try and entice developers to the platform, but I don't think they can actually stimulate their creativity beyond releasing their own games.

I think Nintendo has to just keep doing their own thing, and let the chips fall where they may. If that means being a niche player, then they're just going to have to hope that works. They can't get back into the mainstream huge library competition anymore, Sony and MS are spending way too much money there.

Personally, I don't have too much of a problem with that. While being a sort of niche player has some downsides, it also opens up a lot of opportunities. And the results of that are cool things like the DS and hopefully something neat with the Revolution. If the Revolution has a smaller stream of games, I can live with that if they're consistently quality.

Re:Worried (1)

Faynor (827219) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558690)

Isn't the problem that 3rd party developers rarely take chances on titles. If it isn't a sequel of a huge seller most of the big publishers won't touch it.

I don't think Nintendo is falling into a hole. I think that they are maintaining a creative edge that will always seperate them from the rest.

Ninentocats and Nintendomice (1)

mikael (484) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558561)

Obviously if Nintendo can make such a game with dogs, they can also do the same with cats, mice, rats, rabbits. Taking some of these for a walk might be a problem, although I did have a neighbour who used to keep a cat indoors in her flat and take it out for a walk while on a leash.

But if anyone enjoys taking dogs out for walks for real while not having the space for a pet at home, then they should consider a visit to their local animal sanctuary. They are usually always in need for "dog walkers" - someone who will take one or more dogs out for a 30 minute walk, and occassionally "cat cuddlers" - someone who will give cats the attention they want.

Re:Ninentocats and Nintendomice (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558830)

Obviously if Nintendo can make such a game with dogs, they can also do the same with cats, mice, rats, rabbits. Taking some of these for a walk might be a problem, although I did have a neighbour who used to keep a cat indoors in her flat and take it out for a walk while on a leash.

While it is possible to train your cat to use the toilet - in fact, a friend publicized how she trained hers to do that - it's not very common to take cats for walks, and in some cases dangerous.

I would aim for having a simulation of catwalks indoors, where you build cat-scratching posts and walkways up near the ceiling, as those are much easier to interact with. And perhaps do the old ball on a string, fluff on a string cat games.

the obstacle course is not that hard (3, Informative)

MirrorSpock (466201) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558566)

If you think the obstacle course is hard you are doing it wrong.
You are probably doing what I was doing, just tapping and hoping your puppy will go there. The trick is to keep the stylus on the screen and drag the route, your pup will follow it and you can guide it perfectly. (after a few tries for the pup to learn)

Also remember to slow your pup down on the see-saw bye dragging the stylus to a point behind him after he crosses the middle, to let it drop, or your pup will get scared and jump off. /me is off to go to a real training class with my pup now //much cuter than any virtual pet

do other non-game games count? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13558567)

like Playboy mansion?

I really like helping my little Heugh Hefner get some tail and take naughty pictures.

Agility contest control (2, Interesting)

Zigg (64962) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558579)

Just a nit -- I find the agility contest control to be about the most precise control in the game. The key is quick reflexes to steer your dog away from potential distractions. I've got three dogs in my game and they all get distracted differently; it's about learning how they react, I think.

I've had this game since August 11 and have played it every day since. Awesome game.

Offtopic comment re: puppy mills (5, Informative)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558603)

When you first start the game, you're presented with a trip to the puppy mill.

I know that this comment will be trashed to hell and back and yes, I know that Zonk was just using a phrase but please, those of you who are considering getting a pet do not go to puppy mills (or kitten mills).

The animals are kept in cramped, deplorable conditions. Instead of having some semblance of a decent life the females are impregnated as fast as they can. It doesn't matter if the one doing the impregnating is one of her offspring, so long as she is pregnant is all the breeder cares about.

If you're considering getting a pet please go to either your local Humane Society or a reputable non-profit animal shelter. Your new companion will thank you for giving it a good home where it is wanted.

Also, please remember to spay/neuter your new friend. If that simple act were done the tens of thousands of animals a year who are dropped off at shelters or abandoned along a road would be significantly reduced.

I now return you to your normally scheduled rantings about whatever you think is worthy of your time.

Re:Offtopic comment re: puppy mills (2, Funny)

CiXeL (56313) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558732)

But maybe she likes being sexed like that. How do you know the dog isnt a nympho? Did you ask it?

Come to south florida where if you see an animal crossing the road people aim for it! Sure keeps the feral animal populations down. The one i really cant comprehend is with all those chickens roaming around wild in miami why i see so many starving cats.

Poor control, or no practice? (1)

chris462 (656034) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558682)

The frisbee toss is relatively easy once you get the hang of it, but the control for the obstacle course is terrible. Even with practice it's hard to know what the dog is going to do. Whether it's going to understand your stylus clicks enough to go through the little doggie tube in a timely fashion is critical to success in the contest, and the control just isn't there.

Take a walk and visit the gym before trying the Agility Trial. You'll have a chance to run your dog through each obstacle enough times to really get the hang of it.

After a while, the dog will run through the tube on his own, learn to manage the see-saw on his own, and even do the slalom on his own.

Hell, mine's started to figure out where the next obstacle is ... almost running parts of the course on his own.

So much for Death to the Industry (3, Insightful)

mblase (200735) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558700)

Compare and contrast this game (and several commentators' negative opinions on it) with this flashback [slashdot.org] about the death of creativity in the gaming industry. Comments of note:
"A great video game does something that nobody expects and totally expands views of what's possible in the genre."

"What makes a game fun is the pattern it forms in your mind as you do things and get rewards for them. Building a business around these patterns is tricky...."

"To say there's been no creativity in games of recent times is to admit that you haven't played any."

So, congrats to Nintendo for going out on a limb with a new type of game system and new types of games to play on it. They may not have a majority marketshare, but they've got imagination in spades.

Graveyard of forgotten virtual pets.. (5, Interesting)

modi123 (750470) | more than 8 years ago | (#13558753)

*sigh* Here comes another round of misery and depression for the world.

Back in the Tamagatchi era, I worked in a retail store that sold them. I could never get over the emotions attached to the toy - specifically the sadness people would have over their deaths (read: battery loss, water, older brothers, fights, etc). At one instance a little girl was balling over her Tamagatchi's death (due to battery loss) and refused to have her mother buy her a new one - she wanted her old one back. She was so distraught that I decided to step in and be the humanitarian. I told her I would try to bring it back, and took her toy over to the batteries department. Luckily they had the right size, so I popped the back off, slapped the new battery in, and replaced the facing. At the initial chirp the girl freaked out, latched onto my leg in exuberant gratitude, while the mother thanked me (apparently the girl had cried non-stop for two days now) for pacifying her daughter. Soon after other parents of this girl's friends approached me - all asking me to help bring their kids toys back from the dead. Smelling a pretty penny to be made off the irrational suffering of children I started dolling out my phone number and made house calls on the side. I was raking in $15.00 per house call off of a dollar battery install. Unfortunately the replacement batteries outlived the Tamagatchi phase. Such is the whim of children.

This irrational concern for the artificial seems strange to me. I have seen girls all out ignore flesh and blood cats for the Catz program, or in the same vein shun real dogs for Sony's Ibo. I would be curious to see a study on the empathetic relationship between people and their real animals versus people and their real animals plus the artificial ones. I would think the latter would be a bit more twisted since digital pets reinforce the "use, abuse, throw away" relationship. *shrug* I guess that is why there are alligators in the sewers, and feral cat colonies in the country - some people just cannot take care of something.

Well enough of memory lane..

modi123
Cleric (level 2)
Neutral Evil (profits on the suffering of children)
Favorite saying: "I rez dead Tamagatchi"

Wireless (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13558765)

Did the non-reviewer try out the wireless mode of play, or would that make the non-review a true review?
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