What you playing at? Dog’s Life

When I was a kid and games cost around £15 instead of £lots, every month or so I would have saved up enough money to buy a new PS2 game with my £3 pocket money a week. I didn’t really know what kind of game I was looking for most of the time and often fell into the trap of judging a book (game) by its cover.   

One day, in a now sadly closed second-hand game shop, some amazing game art caught my eye – the case for Dog’s Life.
Box art for Ps2 Game Dogs Life

‘GTA for Dogs’

Fondly described as ‘Like GTA for dogs’ by one of the SockMonkey team, in the game you play as Jake the dog, whose objective is to save Daisy the dog from dog-catchersAlong your journey you can sample the local aromas, steal sausages, play minigames and most importantly, poop as you make your way from the small town of Clarksville to Boom City. 

Dogs Life Game Mechanic Examples Definitely a product of the times, upon revisiting, there are definitely some things that might not be considered very ‘3+’. For example, the use of guns and (not to ruin the intense plot) the fact that the game centred around dogs being crushed up and turned into cat food... #ItWasADifferentTime. 

That being said, there’s a reason this game became a cult classic, the ability to play the entire game from not just the perspective of Jake, but a multitude of other dog breeds was something that hadn’t really been seen 

Dog's Life game screenshot, dogs interacting

 Although director David Braben might be more well-known for games like Elite, I imagine some of his proudest work is working on a project where the pressing the D-pad makes the protagonist fart, poop, or cock their leg.  

Nastalgia

Trying to remind people of this amazing game also game people fond memories of the classic Nintendogs pre-cursor – the Petz series. Although lesser in some ways, upon revisiting there was a couple of… additional features which you won’t find in Dog’s Life, or possibly any other young children’s pet sim game. To be honest, rewatching gameplay I think this Youtube comment probably said everything I could have needed to.

Youtube Comment for Petz Game

I started watching the playthough filled with nostalgia, but then at around six minutes in I was reminded of a pretty unique mechanic where you could spray your pets and make them roll around on the floor together before throwing one of them back into a kennel…

Screengrab of characters interacting on Petz5

As if this wasn’t enough, I had totally forgotten the pets huge, dead eyes.  

There was a third, odd dog-related game I used to play on GBA but (perhaps thankfully) I can’t remember the name.

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