Petz (Dogz and Catz) is a series of single-player video games dating back to 1995, in which the player can adopt, raise, care for and breed their own virtual pets. The original Petz has sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide[3] and the brand has grown to over 22 million copies since coming under Ubisoft.[4]

Genre(s)Virtual pets
Developer(s)PF.Magic, Mindscape, Ubisoft
Publisher(s)PF.Magic, Mindscape, Ubisoft
First releaseDogz and Catz
Latest releasePetz Beach
Petz Countryside
October 14, 2014

The original Petz games were developed by PF.Magic. After earning revenues of $8 million in 1997, PF.Magic was acquired by The Learning Company for $15.8 million in 1998.[5] In 2001, Ubi Soft (since 2003 Ubisoft) acquired the entertainment division of The Learning Company, granting Ubisoft exclusive publishing rights to 88 titles, including Dogz and Catz.[6] After Ubisoft acquired the series, some games that were actually Japanese in origin were localized under the Petz name. For example, Petz: Hamsterz Life 2 on Game Boy Advance is a localization of Hamster Club 3, and distinctly different from its DS counterpart, although both DS Hamsterz games were also Japanese-developed but published in English territories by Ubisoft.

Gameplay edit

The player starts at the Adoption Center, where they may choose a Dogz or Catz to adopt of a Breedz and gender of their choice. Once the player has found a Petz, they can adopt and name their new Puppyz or Kittenz. After around three days (real time) the Petz become adults. Adult Petz can then breed and have Kittenz or Puppyz of their own in Petz 3, Petz 4, and Petz 5. Cross-breeding can create different types of petz, called 'Mixed Breeds'.

There are a number of Toyz, food and water bowls, and Treatz available. Petz can learn tricks with positive rewards such as petting and Treatz, or trained not to do something using the punishment (water) spray bottle. Petz must be looked after properly; abused or neglected Petz may run away.[7][8]

Players may share their Petz with others who have the game via an email. Each version allows the importing of Petz from all earlier versions. There is also a camera feature, permitting snapshots of Petz to be taken and saved as .bmp files.

Other animals include Pigz and Bunnyz. Later versions of the games included a Petz Web Fun Pack, Petz Publisher and a Petz Player web browser plug-in, allowing players to publish their Petz online in playable webpages.[9] The Petz Publisher does not work anymore, due to the fact that the website has been remodeled with the newer Petz games by Ubisoft.

Users learned how to reverse-engineer the system, and began producing additional Breedz, Toyz, playscenes, clothes, and developer tools for the games, as permitted by PF.Magic, Mindscape, and Ubisoft.[10]

Development edit

Rob Fulop developed the first title in the series, Dogz: Your Computer Pet, following the controversy surrounding his previous title Night Trap and with the desire to make a game that was "so cute and so adorable that no could ever, ever say it was bad for kids". He claims to have consulted a shopping mall Santa Claus to understand "exactly what kids wanted" who informed him that puppies were a popular gift request every single year, leading to the idea of a virtual puppy.[11]

Main series edit

Game Developer Publisher Distributor Release Date
Catz and Dogz I: Your Virtual Petz PF.Magic PF.Magic Virgin Interactive Entertainment 1995 (Dogz), 1996 (Catz)
Oddballz: Your Wacky Computer Petz PF.Magic PF.Magic Virgin Interactive Entertainment 1996
Catz and Dogz II: Your Virtual Petz PF.Magic PF.Magic Mindscape 1997[12]
Catz and Dogz 3: Your Virtual Petz PF.Magic PF.Magic Mindscape 1998[13]
Catz and Dogz 4 PF.Magic Mindscape Entertainment Mindscape 1999[14]
Catz and Dogz 5 Studio Mythos Ubi Soft Ubi Soft 2002[15]

Reception edit

Entertainment Weekly gave Catz a B+ and wrote that it is an accurate simulation of felines.[16]

The Petz series is also notable for the online community that grew around it,[17] which game designer Nathalie Lawhead speculates is part of the reason for its success and enduring legacy.[18]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Dogz (1995) for PC - GameFAQs
  2. ^ Catz (1995) for PC - GameFAQs
  3. ^ "Dogz and Catz Dash Past 1.5 Million Mark; PF.Magic's Virtual Petz Brand Established as Leader in Category". The Free Library. 1998-02-19. Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  4. ^ "Ubisoft 2010-11 H1 Earnings Presentation" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 November 2010. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  5. ^ "Learning Co. to acquire PF.Magic". Cnet. 1998-05-07. Retrieved 2017-09-23.
  6. ^ "Ubi Soft Acquires The Learning Company's Entertainment Division". Gamezone. 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2017-09-23.
  7. ^ "About Petz". PF.Magic. Archived from the original on 21 June 2000. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  8. ^ "Children's Software Review: Petz: Dogz 5 & Catz 5". Edutaining Kids. June 2005. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  9. ^ "Web Fun Pack Help". WebPetz. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  10. ^ Hansmeyer, Becky (11 March 2015). "Ballz & Linez: Remembering the Golden Age of Petz Hexing". Becky Hansmeyer. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  11. ^ Donovan, Tristan (2010). Replay: The History of Video Games. Lewes, East Sussex: Yellow Ant. p. 233. ISBN 978-0-9565072-0-4.
  12. ^ "Catz II: Your Virtual Petz Release Information for PC - GameFAQs". Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  13. ^ "Catz 3: Your Virtual Petz for PC - GameFAQs". Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  14. ^ "Catz 4 for PC - GameFAQs". Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  15. ^ "Catz 5 for PC - GameFAQs". Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  16. ^ "Catz: Your Computer Petz". Retrieved 2018-11-03.
  17. ^ Famularo, Jessica (18 September 2015). "Lost to Time: Gaming's Forgotten Petz Subculture and the Women Who Shaped It". The Mary Sue. Retrieved 16 November 2022.
  18. ^ Lawhead, Nathalie. "About desktop pets & virtual companions: discussing the inhabitants that fill the void of our digital spaces". The Candybox Blog. Retrieved 16 November 2022.

Academic papers edit