Editor's Note: Digital Doggie Biscuit

Digital Doggie Biscuit

In this issue of The Escapist, we examine the deep, long-lasting and sometimes downright bizarre relationships we have with videogame pets.

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I can already hear the growns, but I want to mention the Companion Cube.

I want to mention it because I seem to be the only gamer in the universe that didn't give a damn about it. It was a box. It was a box that was very useful to the point of vital. I dumped it in the furnace without hesitation because that's what you have to do. The Companion Cube will never threaten to stab you because it is a box. Get over it.

And yet, the Companion Cube does have a certain charm. It approaches the notion of a 'pet' from a totally different angle. Whilst Dogmeat would fight for me or my little Phoebe on Puzzle Pirates would follow me into the most violent of Blockades, the Companion Cube will just sit there until you move it, at which point it stays wherever you moved it to.

Despite doing nothing, saying nothing and showing no love to me whatsoever, I realised later that I would have liked it, once or twice, I had the Companion Cube instead of the generic blunt object that is the regular cube. I was attached to something that sat there, ignored my emotional attachments and had to be shoved into a fire to get anything done.

The Companion Cube is a cat.

Even though that pets in video games are digital pixels, we still treat them like real pets. Then again, gamers also see pets as nuisance and treat it really badly.

Then again, PETA is against all forms of animal abuse, including pets.

My main alt in WoW was a Hunter for the longest time, and even though it doesn't hurt for your pet to die, I would go out of my way to try not to let that happen. My wolf, which I'm a wolf person to begin with, I went out of my way to get at an early level, traveling to the other continent just to get the one I wanted. His name was Darkness, and I finaly stopped using him just so I'd never have to see him die. Started levelling up an armored boar instead. But between my lack of using my dear friend, and my fear of using him and letting him die, I finally just decided to play a different character as my main alt, using my hunter just for dailies and the occasional fill-in when my other characters were already used up for the day/ week.

In a complete turn around....

Anyone play Guild Wars?

Remember IWAY (I will avenge you) for the Hall of Heroes? With the 6 W/R with pets and IWAY and 2 necromancers with Orders and other spells. Did you ever feel guilty because the whole point of the build was to sacrifice your pets so that you can use your "I will avenge you" shout to attack faster and gain a health regeneration.

My friend called the build EVIL and I could never convince him otherwise. :P

Interesting. Reading that note I remember Pokemon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition and, to be more exact, all the time I spent slaving over a Pikachu to keep it in top condition. Keeping its health up; making sure it gets the experience it needs and that it has some good skills, but why? Like Tharticus said, it's just a bunch of pixels on a screen, yet we obsess and fret about it so much. Same thing with Nintendogs (A series that I have never owned); we care so much for them, even though they're not real (And aren't surreal like Pokemon are).

It's something that has now intrigued me, and something that I may need to think about now.

I'm completely with you Sue. I was scarred by phantasy star online. I lost months to that game.

My mag was my abusive relationship. I fed him, lavished him with affection and gifts, made sure it never wanted for items. Took joy when he changed his appearance or learned a new skill.

In spite of this he would turn on me when I needed him most, leaving me savaged in a corner with no assistance. Afterwards he would be nice as pie, all loving, reviving me or powering me up. Make me think he would never mis-treat me again... but he always did.

Even though he mistreated me I still miss him sometimes.

Relating to you main picture of the doggy biscuit article. Fallout 3. Dogmeat. found tearing apart the raiders who killed his master. Possibly the best dog as he could get through very hard locked doors to bring you the victory (....rifle). I currently own a cat and a dog. and even this evening the dog (tess) was curled away at the slightest loud noise. Meanwhile, you could empty a mini nuke into a group of Raiders or what not and he would run right after it into the fray! maybe not the smartest move Dogmeat could use, playing fetch with a mini nuke. But overall he was a lovely dog, and no matter how many hundreds you had killed, good or evil, he would always be with you, unless told to do otherwise. Even dissmissing the little chap felt wrong! His tired wimper hurt even the hardest of souls!

or is that just me...?

This is a bit weird, but the game I have the closet affection to the NPCs is Command and Conquer 3 (the 360 version as my computer probably couldn't run it on lowest settings).

When I play the skirmish mode (the multiplayer, it can be played with bots), I have a deep attachment to my units, especially the Firehawks (the bombers for GDI) and any unit that gains any distinction in battle (gained a rank). If any unit of mine gains a rank in battle, I will immediately remove them from battle and send them back to my base and keep them there for the rest of the game, no matter what.

The same goes for my Firehawks, whenever I launch them to bomb a target, I will have them return to base without attacking if the target is in anyway protected by AA units, often causing me to launch a much larger scale attack on the target from the ground or just letting it be until later.

It's quite interesting, while I don't care about the fate of the majority of my units, but the select few that I care about, I will sacrifice the rest of my army to keep alive. I also do this is Civ Games, but I justify it as 'protecting my cities'.

Gunner_Guardian:
In a complete turn around....

Anyone play Guild Wars?

Remember IWAY (I will avenge you) for the Hall of Heroes? With the 6 W/R with pets and IWAY and 2 necromancers with Orders and other spells. Did you ever feel guilty because the whole point of the build was to sacrifice your pets so that you can use your "I will avenge you" shout to attack faster and gain a health regeneration.

My friend called the build EVIL and I could never convince him otherwise. :P

Ah, but you could always get your pets resurrected later, hence no harm, no foul.

DarthHK:

Gunner_Guardian:
In a complete turn around....

Anyone play Guild Wars?

Remember IWAY (I will avenge you) for the Hall of Heroes? With the 6 W/R with pets and IWAY and 2 necromancers with Orders and other spells. Did you ever feel guilty because the whole point of the build was to sacrifice your pets so that you can use your "I will avenge you" shout to attack faster and gain a health regeneration.

My friend called the build EVIL and I could never convince him otherwise. :P

Ah, but you could always get your pets resurrected later, hence no harm, no foul.

I don't remember anybody resurrecting they're pets afterwords though.

I know I always mention NetHack in these forums, but if our faithful d and c don't make an appearance this issue... you'll be wanting your possessions identified.

But I posted here to say that last night I dreamt that I was reading the latest issue of the escapist. It didn't look anything like the Escapist (it was a dully written article about the safety measures Obama's son had to take to use the internet, and I know Obama doesn't have a son but in my dream he did) but I somehow dreamt of the site layout precisely, which rarely happens. So, go go Escapist?

I once had a Guar for a pet in Morrowind.
He was so cute, with his rough, scaly hide, T-Rexish front arms, and his adorable habit of charging headlong at me.

We spent a long time together, I even ended up feeding him some townspeople, but when we were out and about, he lost his footing and fell off a cliff into a stream.

I never saw gwoggy ever again. *tears*

For some reason in games I become a cold hearted cruel obnoxious bastard to my pets. In portal I was depressed because when I killed the Companion Cube it didn't scream. I use pets (yes the optimum word is use) like a hammer that you disliked or did not care about in the first place. I went through most of Fable 2 without the dog, and only got mildly annoyed or sometimes did not even notice in the first place if the dog was killed. I chose the many over the dog option, which sucked because I could not search for things afterward. Interestingly enough I will gladly take one for the team in a multilayer game. Countless times I've run in front of an oncoming onslaught to save a teammate from death, just with pets not so much. Weird isn't it?

I never did understand how a person could just buy a high-level mag in PSO. Granted as long as you fed the thing it liked you but it just felt like an easy way out to "have an awesome pet" with none of the effort to actually raise it.

But of course I was always the one that assumed a mag left on the map was the equivalence of bagging a cat and throwing it in the river. I remember my bank was quite swollen with these infant "stray mags". So I most likely have little opinion in the matter of "purchased mags".

whiskey_hicks:
I never did understand how a person could just buy a high-level mag in PSO. Granted as long as you fed the thing it liked you but it just felt like an easy way out to "have an awesome pet" with none of the effort to actually raise it.

But of course I was always the one that assumed a mag left on the map was the equivalence of bagging a cat and throwing it in the river. I remember my bank was quite swollen with these infant "stray mags". So I most likely have little opinion in the matter of "purchased mags".

Yep, I have a bank full of baby mags, too. Seemed wrong to sell them, but, I mean, I couldn't put Maggie in the bank, now could I?

*Cries*

I've literally been following your articles in the shadows for quite some time now, and I'm ecstatic to find you play PSO as well. Did you know they have free online private servers? Makes playing with your friends from across the world a heck of alot easier.

I really respect your editorial strengths in somehow finding and pointing out stuff I'd specifically like. O.o (Wierd as that may seem...) Either way, let me know if you're interested, maybe we could play online in the future? (sorry to any mods that may feel this out of place)

Speaking of mags... I need to make another one. I kinda mistreated my first one, and permanently made it a Rappy Mag, which prevents me from obtaining another PB (I kinda fed it wrong and got only two because of the same PB glitch) Even though I should, I still feel attached to the Rappy one, since it was my first one I made online. Now I'm in a moral dillema. Xo

 

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