I’m not afraid to admit it. I’m obsessed. I thought my fascination with Japanese virtual pets would have ended when my mom forcibly told me to grow up and stop feeding my Tomigotchi Connection but I was wrong. It seems yet another digital companion (or companions) has entered my life to distract me from focusing on the things I should be and instead I’m checking my phone roughly every fifteen minutes to see if I have collected any new cats. Yes, you heard me correctly, collecting cats. Closet cat-ladies and men rejoice! Neko Atsume is here and it is in full force. It’s already been featured around the web and despite many of my friends and family’s wishes, is in almost all of my text messages.
It was developed by the Japanese company Hit-Point as an application for iOS and Android devices. Released in October of 2014, the app has only recently gained any popularity in the US. But all of this begs the question of why is the Neko Atsume app/game/life-distraction creative? Well for me personally I’m able to have all the luxuries of having a cat or cats without the drawbacks. I won’t go into anaphylactic shock by playing this app. I don’t have to clean up after these virtual felines and if you forget to feed them for one or twenty five days nothing bad happens! They will continue to come back and love you no matter what (as long as you eventually give them food).
Within the app there are toys and furniture that you can buy for you cats under the name of “goodies”. The style of these goodies are a blend of different cultures but what really makes the goodies important is what cats they attract. Certain goodies can summon rare cats (I honestly feel so lame typing this right now) and each rare cat is a reference to a historical figure. Some are real people like St. Purrrtrick or some are false like Señor Don Gato. This right here. This is what is creative about Neko Atsume. Like discussed about in class, how people can have these huge databases in their heads where they draw upon knowledge from the past that may not always seem applicable, Neko Atsume is a collection of folk tales and histories from various nations and cultures. These stories have been culminated into the most beautiful thing in the world: Neko Atsume.
Go collect some kitties!