It was about time Nintendo brought Nintendogs to Switch

Launched in 2005 as one of the main Nintendo DS launch titles, Nintendogs quickly became a hit with gamers and successfully established itself as the start of a “non-gaming” trend, attracting crowds of gamers. If it wasn’t for Nintendogs and his meteoric rise to become the second best-selling Nintendo DS game in his lifetime, games like Sports Wii or WiFi may never have come to carry the torch of “non-players”.

The franchise lives on, however, with its latest entry serving as a launch title for the 3DS and expanding to Nintendogs + Cats, illustrating that Nintendo continues to believe in the series. It is therefore disappointing that at the time of the launch of the Switch, Nintendogs was uncharacteristically absent from its line-up. Not only would it have been a perfect fit for the platform, combining the advantages of handheld, touchscreen, and motion control play styles, but it could have continued its legacy of appeal to non-gamers since its inception. With the release of Nintendo Switch Sports and the recent popularity of “non-gaming” games, now is a good time to bring Nintendogs back on stage.

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The history and success of Nintendogs

Surprisingly, the original concept behind Nintendogs saw it start life in the Nintendo 64 era as a prototype animal farming simulator called Cabbage, but while the initial game eventually saw development drop off, the ideas and conversations that contributed to its development continued. Perhaps Nintendogs might have seen its release on the Game Cube instead, but since the DS was in development, it was Shigeru Miyamoto who made the executive decision to bring the concept to the handheld console. Inspired by his own experience as a family dog ​​owner, Nintendogs eventually took off and its reach quickly expanded to utilize all of the new DS features, focusing gameplay on using the new touchscreen functionality and capitalizing on portability to further extend its reach with other players.


The initial release of Nintendogs was one of the DS launch titles that saw it receive several different iterations of the same base game. About 5 different versions were sold when released, several of which were region-specific: Labrador and his friends, Dalmatian and his friends, Daschund and his friends, and Shiba Inu and his friends, with a fifth version innocently titled Best friends. The choice was made by Nintendo to keep Shiba Inu and his friends as a unique release in Japan given the popularity of the breed, with labrador and friends replacing it for European and North American markets.


Best friends was also another region-specific release, only ever coming to North America, making it something of an exception to its siblings. While all races were eventually unlockable through gameplay, making the version differences a bit superficial, all released versions saw DS sales quadruple from the previous week. The game has become so popular that it has won celebrity endorsements, with the likes of Paris Hilton declaring herself a Nintendogs fan. Additionally, although it performed admirably in Japan, the game positively exploded in Europe, becoming Nintendo’s best-selling game that year with 1.6 million copies sold and 23.96 million worldwide, beaten to Nintendo’s top spot by New Super Mario Bros.


The Continuing Legacy of Nintendogs

It’s no surprise that after becoming such a big seller in Nintendo’s lineup, Nintendogs seen a lot of appreciation and recognition from other games. Even today games like Super Smash Bros Ultimate and its predecessors paid homage to the series by offering a level inspired by Nintendogs, with assist trophies and spirits that show the adorable Miniature Poodle, French Bulldog and Labrador Retriever. His success also earned him a sequel with Nintendogs + Cats for the launch of the 3DS, which sought to expand on the foundations of the original by combining new features such as the front camera and AR functionality. Although it may not have been as successful as its older counterpart, Nintendogs + Cats and its 3 versions earned the distinction of being the 3DS’ first platinum game, selling 1.7 million copies in its first 2 months.


As such, it is strange that Nintendogs is missing from the Nintendo Switch. Even though a new game was never slated for the console’s launch, the Switch marks Nintendo’s move away from traditional home consoles and more towards a new hybrid of home and handheld games, so a return for Nintendogs should surely be inevitable to help with this transition. Not only is the game already set to take advantage of all the features Switch has to offer, but a new installment could bring all the different iterations throughout. by Nintendog story together under one roof, perhaps going even further to include more races, more animals, and more cooperative play with the Joy-Cons.

Additionally, with the recent release of Nintendo Switch Sports and its success, Nintendo demonstrates that it is fully interested in bringing its classic games and series back to the Switch. Nintendogs should be one of the hundreds of games that have been or will be ported, remastered, or even remade for the Switch, as fans were disappointed not to see it make the cut. With the DS console lineup slowly losing relevance, so does Nintendogs.

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Are Nintendogs replaced?

It might be hard to accept the fact Nintendogs It may not be on Nintendo’s priority list for Switch games anymore, but that may be because the market for pet sims is starting to get a bit crowded. Following the success of Nintendogs, many clones tried to follow in its wake, but none could quite capture the same lightning in a bottle that Nintendo had. However, in the absence of any new Nintendogs on the Switch, many replacements have appeared to fill Nintendogs‘ empty. Games such as Little friends: dogs and cats, a story of Shiba, and Puppies and kittens all draw on their inspiration to provide non-gamers with the non-gaming content they crave.

Nintendo also faces a game market specifically aimed at non-gamers, with new releases designed with non-traditional playstyles in mind. Success with games such as Unpacking creates a more accessible experience for players who don’t share the same high-energy adventures that are standard with other games. With a multitude of franchises already on its plate, including Super Mario, The legend of Zelda, and Pokemonnot to mention all the various spinoffs they bring, maybe Nintendo decides to place Nintendogs in its archives for now to focus on games that it knows have higher demand. It would then seem sadly that every nintendo on his day. In the meantime, hoping that one day soon Nintendogs will finally debut on Switch.


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