You may have heard of Sega’s dog walking arcade game before because it’s old. Like years old. However, I don’t think many people (anyone?) has written about what you do in Inu no Osanpo beyond showing pictures of it as an arcade novelty.
The game starts with a dog selection. I picked a golden retriever, but there are a handful of options including a fluffy poodle. Once you the game begins, you literally begin walking on the treadmill, but it doesn’t move automatically. You have to push it with the force of your feet. Meanwhile, you hold the handle and guide the dog by moving it left or right. Each step fills the dog’s happy meter shown in the middle of the screen.
Those happy points are imperative because they keep you in the game. When the meter bottoms out it’s game over. The dog tends to be mischievous and does everything in its power to make you lose those happy points by say darting in the street in front of a car. Before you lose your virtual pet you have to make it avoid hazards by quickly yanking on the leash to pull it back. The good news is there aren’t any gory animal death scenes in Inu no Osanpo. Cars won’t hit the dog if you’re inattentive. They magically swerve around you while your dog makes a sad face.
The strange thing about Inu no Osanpo is the dog doesn't move faster when you run. I tried sprinting at the beginning (I thought I had an active dog), but he just casually strolled on the street. The only time I had to run was when the dog found a cat and started chasing it. If you catch you get a happy point bonus and the satisfaction of being a good (virtual) pet owner.
Too bad this was made before Nintendogs came out. Inu no Osanpo would have been a hit if players could wirelessly transfer their Nintendogs data and walk their pet with Sega's set up.