Nintendogs is the latest gaming craze to hit Japan. There’s not much information that’s in English but from what I see, it’s a new take on virtual pets, one with an ultra-realistic tactile edge.
You start by purchasing a Nintendo DS cartridge that features your favorite breed of puppy. The puppy or puppies intereact with the environment, with each other and with you via touchscreen technology. The dogs apparently also respond to your voice (via built-in mic) and see to have various other interactions via wireless connection (perhaps even through the Internet).
You have to see to believe the realistic behavior of these dogs as they respond to the ways in which you play with them, for example by petting, showering the dog and feeding it all with the stroking of your stylus. The video on on the bottom of this main page shows how the dogs interact with objects like a balloon, fight over toys and let you take it for a walk on a leash. The video on this other page shows how you can select/create gifts for your dog.
Given the number of ways you can play this game/simulation, I can sense the thrill of discovering the various life-like ways in which the dogs will respond to you. This has definitely gone more places than the tamagochi. I wonder if they’ll make a cat version… I think cats are smarter. 😛