A new Japanese cat-collecting game is popular but is it genuinely good for people and cats in the long term?
This is an addictive new app created in Japan which appears to mimic the activities of people who care for feral and stray cats or have a lot of cats at home. Someone was smart enough to see a game in it.
The game is called ‘Neko Atsume’ in Japanese which translates to ‘Cat Collecting’. There is a craze for it in Japan which is spreading to other countries. There have been 5.5 million downloads of the app. and at present 40 percent are from outside Japan.
It is most popular outside of Japan in China and North America. The South Koreans also like it.
It appears to have come to England, UK. There are thousands of tweets per day about it on hashtag: #nekoatsume.
The game consists of leaving toys and food in your backyard (“garden” in England). You wait for the cats to turn up and the objective is to “collect” 45 cats; everyone being different in looks and character. A simple game. Is the title a bit derogatory towards the cat and does it encourage real life cat collecting? Can we translate “cat collecting” to “cat hoarding”?
The creator, Yutaka Takazaki (a cat lover), said that it was designed to be easy and fast to play. You don’t have to be a ‘gamer’ to play it.
I am interested in how computer games affect us in real life. There has been a long but inconclusive debate on how violent video games might turn some players to real violence.
It depends on the mentality of the player but it appears that games can drive some susceptible people to move away from the virtual world (the game) to the real world. In the case of violent computer games that means real violence.
For the cat collecting game will it turn some people to try cat collecting in real life or does the game allow a potential cat collector to play out their desires on the screen and therefore prevent cat collecting?
The Japanese like cats. The “Hello Kitty” franchise is estimated to be worth $7 billion a year! There is a lot of money in cats. Shame some of it can’t be channelled back into cat charities.
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