GameCore is CBSNews.com's gaming column written by William Vitka and Chad Chamberlain. This column was written by Nintendo correspondent Lyndsey Hahn.
You live in a small Brooklyn apartment? You work full-time? Your mom won't let you have a puppy? Then Nintendogs is perfect for anyone in need of a cute, loyal companion that will never grow old and whom you can politely turn off at night.
Choose from three packs of breeds you'd like at the store (Chihuahua, lab, or dachshund; each contain six different dogs), go home, pop it into your DS and choose a puppy to adopt at the kennel. Take him on walks where he can meet other dogs in the park, he may find presents along the way that you two can enjoy together, or just stay at home and pet your puppy until it falls over in awe.
The best part of this game is the use of Nintendo DS's built-in microphone. It allows you to train your puppy with your own voice commands. Once you see the light bulb flash, say the command and repeat the motions in hopes your puppy will retain that trick. With positive reinforcement and effort, your little one will quickly learn from you. Keep in mind that he will get bored and walk away if you try to teach him too many tricks in one day.
Besides the microphone, your stylus is key in this game. The more you pet and play with your puppy, the more he will bond with you. But the moment you interact with your adorable little pup, it's hard to resist scratching that tummy or getting him to chase his own tail.
There is a catch: you have to enter your pup in a variety of contests that will display how well you have trained him in areas such as agility and obedience. You earn money when you rank high in a contest, which allows you the ability to afford more dog food, water, shampoo, and an abundance of squeak-toys, frisbees and doggy bowties. With a little time and devotion — and after you earn that cash — you can revisit the adoption center to buy your pal a new little friend. Be sure to visit your puppy on a regular basis or he might just run away; but don't worry, he'll return if you stick around.
Among many perks, you can connect with other owners while in Nintendogs's "Bark Mode." With the DS's Wi-Fi, when you are in Bark Mode, your puppy will begin barking and will be able to play with another dog when it comes within range of another owner, even if the DS is closed. That can be anyone else playing, be it some new friend you don't know on your bus or your buddy who happens to have the Chihuahua pack.
Coincidentally, this is how you can obtain access to the other breeds mentioned; otherwise, you have to meet certain goals and earn enough points to get them.
If you have always wanted a puppy but never had the chance to adopt a real one, then the innovative Nintendogs game won't let you down. Nintendogs is rated "E" for everyone and is available in stores for your Nintendo DS.
By Lyndsey Hahn
Copyright 2005 CBS. All rights reserved.