'Dog Wars: Raise Your Dog to Beat the Best'
Yes, really. That's the title and tag-line for the Android app that's got the canine cognoscenti in a lather these days. And what's not to get lathered up about? This app's a stinker. Though its makers say it's geared to ratcheting down the violence in the dog fighting world, I call BS on that transparent falsehood.
At last count, over fifty thousand users had downloaded this app, and presumably NOT with the intention of being inculcated into the ways in which fighting dogs is a bad, bad thing they best not attempt in real life.
Nope. This gaming app offers the standard stuff most other violent game apps do. Only this time, dogs are the subject … and the target, of course.
Yes, it's the dogs that lose half their faces and suffer extremes of violence that lose big in this game — whether their "handlers" win or not. Because it's got to be obvious to anyone who plays this game that the fight's a testosterone-laced adventure for the "I'm-so-badass" wannabe-urban-culturati posers.
Sure, I'm aware that these dogs are only avatars — stand-ins for the real thing. But that doesn't keep me from feeling as if apps like this go beyond the pale. Because — let's face it — all extreme gaming violence is suspect, but gaming violence that targets the defenseless is just wrong.
Whether we're talking about games that focus violence on children, babies, squirrels or frogs, realistic games that feed images of senseless violence and simulated sadistic experiences to the imagination are undeniably morally reprehensible.
But that doesn't necessarily mean we should ban them. After all, I can think of plenty of morally bankrupt books I wish had never been written. And yet I can't imagine wanting them banned.
Still, I can definitely promise you one thing: No such app will be making its way to my household's devices. Luckily, my 13-year-old is more into role playing adventure games, where blood may spew but body parts don't yet fly — much less a dog's body.
Dr. Patty Khuly
Pic of the day: Dog Wars Splashpage / via DogFiles