Nintendogs + Cats for the 3DS is your typical pet sim. But for Jon Irwin, that’s exactly why it lacks the feeling of caring for a real pet:
What does it mean to love a fake version of a real thing? How do we become attached to, essentially, lines of code? I guess if you zoomed in close enough, even my beloved pet, the “real” Teddy, was nothing more than strands of DNA-no different from the strings of ones and zeros in my 3DS cartridge. But the animal reacts to your behavior: You praise her and she barks triumphant; ignore her and be consumed by expectant whimpering. Neglect a living creature and neglect a part of the breathing, changing world around you. Neglect a game and its circuitry gathers dust, the same whether it’s played for 80 hours or left to sit on a warehouse shelf.
Read the rest here.