Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Video game Twitter account asks the most important question of all: "Can you pet the dog?"

Photo: Denise Truscello (Getty Images)

Over the years, video games have grown massively in fidelity and scope. The virtual worlds they offer are increasingly complex, many of the highest-budget releases allowing players to interact with other characters and objects in an attempt to create digital settings that feel truly alive. And yet, as one Twitter account makes clear, none of this work matters if a game doesn’t pass the only test that determines its worth: Can you pet the dang dogs? 

Can You Pet The Dog? lays out its purpose simply and elegantly with a bio that describes itself as “a catalog of pettable and non-pettable dogs in video games.” The next line establishes the criteria for inclusion in its collection with bureaucratic seriousness: “A manual button press resulting in visual representation of petting is required for affirmation.”

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In many games, we’re unhappy to report, you cannot pet the dog. Despite the acclaim Grand Theft Auto V and The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild received, for instance, they are actually bullshit wastes of time, free of any meaningful canine interactions.

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Let’s concentrate on the positives, though. There are studios aware of what really matters to 21st century audiences, and their inclusion of dog-petting must be noted.

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As intricately rendered as the above games may be, they pale in comparison to the MVP in dog-petting video games: the 2004 Nintendo DS game WarioWare: Touched!, which takes full advantage of the system’s touchscreen and allows players to rub a golden retriever’s forehead with a stylus.

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The account, going by its “manual button press resulting in visual representation of petting” criteria, even finds room for unorthodox takes on dog-pats, like the Final Fantasy VIII combat move shown below.

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Following the example of the steadfast labrador, retrieving objects for her owner over and over again, the Can You Pet The Dog? account is performing noble, repetitive work that must be appreciated. Only through its watchful vigilance can we know for sure which games are worth our attention and which can be forever ignored.

Send Great Job, Internet tips to gji@theonion.com

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About the author

Reid McCarter

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.