On our last flight home from wherever we were, we four straddled evenly the center aisle of row 16. Mouse was next to me, in the middle, anxiously waiting to see who would occupy the window seat. The Bear cuddled up next to mommy, an extended-arm’s length away from me and her sis, just close enough to pass the Nutella back and forth without straining a muscle. Everyone was pleased with their self-directed seating arrangements until the carry-on luggage of 16F arrived. She had eyes the size of freshly-minted silver dollars, with about as much sparkle, and she proceeded to stare longingly at my youngest daughter for hours, leaving Mouse’s heart nothing but a puddle on the seatback tray table. The Bear was super jealous and not even the ridiculousness of the Sky Mall catalog could help. She rubbernecked to get a good view of the adorable pup for a while before giving up and begrudgingly shoving her nose in a book. It goes to show, choosing daddy always pays dividends!
My girls don’t beg for much, and rarely anymore do they bring up their desire to have a fluffy lap dog of their own, but I was served sad lips and batted eyes for the duration of that flight. They nearly broke me, but my will is strong and my ‘we travel too much’ case too logical despite 16F’s traveling companion not doing me any favors. We’ve got two cats, and they can easily fend for themselves for a few days at a time. That’s what works for this pick-up and go family. But man, they and that pooch almost had me.
Pet Simulation games, like the newly released Petz Beach for Nintendo 3DS offer, if not the best of both worlds, certainly the best of one and a satisfactory level of the other. Sure, it’s not a real doggy, but you can pass through airport security in a breeze and there’s no poop scooping required in the backyard on a freezing cold Philadelphia winter’s evening or at 36,000 feet above a freezing cold Philadelphia. Win-win(ish)? I contend that Petz Beach is even better than the real thing, although I admit to being a little biased — I KNOW the poop scooping in rain, snow, sweltering heat, and icy ice will end up as yet another one of MY jobs, no matter what promises the girls make.
And it’s not just taking care of a digital pet either! Petz Beach, the latest pet simulation/ownership game from Ubisoft, offers up fun facts about eels, fish, dogs and more while the screens quickly load, thanks to a cool partnership with Britannica Kids. When was the last time a real pet taught you anything? Exactly.
After the initial Petz Beach set-up, the gameplay begins with a pleasant news update about the town your child has previously named (Awesome Land, in our case). You’ll get the scoop (pun intended) on new items available in the shop and other tidbits of knowledge to make playing the game that much more fun. While you’ll begin with a dog, there are over 50 animals to unlock within Petz Beach, from the classically domestic to marine life like dolphins and whales. Now here’s the funny part, my girls want to skip past the required dog to start with and move on to simulated cat ownership. They have two real cats in their real home! They make puppy dog eyes and flash wicked sad lips in an effort to get me to adopt a doggy from the shelter! And yet they want cats straightaway in Petz Beach! Kids, am I right? 😉
The more your kiddos play Petz Beach, a beautifully nuanced 3D game with authentic shadows and light and realistic pet motions and sounds, the more the village and the experience expands with additional quests, new neighbors, and seasonal changes to the Petz Beach environment too. Sure, a pet simulation game isn’t the same as, say, owning a whale, but boarding a plane for a family vacation is a heck of a lot easier with just a 3DS and a Petz Beach game cartridge! Can you even imagine the fee airlines charge for carrying on a whale??!
Should we address the spelling? Yeah, the whole ‘z’ in place of the ‘s’ thing in kid pop culture is a thorn in my writerly side but Petz Beach for Nintendo 3DS is a rare example of such usage that doesn’t feel like a phony attempt to be some kind of outdated version of hip. I still don’t love it, but I’m at peace with it here. I’d usually skip over a product completely based solely on the ‘z’, but I am glad I gave Petz Beach a chance because my girls really, really dig it.
Are your kids more country folk than beach bums? Petz Countryside was released on the same day as Petz Beach and offers the same fun experience in a different environment.
Petz Beach for Nintendo 3DS makes a terrific Christmas stocking stuffer for any and all pet simulation game fans, and wannabe dog, cat, penguin or whale owners!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.