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Games, technology, music, silliness. Oh and ninjas. Lots of ninjas.

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Location: Oslo, Norway

I am Andreas. Day time programmer and technical consultant. Night time musician and game developer.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A day of great shame

This marks the end of a 15 year lucky streak. I have bought my first defective game cartridge.

I'm not sure if i should be as shocked as i am, but i have, as said, bought *masses* of games for the past 15 years, and not once have i encountered a game defective to the point where i have to return it. Nintendogs gets the dubious honor of being the first.

This is a two-pronged post. On one end i'm terribly sad that i have got a game that is defective, but on the other the reason i'm so sad is because said defective game is so blisteringly good!

I'm not sure i'd call it a game really. The manual describes it as an interactive entertainment experience, and i think that sums it up very nicely. At its core, it is a puppy simulator with some pretty cool technology in its linings, and i don't know what else there is to say about it. You start out buying a puppy, and the game nudges you into teaching it tricks, personalizing it and having it give you feedback of the sort i can't remember ever getting from a game. I am not a dog person in the least. Dogs to me are high maintenance clowns or high maintenance poop machines. I'm also a fairly jaded gamer, and most of my favorite games are what you'd call "hard core", such as Ninja Gaiden and Mars Matrix. Nintendogs does something to me though.. For the first while i was just tapping away at this screen thinking to myself "this is kind of creepy. They're trying to make me feel empathy for a bunch of polygons that respond to my voice". Then the hours just went by. Suddenly i find myself grinning stupidly to myself, putting my shiba inu through dog shows and grinning like a kid at christmas eve when she learned to play fetch with a frisbee. Nintendogs is a game of discovery, bizarrely enough. Not in the sense you'd think, but more of a discovery of yourself and what kind of person you are. Once you get over the hurdle of the voice recognition and learn how to make phrases it understands quickly, it's hard not to fall in love with the little puppies.

Another discovery is that the game pretty much completely excludes regular input methods. The interface is based around the stylus and the microphone, and that's about all there is. Not ONCE did i miss a button, and it felt.. Liberating? I don't know. Once i thought Nintendo were completely off the heezy with the DS, but so far this year, it's outrocked the PSP in every single way i can imagine. Please, any fecking developer on the PSP, make ONE game that can make me as giddy as Nintendogs did. You can throw polys around all you want, the DS has proven that interaction and play is what makes a game good. Screw the term gameplay, games are toys wether you like it or not, and Nintendo is the only hardware developer out there that still makes consoles that are toys. If you're "too old" for that, you don't deserve the yummy goodness that is Nintendogs.

Then again, Nintendogs refuses to save my games after i've taught any puppy more than 2 tricks. Saving the game corrupts the save data and forces the game to reformat on boot. *Heartwrenching*. I fall in love with it, then it kicks me in the balls, not once but four times in a row. I can replicate the error without fail every single time now, and it's really making my heart bleed. Here's hoping i can get it swapped.. Sigh..

Thank god its not my DS, or i'd feel seriously afraid for my Castlevania and Mario kart saves O_o

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