Top 5 Dogs In Gaming
Note, this article is also in video form, please see the end for the YouTube link.
Everybody loves Dogs, in fact if you don’t; you may require a check -up from the neck-up. They are man’s best friend for good reason, they are loyal and extremely cute. However what makes them most endearing to humanity is their emotional intelligence, we are able to recognise emotions in them that are akin to our own, happiness, sadness, playfulness, and this leads to unbreakable bonds being developed between man and mutt. This bond makes them perfect for a digital translation, games are all about the connections between characters, so including a Dog is a very convenient way to instantly build up empathy for a character, far more so than the humans normally. They’ve been in games as long as games have been around, from Fido in the Don’t Buy This Collection on the ZX Spectrum to Fallout 4, they have existed. This list honours them, and is my personal picks of the Top 5 Dogs in Gaming.
Starting off this list we have a pup that isn’t even flesh, instead it’s Mega Man’s robotic best friend Rush. Sporting a shiny red design Rush has been with Mega Man ever since his debut in Mega Man 3, and since then has played a sidekick role to the blue bomber, being able to transform into a spring, a hover board and even a submarine, helping out his loyal buddy whenever the need arises.
Rush is pretty much the epitome of what a dog is for most people, a loyal buddy that is there when you need them most. He’s representative of the sort of relationship many people feel they have with their pets, an unspoken bond of supporting one another. A little known fact is that many real dogs cannot fuse with their owners or transform into handy tools, making this one somewhat unique.
In the animated series of the same name Rush’s abilities where further enhanced, allowing him to turn into a water craft, a hang glider and even a snowmobile. So much for a Dog’s life. This theme of pet helping owner through difficult circumstances is mirrored in our next entry in the list. Hewie is from the criminally underrated Survival Horror PS2 classic Haunting Ground and plays an equally important part.
During the game the main character Fiona finds this dog wandering around alone and the two quickly form a bond based on mutual survival needs. The player can issue commands to Hewie by using the right analogue stick, and can tell him to do things such as searching an area, following the character or praising the dog. A large part of the gameplay comes from training Hewie, as praising him for certain actions and scolding him for others will teach the dog which actions to perform and when, as well as strengthening or deteriorating the bond between the player and the pup.
Forming a bond with Hewie is not only integral in forming the emotional attachment with the characters and giving the game a sense of urgency, but the story can be drastically changed depending on your relationship with the canine when it comes to the later levels. Hewie was clearly well loved over at Capcom, as he made a cameo appearance in Resident Evil 4, in which you he is caught in a trap, and if Leon saves him, will later on help him out during the El Gigante boss battle.
Despite the previous entries on this list Dogs are not doomed simply to help the main character but can in fact be protagonists themselves. Sam from the adventure series Sam and Max is one of the more well known of these, appearing in the classic video game Sam & Max Hit the Road and more recently Sam and Max Save The World. The duo actually debuted in a comic book series from the late 80’s, but as they didn’t achieve widespread fame until the video games came about and it is what they are most known for today, I’m including him on this list.
As a police dog Sam is incredibly knowledgeable and often rambles on about obscure subjects that don’t always seem to be relevant and actually aren’t always that accurate, in many ways a dog after my own heart. Sam is very calm and still has the qualities that make dogs so likeable, such as his excitable nature and a love of food, particularly sweet treats like ice cream sandwiches. Sam is well liked by many in the gaming community and indeed outside of it despite the fact that there are relatively few entries in their series compared to other franchises, showing that a well written and likeable character can stick in people’s memory, especially if it is a six foot talking dog wearing a fedora. Sam is not the only gaming doggo to have exceptional head wear, as Parappa the Rapper and his large woolly hat surely stands in contention.
Parappa is a rapper as thin as paper who goes on a series of adventures in order to win the heart of a flower called Sunny Funny. Parappa’s adventures take him to such places as a kung fu dojo, a driving course, a market, cooking and even rapping on stage. What makes Parappa such a memorable mongrel is the game he is in, the funky beats and smooth raps make any level very memorable, and the visual style means it is sure to stick in your head. Parappa also has a certain innocent charm that is difficult to place, and is certainly not shared by the number one entry on this list.
When I asked on Facebook for suggestions for this list there was only one dog that could end up claiming the number one spot, and that is the dog from Duck Hunt. The Duck Hunt Dog is unique in which before his appearance in Smash Bros it was not really a character and only appeared in one game from 1987, yet somehow managed to stick in the collective memories of every gamer that has ever played Duck Hunt, no matter how long ago or recently it was.
The Duck Hunt Dog collected the fallen birds, and most memorably popped up if the player missed everything, laughing and teasing the player for being rubbish. It is this smugness that made him one of the most annoying characters ever, and caused it to really stick in peoples minds. Perhaps everyone felt it was a sort of betrayal by the dogs, how dare they make fun of us humans, they are our best friends not some mean girl from an American high school. Dogs represent love, so having one which is emasculates the player really must have made an impression on many people. Such was the impression that the Duck Hunt Dog featured as a playable character in Smash Bros for the Wii U, but thankfully, retained his trademark swagger.
Thanks for watching this list, I hope you enjoyed it, if you have any suggestions for what you think should have been included please let me know in the comments below. I would appreciated a like and a subscribe, and of course any thoughts for future lists. Goodbye!