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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Saddest Christmas Gift Ever

posted by on November 28 at 11:09 AM

As featured in yesterday’s Seattle P-I: The Nintendog, a virtual puppy from Nintendo. You know, for poor kids:

Can’t have pets in the apartment complex? The kids will love this Nintendo DS game that lets them take care of a virtual puppy — washing it, taking it for walks, teaching it to fetch, etc. Best of all, the carpet stays clean.

Amazon takes a somewhat more mercenary approach:

In Nintendogs Dalmatians & Friends you’ll get to train and care for a a puppy, without having to clean up all those soiled newspapers. As you teach your puppy to obey, it’ll start competing in dog shows. See if your dog can earn money you can use to buy new breeds!

Have fun, kids!

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I wonder if my cat would enjoy one of those.

Posted by monkey | November 28, 2006 11:09 AM

the saddest gift ever would be World of Warcraft or any number of life-wasting games.

or the sims, where you play with imaginary people.

Posted by seattle98104 | November 28, 2006 11:11 AM

and poor kids wouldn't have the $130 DS to play nintendogs ... so, in reality, a dog is cheaper. at least the christmas kind that parents buy and then later take to the pound each jesus day.

Posted by seattle98104 | November 28, 2006 11:15 AM

You're right -- it's much better to give them a live animal that they might not be ready or interested enough to take care of.

Posted by Mattymatt | November 28, 2006 11:50 AM

Pretty funny Nintendogs comic from Penny Ã…rcade:

Posted by Leeerker | November 28, 2006 11:51 AM

You can also raise puppies and kittens in Sims 2: Pets.

Useful in showing kids what you need to think about if you want a pet.

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 28, 2006 11:56 AM

Somebody with a DS rent that damn game and abuse the shit out of you puppy! I want to know if it will bite someone and have to be euthanasied.

Posted by elswinger | November 28, 2006 12:14 PM

wow.. welcome to 2004

Posted by bobcat | November 28, 2006 12:24 PM

give the poor kids dogs, so they may be happy when panhandling outside of the cheesecake cafe.

Posted by seattle98104 | November 28, 2006 12:52 PM

You have to panhandle to afford the dogfood, collar, city license tax, and replacements for all the damage puppies do.

I think Nintendogs is cool. And a lot less messy, especially if you use rechargeable batteries. They're a lot easier to clean up.

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 28, 2006 2:03 PM

First, Nintendogs came out almost a year and a half ago. So, not exactly the most topical post.

Second, I know that Nintendo is a Big Evil Corporation, and as such, exists only to make humanity suffer, but I sort of doubt they brought out this game for the purpose of humiliating poor kids. Especially since, as someone pointed out above, it's pretty unlikely poor kids could even afford the game.

Third, the game just won PETA UK's "Best Animal-Friendly Video Game" award, for what that's worth.

Of course, there's no perfect substitute for a real puppy, but not every family can commit to giving a dog a loving home, whether due to a lack of money, living someplace that doesn't allow pets, allergies, etc. And even families that can get a dog might not be able to get the dog that their children want (some breeds are very expensive and/or have specific needs in terms of space, care, etc). In those cases, I think this game serves as an adequate, if not wholly-satisfying stand-in. The children of a couple of apartment-dwelling friends of mine have it, and they seem to genuinely enjoy playing with their virtual puppies.

I don't think there's anything "sad" about reasonable substitutes for things you can't get.

Posted by R | November 28, 2006 2:19 PM

And, besides, Nintendo America is a local company, right?

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 28, 2006 3:42 PM

Don't let the advertisement fool you. The nintendogs are very very dangerous. I created this cute nintendog pitbull and raised it from a digital puppy to a grown dog. Everything went well........Until one day it ran into mario and luigi. Mario was as usual popping mushrooms and obsessing over the princess when my nintenda-pitbull mauled him for no reason. It did not end there, my pitbull went on to mauling donkey kong who tried to defend himself by rolling barrels and then flinging poo at my ninten-dog. But it did not work.and my dog then ate ms. pac man. Beware of the nintendog.

Posted by omar | November 28, 2006 4:21 PM

Nintendogs is cute as Hell. Both my kids play it all the time on their DSes.

They want a real puppy, but we already have cats and our house is too small for another animal.

I'm an artist at a local competitor of World of Warcraft, too, so I guess I'm a horrible monster ruining the lives of all around me.

Posted by Peter | November 28, 2006 10:06 PM

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