"PostPet 2000" (Client: Sony / Agency: FrogNation / Circa: 1998 - 1999)
Sample: Turtle Dialogs
In Japan and the rest of East Asia, newbies have an alternative to AOL: Sony. With their unerring insight into our silliest desires and boundless supply of SSEN (sugar 'n spice 'n everything nice), Sony created an ISP division, then dressed up the humble e-mail in a pretty thing called PostPet. After all, who wants to tell sendmail what a good little protocol it is when you can do the same to a pink teddy bear that lives inside your computer and carries your mail to other people? While your pet is out visiting other PostPet users online, you can even buy her digital treats and furniture (yes, the pets have their own rooms, unlike many of their owners). They even talk to you via e-mail.
PostPet was a logistically difficult project since it wasn't arranged by my usual agent, but by a very small operation that was way in over its head. The organizational horrors aside, it was a nice break from mutants and aliens. I ended up doing the dialogue for threeor four characters in addition to a lot of UI stuff, and was pleasantly surprised by how much care had been put into the characters. They're flat little things by all accounts, but they really are designed to grow on the user. Sort of like Sanrio characters that way.
The success of the PostPet franchise in Japan, HK and Singapore indicates a hunger for 'comfort interaction' that is distinct from other types of virtual socialization. Massive multiplayer games, ordinary chat rooms, online dating and porn are predictably popular, but a large number of people are also willing to pay money to maintain an illusion that they have a little friend they can love living in a bright little room inside their computer. Kinda makes you want to put that yearning to good use, doesn't it?
For all the hard work, alas, PostPet 2000 did not take off in the U.S.
"PostPet 2000"™ and its characters and images are the property of Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. This low-resolution image is solely used to identify the game in question. No free equivalent of this image exists. This image does not allow users to make illegal copies of the software, and does not diminish the copyright holder SCE ability to market the software.