There have been some pretty lovable dogs in the Nintendo universe, mostly from the social simulation series Animal Crossing. You had K.K. Slider, the free-spirited, music-loving Jack Russell Terrier with a worldly outlook and a heart of gold. You also had Isabelle, the bubbly, hardworking Shih Tzu with a kind and altruistic nature. Both of these dog characters undoubtedly deserve all the love and praise we’ve given them. But how could we possibly forget about Pappy Van Poodle?
Never heard of Pappy Van Poodle? What a tragedy. Well, unless you downloaded Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball on the Nintendo 3DS and played the game in a very specific way, you probably never would’ve come across Pappy Van Poodle.
Throughout the Nintendo universe, there are plenty of hidden gems and Easter eggs to be found. However, most of these Easter eggs are well documented throughout Nintendo internet forums and fan pages. Pappy Van Poodle, on the other hand, seemed to be completely lost from the world until recently, when a certain YouTuber revisited Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball, found Pappy, and has since brought him to the level of fame and admiration he deserves. Since then, Nintendo fans are calling for Pappy Van Poodle to have a more prominent place in the Nintendo universe.
This article will take a look at the mysterious figure of pappy Van Poodle and why the internet has fallen in love with him.
Who Is Pappy Van Poodle?
Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball was released exclusively in North America in 2014 as a free-to-play game in the Nintendo 3DS eShop. While the game itself was free to download, players had to purchase mini-games with real money to progress through the game’s story. In order to purchase mini-games, players had to buy them from Rusty Slugger, the main character in the game. There was a catch, however. You could haggle with Rusty.
Mini-games started at the price of $4.00 in real USD, but ol’ Rusty was a pretty poor negotiator, and would usually give you a far better price. Obviously, if you could pay significantly less money for mini-games, you would. That’s just a fiscally responsible decision. In fact, if you even try to pay Rusty the full price, one of his children will appear on the screen and remind you that you can haggle him down. However, in this rare case, being financially savvy had a significant drawback: you’d miss out on the opportunity to meet Pappy Van Poodle.
If you choose to pay Rusty the full price every time rather than haggling, Pappy Van Poodle and one of Rusty’s children will appear in Rusty’s sports shop where he sells you the mini-games. Of course, very few players had ever met Pappy Van Poodle before, considering that paying more money than you have to is a blatantly illogical decision.
Any player who did decide to pay Rusty’s initial asking price was treated to six additional cutscenes featuring Pappy, a jolly, old, overweight dog (presumably a poodle, although he doesn’t really look like one). In one of the cutscenes, Rusty describes Pappy as a “neighbor, businessman, and mentor” to him. The two of them have apparently known each other for 20 human years. That’s like 140 dog years, right?
In another cutscene, Pappy describes himself as an unofficial team mascot and a father figure to Rusty. He says that he once cheered for Rusty’s team with such gusto that he ended up throwing his back out. He even gives flowers to Rusty at one point to show how strong their bond is. While Pappy Van Poodle is still a fairly mysterious character, one thing is for sure: Pappy’s a good dog.
There was also a Japanese version of Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball that was released in 2013 in which Pappy also appears. The Japanese version of Pappy went by a different name, had a slightly different backstory, and is wearing a different outfit from his American counterpart.
There are no clear indications of where Pappy Van Poodle’s name came from. Could it be that Nintendo developers were tipping their hats to Pappy Van Winkle, the founder of the self-named Kentucky bourbon company? It seems pretty unlikely, but who knows?
How Pappy Van Poodle Went Missing
From the time that Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball was launched until 2019, anyone typing “Pappy Van Poodle” into a Google search bar would have been met with a “no results found” message. It seems that almost no one had ever encountered Pappy in the game, and anyone who had had never posted online about him. As a result, this extremely lovable character existed in complete obscurity for about 5 years.
All of that changed when YouTuber Nick Robinson made a video exposing Pappy to the world. The video went into detail about every time Pappy was mentioned in the game, and how exactly players could meet Pappy for themselves. Nick discovered Rusty by redownloading Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball on a Nintendo 2DS XL, which essentially allowed him to gain access to all the mini-games without having to pay. This gave Nick the ability to see what would happen if he paid Rusty the full price every time. As a result, he discovered Pappy and has since brought him back to the famed position he deserves.
There have been rumors that others discovered Pappy before Nick; however, these rumors are largely unconfirmed. What is not up for dispute, though, is that there were no Google search results for “Pappy Van Poodle” before Nick released his video on YouTube.
The Rebirth of Pappy Van Poodle
Since Nick Robinson released his YouTube video, the internet has been filling up with more and more Pappy-related content. There has been an explosion of discussion and fanart posts about Pappy on Reddit and other forums, there have been countless subsequent YouTube videos made about the mysterious character, and there’s even a petition online to add Pappy Van Poodle to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
A crossover fighting game created by Bandai Namco in conjunction with Nintendo, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate gives players the option to purchase Challenger Packs, which allow them to import new characters into the game. A petition recently posted on Change.org is calling for Nintendo to create a new Challenger Pack including their most obscure character ever, Pappy Van Poodle.
Does anyone really want to see this cute, old poodle getting shot with Link’s arrows or being engulfed in the flames of a Falcon Punch? I think I would feel pretty bad for him. Nonetheless, I do think that Pappy deserves a larger stage to shine on than his six-scene cameo in Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball. Perhaps Nintendo could make an adventure game centered entirely around Pappy? I’d play it.
The idea that a character as lovable as Pappy Van Poodle could have been lost from our collective consciousness for 5 years is mind-boggling. And it begs the question: what other Nintendo Easter eggs might be hiding out there in their more obscure games? Could there be some hidden cat-like character just waiting to grace our Nintendo Switch screens? I guess there’s only one way to find out…
If you love Nintendo and want to read more, check out our article Why the Gamecube Is the Best Gaming Console of All Time!