How to get through this review without making a pun about how this is when games went to the dogs? Ugh. Family dog comes from an era where “making a game” consisted of putting together a shitty obstacle course with bad controls, giving it a sort of theme, and pretending that it was fun. There are too many games made with this cookie cutter to count. And they all blow.
Family Dog is no exception. You’re a dog. You have to make it through the house to fetch a ball for your Denice The Menace style owner, who also likes to shoot you. But you still want to please him. It’s rather masochistic. Oh, and the house is out to get you. But wait! At least there are dog treats that are stuck to the walls at heights exceeding 10 meters! Bleh, I don’t even want to go on. Its weak point isn’t that it doesn’t make any sense. That’s just a given.
The music is so irritating, it’s best played with the sound off. It loops endlessly and is almost improved by the random *boinks* and *boings* and *woofs* that are inserted in bad 1930s movie fashion. The controls are abysmal. Oh, and apparently you can only bark so many times before you need a treat to bark again. Did I mention that books kill you? Yeah, books kill you.
Let’s just keep this one a dirty little secret, you and I, and pretend it never existed. There is zero reason to ever consider turning on this game. Well, that’s not entirely true. Maybe if you were a clinical psychologist and conducting a study in frustration and irritation you could use this game as a stimulus. But you’d really, really have to compensate your participants. And give them giant warnings. In fact, no, not even then. I don’t think submitting them to this game would pass ethics board approval.
Verdict: Family Dog was the game that your aunt bought you for Christmas because she thought it looked cute on the shelf and the clerk at Zellers just shrugged when she asked if her nephew would like it. You put it under your bed, forgot about it, and didn’t miss it. Don’t bring it back out. Ever. In fact, just feed it to your dog.