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In 1995 PF. Magic released Dogz 1 and then in 1996 Catz 1, two titles in which you could raise your own virtual dog or cat, provided you fed, groomed and took good care of them. The games did well and Dogz 2 and Catz 2 were launched in 1997 with much improved graphics, along with an unusual title known as Oddballz that I will come to in a minute.
So where did the term "Petz" come from? Well, from version two of the titles onwards when both 'Dogz' and 'Catz' are installed on the same computer they combine to make a single game called 'Petz' in which both the dogz and catz live, sharing the same environment. So suddenly your puppy can play with a kitten for the first time and you can see how they get along. At this point over two million people worldwide owned Petz. I should also mention that in each Petz upgrade you buy your old pets can be imported into the new game.
The next thing to happen was that Mindscape bought PF. Magic and the Petz range and went on to produce Petz 3 in 1998 - which first introduced the possibility of breeding - and Petz 4 in 1999 - with new landscaped, voice recognition and new Pigz and Bunniez. They also took the game in a slightly different direction and launched Babyz, virtual babies in an adapted version of the petz game/world.
To cut a long story short, The Learning Company ('TLC') purchased Mindscape, then Mattel bough TLC, then Ubi Soft bought the Entertainment Division of TLC and on the 20th June 2002 announced they would release Petz 5 due to popular demand. Petz 5 is the latest in the Petz range and features litters, day and night, weather and more.
Currently Ubi Soft are considering making a Petz 6, possibly 3D, but only time will tell...
If you've got a taste for Petz you should love Oddballz, 'your wacky Computer Petz'. This game is actually one of my all time favourites; It was released between Petz 1 and 2 and is far more creative and unique. If your interested in finding out more then visit my AmberOddballz website to download a free demo.