I’ve never denied it. I’m a crazy cat lady. I’ve grown up with cats and can barely remember a time when I didn’t have a little furball as a pet. So when tweets about the Japanese game Neko Atsume, or Cat Collecting, started appearing in my time line, I had to check it out. Calling it a game might give the wrong impression. It starts out with just a typical looking back yard, and using fish as currency, you can buy toys and better quality food to attract cats to come to your yard and play with your toys. The thing is though, you can’t be watching. You have to close or reduce the game for the cats to come. It’s sort of random who will come and when.
When you do catch the cats in your yard, you can take pictures of the cats, who will be playing with the toys, sitting in boxes or sleeping. You know, doing cat things. They will then leave you with some fish, either silver or gold, that you can use to buy more toys or food. There is a diary that keeps track of the cats who come by, how many times they’ve visited, and all the pictures you’ve taken of them. When you’ve put out a cats top toys and they’ve visited some amount of times, they will give you a gift. Each cat has their own gift, like a hair tie or buttons. There are common cats and then there are some special cats that will only come when specific items are put out, like Yamaneko-san, a mountaineering cat that comes only when you have the deluxe cat tree out.
I know it sounds silly to be putting out food and trying to attract virtual cats, but for cat lovers like me, it’s a blast, seeing who’s come by and buying and putting out different toys. I’ve managed to get my daughter playing this game too, and she spends a lot of time cursing Manzoku-san, a fat white cat that eats all your outside food. But, as a testament to its appeal and popularity, the game is completely in Japanese, yet English speakers like my daughter and I still downloaded and fumbled through the game, which granted, isn’t too hard.
Also a testament to its appeal and popularity is the fact that these cutely drawn kittens have gotten their own web manga. Wise Neko Atsume is written by Miyui Tsuki with assistance by the game’s creator Hi-Point Co.,Ltd. it is a three panel series, that features the cats from the game, and a quote by a philosopher in the third panel. It is distributed by Denshi-Birz with the first strip having gone up on May 29. There are twelve strips, and the most recent is available now. I would love it if someone could post a translation in the comments. It would be even better if we could get an English version here in the west. But for now Reddit will have to do. They have the first eleven translations available as well as some fan comics.
Following the web manga, it’s also been announced that the series will get three limited CDs called Neko Atsume Love. Each CD comes in a different flavor of cat; White, Black, and Brown, and will feature mostly Volcaloid tunes. They will also have one song representing the cat the CD is about; “White Cat” from Ryu*, “Welcome, Black Cat” from daniwellP, and “I Am a Brown Tiger” by Wonderful☆Opportunity. All three will include “My Precious” by Nem as well as the game’s background music. The CDs will also come with a clear file and stickers, and will go on sale August 19, though they are available for preorder now on Amazon.co.jp.