I completely lost track of how many terminals I frantically browsed. It’s all written in an incomprehensible alien language and I keep losing my boarding pass in a seemingly endless inventory full of tennis balls and bottled eau de toilette (don’t ask). Bouncing between airports, dazed and confused, I feel like I’m stuck in a perpetual cycle that I can’t escape. The only thing that means I haven’t been thrown into one of the nine circles of hell is the plentiful number of friendly dogs, even if these are just very thin stock photos.
It is An airport for foreigners currently run by dogs, an adventure game by Strange Scaffold. Yes, at times it gives me vivid flashbacks to rowdy airport experiences, but overall it’s a fairly laid-back comedic adventure.
I’m not enough Sure, I got stuck in this chain of airports, but it had something to do with a dog named Cage Dog, The Dog Who Loves Cages, dropping a piano on my head and then enclosed in a metal box. After escaping, I decided to cross the chain of interconnected airports and find my fiancée, Krista, helping different puppies along the way.
I forgive Cage Dog because I can’t stay mad at a lovable dog, and in this universe, dogs rule. The joke here is that it’s all run by floating 2D photos of dogs, maybe that’s how they see us? A big part of Dog Airport is helping different puppies meet their demands, and how could I say no?
Stores are stocked with an assortment of dog-friendly items, including tennis balls, beds, and even bottled toilet water. Shops, information kiosks and terminal doors are all manned by dogs, which means the laws are a bit different. Dogs have no concept of money and so plane tickets and anything in the surrounding shops are all free, although making sure to pet each dog as a thank you is always welcome ( yes, you can stroke the stock photos).
After choosing a single boarding pass from the pile of fifty tickets the dog threw at the booth, I have to match the foreign language with the correct airport gate. Walking around the airport when you have plenty of free time is actually quite relaxing.
Just chatting with all the dogs is worth it, like the golden retriever called Friendly Business Dog who is always happy to see me every visit, or Anxious Dog who confides in me that they peed on the display of the shop. There’s even a pupperdex, logging which good dogs you’ve talked to.
Running around to help different dogs in need may be the main core of the game, but Dog Airport is a little more than just weirdly wonderful canine conversations. Whenever I manage to find Krista in different intergalactic airports, our conversations are tender, although a little distant. My struggle trying to get to the right planet to meet her again – even through the stress of figuring out departure times and terminals – is well worth it. Reminiscing about times past and sharing contemplative thoughts makes our poignant long-distance relationship worthwhile, and even when my boarding pass flares up after missing a flight, it’s only part of the journey.
After an hour or two, Dog Airport tends to repeat many of its features and interactions with dogs, but it’s an adventure I still had a good laugh at. You can catch it on To smoke for £15.