Cat Life: ChatChat

By Alec Meer on January 30th, 2012 at 2:03 pm.

Long-term readers will guess which one's me all too easily

Instructions: “be a cat.” This is all you need to know about VVVVVV creator Terry Cavanagh’s free and cannily-named mini-MMO, ChatChat. Go on, be a cat. Do what cats do (bum-licking not included, mercifully). Hang around with other cats in the way that cats do, i.e. doing your best to ignore them with barely-concealed hostility. Catch mice. Leave dead mice as gruesome offerings to your owner. Be completely unmoved by the discovery of treasure, because if treasure doesn’t run away, scream and bleed, what possible use is it to you?

No, there isn’t crafting or raiding or or bosses elite items. It’s a game about being a cat. When did you last see a cat wearing a mystical hood or worrying about what level it was? Pfft. Miaow and purr and nap and explore and hunt and be a cat, stupid.

In passing, I’ve been kicking around ideas for a puzzle-based cat sim myself for a while now, so it’s vaguely distressing that someone else has dabbled in similar territory there before I could talk myself into doing anything. Still, it remains fertile territory – one day I’ll find a programmer and empty my cat-obsessed brains into a game project.

Play ChatChat in your browser for free here. Oh, and if you don’t like cats, you could always figure out the secret way to turn into a dog…

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41 Comments »

  1. Headache says:

    Sounds like the purrfect game for cat lovers.

  2. Meat Circus says:

    I’m feline in the mood to play another MMO. I hope it isn’t full of pussies.

  3. Lars Westergren says:

    I can haz pun-thread?

  4. Nathan_G says:

    Always brightens my day to see new Cavanagh code released into the wild.

  5. Inigo says:

    Where is the eat-grass-and-vomit button?

  6. CMaster says:

    After finding the way to become a dog, I spent the rest of my time trying to convert the entire server to dogs, with some success.
    Also playing a really bad version of “skip to my loo” on the keyboard.

  7. heyincendiary says:

    I think I spawned as a dog. Highly unfair. I’ve always billed myself as a cat person but I’m taking this symbolically.

  8. Tei says:

    Well.. since people put cats to play iPad games, I am looking forward for a internet where half the population of a chat room are cats in real life, and everybody is sharing photos of cats.

  9. yhancik says:

    That suddenly reminds me of Alley Cat http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTFpuUJhP2Q

    • Skabooga says:

      Oh, Alley Cat. You were so ridiculously hard.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      It was made back in the era where game-levels were synonymous with diffficulty-levels.

      What? You want to “choose” “easy difficulty”? Fine. Insert the token and see how long you can stay on level one.

  10. InternetBatman says:

    I feel like this is going to be super successful. I was reading Scientific American the other day, and apparently a recent study found that “Everybody wants to be a cat, because a cat’s the only cat that knows where it’s at. Fascinating.

    I think Disney songs get better as they get more racist.

    • sinister agent says:

      I quite liked the “Fortune cookie always wrong” bit. It’s completely ridiculous, to the point where it’d be quite a challenge to get worked up about it. It’s just unfortunate that the voice and appearance are so, well, y’know.

      Also relevant. (youtube link).

  11. Gnoupi says:

    An impressive thing with this small game is an observation on human “nature” in anonymous online places.

    Besides exploring, you have a way to score points, by bringing mice to the house. It’s as little as that, no bigger goal or anything, just incrementing a counter. So what are some people doing? Joining a room, and leaving their cat to stay exactly on the doorstep for hours. Thus preventing anyone from bringing a mouse and scoring anything.

    It’s impressive to see that no matter the game, the context… If there is a way for people to exploit and troll others, there will be some idiots to exploit and troll.

    • Tei says:

      It depends on what community you publish your game. If you publish here on RPS, you will get a few people like that. If you publish the game in 4chan or something awnful, you will get way more people acting in a disruptive way. Theres even communities where people will just poke around in the game, and quit without breaking a window.

      About two years ago I did a experiment like that (with a thing to draw stuff), and thats where my conclusions.

    • Gnoupi says:

      I haven’t thought about the community angle, indeed, it might be a factor. I assume that going to the game right now is more likely to find rooms filled with people making meow-puns.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      They might just have been taking the whole cat role playing a bit too far. Cats love sleeping right in everyone’s way.

  12. Bluerps says:

    Cute. Even though some other cat followed me around wherever I went for no discernible reason. That was kind of weird.

  13. Tams80 says:

    When the treasure stops moving it is no longer fun and becomes a present for my owner. Honestly.

  14. Jae Armstrong says:

    In passing, I’ve been kicking around ideas for a puzzle-based cat sim myself for a while now, so it’s vaguely distressing that someone else has dabbled in similar territory there before I could talk myself into doing anything. Still, it remains fertile territory – one day I’ll find a programmer and empty my cat-obsessed brains into a game project.

    Funny that, so have I. Though, mine was more in the line of a “Hyperborean Mice”-style murder-em-up.

    Anyone else been nursing dreams of disdain and grooming simulators?

  15. Shroom says:

    Wow, really anything is fur game for a pun thread on RPS isn’t it?

  16. Rikard Peterson says:

    I’ve been screeching outside the house like it’s april, but nothing happens. :(

  17. sinister agent says:

    I became a dog literally the instant I started. Worst cat experience ever.