Ask a kid if they think that they’re video games are giving them an experience close to real life and they’ll probably tell you that, yes, they are. As technology strives to be more “lifelike” in how it renders images, and reacts to user feedback, I think people are more likely to accept the notion that it represents real life.
When I saw the headline Review: ‘Nintendogs’ a superb substitute, my reaction was “Oh, come on now!”
There is no substitute for the real thing:
The article goes on to make a handful of statements that I quote here:
As in the real world, obtaining a pet starts with a visit to the kennel.
Of course in the real world, it costs many hundreds of dollars, and you have to buy supplies, pet bed, food, worming pills, visit the vet, spend a couple of hundred more… Oh, and the choice is a bit tougher in the real world; You’re committed to your real world pet. It’s not like you can just hit the reset button and pick another one if the first one doesn’t work out.
The dogs are shown in 3D and do an amazing job of mimicking the real thing: they’ll sniff around, pant and bark when excited. (They even engage in some unpleasant but necessary business).
Oh how I wish that was all that Zoe did in the real world. Hell, I’d get a couple more dogs if that was the case. Does Nintendogs do a good job of simulating what it’s like cleaning doggie diarrhea out of the carpet. I don’t think so! Can you pull a tick off of your Nintendog?
You can “rub” your pet by stroking it on the bottom screen.
I have no response to that…
After only a few weeks, I’ve already formed an emotional attachment with my pixelated pup.
…and now it’s just getting wierd.
It’s this sort of bonding that ultimately makes “Nintendogs” the perfect test run for families considering a real dog — or anyone uncomfortable with the thought of pet dander, pooper scoopers and veterinarian visits.
How can something so far from reality be considered the “perfect test run” for families considering a real dog? It’s nonsense.
My friend Carl and his family are doing a much closer to perfect test run by hosting a dog for Guiding Eyes. It’s a great test run AND it’s a great public service. Kudo’s to Carl and his family.
At least the Nintendogs article ends with a bit of sanity:
“Nintendogs” certainly won’t replace our love and devotion for flesh-and-blood creatures — but it’s paws-down the cutest virtual pet I’ve ever cared for.
Love and devotion is what pets are all about, and in both directions. You can get attached to your Nintendo, but know that it will never feel the same way back, and that’s the biggest reason why it’s no substitute.