Dog Park – a local multiplayer game by Kevin Cancienne about being a dog in a dog park – was at GameCity's closing party in Nottingham this weekend. I think Brendan's going to cover that in more detail in his party games column but I wanted to talk about it in a shorter post first.
The GameCity appearance of Dog Park was very exciting for me. I've had a build of it for a few weeks now but I only have one Xbox controller for my PC and I live ages away from most of my friends. As a result I've been, uh, sporadically booting up Dog Park and playing it on my own.
When you're playing with other people the goal is to get more fun points than everyone else by running around, sniffing butts, wrassling, mounting things, standing on picnic tables, barking... you get the idea. They can try to escape if you're attempting to mount them (dog sexual politics discussion klaxon) or, if you're locked in a clinch you can hammer buttons and waggle the stick in the hopes of getting your opponent to roll over on his back.
When you play alone, three other dogs spawn in the dog park but they just stand there silently. Watching you. Judging you. Hating you. The game becomes an exercise in ignoring these haters and trying to have as much fun as possible without any positive social feedback. The difficulty curve on that is pretty brutal. On the positive side it meant I knew you got lots of points for standing on top of the picnic table for ages and was thus the best at being a dog.
Take that, PEOPLE WITH FRIENDS.