Game designer fixes game so you can pet the dog

Enter the Gungeon, a tongue-in-cheek shoot ’em up style video game available on multiple platforms, has received mainly positive reviews since being released by Devolver Digital two years ago.

Spencer Campbell, writing for Electronic Gamer Monthly gave Enter the Gungeon a 9/10 rating, saying “It takes the rogue-like formula of its predecessors and combines it with the mechanics of a pattern-heavy bullet hell like Ikaruga, then layers a heaping dose of its own charm on top. The end result is a hellishly difficult, vastly rewarding game with a tone all its own.”

But that isn’t to say the game was perfect. People noticed one flaw, and boy was it a big one: You could not pet the helpful dog that followed you around.

This was highlighted by the Twitter account “Can You Pet the Dog?” which, as the name implies, tells you which video games allow you to pet the dog in the game and which do not.

The person who runs the “Can You Pet the Dog?” account, who wishes to remain anonymous, told us via email that they deleted the original tweet about Enter the Gungeon because it is no longer accurate. Instead, they replaced with this much, much better one.

It seems the initial tweet caught the attention of Dave Oshry, CEO of New Blood Interactive, who replied to it with a crying emoticon. He also tagged Dave Crooks, the man who designed Enter the Gungeon. Crooks took this as a challenge and replied: “Hold my beer.”

And behold, just a few weeks later, when the “Farewell to Arms” update dropped for Enter the Gungeon, a very important change had been made.

The gaming community rejoiced.

Although they were obviously happy about the change, the person behind “Can You Pet the Dog?” was reluctant to take credit for it.

“I attribute the addition of a pettable dog in Enter the Gungeon in large part to the game’s community, including the r/EnterTheGungeon subreddit,” they told us. “Their vocal support of the idea was then heard by the responsive team at Dodge Roll Games, who implemented a great dog-petting feature. Overall, I had very little to do with these events, but I am pleased with the outcome.”

Although certainly, their tweet had a some role in the update.

And it wouldn’t be the first time. “A handful of developers have implied that they were inspired by the account,” they said. “Two recent games that come to mind are Headliner: NoviNews and Knights and Bikes.”

Petting digital dogs is clearly important to the gaming community. After all, the whole point of video games is to escape into a better/more exciting world, and who wants to live in a world where you can’t pet a dog? Still the creator of “Can You Pet the Dog” offers a few words of caution.

“It is great to see more dog-petting in games,” they said, “but I hope that anyone who goes on to request such a feature does so politely and with respect to the developers.”

In other words, only good boys get treats.

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David Britton

David Britton

David Britton is a writer and comedian based in Rhinebeck, New York who focuses on internet culture, memes, and viral news stories. He also writes for the Hard Times and is the creator of StoriesAboutWizards.com.