Nintendogs review

Sit! Sit! SIT! NGC reckons this isn't one to play on the bus...

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Nintendogs is not a game. Not in a stupid 'for life, not just for Christmas' way - it just isn't a game with a point or end or any guns and end of level bosses. Which we find a bit confusing, because our brains are used to talking about things like how skimpy the female characters' clothes are when reviewing games.

So instead of us doing that, we've decided to tell you the story of our week of dog love - or 'wuv', if you're feeling soppy - in an attempt to show you how Nintendogs feels. Sound good? Okay, sit! And we'll begin.

Day 1: 12:00 We go to the kennels and get a dog - a fluffy King Charles spaniel called George. We wanted a miniature wolfhound, but we've got the Chihuahua edition and we only get six dogs to choose from.

We load up on food then spend the entire afternoon teaching him tricks. You do this by prodding him in to the right position with a stylus.

To make him sit, for instance, you use a sharp, downward-stroking motion from the top of his head, then you poke the little light bulb icon that appears in the corner and give a command into the mic.

Do this two or three times - with plenty of post-trick stroking - and he'll do the trick on command. By the end of the afternoon, George knows Sit, Lie Down and Roll Over. And Tom - who's sitting at the next desk - looks as if he wants to kill us.

Day 1: 19:16 We take George to a party. We were going to try to impress people with how well trained he is, but the music is a bit loud and he doesn't seem to recognise anything we're saying. This can be a problem whenever there's any background noise.

Still, everybody's impressed - Ninty has obviously spent hundreds of hours tweaking the dogs' responses so they react realistically, and it makes them cuter than a baby dressed as Father Christmas.

Prod them on the nose and they sneeze, stroke their head and it tilts, rub their tummy and they writhe around with their tongues wagging.

All the girls spend ages doing this - boys tend to rub George directly on his, ahem, gentleman's arrangements (which you can't really see - he's only a puppy), then shout 'Bad dog!' until we take the DS away from them.

Also, everybody's very impressed by the 'blow in to the mic to make bubbles' dynamic. It's like magic!

Day 2: 21:00 Wake up and spend half an hour lying in bed tickling George's tummy and idly watching CD:UK. This is all very stress relieving - we start to wonder if having a Nintendog could prevent having a heart attack, like real dogs are supposed to.

We spend another 20 minutes teaching George to run around like a nutter when we shout 'Cheese it!' This is funny right up until the obedience competition when we can't get the tone of voice right and he doesn't listen.

This is something you have to remember. Obedience isn't about volume in Nintendogs - yelling does absolutely no good - it's all about e-nun-ci-a-tion. If you say 'Sit!' in a cheery voice, you have to say it like that forever.

We still win the competition, though, thanks to some sterling work on the Hold a Roll Over challenge (encouraged by loads of tickling) and a judge-pleasingly adorable Shake Hands in the freeform section. So we buy George some food, red ribbons for his hair and give him a nice, soapy shower.

Then we spend 10 minutes playing a game with guns in and thinking about Maria Sharapova to reassure ourselves that we aren't turning into girls.

More info

DescriptionAdopting a puppy just got easier - and cleaner, and cheaper - as your DS goes to the dogs.
US censor rating"Everyone"
UK censor rating""
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)