Gaming

What a Delight! These Video Games Allow You to Show Some Love to Dogs and Other Animals

What a good boy! These video games let you pet dogs — and other animals
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Video games are often associated with intense competition and violence, pitting players against AI adversaries and even fellow gamers. It can be an exhilarating but stressful experience. Sometimes, all we need is a moment of respite from saving kingdoms and instead, indulge in the simple joy of petting a good dog. Fortunately, game developers understand this craving too, which is why there are numerous titles available that allow you to pet dogs and other delightful creatures. And with 2018 being the Year of the Dog according to the Chinese zodiac, it’s the perfect time to celebrate with video games that let you shower affection on these very good pups.

‘Watch Dogs 2’ (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)

While the original Watch Dogs curiously lacked the presence of actual dogs, its superior sequel, Watch Dogs 2, corrected this oversight by filling the streets of San Francisco with an abundance of adorable canines.

By pressing the “pet” button near a dog, your character, Marcus, will kneel down and shower the dog with well-deserved pets and scratches. As you interact with different breeds, you’ll encounter both large, tough-looking dogs and tiny lap dogs. And as any small dog owner knows, these pint-sized cuties possess an uncanny ability to alert you to potential intruders.

‘Metal Gear Solid V’ (Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PC)

In Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, you’ll encounter various sidekick characters who aid you during missions. While each character offers unique abilities, none can compare to the adorable and deadly D-Dog. Discovered as a puppy, this canine companion can even whip out a knife from his own combat vest to dispatch enemy soldiers. And when he returns to you, he eagerly awaits a loving pet. You’ll encounter D-Dog as he playfully roams around Mother Base while you manage your troops.

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However, be mindful when petting D-Dog, as pressing the wrong button may inadvertently result in Big Boss slapping the poor pup. The heartbreaking sound D-Dog makes will make you swear never to put him in harm’s way again.

‘Far Cry Primal’ (Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC)

Technically, Far Cry Primal does not feature “dogs.” However, it does present an opportunity to tame wolves. Since dogs share ancestral ties to wolves and share similar DNA, we’ll take some creative liberties here. As a Beast Master, you possess the remarkable ability to tame wild animals. When these animals are by your side, you can lean down and not only pet their heads but also give them glorious chin scratches.

With a little affection, you might momentarily forget that wolves are, in fact, ferocious killing machines, always ready to tear your face off if provoked. Far Cry Primal has a way of instilling a newfound willingness to snuggle up with these majestic creatures.

‘Fable III’ (Xbox 360, PC)

The Fable series prides itself on providing players with freedom, allowing you to own a furry canine friend. In Fable III, you have the opportunity to level up your dog’s combat prowess. However, your faithful companion proves equally indispensable in moments of relaxation. With a simple whistle, known across the trilogy as “Man’s Best Friend,” you can access a menu offering various activities such as playing fetch or giving your loyal pup a well-deserved pet.

But your dog in Fable III isn’t content to sit idly by, waiting for a mere head rub. Instead, he leaps into your arms, showcasing an adorable display of affection and even showering you with slobbery face licks.

‘Fallout 4’ (Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC)

Bethesda’s Fallout 4 introduces a remarkable German Shepherd with a rather unfortunate name: Dogmeat. This loyal companion loves you unconditionally and remains undeterred by any obstacles in his path. It’s disheartening to discover that the base game does not allow you to pet him at all.

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Fortunately, some ingenious Fallout 4 fans have rectified this oversight. A mod called “Pet-Feed-Call Dogmeat,” available for download on PC and Xbox One, introduces a third-person animation that permits you to finally pet Dogmeat’s head and gaze lovingly into his eyes. Moreover, the mod allows you to toss him treats, ensuring he understands just how much of a good boy he truly is.

‘Valiant Hearts: The Great War’ (Android, iOS, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PC)

Valiant Hearts: The Great War is an underappreciated gem that recounts the stories of World War I from multiple perspectives. One of these perspectives features an endearing canine medic named Walt. During the early stages of the game, while playing as French soldier Emile, you encounter Walt. With a quick gesture, you can give this brave dog a brief but heartwarming pet, earning yourself a well-deserved achievement.

‘The Last Guardian’ (PlayStation 4)

Trico, the eponymous character of The Last Guardian, may not precisely resemble a dog; rather, he’s a unique blend of a dog, a bird, and a cat. Nevertheless, his unwavering dedication to protecting his newfound friend and his love for treats are reminiscent of man’s best friend. With a furry face and a nose begging for affectionate pats, we’ll happily deem him an honorary dog. Notably, petting Trico proves to be a critical gameplay element.

When Trico becomes injured or frightened, he may lose control, making progress difficult. The solution is as simple as climbing on top of your furry and feathery companion and offering a few calming pets. Trico will then regain composure, allowing you to provide him with further guidance. Many of the game’s most touching moments occur when you’re tenderly petting him. In fact, we wouldn’t mind if the entire game centered solely around this heartwarming activity.

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‘Nintendogs + Cats’ (Nintendo 3DS)

Nintendogs + Cats provides an opportunity to fulfill the fantasy of owning a virtual dog. You can give your furry friend baths, take leisurely walks together, and even provide food and water, much like a digital Tamagotchi. Of course, the game also allows you to pet your beloved virtual canine using the Nintendo 3DS stylus. Once you initiate the petting, you can continue indulging in this delightful activity for as long as you please.

If you prefer a more productive use of your time, you can also brush your dog to remove dirt and accumulate “Owner Points.” Nevertheless, we believe that a few satisfying chin scratches and pats on the head are far more meaningful, regardless of any in-game rewards they may or may not yield.

Honorable Mention: ‘Pet the Pup at the Party’ (PC, Mac)

While every other game on this list features the ability to pet dogs, only Pet the Pup at the Party focuses entirely on this delightful act. The game, which can be downloaded for a price of your choosing, presents you with the challenge of petting 52 different dogs at a party. Simply follow the sound of barking to seek out your new canine companions.

The act of “petting” in this game mainly involves waving your hand in the air, yet the dogs respond with sheer glee nonetheless. If any game has the power to inspire humanity to spread kindness and joy, it’s undoubtedly Pet the Pup at the Party.

OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

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