Aside from evil, irredeemable monsters, and perhaps also people with very bad allergies, everyone loves to pet animals.
Video games provide a space of limitless possibilities, where we can just as easily step into the greaves of a 13th century samurai as we can ride a motorcycle across a futuristic cyberpunk cityscape. Sometimes video games also have animals in them, and in a world where so much is possible, we must be allowed to pet them.
Sadly, far too many games fail this most basic of tests. Imagine going to all the trouble of intricately rendering a virtual animal and then deciding that you're not going to give players the ability to scratch its fuzzy widdle head. Absolutely ludicrous. Thankfully, some games—the best games—do deliver. These are some of those games:
Pokemon X & Y and Pokemon Sun & Moon
The Pokemon Company
Pokemon Sword & Shield had one glaring problem, and it wasn't Game Freak's decision to cut a large chunk of the Pokedex. No, the biggest issue in Sword & ShieldSword & Shieldwas the fact that it removed the ability to pet your Pokemon. Through the Pokemon-Amie and Pokemon Refresh mechanics, both Pokemon X & Y and Pokemon Sun & Moon give trainers the absolutely necessary ability to nuzzle their adorable friends (or giant gods, in Arceus' case). Sword & Shield's Pokemon Camp lets you throw balls at your Pokemon, but it doesn't let you pet them. Why would they take this from us? Just...why?
Ghost of Tsushima
Sucker Punch Productions
In Ghost of Tsushima, you traverse the gorgeous Japanese island of Tsushima as Jin, a noble samurai forced to adopt dishonorable tactics if he hopes to stand a chance against the invading Mongol army. But while a vast open world and fluid sword combat may be the game's biggest draws, the best thing about Ghost of Tsushima is the fox shrines hidden throughout the island. If you spot a fox along your journey, you can follow it to a hidden shrine where you can pray and then pet the fox. Then you can enter the fully decked out camera mode and take pictures of yourself petting the fox. This is what Ghost of Tsushima is really all about.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
As the fifth installment of Hideo Kojima's deeply complex Metal Gear saga, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain features incredibly violent scenes and gameplay that convey the stark realities of war. You can also recruit a one-eyed canine companion named D-Dog who will help you distract foes and locate equipment. D-Dog is a very good boy, so naturally, Hideo Kojima wants you to pet him. Unfortunately, D-Dog can also die permanently, so you must protect him at all costs.
Dragon Quest XI
Dragon Quest XI is a sprawling, old school-inspired JRPG adventure across a massive fantasy world, but even fantasy worlds have dogs. In this case, they're Akira Toriyama-style anime dogs, which means that they're extra cute and cartoonish. So while your quest may be large in scale, remember that no quest is too lofty to prevent you from taking a quick breather to pet every dog you see whenever you're in town.
The Sims 4
In the world's most popular lifestyle simulator, you create people from scratch and force them to live out whatever bizarre scenarios you place them in. But, assuming you have The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs expansion, you can also just have your Sims pet animals. Of course, you can also create monstrous, Lovecraftian abomination animals to fill your Sim's house with in order to further enact your twisted design. But even if you do that, you can still make your Sim pet them.
CD Projekt Red
Cyberpunk 2077 hasn't come out yet (it's been delayed over and over again), but as CD Projekt Red's first major release after The Witcher, it's easily the single-most anticipated console title. Plenty of details about the game have been revealed so far, from the choice to adopt various gameplay-altering "lifepaths" to the fact that, unfortunately, you will not be able to romance Keanu Reeves. But you know what you can do? Pet cats. Yes, it has been confirmed that cats sometimes wander the world of Cyberpunk 2077, and you can, indeed, touch them. Thankfully, even if the world turns into a cyberpunk dystopia, we can still trust that petting cats will always be in-fashion.
Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator is, as the name suggests, a dating simulator that lets you date daddies. The scenarios are very well designed because, at one point, you see a dog and the game gives you the option to pet it. This provides a wonderful little moment in between your daddy dates, although this is a rare case the awesomeness of petting an animal still doesn't overshadow the awesomeness of dating daddies.
In many video games, it's a nice little bonus when you discover that you can pet the dog. In Nintendogs, that's the whole game. Nintendo was straight-up like, "Oh, you like petting dogs? Time to prove it." There are so many dogs to pet in Nintendogs. It's actually a pretty full-on dog simulator, so they expect you to do other things, too, like train and feed the dogs. But that's not why you bought the game. You bought the game to pet.
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