Cat lover Enzo Yaksic was instantly enamored with the recently released video game Stray, which allowed him to explore a bright, kaleidoscopic underground world of puzzles as his cat avatar.
He was surprised that his cat was just as fascinated. “My cat, Hobbes, was taken to ‘Stray’ from the moment it loaded onto the screen. He sees every move a cat makes,” Yakshik said.
Thousands of cat owners have posted videos of their pets reacting to the game on social media, and the Twitter account Cats Watching Stray now has over 37,000 followers.
This phenomenon delighted the developers. They say they never thought it would provoke a frenzy. Swann Martin-Raget of French studio BlueTwelve told AFP: “When the cats in the studio started reacting to what was happening on the screen, we I thought we were heading in the right direction,” he said.
“But I never imagined that so many cats would make it onto TV.” Stray isn’t the only game with an animal at its center. There are many examples, from “Dog’s Life” and “Goat Simulator” to the wild wolves of “Okami”. Cats rarely make appearances, however, and “Stray” has proven to be a surprise hit for him this year.
The game’s feline protagonists are modeled after Murtaugh, a feral cat adopted by the BlueTwelve co-founder, and Oscar, another member of the team’s beloved pet. Many team his members have cats. Among them is his Martin-Raget with his two housemates known as Tao and Lychee.
He says creating a realistic animal was a big challenge, but the team decided to force the computer cat to purr, meow when needed, curl up to take a nap, and, of course, stain furniture. It made me feel great joy.
“We couldn’t make a cat game without making a cat scratching couch,” says Martin-Raget. “We made this game with real passion for our mates.”
It is the most reviewed game of the year on Steam, the platform for downloading games, with a rating of 83/100 on Metacritic. Some critics don’t appreciate it for its simplistic adventure, but most praise the graphics, dreamy atmosphere, and sense of freedom afforded by the cat protagonist. And cat critics seem to universally approve.
“Every time I play, the silhouette of his two ears blocks the bottom of the screen,” says Curtis Amrein from Houston, USA, of his short-haired buddy, 17-year-old Bebe. Hobbes, 8, reacts to danger and hides from bad guys in the same way he does his computer counterparts, Jakusic, a researcher in Boston, USA, told his AFP.
“I think I’m stressing him out because he tends to look around to see if there’s another cat in the house before the Stray cat appears on screen.” he told AFP.
Joanna Puzzo, an animal behaviorist at the British shelter Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, told US website GameSpot that the realism of animated cats is key to triggering reactions among real-world cats. He said it was.
“They really picked up a lot of very natural cat behavior,” she said of the developer, flagging the virtual animal’s grooming, squeaking and scratching habits. There are also some nice subtle behaviors, such as dilated pupils, rolling those ears, and defensive postures when they are alert to.”
Another sign of enthusiasm for ‘Stray’ is that fans have created ‘mods’. This is a modification that allows the player to change the appearance of her main character. For a laid-back approach, players can choose to become a cartoon ginger “Garfield” munching on lasagna.
For those looking for maximum sweetness, Marie the grey-white kitten from Disney’s Aristocats is also available. Even more controversial is the fact that felines are notorious for being afraid to set foot in the world of dogs, where dog lovers can turn their avatars into cute little puppies. The house is lost. — AFP
https://www.kuwaittimes.com/purrfection-how-video-game-stray-transfixed-cats/ Purrfection: How the video game ‘Stray’ nailed the cat