[NSFW] Family Dog (SNES)

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  • System: Super Nintendo
  • Genre: Side Scroller
  • Max Players: 1
  • Age Rating: Everyone
  • US Release: 1992?
  • Developer: Imagineering, Inc.
  • Publisher: LJN

family_dog_box

I was browsing through my “F” Super Nintendo games the other day, and came across a game I’d never heard of: Family Dog. A very curious title; was it a Tamagotchi-like game, a world-adventure game like Milo and Otis, or something else? Well, as it turns out, it’s an awful sidescroller by LJN, and it’s probably one of the most wretched, nauseating games I’ve ever played.

FamilyDog

It turns out that Family Dog was an unpopular TV show in 1993. The game came out in 1992, according to the title screen…how is that even possible? The game came out after the show according to Wikipedia, so…I don’t understand how that’s possible. Despite the mother being voiced by Annie Potts, this show only lasted ten episodes. How could CBS remedy this blunder? Why, license the game to a horrible game outfit, of course! And that’s how Family Dog the game was made.

The game starts off with the dog outside his house digging for something on the sidewalk. That’s right, the animation looks like he’s digging in the dirt, but is, in fact, digging on the concrete. A boy calls the dog in, and then the game begins.

family dog introNo, boy. Run away. Run far, far away!

The first level is inside the house. A typical American house with a mile-long first floor with duplicate window curtains and cats, flying books, dog treats, dreidels, and other silly crap all over the floor. Behind pillars and bookshelves is a little boy trying to shoot stuff at the dog. It’s really quite cruel. Are the game developers trying to teach people how not to treat animals? Is this a PETA game? Flying books made sense in the New York Public Library, but is the dog’s house haunted? After a few stages, you’re invited by the boy to play fetch. Seems sane and friendly enough. You have to run after the ball with the ‘X’ button (incredibly awkward controls). If you don’t run your little doggie heart out fast enough, the ball hits a little baby girl down the hallway and she starts to cry, which means you lose a life. So, does a family member beat the dog and you lose a life? Again, no explanation here. Kinda terrifying.

family dog catI hate this fucking cat!

Other than running and jumping over obstacles, you don’t have any defenses. The dog does have bark power that he can use, which shoots out a sound wave in front of him. However, it doesn’t have any effect on anything that attacks you unless you use it multiple times. Why make it so weak? This reminds of those horrible Home Alone games, but at least those had a semblance of a plot.

This game is incredibly cruel, difficult, and just makes no sense. I would score this a zero if possible. There’s a reason you’ve probably never heard of it, and hopefully this will be the last.

  • GameCola Rates This Game: 1 - Terrible
7 votes, average: 8.29 out of 107 votes, average: 8.29 out of 107 votes, average: 8.29 out of 107 votes, average: 8.29 out of 107 votes, average: 8.29 out of 107 votes, average: 8.29 out of 107 votes, average: 8.29 out of 107 votes, average: 8.29 out of 107 votes, average: 8.29 out of 107 votes, average: 8.29 out of 10 (You need to be a registered member to rate this post.)
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Mark Freedman is a hard hitting reporter on just what the crap is going on in the world of video games.He also writes reviews and manages the staff Q&A column. Occasionally, he has been known to take a shower.

13 Comments

      1. Yeah, I’m calling shenanigans. Two of those reviews are yours, anyhow!

        A 1/10 is an absolute failure on every possible level–not simply atrocious gameplay, but so bad it’s not even playable. So ugly you can’t tell what’s going on. So ear-piercing that body parts other than your ears begin to bleed. A game so abominable that its sheer existence makes the world a worse place to live.

        Michael praised Patriot Run for the clever execution of the background graphics. Genuine praise. That’s at least a 2/10.

        Gotcha! Has legitimately decent graphics with relatively clean animation and a fair amount of detail and variety. That’s at least a 2/10.

        Starfleet Academy likewise has 2D graphics that actually look like something, and their “generic” (not ear-piercing) “non-Star Trek” music IS BORROWED FROM WRATH OF KHAN. That’s at least a 2/10.

        Family Dog, a 1/10? I think we’re letting our standards slip.

          1. I apologize for being a moron with my previous comment; (a) I clearly was not reading the name of who was commenting and thought AnonyMoose was Mark Freedman (I get confused when two names both have vowels in them), and (b) I’d forgotten we actually can rate things a 0/10, and was thinking 1/10 was the lowest our rating scale goes.

            Anyhow, I’m still personally skeptical about some of these scores after watching videos of the games–not having played them myself, they don’t LOOK like 1/10 material to me–but the reviews themselves make a good case for the scores, and that’s what matters most.

            My comment was intended to be read with friendly sarcasm, but in retrospect it sounds a lot more scathing than it should’ve been, so I apologize.

            Girl’s Dodge Ball, Matt? Yeah, if the game consistently crashes so hard it’s physically impossible to complete the game, then I’d say that’s enough to override everything else and warrant a 0/10, especially when the other negative factors are taken into consideration.

  1. “It turns out that Family Dog was an unpopular TV show in 1993. The game came out in 1992, according to the title screen…how is that even possible?”

    There was popular show in the 80’s called Amazing Stories that featured a few unrelated short stories each episode. They were mainly live action, and usually had some subtle supernatural wackiness going on.

    In 1987, one of those stories was an animated short called Family Dog. It was about a dog that was mistreated by his family to various degrees (boy chased him with a vacuum cleaner, mother verbally took out her frustrations with the family on him). After he fails to stop a robbery, they bring him to an attack school to turn him into a quivering, snarling, white-hot ball of canine terror. Hijinks ensue.

    I think the game was based on the short from the TV series. That’s why it came first, and why it seems the whole game is centered around characters being cruel to the dog.

    1. Very interesting, Elijah. Perhaps you could add to the wikipedia page to enlighten future scholars of the 1990s. So perhaps when it was the full length TV show, the kids weren’t as cruel to the dog?

  2. i love the tv show its to bad it didnt do to well but you can see all the episodes on primewire.com and yes amazing storys did show family dog i barely remember it. as far as the game is concern i would give it a 2 at the very most it wasnt that bad considering there are far worse games out there such as the tmnt on the nes or sliver surfer

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