Nintendogs (Japanese: ニンテンドッグス stylized as nintendogs) is a pet-simulation game developed by Nintendo EAD1 for the Nintendo DS. It was released in three versions; Chihuahua & Friends, Labrador & Friends and Dachshund & Friends.
The games were released on April 21, 2005 in Japan, August 22, 2005 in North America, September 22, 2005 in Australia, October 7, 2005 in Europe and May 3, 2007 in South Korea. Later on, it was released on the iQue DS and iQue DSi in China on December 12, 2009, only as Labrador & Friends.
A fourth edition, Dalmatian & Friends was released on October 16, 2006 in North America, June 16, 2006 in Europe and November 2, 2006 in Australia. A bundle-exclusive version, known as Best Friends was released only in North America on October 24, 2005.
- Main article: Nintendogs/Beta
Nintendogs originally started out as a tech demo for the Nintendo GameCube, and a similar game called Cabbage for the 64DD, cancelled, was probably what became Nintendogs.
The player starts out by getting their first dog. After it is bought, the puppy to be cared for by giving it food and water. Dogs can do a lot of things, like perform tricks involving the use of the Nintendo DS's Microphone and participate in competitions.
The player can also make money via selling items that can be found on walks, or winning cash prizes in contests. If they have a certain amount, they can buy another dog to take care of or buy a new house at the Interior Decorator.
Like most simulation video games, this doesn't have an ending sequence, nor a story mode.
Adopting a Dog
The game starts out at the Kennel, where the player must adopt a dog of their own. Depending on the version, the breeds available will be different, resulting in different personalities and long or short-haired coats, which can affect performance while teaching the dog tricks or participating in contests. Once a dog is adopted, another one cannot be bought until later in the game.
The player can interact with the dogs available at the Kennels by tapping "Look" on the Touch Screen. There, three different dogs (A Chihuahua, Labrador Retriever* and a Miniature Dachshund) can be interacted with and played around. As the dogs are owned by the Kennel, they cannot be bought.
Once the player has adopted their first dog, they will need time to get used to the surroundings around the room. After some time has passed, the player will need to think of a name for the dog, by saying it via the Nintendo DS's microphone. Once the dog recognizes the name that the player has given, they will need to call the dog via it's name without using the whistle in order to advance.
After the dog has learned the name, the player will need to teach the dog a Tricks. That can be done by making the dog sit, tapping the light-bulb icon at the top-right screen and saying the command. When the command is learned, the player will have to make the dog sit, using voice commands rather than manually making the dog sit. When the dog recognizes the command, the player will be able to go out and do various things with their dog.
- Main article: Care
Just like in real life, dogs need basic care. Every now and then, they will need to eat some Dry Food and drink some Water Bottle to quench their thirst. Dogs also tend to get dirty at times, either from eating Trash or not taking care of them for some time.
Depending on the coat, the player will need to wash the dog with the right shampoo, for full cleanness. Using brushes are also recommended, as they can help make the dog's coat clean without having to spend Money for shampoo.
Unlike real life or other pet-simulation games, dogs cannot die or have puppies. Though, if they're neglected for long, their friendship with the owner could decrease.
After the player has taught their dog to sit, they can visit some shops to cater to their dog's needs by tapping on "Go Out" and "Shopping" on the Touch Screen. There are five different shops to visit.
- Main article: Walk
- Main article: Competitions
The player can make their dog participate in three different competitions.
- Main article: Bark Mode
Players can communicate with someone else who owns a copy of Nintendogs. It allows the player to send a gift, or give the option to record a five-second message on the White Record. This process can be done many times, and can be a way to get version-exclusive items.
The player can also interact with the other dog as long as they like, in a location that isn't seen anywhere else in the game. Unlike other Nintendo DS titles with wireless communication, this one doesn't keep track of the timing between the happenings of the two owners.
Stored "friends" are kept in Contacts, which is found in the "Info" section at the "Go Out" menu. The player can view the other dog's stats, the Trainer Points, date of birth, and competition results.
Depending on the version, the breeds they start out will be different. The rest of the Breeds can be unlocked either by acquiring Trainer Points, completing special requirements or communicating with another dog with a breed the player hasn't unlocked via Bark Mode.
*Exclusive to the American, European, Korean and Chinese version.
- Main article: Nintendogs/Editions
On October 24, 2005, a Nintendo DS bundle was released in North America containing a special edition of the video game, known as Nintendogs: Best Friends. This bundle comes in three colors, Pearl Pink, Electric Blue and Teal and includes a special skin for the handheld and a cleaner.
While the game itself is mostly-unchanged, the starter breeds are different (Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, Beagle, Yorkshire Terrier and Miniature Dachshund.) and a unique title screen is included. Also, the version-exclusive items that can be found are the same as Dachshund & Friends.
The bundle was released again in North America on November 23, 2007, this time with a Nintendo DS Lite coming in Metallic Pink or Cobalt Blue color. While the DS Lite itself has a paw print marked on it, the cleaner strap wasn't included in the bundle.
Dalmatian & Friends
Dalmatian & Friends was first released in Europe on June 16, 2006, released on October 16, 2006 in North America, and November 2, 2006 in Australia. Unlike Best Friends, the game was released as a standalone.
The game includes the elusive Dalmatian breed that is available from the beginning of the game along with the rare Fireman's Hat. Like Best Friends, the game is unchanged and items that can be found in this version are taken from Chihuahua & Friends.
Nintendogs received positive critical acclaim from various video game critics. Most of the praise comes from the usage of the Nintendo DS Microphone, which allowed the person to communicate with the pet in a technological fashion.
Japanese gaming website Famitsu gave the game a full 40 score. It is very rare for a game to get a full rating on Famitsu, and only a handful of video games from the past few years have been known to get it.
Gaming website IGN gave the video game an 8.8 rating, citing the "stylized look", which made the pets look "incredibly lifelike", though the review criticized the lack of proper things to do once the main objective was completed.
This game received four nominations for the Designer of the Year, Most Addictive Game, Best Handheld Game and the Best Breakthrough Technology at the 2005 Spike Video Game Awards.
A special event known as "Nintendogs Tricks and Treats Weekend" was held across over 3,600 GameStop stores all over the United States on the weekend of October 28, 2005 until October 30, 2005. Nintendo of America donated $50,000 towards the ASPCA for the event, that goes towards real-life pets with various issues.
For whom who participated in the event, players could use Bark Mode when they entered a GameStop store and get themselves a Pair of Star Sunglasses from Haylie Duff's pet, who is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Bentley with special White Record message from herself.
Even after the event, players could still get special reward in fewer GameStop stores until sometime in 2007.
- As of 2014, Nintendogs is the second best-selling game for the Nintendo DS, just behind New Super Mario Bros..
- Contrary to popular belief, dogs CANNOT have puppies in this game. The same goes for the sequel.
- In Japanese, Supplies are referred as Goods.