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This article was published on April 11, 2019

This Twitter account answers video games’ biggest question: Can you pet the dog?

This Twitter account answers video games’ biggest question: Can you pet the dog?
Georgina Ustik
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Georgina Ustik

Former TNW editor and creative

Georgina created Big Spam, and wants to see more inclusion in tech. Georgina created Big Spam, and wants to see more inclusion in tech.

You cannot pet the dogs in Minecraft or Fortnite, but you can pet the dogs in Butterfly Soup. You couldn’t pet the dog in Enter the Gungeon, but now you can following an update.

This is the feed of @CanYouPetTheDog, a Twitter account that, well, answers whether you can pet dogs in popular video games, with accompanying video as proof. After launching in early March, the account now has over 162,000 followers.

We spoke with the founder, who wishes to remain anonymous, about why they started the account, what its popularity says about people, and why not cats.

“Petting virtual dogs is important”

An unabashed love for dogs is a cherished part of internet culture — the popularity of Facebook pages such as We Rate Dogs (330,000 likes) and the Doge meme prove this — so @CanYouPetTheDog’s quick success comes as no surprise.

The original doge meme.

I made this account after encountering unpettable dogs in The Division 2. I was frustrated by the fact that not only can you not comfort the frightened, lonely dogs roaming the streets of a ruined Washington, D.C., but the only way to interact with them is with gunfire,” @CanYouPetTheDog’s founder told us. “After seeing others with similar complaints, I decided to catalog pettable and unpettable dogs in video games.”

The Twitter account has already catalogued the dog-petability of 140 video games, and its founder does the bulk of the research themselves from “a large backlog [they] created in the early days of the account.” They often receive submissions over DM, most of which have already been catalogued, but they “have gotten a few submissions out of left field that [they] would have never discovered otherwise.”

“I make sure to credit the submitter, as long as they are comfortable with it,“ the anonymous founder added.

When it comes to @CanYouPetTheDog’s rapid success — over 162,000 followers in just over a month — the founder says it’s simply down to the fact that “petting virtual dogs is important to video game fans.”

“I think the popularity of the account speaks to players’ desire to engage in meaningless, feel-good interactions that do not necessarily further the plot or produce experience points,” they added. “Modern games ask a lot of the player, so it is nice to relieve that pressure with something pure and frivolous.”

Dogs > cats?

Whether @CanYouPetTheDog speaks to the loneliness of video games, or modern society, one thing is certain: dogs over cats.

Ok, I might be projecting here a bit, but dogs are way better than cats, right?

“On a personal level, I prefer dogs to cats,” founder said when asked why dogs and not cats. “On a logistical level, I believe that there are more games where you can pet the dog than games where you can pet the cat. I suspect this is because dogs are more approachable animals in general, and their interactions have been programmed accordingly.”

There you have it. Dogs are better than cats.

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