I’ve spent a lot of time watch­ing dogs play­ing and it’s been a source of fas­ci­na­tion and hap­pi­ness for years. So the sub­ject mat­ter felt real­ly nat­ur­al to me. But as a game design­er, I find the dynam­ics of how dogs play togeth­er real­ly inter­est­ing. Dogs are expert play­ers. Dog play is made of all these rit­u­al­ized moments of vio­lence and dom­i­nance, but when it’s healthy play, it doesn’t cross the line into real vio­lence. Dogs are real­ly good at reg­u­lat­ing their play. Play­ing and play­ing well is this real­ly deep instinct for dogs, and I thought it would be inter­est­ing to try to pull some of that into a game for humans. Healthy dog play isn’t about defeat­ing a bunch of oppo­nents — it’s about hav­ing fun above all, while sim­u­lat­ing all these real­ly dark and dan­ger­ous real-life sit­u­a­tions and work­ing out social relationships.

So the pre­ten­tious idea at the heart of Dog Park is to make a game that has all kinds awe­some “fight­ing” in it that’s not about defeat­ing your ene­mies. It’s about how we work togeth­er, by pre­tend­ing to fight each oth­er, by com­pet­ing with each oth­er, to cre­ate enjoy­ment for each oth­er. In oth­er words, it’s about try­ing to turn my play­ers into dogs, for a few min­utes at a time.

(via » Kevin Can­ci­enne)