Featuring on the cartridges of many young gamers and non-gamers alike, Nintendogs was a crucial part to all childhoods for those who played intently on their DS’s. While it seems like yesterday when we were feeding miscellaneous dry food and milk to our pixelated pups, it was actually 15 years ago that the game was first released. The original three games starred Dachshunds, Labradors, and Chihuahuas, as the titular dogs, with the later addition of Dalmatians & Friends.
Like a Tamagotchi with more eyes and wagging tails, Nintendogs was full to the brim of cute dogs and menial tasks that made little sense but could be enjoyed for hours on end. Another wild feature was Bark Mode, or the OG multiplayer, where you could play with another user and let your dogs spend some time together. What you could actually do was very limited and it was immediately boring, but that didn’t stop the young versions of ourselves spend many delicious hours throwing a frisbee for it to be ignored and instantly neglected.
While the game allowed you to have three dogs strolling around the gaff, you would be forced with a tough decision if you decided to look at the adoption site and see a much cuter one. The upset and woeful look of a dog that is to be put up for adoption is one that fills me with guilt that has never been forgotten. When I found my DS many years later, I actually bought a version of Nintendogs second-hand, and felt genuine pain when I had to send the previous owners ugly dogs up for adoption.
While Nintendogs would not be considered particularly groundbreaking nowadays, it certainly shaped a lot of children’s playtime back in the day, whether that be together or alone. It certainly beat out many other games in the early 2000s and won a lot of awards for its innovation. It even lives at the top of the Nintendo DS best-sellers list at the penultimate position. A game which, after playing again so many years later, retains the charm and heart of the animals it hoped to capture.
Watch Girls Aloud playing Nintendogs here.