‘Dog Ownership’ may be this year’s best indie game.

Is owning a dog like playing a videogame? According to Chris Suellentrop, writer for the New York Times, there’s much to be said about the gaminess of companion animals. That’s probably not the best way to put it.

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I’ll just let him explain:

Playing a video game, much like owning a dog (or caring for an infant, for that matter), can involve rote, mundane, even unpleasant tasks. These duties are carried out on behalf of an inarticulate companion. Doing the bidding of this putative sidekick turns out to be a strikingly effective method for creating intimacy….

Over time it became apparent that my wife regarded our adopting a dog as akin to what gamers refer to as a tutorial — for a new game called Child Rearing, which can be viewed as a spiritual successor to Dog Ownership.

The article is a wry acknowledgement of how routine brings us both joy and boredom, and for that, it is certainly appreciated. It can also be viewed, perhaps more darkly, as a demonstration of how an internalized notion of “gamification” quickly fills every crevice of our lives.