The Nintendo DS has a host of creative and innovative games. One standout so far is Nintendogs, the Tamagotchi-like puppy simulator. My 9 year old nephew dearly wanted it for Christmas, so I got myself one too.

The first ten minutes of the game are terrific. The graphics are super-cute. The animations and sounds are perfect, I was giggling and smiling and had puppy love. But, after a few days it gets old, and now I hate my virtual dog. He's disobedient, can't learn tricks, and has fleas.

The problem is the gameplay is terrible. The contest minigames are mindless. Training your dog is frustrating; it feels more like the game is training you to speak to its poor microphone. You can go for walks in the overworld, but the major play there is picking up puppy poop. And you have to play the game every day or your puppy starves and you feel guilty. I don't need the responsibility.

It may be that I'm just too old and cynical to love my virtual puppy; I'll ask my nephew how he likes the game in a few weeks. I just wish it were a better game!

  2006-01-29 19:43 Z