Wappy Dog – Virtual Pet, Video Game or Toy? Yes!

by nessel on February 15, 2011

Say Hello to Wappy Dog from Activision -

Wappy Dog

UPDATE: We now have a full hands-on review with Wappy Dog. Please click here to read our Wappy Dog Review to learn how Wappy performs in the real world!

Of course you can’t say hello to Wappy and have a nice conversation with Wappy, since you don’t speak Wappy language.  If only there was a small hand held electronic device that could translate for you… like a Nintendo DS.  Yes, then you could communicate with Wappy, play games, have him do tricks, sing, dance, cook for you… okay, we made that last one up.   Confused yet?  Let’s back up…

What in The World is Wappy Dog?

More Wappy Dog

As part of Toy Fair 2011, Activision invited us to a closed door meeting to learn about their next generation interactive toy – Wappy Dog.   Wappy Dog looks like your standard toy dog, but looks can be deceiving.  Wappy Dog is actually a toy dog who lives both in the real world and in a virtual world on your Nintendo DS.  The Wappy Dog toy barks, sings, dances, shows emotion and talks to you…if you happen to speak Wappy.

Who Knew the Nintendo DS is Fluent in Wappy Language?

The story goes that the Nintendo DS (with the Wappy game software) is how you translate what Wappy says and how you can communicate with Wappy.  So, by using the Nintendo DS you can click a button to have Wappy sing a song or give him a treat.  Wappy in turn responds to your commands and even has a personality.  Don’t reward him after he sings you a song and he might not want to sing next time you ask him.

Wappy Likes To Win

Wappy really likes to win.  You can play cooperate games on the DS, where Wappy will help you out.  For example, we saw a demo of  Whack a Mole type game, you play in the standard way, clicking creatures as they pop out of holes on the DS.  The interesting twist is that every once in a while you see a virtual paw come on the screen and help you out – virtual Wappy to the rescue!  The fun part is that real Wappy responds to how you do in the game.  If you guys win, Wappy is happy and he shows it.   Apparently, Wappy is a bit of a perfection and does not like to lose.  Lose too much and you will hear the groans from Wappy.

Don’t Worry Dads and Moms – Real Wappy Does Not Need to Go Everywhere

Wappy Dog from Activision

I can almost hear parents across the world screaming, “No!  Now I have to take Wappy with us every time we leave the house?“   Luckily Activision has an answer for this, it is called “Outing Mode”.   If you are in a situation where having real Wappy around just wouldn’t fly, you download Wappy into the Nintendo DS.  Wappy now lives in the DS and you can care for him, play with him, feed him, etc.  This should be very familiar to all kids as it is your standard virtual pet game.

When you are back in a setting where real Wappy can play again, just download his “heart” from the DS back into real Wappy and you are set to play in “Home Mode”.   It is cool that anything you do with Wappy in “Outing Mode” carries over to real Wappy when you go back to “Home Mode”.  So, if you feed Wappy in Outing Mode and he is full, when you put Wappy into Home Mode, real Wappy will still be full.

You Can Make Wappy Unhappy, But At Least You Can’t Kill Wappy

The point of the Wappy game is to raise Wappy from a puppy to an adult dog.  This of course involves caring for him, feeding him and generally being attentive to Wappy’s needs.  The good news for parents – kids can not kill Wappy.  Sure Wappy will get unhappy if he is not fed for weeks, but Activision assured us that there is no sad ending – Wappy is immortal!

The Whole Is Greater Than The Sum of Its Parts

Wappy is really something you need to see to understand.  Of course, that is a problem since it is still in prototype form and will not be out until Fall 2011.  In our limited time with Wappy we were left feeling that the merging of virtual pets and toy pets looked very promising.   A virtual pet game on the DS is nothing special.  A toy dog that barks, dances and moves around is also not that exciting.  However, a toy dog that you can interactive with and responds to what you do in a virtual world – that feels very special.

Let’s Be Clear, Wappy Is Still in Prototype Form

At Dad Does we are big on doing real world product reviews (new readers, read our Real, Relevant and Riveting Review Pledge), but this is absolutely NOT a product review of Wappy.  We saw an early prototype of Wappy and many elements could still change before it is put into production.  We are reporting on Wappy now because we think it is an exciting development in the world of interactive toys and when Wappy is available we will do a full hands-on review.

Today Was a Bad Day For Shelter Dogs

Overall, we really liked the potential of Wappy.  Having a toy that responds to what you do on your DS is an exciting experience.  Wappy starts to blur the line between video game and toy and bring a new dimension to interactive toys.  Wappy’s interaction and emotions, based on what you are doing on your DS,  gives you the feeling that you have a friend with you as you play your DS – not a creepy robotic pet.

If Activision can finalize Wappy and bring him to market at a price point parents can handle, our kids this holiday season will change their chants from “I want a puppy!“  to “I want a Wappy!“  Sorry, shelter dogs.

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