Even if you don't consider yourself a gamer, there's a huge chance that you played Nintendogs during your childhood.
Released in 2005, it was compatible with the Nintendo DS — which still remains one of my favourite consoles to date.
There were four different versions available — Lab & Friends (known as Shiba & Friends in Japan), Dalmatian & Friends, Dachshund & Friends and Chihuahua & Friends.
And although you wanted to own all of them, your parents wouldn't budge, so you usually just picked based on your fave dog breed.
But you didn't mind, because here was the dog — albeit a virtual one in a game — that you had been begging your parents for.
Your gameplay started off strong. You adopted your Nintendog (which took awhile because you kept petting all the dogs at the kennel) and then spent a good five minutes thinking up the perfect name for them.
From there, you quickly learned the controls and started to train your doggo various commands, like "sit", "roll over" and "beg".
Some commands were easy, while others had you barking (pun intended) at your Nintendo DS until your voice was hoarse, resulting in your parents most likely regretting their decision to buy you that game.
At that point, you decided it was time for a walk to the park, which was your favourite part of the game — both because it felt ~realistic~ and you could practice fido's disc throwing skills.
At this early stage, you were extremely attentive to your Nintendog. You fed them, you walked them and you even earned points to purchase more dogs and items.
Petting your dog was also incredibly cathartic, alongside washing them.
Soon, you built up the confidence to enter the Disc Competition, Agility Trial and Obedience Trial, which you obviously mastered because you were an A+ dog owner.
Sometimes you even enabled Bark Mode, so that your friend's puppies could play with yours.
Looking back, I'm glad I got the chance to play Nintendogs as a kid. Granted, I did grow out of it at one stage (RIP to my puppies, I still feel guilty), but it was such a wholesome gaming experience.
You literally just got to have fun and take care of dogs (and cats in the later editions!). Although, the responsibility became a bit much after adopting eight puppies — which, in hindsight, wasn't the best idea for a 12-year-old. But hey, lesson learned!
Plus, the music used for it was oddly catchy.
Like other Nintendo DS games, it also made smart use of the stylus and microphone, which made the gameplay *that* much more enjoyable.
In fact, I'm petitioning for Nintendo to bring back Nintendogs. It's the sort of wholesome joy that we deserve in our lives right now as adults.
For now, I hope you enjoyed this nostalgic reminder about Nintendogs. Personally, I'll be reminiscing about my own puppies and contemplating whether they're still alive — especially since I still own my Nintendo DS.
Dare I try boot it up and potentially get obsessed with this game yet again? Perhaps.