Nintendogs (Japanese: ニンテンドッグス Hepburn: Nintendoggusu) is a real-time pet simulation video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo DS handheld video game console. It was released in Japan, and was later released in North America, Australia, Europe, and other regions. It was originally released in three different versions: Dachshund & Friends, Lab & Friends (Shiba & Friends in Japan), and Chihuahua & Friends. It has been re-released twice, first as a bundled release with a special edition Nintendo DS with a new version called Nintendogs: Best Friends, and later as Nintendogs: Dalmatian & Friends.
Nintendogs uses the DS’s touchscreen and built-in microphone. The touch screen allows the player to pet a dog, as well as to use various items that can be found or purchased. These range from balls and frisbees, to toys, to grooming supplies to keep the dogs happy. The microphone is used to call to the player’s dog by speaking the name given to the dog in the beginning of the game as well as to teach the dog tricks such as “sit” or “roll over”. Players can bring their dogs on walks and to the park if they so choose. They may interact with other players in multi-player by using the DS’s wireless linkup. It also uses the DS’s internal clock and calendar to allow the dog to grow hungrier or dirtier based on the elapsed time.
Nintendogs received critical acclaim, and won many awards, including the 2006 Innovation Award from PC World and Best Handheld Game from the Associated Press. As of March 31, 2015, all versions of Nintendogs combined have sold 23.96 million copies worldwide, making it second on the Nintendo DS best-sellers list, behind New Super Mario Bros. Because of Nintendogs’ success, Nintendo has made several related products, including Nintendogs toys and a series of Nintendogs trading cards. A sequel, titled Nintendogs + Cats, was released for the Nintendo 3DS in 2011.
Using the touchscreen, the owner can play with, train, pet, walk, brush, and wash a virtual dog. With the microphone that is built into the DS, the player can create voice commands which the puppy will understand and, if properly trained, follow. Dogs can be walked to the park where they can practice their disc catching skills, and to the gymnasium to practice dog agility. The game features two brands of currency: money and “trainer points”. Money is used to purchase items, whilst trainer points grow or shrink depending on the actions of the player. As points accumulate, more dogs become available for the player to adopt, and more background can be purchased to decorate the player’s in-game house. By walking their dog, players earn trainer points; the amount of points varies depending on the length of the walk, and activities participated in on the way, such as contest training. While walking, question mark icons on the map point out areas that may contain neighborhood dogs or presents, though presents can be found unmarked as well. The player’s dog will usually bark once when encountering a “?” mark icon that is a present, and usually bark twice if it is a neighborhood dog. When encountering another dog and one’s trainer, the player’s dog may fight or play with the other.