Don’t Shoot The Puppy

The game I chose to review for this game analysis post is called Don’t Shoot The Puppy. This is a flash game for the computer that can be found on almost any online flash game website. If you’d like to play this game, you can do it at Addicting Games. This “game” challenges just about everything a game stands for. However, before I go into what a video game typically is to me, let me explain how this game is played. Don’t Shoot The Puppy is a very simple game that consists of a flat landscape, a giant gun, a puppy, and a sign that the puppy has to run past. The whole objective of the game is to allow the puppy to make it past the sign and off the screen. You may be wondering, how do I keep the puppy safe from the gun? Do I have to aim the gun away from the puppy, or drop objects behind the puppy to deflect or block the bullets? These would be pretty good guesses on first glances of this game. However, that is not how this game is played. All you have to do to win this game is absolutely nothing; literally, do nothing and you will win this game. Basically, once you hit the start button on the screen, you have to keep your mouse completely still or else you will shoot the puppy.

Now as I said before, this “game” challenges almost everything that would classify it as a video game. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a video game is an electronic game in which players control images on a television or computer screen. Based on this definition, Don’t Shoot The Puppy is loosely a video game because you technically control the gun; although this is not apparent at the start of the game because there are absolutely no instructions. If you ask people what their definition of a video game is, and what classifies as a video game, the line is typically grey. From my own personal experience through discussions in class and with friends about this topic, everyone seems to have a different opinion about what is a video game and what isn’t.

First I’d like to talk about my definition of a video game. In my opinion, a video game is the interaction that someone can have digitally with an object or character. A video game should also have some kind of purpose. A video game should be interactive and immersive. A video game should have some kind of scoring system. There should also be some sort of progression throughout the game.

It’s funny because based on all of those definitions and classifications of a video game, Don’t Shoot The Puppy is a perfect example of a video game. The interaction that you have in the game is with the gun and the puppy; you play as the gun and you interact with the dog by not shooting it. When it comes to the purpose of the game, the purpose is to not shoot the puppy. There technically is a scoring system in this game in the end screen. Finally, there are levels in the game which attest to the progression portion of the definition. Although I chose this game because it feels nothing like a video game, at its very core, it is.


The main reason that Don’t Shoot The Puppy doesn’t fit my definition of a video game is that it’s not immersive at all. I feel as though this is one of, if not the most important aspects of video games. This game literally has no immersive qualities at all. By doing nothing, you don’t feel as if you’re a gun. There is no aiming, reloading, shooting, etc. This is the major flaw of this “game” and is enough for me to conclude that it is not a video game at all.



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