Does anyone remember? It’s that mobile game where you leave out food and furniture in hopes rare cats will show up for you to snap photos of. Strange premise, I know, but it was pretty popular for a while.
Something about cute graphics and cats always gathers the fans. I’m sure there are people unfamiliar with the game questioning why and how it managed to keep the attention of people who played. How could such a simple concept retain players? Wouldn’t it be possible to sit around for a few hours and collect all the cats in one go?
The game has an interesting approach. Cats won’t come to visit if you have your phone on. You have to close out for the cats to come over. But you also have to be quick to comeback. Some cats only stick around for a few moments.
And just like real cats, these game cats are fickle. You can leave out the same food and furniture they liked one time before and they could simply decide to not return for it. The game requires patience and different attempts to win it.
It’s important to know that winning isn’t just collecting all the cats. No that would be too easy. There are also mementos the cats can drop off. And of course, they don’t drop them off every time they visit. No. These cats only give you mementos when they feel like it.
Potentially this game can keep you playing for quite a while.
Though the cuteness is enough for me to like the game, I do feel there’s a lesson in it. There’s this saying I’m sure most people are quite familiar with; “A watched pot never boils.” It basically means things aren’t going to go faster/happen while you sit around and wait. Go do something else.
While this is a video game, it’s different than most in this sense. You’re sort of rewarded for not paying attention to it.
While Neko Atsume may not be as popular as it once was, I feel no one will ever forget it. And perhaps in the future we’ll see more games play with the idea of partial attention.