I don’t care how manly you think you are. I don’t care how hardcore you think the games you’re into are. There are certain things that transcend all boundaries and just make you go “D’awww”. In what is perhaps the most D’awww worthy creation since Charlie Bit Me – Activison and SEGA have teamed up to bring you, Wappy Dog.
When I stopped by the Toy Fair in NYC last week to meet with Activision and SEGA, I wasn’t expecting much – but I certainly wasn’t expecting this. If you love Nintendogs, you’re going to love Wappy Dog. Wappy sings, Wappy dances, Wappy plays whack-a-mole – and he does it all through your Nintendo DS.
Remember those Tamagotchi things you had in middle school? You know the virtual pets you had to feed and play with or else they would get all cranky and beep at you? Well, Wappy is kind of like that – except far more advanced, and infinitely more adorable.
Here’s what Activison had to say before they gave me a hands on demo at the Toy Fair:
Wappy Dog brings forth the next generation of interactive toys, connecting a physical toy with the virtual world, where young gamers care for and raise their very own interactive puppy to adulthood through an immersive experience communicated through the Nintendo DS and truly touching both the toy and videogame audiences. Each Wappy Dog is a personalized experience enabling players to customize both the virtual version with different colors and outfits, as well as the physical dog with spots, colors and accessories. Players train and care for their Wappy Dog to determine their pet’s constantly evolving personality, skills, and happiness, as well as use their game system to communicate with their dog.
Players choose between “Home Mode”, which enables them to engage with the physical dog through the Nintendo DS, or “Outing Mode”, which gives on-the-go Nintendo DS players a chance to continue caring for and playing with their pet virtually. When players reunite their system with their physical pet, the two entities sync to enable the same dynamic personality and status giving players constant access to their pet.
So when you’re in “Home mode” you can communicate and play games with Wappy and he’ll interact with both you and the DS. I played Whack-a-Mole with Wappy … and won. I was happy to have beaten him, but just then his cheeks turned blue, he dropped his head and went “Wap … wappu” as he got saddened by his epic defeat. Feeling bad for my new virtual companion – I fed him a treat via the DS interface. Suddenly, Wappy perked up, his cheeks turned red and he exclaimed, “Wap, Wappy!!” It was the cutest thing I’d ever seen. I reached out to pet Wappy on his head, obviously not expecting him to respond to anything but the DS, but low and behold the magnificent contraption looked up at me and went, “Wappu!” Apparently he responds to physical interaction as well. I was impressed.
Wappy also has the aforementioned “Outing Mode”, because lord knows you can’t bring your robo-dog everywhere. This allows you to take the same care and play the same games with Wappy, without the physical dog. Instead he will just respond on the DS. However, once you get home everything you’ve done with Wappy will be synced with the actual dog – so he knows if you’ve been taking good or bad care of him and will react accordingly.
All in all, I must say that Wappy Dog certainly appears to be a step in the right direction for virtual pet gaming. Not only does it seem work well and play well, but it teaches kids how to care for a pet without it making a mess on your rug – all the while looking downright adorable.
I did have one final question for SegaVision after my demo of Wappy Dog however. “Will their be Wappy PvP!? I asked. “You know, if you have two Wappy Dog’s can you make them fight each other!?” They just kind of stared at me . . . I think maybe I missed the point.
Wappy Dog will be available later this year. A price has not yet been set – but they did say it would likely be less than $99, which is far less than a real dog . . . or an NGP.