Sega Toys and Activision Publishing have officially announced Wappy Dog, a blue-and-white toy robot dog that will interact with an accompanying Nintendo DS game this holiday season.
First shown at the Nuremberg International Toy Fair in February, Wappy Dog can be controlled through 18 vocal commands spoken into the DS microphone. The robot can answer back with 350 "evolving responses," including singing, dancing and virtual barks that can be "translated" by the Nintendo DS game.
Players can enjoy a variety of co-operative and competitive mini-games with Wappy -- who cheers for success and sulks with each failure -- or on their own when away from the robot in "travel mode." Progress from the game will sync up with the robot when the player returns.
"We were excited about Wappy Dog from the moment we saw it," said Activision Publishing's David Oxford, in a statement. "This one-of-a-kind toy and video game combines a strong emotional bond and exciting virtual experience with the interaction of a physical pet."
Previously, Sony released a more advanced robotic dog, the autonomous, programmable AIBO, in 1999, before discontinuing the unprofitable line in 2006.
Wappy Dog isn't the first external accessory to communicate back and forth with a video game -- Nintendo's Robotic Operating Buddy accessory for the NES executed simple commands coded as flashes of light from a TV screen.
Nintendo products including the Pokewalker pedometer and Pokemon Pikachu
standalone handheld also communicated back and forth with portable Pokemon
games using an IR interface.