– [JAMES] I’ve really been talking about Sega a ton these past few months! Dreamcasts, Nomads, that hour long Sonic video I did back in December – it’s at a point where even videos that I intend to have nothing to do with Sega somehow end up involving them at least having a small part in them. That’s exactly what’s happened with today’s video! This is the Wappy Dog! They are a robotic dog peripheral for the Nintendo DS that I, at first, thought had nothing to do with Sega. After all, the Activision logo is plastered all over the box for the Wappy Dog game, probably because the Wappy Dog game was made by Activision. But guess what? The Wappy Dog themself was made by Sega Toys! That’s right! This is a piece of Sega hardware that works with the Nintendo DS! But I really don’t think that’s giving Wappy enough credit here. That’s because this pupper is perhaps one of the most underloved peripherals that the DS has ever seen – or, really, that it ever did see, as the DS isn’t being produced anymore. So with that, this is Stuff We Play, home of everything weird and retro! Today’s video: Wappy Dog – that time Sega made a (Nintendo DS) robot dog! (Record Scratch)
So, before we can go over Wappy themself – and yes, I’m going with “themself” as this little guy is just too lifelike for me to be able to comfortably refer to them as an “it” – let’s go over a bit of history here! To start, who remembers the iDog? It was a robo dog that you could connect to your iPod and it would dance to your music. Well, kind of. It was rather stiff. And, really, that was pretty much it. But, it was still one of the coolest things that I’d ever seen at the time and, upon release in 2005, it kicked off an entire robotic animal craze! This things and different variants of it were everywhere! There were Sharper Image robot dinosaurs, iPod fish, and countless other such robotic toys and they were all a huge deal at the time! I remember even having a robotic penguin that could be plugged into an iPod! That thing was awesome! I mean, it kind of just wobbled around to dance and that was it but that’s all it needed to do! Around the same time, though, we got Nintendogs! Now, despite coming from a family that had real dogs that existed in real life, I loved this game! You could groom and take care of your own virtual dogs and the abundance of different versions put most Pokémon generations to shame! There was, what, Dalmatians, Chihuahuas, a bunch of others, I’m sure. This was one DS game that several school friends and I played for a good year or so! We even made a point of meeting up at least a few times a week to hang out and show off our dogs. We were essentially the child versions of boomer dog walking groups! It was awesome! But, as awesome as both the iDog and Nintendogs and all of the numerous, numerous clone games and toys that they inspired were, this was all just a fad. It was a pretty neat fad, sure. This era of toys and games can basically just be summed up as “Furby but not creepy” but that’s fine. By 2008, though, it was pretty clear to most that this was a fad that was waning. In 2009, the final iDog left the robo-animal shelter and it seems like the rest should’ve been history. But then, in 2011, Sega Toys and Activision released the Wappy Dog. So what happened? Honestly, I’m not sure! Wappy didn’t sell particularly well and it is very hard to find info on this thing, especially in regards to the toy and game’s development. It’s like “This thing doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page and the only person I’ve ever met who knew what it was is ProtonJon” hard. The best I can gather, though, is that those at Sega Toys and Activision didn’t want to so much capitalize on the robot pets/Nintendogs craze as they wanted to create the next evolution of it. And, in 2011, it looked like this might be a craze that could be making a comeback in a bigger and better form. Most notably, early that same year Nintendo released the follow up to the Nintendo DS, the Nintendo 3DS! Along with the release of that system came the much hyped Nintendogs + Cats. (Relaxing Trailer Music) Yeah, I don’t know anyone who bought that game, either. The only thing harder than creating a fad is bringing back an old fad. Honestly, the only fad I can think of that ever managed to make any form of a decent comeback was Beyblade, and even then, that resurgence seems to have been mostly just in Japan. But, Wappy wasn’t just a victim of poor timing. They were also a victim of poor platform choice. Though the Nintendo DS was still seeing new regular releases in 2011, and it indeed still would for another few years, it was definitely beginning to wind down. The 3DS was the new hotness and despite Wappy being a really cool piece of kit, one that I would have loved to have own had I known about it, releasing it for the DS in June 2011 really probably didn’t help sales. I should note: there was actually a 3DS version of Wappy, but only in Japan. That one was pink instead of blue and was meant to be used with a downloadable 3DS app. I also can’t find any info on if the 3DS version of Wappy was ever even planned for a Western release, but what I do know for sure Is that Wappy was actually called “Poochi” in Japan, and I honestly can’t decide which name I like better. [POOCHI] I have to go now, my planet needs me! (Whoosh) [JAMES] Also, we need to talk about Wappy’s advertising, or rather the lack thereof. That’s the other reason why this little guy probably failed to sell well. Wappy hardly had any advertising! From what I can tell, they were only sold in limited quantities in a lot of places, too, and that’s a shame. All the reviews I’ve found of Wappy gives them glowing praise! So that raises the question: Is Wappy actually fun to play with? You know, I think I enjoy the company of this robo dog more than I enjoy the company of most people. Seriously though, Wappy is actually really, really awesome! Before we go on, though, I need to give a huge shoutout to my buddy Nick over at Epic Games and More in Victoria, BC, as he’s actually the reason why I own this little Wappy here! EGM got this particular Wappy in stock mid-last year and I ended up asking Nick about it the day it came in. I was willing to make an offer for this DS doggo, but Nick ended up just giving Wappy to me on the condition that I make a video on them! Well, that was July 2019 and it is currently May 2020, so I didn’t take too long on that… right? So, let’s say you bought a Wappy when they were new. What would you get in the package? Well, Wappy came in a very comically huge box. This contained both Wappy themself and the game in a standard DS case. I don’t have that original big box, though, just the doggo and the game case. Wappy is seriously adorable. Even though my robo pooch is a little yellowed and is covered in stickers – which apparently came with new copies of the game – I can’t help but find them to be just absolutely precious. But, without a DS system or the game cartridge, what Wappy can do is very limited. Without said things, they can just make a limited number of cute noises, stretch, and do these cute little light-up things with their eyes. You can also interact with Wappy by petting them, stroking their tail, or booping their nose. The last of those is my favourite because it causes them to emit an adorable little robo sneeze! Aw, I love it! However, when I first booted up Wappy to record this video, they started whining weakly. I was worried at first, but then it hit me: The batteries were low! So, armed with 3 AA batteries and a small Philips-head screwdriver, I made quick work of that! Within a few minutes, Wappy was back happily up and running. But, before we can start playing with our new upper pal, let’s take a look at the game case! Note the prominent featuring of the Activision logo on the front but there only being a super small Sega Toys logo hidden in the fine text on the back. Also note the “NOT FOR RESALE” sticker on the back. Yeah, I don’t know what that’s about. Inside the box, we’ll find just a manual and the game itself on a standard DS cart. Really, there’s nothing actually special about the cartridge itself. This is very different from something such as, say, Pokémon Typing Adventure DS. How the game interacts with Wappy isn’t through Bluetooth or anything, but, rather, is through the game emitting sounds that Wappy will react to. That’s why this game is also best played with your DS’s volume on max. With that, let’s dive into the actual game itself! By the way, as there is nothing special about the cartridge itself, I’m playing this one today using my New 2DS XL, mostly as I also, unfortunately, don’t own a 3DS capture card. Anyways, the Wappy Dog game is divided into 2 modes: Home Mode and Travel Mode. Home Mode involves you using the DS to interact with and play games with Wappy in real life, while Travel Mode allows you to transfer “data” from your Wappy robot to your game and then play and interact with them in a Nintendogs-esque form. There are also minigames to play, with the mechanics of these differing between Home and Travel modes, and Wappy, depending on the mode, may play with or against you. In this way, along with being a new take on the iDog and Nintendogs, Wappy also comes off as a cuter, more functional version of R.O.B. the Robot. Unlike R.O.B., though, Wappy doesn’t literally play the games with you. Instead, in Home Mode at least, Wappy will take the form of an AI and your actual robot dog will just react to sounds made by the game. So, your robot dog isn’t literally playing minigames with you, but the game does a good job of masking this fact. It really does feel like Wappy is being both a robotic canine companion and also a gaming buddy! Now, going through Home Mode, we can give commands to Wappy, ask them questions, feed them virtual food, and also play the aforementioned Home Mode minigames. None of said minigames are particularly hard to grasp. Most involve the touch screen. And, all of them are a joy to play! My favourite is this penguin minigame where you have to use the DS stylus to remove the snowmen that are standing in this penguin’s path. But, if you tap a balloon when one appears, Wappy will come in with an epic screen clearing move that gets rid of all the on-screen snowmen. It’s really oddly addicting and it’s just good stuff! But then, let’s say that I want to go out of the house with my game but don’t want to risk harming my actual Wappy Dog, who I named Wap Wap, by the way. Well the game allows you to, and I quote, “Transfer Wap Wap’s heart into the system!” That sounds way creepier than it is, by the way. What this does is that it allows you to enter Travel Mode. Here you can wash Wap Wap, teach them tricks, and even play with various toys with them. You can also decorate their in-game equivalent with unlockable accessories! The only things you can’t do here that you can in Nintendogs is get more Wappys or compete in dog show-like things. Also, due to being a robot, you thankfully don’t need to worry about cleaning up after your Wappy. So,honestly, I really do love interacting with Wap Wap here. There’s a variety of stats that change depending on how happy they are but sometimes doing things as simple as washing them will make them feel “naughty” or “happy” or whatever. I’m not sure on what exactly causes those stats to change. The minigames in Travel Mode are also an absolute blast. Like in Home Mode, they mostly use the stylus and they’re all easy to pick up and play. One of the best ones is this whack-a-mole game, where you actually compete against Wappy! You can also unlock additional rooms to play with your Wappy in, and you can get certain toys, such as this bubble blower, that even take advantage of the DS’s microphone! It’s easy to find out how to unlock new things, too! That’s because tapping on anything you haven’t unlocked in the game menu will just bring up the unlock requirements. My favourite toy out of all of them is definitely the frisbee, by the way. I mean, look at how great Wap Wap is at playing catch! Aww just look! Look at them go! So, really and truly, this Travel Mode is a better Nintendogs. Some may be asking, though: What’s the point of washing and playing with Wappy so much? Am I just trying to 100% the game and unlock all of the toys and accessories so I never have to touch it again? Well… no. To be honest, that’s not really what I’m here for! I just enjoy booting up Wappy every so often because the Wappy Dog game is legitimately charming and enjoyable. It’s a relaxing experience! Well, even if some of the minigames get a bit challenging on harder difficulties, but, really, that’s a good thing. Wap Wap is a lot of fun to play with! That goes for both Home and Travel modes! And, if you want to experience this for yourself, near-mint condition Wappy sets are dirt cheap on eBay right now. So, Wappy is awesome! They’re a better iDog. They’re a better Nintendogs. They’re even a better R.O.B. the Robot! The only place where Wappy didn’t do better than all of those things was in sales, and that’s a shame because little Wap Wap here stole my heart. (Zap) So with that, that’s it for today’s video on Wappy here! I’d like to once again thank my buddy Nick over at Epic Games and More for giving me this little guy and I’m honestly really sorry that this video took longer than expected to get out. But, hey! At least I finally had time to do all of my promised vids – except for that Amiga vid that is still in the works – ever since current globally problematic event-things started happening. But anyways, what’s your favourite Nintendo DS accessory or your favourite piece of Sega hardware? Let me know in the comment section below, and while you’re at it, subscribe to Stuff We Play for more great content – I’ve gotchu Wappy, I’m setting you down nicely – like this! I’d like to also give a huge, massive thank you to both some of my awesome Patreon patrons and my YouTube Channel Members! Those folks are Justin Chipman, The Golden Bolt, Dylan Olah, L1zt, Robert and Abby Hornibrook, Elie Kol, and G to the Next Level. They’re all great folks and their support means a ton, especially right now. So, with that again, thank you very much for watching, stay classy, and I’ll see you… next time!