New game Pet the Pup at the Party could be one of the most relatable games ever, even if you’re a cat person like me. Made by designer Will Herring, the game is all about alleviating social anxiety at a house party by ignoring people to instead search for very good boyes to pet.
Made from a first-person perspective, you’re only given two minutes to zoom through rooms in a house in order to find pups. This means pushing by party-goers on phones or eating pizza who are mostly grumpy and always looking in your direction, which only enhances feelings of uneasiness. There’s the option to chat to people, but a) why would you when there are doggos to find and b) the one person I did try to talk to just swore at me, so whatever, and this is why I hate small talk.
Follow the arf noises to find an adorable dog, and once you pet it, it’s off to find the next one. The goal of the game (and also real life) is to find and pet as many dogs as possible until time runs out. At the end, you’re shown a tally of how many dogs you pet, people you talked to, and rooms you entered — a ratio that probably reflects how many of us actually interact at events. Perhaps best of all, it says what you did afterward before falling asleep, which is usually the best part of going out to begin with. A little self-affirmation nudged in (I got a “heck yeah”) is the perfect note to cap it all off.
Though the first play of Pet the Pup at the Party definitely carried some tension, replays became increasingly fun as I barreled past grim hipsters and creeps checking me out over tilted sunglasses in order to find radiating doggo souls to align myself with. Plus, I liked being congratulated for both petting animals and interacting with people. This game really gets me.
Pet the Pup at the Party is out on itch.io for both Mac and Windows PC at name your own price.