By Yumna Ahmed ’17
Neko Atsume, also known as Kitty Collector, has taken many students by storm as they can keep more than one cat as a pet in this increasingly popular game.
Originally developed in Japan by Yutaka Takasaki, Neko Atsume consists of luring cats to the player’s virtual yard with a variety of treats and toys and collecting as many cats as possible.
The cats will leave fish behind after leaving the yard so the player can purchase more items and food along with offering an expansion to the yard. Although the game is free, more fish are available for purchase.
Anna Novikova ’17, an avid player of Neko Atsume, spoke of her experience with the game as she initially downloaded the app on a friend’s recommendation.
“The game is nothing too advanced. It’s for all ages and it has a cute concept. It’s a great game for cat lovers,” she said.
Although the concept sounds almost too simple to have gained such global popularity, perhaps it’s the simplicity of the app, along with the aesthetic that comes with it, that makes it so great. Neko Atsume has gained more awareness by players due to social media sites such as Tumblr and Twitter, with up to thousands of people blogging and tweeting about the game.
Reem Hassan ’17, found out about Neko Atsume through her Tumblr blog, seeing various posts online that led to her decision to download and play the game.
“I think Tumblr played a big role in me finding out about the game. It’s always a thrill to find new cats in your yard and learn about their personalities and different looks,” she said.
Although it seems as if Neko Astume has grabbed the attention of the female population, guys also play the game. Kenneth Feng ’17, believed cat collecting sounded silly at first, but realized its addictive qualities after he unconsciously checked his phone to look at the game.
“The game is basically pointless, but it’s addicting,” he said. “As a guy, I might get weird looks, but Neko Atsume doesn’t have girly colors and the game’s marketed to everyone. I really like that.”
Hassan shared the same views as Feng and stated, “I know boys who play the game and own cats in real life too. Cats aren’t a gender specific animal, so it depends on the person’s preference.”
Although the game was released in October 2014, Neko Atsume gained its popularity approximately a year later. As of December 2015, Neko Atsume had achieved ten million downloads around the world. According to an article written by CNN, Takasaki stated that 40 percent of downloads were outside of Japan. Merchandise has also been created for Neko Atsume, consisting of pillows, mugs, books and accessories among other various items.
Hassan stated she would recommend Neko Atsume to other students who want a cat for a pet or for people who like cats in general.