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Video Game / Nintendogs

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Unfortunately not playable for species without opposable thumbs.
Back in 2005, Nintendogs was the early Killer App of the Nintendo DS, especially popular with children and young women. You get to look after up to three puppies which you can feed, walk, play with and bathe. You can teach it to do tricks in response to your real voice, using the DS microphone, and enter it into contests to win virtual prizes.

Unlike Tamagotchi and similar virtual pets, a Nintendog will not die, get sick, or even age beyond puppyhood. Even if the game is neglected for an extended period of time, the worst that happens is that the dog may temporarily "run away".

Nintendogs + Cats was eventually released in 2011 for the Nintendo 3DS. As you may have guessed, it adds kittens as virtual pets you can keep.

These games provide examples of:

  • All Dogs Are Purebred: Played straight. Every puppy you adopt from the kennel is a purebred. Also played straight with the cats, though they're not referred to by their breeds.
  • Animals Lack Attributes: Mostly played straight, even though we see the dogs pee on walks. Subverted with their rear ends, however, as they have buttholes.
  • Anti Poop-Socking: When you return from a walk after playing for half an hour, Nintendogs + Cats will suggest you take a break. If you play for an hour, a warning will come up urging you to save.
  • Art Evolution: The dogs in Nintendogs + Cats are a lot fuzzier, on top of the boost in realism due to the higher quality graphics.
  • Artificial Brilliance: When you put your face up to the 3DS screen, your puppy/kitten can detect it if you have enough Owner Points via the facial recognition system. When somebody else puts their face up to the screen, your puppy/kitten will react negatively and run away. The 3DS facial recognition is so precise that it can even detect if you are wearing a disguise.
  • Artistic License Animal Care: Averted, in that the milk in-game is described as a "formula specially prepared for puppies and kittens". Also, there ARE milk drinks that CAN be digested by all cats and dogs.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Many owners of the second title might want a house full of cats. However, as cute as they are, the cats aren't really that useful. It is very hard to make money off cats as they can't go for walks or even enter any contests. They're also less interactive than dogs (they won't come if you call, can't play with several toys, etc). There's a reason the game is called + Cats and not And Cats.
    • Some of the toys and records in the original game may look or sound cool (Meteorite, Toreador Record), but they upset your puppies and can result in a loss of Trainer Points.
  • Augmented Reality: Nintendogs + Cats has an AR mode. It's really fun when you have your puppies/kitties standing on the palm of your hand. The Obedience trials use AR in that game.
  • Bootstrapped Theme: The official name of the series' theme song is "Bath Time". Evidently, the song was originally composed for when you're washing your dogs.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The "rubbish" items found in + Cats can be traded in for special items.
    • Brushing your dog or cat is a monotonous task that takes much longer than simply washing them. But this earns more Trainer Points, and there is a glitch in the original game that allows you to gain a lot of Trainer Points by simply opening the brushing interface and leaving it there. In + Cats, you can brush your puppy even at the park or cafe, which is useful if it has rolled in puddles earlier.
    • Cats may not be able to be taken on walks or competitions, but if you leave your 3DS alone for at least half an hour, your cat will go outside and bring you a present. This can range from rubbish to rare items, which can be useful in a pinch.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": The three cat breeds in Nintendogs + Cats aren't referred to by name. American Shorthairs are called "Standards", Siamese cats are called "Orientals", and Persians are called "Longhairs".
  • Canine Confusion:
    • Nintendogs + Cats each breed comes in multiple colours, however in real life many of the breeds have very few, if any, varying patterns according to Breed Standards. This means several dogs have fake fur colours, such as Malteses with spots.
    • You can feed the dogs and cats milk. This would result in diarrhea for actual weaned pets.
  • Cats Are Superior: Inverted. Dogs can earn their keep in Nintendogs + Cats by winning competitions and picking up gifts while walking. Cats mostly hang around the house all day, but if you leave them alone for long enough (30-45 minutes), they will go outside and bring back gifts. Even so, dogs can earn you money faster than cats.
  • Cats Hate Water: Downplayed. They only meow in displeasure a lot when they have to be showered, which obviously happens quite rarely as they groom themselves a lot and brushing them is sufficient.
  • Cuckoolander Commentator: Archie Hubbs, co-commentator for the contest events in the first game.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: It's notably hard to win the hardest levels of the frisbee competitions, due to the fact that you have to have a perfect lucky stylus-slide for a toss, and sometimes you just get unlucky and your dog drops it. The other dogs almost never fail as the levels get harder, and they can "accidentally" walk through your dog, pushing it aside and causing it to not catch the Frisbee. Additionally, the CPUs are likely to have higher-level discs and lures well before you can obtain them yourself.
  • Confused Question Mark: Failing to speak clearly into the microphone when trying to teach your pets new things (such as their names, or a trick) will result in these.
  • Creator Cameo: You can sometimes meet Shiggy and his Shetland Sheepdog, Pik, during walks in the first game.
  • Cute Kitten: As stated above, the 3DS sequel has them.
  • Deathbringer the Adorable: If you want to, of course.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: Your puppies return from being bathed/brushed to beautiful with sparkles for a few seconds. Sparkles also show up occasionally when you pet them. In-fact, the sparkles and clovers in Nintendogs + Cats indicate that you're gaining owner points, the value in order of green, light blue, violet and golden sparkles
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Nintendogs, a Nintendo game about dogs. Nintendogs + Cats, a sequel to said game with kittens.
  • Extreme Omnivore: You can feed your puppy treats meant for the cats (and vice versa), but they obviously won't enjoy it as much as a cat would (same goes for the cats eating dog treats).
  • Gender Equals Breed: Calico kittens are mostly female, with very few males. As mentioned in the Real Life section of the trope page, this is (usually) Truth in Television. Though in real life, Calicos aren't actually a breed.
  • Gourmet Pet Food: The café in the 3DS games offers desserts specially made for dogs that look indistinguishable from human food. The games avert this trope for the most part, however.
  • Guilt-Based Gaming: Any pets that you choose to donate will become visibly sad for the last few moments it's on the screen, and eventually turn its head away from you, refusing to look at you even if you rotate the screen. This is averted (or perhaps for some people, made even worse) in the 3DS games, where you don't see the soon-to-be donated pet at all - just a message stating that the hotel will find it a new owner.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The first game had the rare Dalmatian and Jack Russell terrier breeds, which could only be obtainable at the kennel when you found a specific item while out walking.
    • In Nintendogs + Cats, the rarest breed is the Robopup, which you have to earn a voucher for.
  • Idea Bulb: And then your dog can eat them in the original game.
  • Insistent Terminology: In the original game at least, you are not a pet owner, you're a pet "trainer".
  • An Interior Designer Is You: You can buy furniture to decorate the room that the pets play in. The dogs and cats will even interact with the furniture, sleeping on or jumping up on top of them.
  • Item Crafting: In the 3DS games, you can find items such as leather keyrings and plastic bottles that can be used as "ingredients" at the second-hand shop for creating items. Borders on Just Add Water when you can get stuff like functional keyboards and RC helicopters by doing this.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • In Nintendogs + Cats while walking your dog, there are occasionally rows of safety cones you can optionally zig-zag through to get a present. If a bag of trash, puddle, fire hydrant or mailbox is randomly generated at the end of a row of safety cones, forget about that present at the end, because your dog will forget all about the cones and happily dash towards the taboo, and you can't re-do it because you can't walk backwards.
    • Your dog will occasionally decide that it would be a perfect time for a bathroom break when going through the cones, it'll often move one of the cones, denying you the present as well.
    • Even if you succeed in weaving through the cones and making a present appear, there's still a chance your dog will just walk right past it for no reason at all.
    • The disc competition has shades of this. It's entirely possible that your dog does amazing...only for another dog to do even better. Or you can do completely awful, but the other dogs did even worse than you. Luckily, the Agility Trials and Lure Coursing rely almost completely on skill.
  • Mushroom Samba: Feed your kitten the Chicken Jerky, which is sprinkled with catnip according to the description, and your kitty will spaz out for a few seconds.
  • Money for Nothing: Later on, you're better off sending your top-quality pets in minor competitions to maximize your score bonus. The money potentially lost isn't nearly as important as the points you get for coming in first place.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Your pet will forever stay a puppy or kitten. Despite rumors, they can't breed. They also never die.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Several classical or otherwise widely known pieces of music are available as records:
    • In the original games, four of the six records "known to evoke nature" are classics, and will elicit reactions from the dogs as they play:
      • The Colonel Bogey March will make your dogs walk in a circle. You can slow them down or make them run by adjusting the playing speed.
      • The Flower Waltz from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker (the only classical piece common to both generations of the series) will prompt the dogs to perform certain little things at different points, simulating a dance. The kicker is on the very last note, where, if not distracted, they will do a backflip.
      • Joseph Haydn's Surprise Symphony will startle your dogs on the famous beat.
      • The Toreador Song from Bizet's Carmen, which, for some reason, Nintendogs hate.
    • In Nintendogs + Cats, there are six "Classic" records. In addition to Tchaikovsky's Flower Waltz, we have:
      • The piano beginner piece "The Flea Waltz".
      • Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag".
      • Hermann Necke's "Csikós Post"
      • Émile Waldteufel's "Skater's Waltz".
  • Ratchet Scrolling: You can't walk backwards when walking your dog in Nintendogs + Cats. Passed someone else walking their dog? A place you were wanting to visit all day? A present? Too bad, you can't go backwards, not even an inch. This is probably implemented to make dog walks have a finite length, but it can still be annoying when you walk an INCH too far and miss something.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Nintendogs + Cats has the unlockable breed Robopup, a robotic dog that runs on regular dog food and behaves almost identically to real puppies, even using the bathroom on walks.
  • Robot Dog: In the 3DS games, the Robopup voucher becomes available at Mr. Recycle (the secondhand shop) after earning 11,000 owner points or 34 days of play and requires x7 wood, rubber, plastic, and leather, x5 metal and x3 stardust to "craft" it. They come in all sorts of unique colors. Like the rest of the dogs available, they still need to be given food and water, cleaned, trained, given exercise and relieve themselves.
  • Rule of Three:
    • You must say the name of a trick clearly 3 times for your dog to learn it. This also applies when naming the pets themselves.
    • You can only own three pets at a time, though using the Hotel allows you to keep six.
  • Save-Game Limits: The game only uses one save file.
  • Save Scumming: Occasionally while walking, you can come across a piggy bank or three types of vases. These items give you random amounts of money when thrown, and if you save your game before throwing them, you can simply restart and try again until you get the amount of money you want.
    • In the first game, if you pick up some items while on a walk, then take your dog to the park, you can add a new accessory to your dog, which automatically saves your progress. After changing your dog's accessory, you can turn off the game then turn it on again. Your new items will still be in your inventory, and you can go on another walk without waiting 30 minutes.
    • It's also possible to do this for competitions. However, in the original game, it will autosave when you finish the trial, so you have to time your power-off just right.
  • Secret Character:
    • In the original games, the Jack Russell Terrier and Dalmatian breeds could only be unlocked if you found the Jack Russell Book and Fireman Hat respectively on walks, likely referencing their high maintenance natures in Real Life. Averted for the Dalmatian if you bought its respective limited edition, where it's a starter breed.
    • The sequel introduces the fictional RoboPup breed, which can only be obtained through a special voucher. Said voucher is obtained by playing the game for at least a month, recycling enough materials, and exchanging 5 Metal, 3 Stardust, and 7 of each remaining material. On the bright side, RoboPups cost no money to obtain.
  • Serious Business: The contests are a big deal. Justified as real-life dog contests do often have a lot of spectators.
  • Shaking the Rump: A non-sexual variation. In both games, dogs will do this when they want to play.
  • Shop Fodder: Your dogs can find things on walks which you can later sell. Along with ordinary useful stuff like accessories, they can find things like empty juice boxes, sticks, and broken disposable cameras. At the other end of the scale, there's fallen meteors and expensive vases which fetch quite a lot of money. This is changed in the 3DS sequel in which you find junk items that can be used to make better items but you can still find the occasional accessory and toy here and there.
  • Shout-Out: Several to Super Mario Bros.. You can get a Mario or Luigi hat for your puppy. In addition, you can unlock radio-controlled Mario Karts that you can drive around. There's also a ? Block. Nintendogs + Cats's Telephone Record also contains a snippet of the Underwater Theme from Super Mario Bros. 3.
    • Nintendogs + Cats also offers a purchasable Super Mario Bros. themed room.
  • Somewhere, a Mammalogist Is Crying: In order to diversify the dogs, many colors were added that go against the Breed Standards or are outright impossible.
  • Spiritual Successor: Could be considered this to the Petz series of games.
  • Vague Age: Your dog is just ambiguously a puppy. They're weaned and adoptable, meaning they're over 3 months, but can still drink formula. They also still have young puppy proportions, meaning they're under 6 months.note 
  • Video Game Caring Potential: You can be the sweetest owner ever. Or...
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • You can torture the little dogs.
    • Play the Naptime record, and once they're all asleep, play the Surprise record to startle them awake. Heck, the Surprise record is sure to get a chuckle out of you the first time, or other methods of startling your puppy such as letting a balloon pop.
    • Arguably invoked with regards to competitions once you have enough money. There's no reason to play for more money, so it's best to just do easier competitions to get points. Meaning your mere presence is a surefire sign that no other puppies can win, resulting in only crushing defeat for anyone up against you.
  • What the Hell, Player?:
    • In the original game, while on a walk, the first time your dog poops and you don't pick it up, next time you walk by a question mark block, your neighbor will appear and call you out on it.
    • Also in the original game, you are allowed to let your puppy go on walks whilst Famished, Parched or Filthy. Any of these three will cause your neighbour to call you out on it.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: Justified being that they're puppies, most likely less then six months old.

Alternative Title(s): Nintendogs Plus Cats