People love dogs, that’s just the way it is and it isn’t just us. Since time immemorial, when mankind first domesticated the canine, we have been bonded with dogs, and it shows. Dogs have not only been a part of history but literature as well, from films and books to even music. Nowadays, you can even find dogs in video games.
So, get your nerd on because we’re going to be talking about some of the best virtual dogs in video game history, from the good, the bad, and the downright adorable. And yes, we’re counting wolves on this list.
10. The Zombie Dogs (Resident Evil 1996)
Starting off with something a little bit more grim and more serious, we’ve got the zombie dogs in the first resident evil game. While some of you might not be into the idea of fighting dogs in video games there’s a good reason why we put these bad boys on our list. These dogs are a vital part of the story of the very first Resident Evil game.
The main characters find themselves trapped and stranded in a zombie- and trap-filled mansion and they can’t just leave because there are zombie dogs outside waiting to get a bite out of them. Without these dogs wandering around both inside and outside of the mansion, there wouldn’t be any reason for the characters to not just waltz outside and get back up. All in all, these stinky bad (but good) boys are the reason we have one of the most critically acclaimed horror games of all time.
9. The Dog (Duck Hunt)
For those of us who have been playing games before the 2000s, you’ll remember one of the most entertaining and iconic games on the NES game console, which was Duck Hunt. This light gun game has you picking up a gun controller and trying to get as many ducks flying across your screen as possible, sounds pretty simple right? And it is. But one of the most memorable parts of the game is the fact that you have a little buddy with you while you play: the Dog.
This game would probably just coast by the radar if it weren’t for this dog who has become a semi-iconic part of the video game’s history and the reason why this dog is so iconic is that mainly he would laugh at the player for missing their shots. This annoying dog was not only a source of frustration from the player, but also a source of a lot of fun memories. So, a big thank you to Duck Hunt Dog for motivating us to get better at the game by making fun of us.
8. Rush (Mega Man 3)
Mega Man was such an iconic game for a time that it spun numerous sequels. In the third game, Capcom introduced a fun companion for our blue robotic friend: Rush. Rush is on this list because, one, he’s adorable, and two, he can transform into different things to help Mega Man on his journey. He can turn into a coil for Mega Man to jump on so he can get to higher places, a hoverboard to fly over some distances, and even a submarine to venture underwater. But the most important thing that Rush can be is Mega Man’s best friend. Rush would stay a staple in Mega Man lore and make appearances in future games as well as spin-off games such as Marvel Vs. Capcom or Super Smash Brothers.
7. Everything about Nintendogs (Nintendogs)
It is impossible to write a list about dogs in video games without including Nintendogs, probably one of the most adorable games to ever grace the Nintendo DS. Nintendogs was a game that was released in 2005 for the Nintendo DS, and people loved it. The game would receive critical acclaim and win many awards including the 2006 Innovation Award from PC World and Best Handheld Game from the Associated Press.
But what was the game about?
Simply put, Nintendogs was just a real-time pet simulation game where you take care of digital dogs, you could pet them with the touch screen controls, and even talk to them through the microphone. It was a game that really showed the innovation and creativity of the console, but most importantly we got to play with some cute digital dogs.
6. Amaterasu (Okami)
Okami is one of the most beautiful games to have ever existed with its beautiful stylistic design, fantastic gameplay, and deep storytelling. Now we could go on and on about this fantastic game, from its many awards, its intricacies and nuances, and its beautiful art direction. But we’ll be here all day and that’s not what we’re here to talk about. We’re here to talk about the main character of the game Amaterasu. Amaterasu is an epic, mystical, painting dog and is pretty much an actual god. He’s adorable, he’s fun to play as, and overall is just a really good boy.
5. The Great Grey Wolf Sif (Dark Souls)
Dark Souls is a hard game and really just beats through varying degrees of emotional pain. From surprising enemies, dying to traps, falling to your death, or getting emotional over the stories that you can find within the game’s lore. This game will milk every bit of frustration out of you and it is exhilarating.
However, one particular story is one that many fans will agree is something they will continue to cry about (besides Solaire of Astora but we’re not talking about him today). That story is the sad tale of the Great Grey Wolf Sif. Sif is a giant wolf with a big sword that he swings to attack the player and lives in a forest protecting his master’s grave. Unfortunately for many of us, he’s a boss the player is required to beat to progress through the game.
To twist the knife further, there’s a section in the game where you can go back to the past and save Sif from danger. When you eventually have to fight Sif in the present, a special cutscene will begin playing where the wolf recognizes your scent as the player who saved his life all those years ago. Sif whimpers away from tackling you and slowly picks up his sword to fight you reluctantly.
4. Blade Wolf (Metal Gear Rising: Revengence)
First appearing as a boss for the main character to face — and if at this point the player still hasn’t learned how to parry, then Blade Wolf is going to hammer that lesson into them. There are many reasons why Blade Wolf is high on the list. He’s an intelligent robot dog, he talks like a wise mystical warrior, he has an incredible soundtrack, but most importantly he’s a ninja robot dog with a chainsaw! If that isn’t cool enough, we don’t know what is. After you defeat him, Blade Wolf will befriend you, the main character, and have some of the funniest banter in the game. So, overall, he’s a 10/10 and a really hardcore dog. I love him, chainsaw and all!
3. D-Dog (Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain)
Continuing on our list with another cool hardcore dog is D-Day from Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Throughout the game, you really form a connection with D-Dog as you find him orphaned and alone and then train him to become the ultimate companion. D-Dog is perhaps one of the most highly flexible companions that the game can offer.
D-Dog can do many things like marking, distracting, and stunning enemies to other utilities such as finding medicine, locating animals, and even finding landmines. Oh, and did I mention that this impeccable staunch companion sports an eyepatch, making him look grizzled, intimidating, and strong. Overall, D-Dog is a fitting companion for a guy like Big Boss or Punished Snake.
2. Dogmeat (Fallout)
Fallout is a desolate post-apocalyptic wasteland from the nuclear fallout caused by weapons of mass destruction. The world is filled with bandits, savage wildlife, ghouls, and even super mutants. Survival is the name of the game and you’re alone. But despite all that bleak, dark, and rather depressing atmosphere the game devs let you take breaks from the harsh realities of a nuclear fallout with memorable NPCs, plenty of funny moments, and your faithful and adorable companion Dogmeat.
Dogmeat is a companion that you can pick up throughout several different iterations of the different games and each time Dogmeat provides a sense of joy, fun, and a slice of cuteness in the grim world of Fallout. With Dogmeat around, suddenly surviving alone in this post-apocalyptic wasteland doesn’t seem so lonely anymore.
1. Shiba Inu (Silent Hill 2)
We started this list with a horror game and we’re going to end it with a horror game, look at that full circle. The Silent Hill games are known for tackling heavy and dark themes. The second game is perhaps the more memorable with its series of rather depressing endings, obviously no spoilers here but they’re pretty much all downers.
However, in this era of video games easter eggs and secret endings are in no short supply, and Silent Hill 2 has perhaps one of the greatest secret endings of all time. *Spoiler Alert* After defeating all manner of evil zombies, ghouls, and muscle-bound butchers with triangle heads in this secret ending to the game you find out that whoever’s behind all these nightmares wasn’t someone evil at all but just a Shiba Inu wearing a headset controlling everything from behind a computer. There’s even a ridiculous song and credit sequence that is tantamount to a series of blooper reels for the game.