By Olivia Short ’17
Back in June, my sister texted me saying I absolutely HAD to download this game she’d heard about. She sent me a link to an article explaining the concept– a little haven for outdoor cats to come and go as they please. You can buy them all kinds of toys, explained the article, but there’s a catch. The game is completely in Japanese.
But not anymore! There’s now an English translation of the game, Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector, available for iOS and Android. This has made the app much more accessible for Westerners– not everyone is so dedicated to the pursuit of tiny virtual cats as my sister and I. (We cheated with translated diagrams, but still.) But either way, it’s official: Neko Atsume is now available to you.
The goal is simple: provide a nice place for the cats to hang out. You’re given a backyard and a humble bit of money to buy toys and food with. The basic yard has five slots for store items, most of which are toys and cushions. Here’s my current setup:
The cats pictured, Peppa and Murray, are two of my most frequent visitors. If I tap on Peppa (under the cardboard box), I can see her profile:
This page hosts any possible information you’d want to know about a cat including its name and display photo (both customizable), favorite toys, and personality.
Each cat hangs around for about 30 minutes and then leaves, which is pretty similar to the real-life practice of feeding neighborhood cats. The difference in Neko Atsume is that cats leave behind sardines, the currency of the game, when they leave. Over time, the player accumulates sardines that can be used to buy new toys.
(Each cat leaves differing amounts, Vernon is always pretty generous.)
And that’s really about it. You can take the game in any direction from there– I like to put out toys in certain color schemes, and my sister likes to buy the finest cat food. It’s really up to the player. There’s also an option to save up sardines and remodel your home, if you wanna get super hardcore:
There are a few remodeling options, but my personal favorite is the Art Deco style.
You don’t necessarily need fancy decor to enjoy this game– it’s just about the joy of cats. I really like being able to just check my phone and see one or two cats hanging out and loving life. It’s good to see them when I’m stressful or anxious– why worry about my bio grade when Peppa the cat is here making the most of a cardboard box?
The app can be found in the App Store with the search term “Neko Atsume.”