My absolute favorite commentary on pets in a video game comes from a very unexpected place: Halo.
A race called knights are created based on some other nonsense alien and humans ( yay go humans!). In this game however you fight a huge amount of mechanized dog creatures- my interpretation of this enemy is the game creators saying “where humans go, dogs follow.”
The dogs are not a huge part of the plot or even mentioned too much but this detail pleased me.
So what of the virtual world when it comes to pets. For years robot dogs and pet games have filled stores but none have really caught on.
For my money- digimon toys were probably the best iteration of this idea. Well designed creatures to carry in your pocket. I actually saved mine for years but the “carry in my pocket” element of the toy ultimate lead to its demise. Everytime I go to buy one now- I remember the stress of worrying about my non digital pets and thought being able to break from that is probably good thing so I usually refrain.
Even in some video games where a pet is optional I love them. Monster Hunters and the cats come to mind, even little guardians that follow you a la Crazh Bandicoot and the tiki mask like character hold much more of my emotion than the main characters.
However, video games seem to take the pokemon line of thinking when it comes to pets: the make them familiars.
Familiars in lore, are animals that grant you protection in the world but real pets are nothing like that. Even attack dogs and what not are just as protected as a normal pet. This myth of the free roaming animal that will follow you goes all the way back to lots of famous shepherds with magic powers, but again sheep are hard to command and sheep dogs take years to train.
It is fairly accepted that leashes are good for dogs in populated areas (I have no studies on hand to site) but I think some people do want this world where pets have a mind of their own and an agenda that fits ares and walk wherever we go.
I would discourage this line of unrealistic thinking. We need only look to the brutal history of those trying to make animals bend to a human model.
What do you think? Shoot us a line. What’s your favorite video game pet?