Miaow Miaow: FreeIndieGames’ All-Cat Spectacular

By Alec Meer on June 25th, 2012 at 1:00 pm.

RIP, Terry's cat https://twitter.com/terrycavanagh/status/215579417865490432

I live in fear – true, cold, debilitating terror – of my cat dying, even though she’s surely got anywhere from 5 to 10 years still left on the clock. These strange, joyful, fearful, psychopathic creatures can achieve such a hold on our lives and affections. Maybe it’s just the toxoplasmosis speaking, but young Ripley’s chirruping presence in my house makes for a tangible improvement of my days. So I can offer the most enormous condolences and sympathy to Distractionware’s Terry Cavanagh, whose long-term pet Thomas P. Cat passed away last week. Terry has offered the greatest of tributes to his dearly departed Tom – by swamping his ever-vital FreeIndieGam.es blog with over 20 weird and wonderful cat-based games.

It’s a mixture of games you might have played previously – such as the excellent political lesson The Cat & The Coup and Jasper Byrne’s Kirby-esque shapeshifting platformer Soul Brotherexperimental unheard-ofs and, inevitably, Nyancat mania. I do not recognise Nyancat as a true part of the cat oeuvre, though I do accept it as its own genre.

I haven’t played all the games I, er, haven’t played yet, but one that stands out is very short quasi-point and clicker The Fabulous Screech & His Trained Humans. It manages to be both very funny and very touching, as well as demonstrating an acute understanding of the way cats use their owners and their owners are grateful for it. If there’s a line that sums the game and its subject up best, it’s “You should never trust a cat, you know. They are beautiful and wise, but also deadly.” Or maybe it’s “This is where God keeps his collection of blaxploitation movies.”

Many more cat games on the site. Also lots of non-cat-based games, but whatever.

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53 Comments »

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  1. Dr I am a Doctor says:

    I’m stupid enough to believe that if I say ‘meh’ in a long-winded way it will be deemed a worthwhile comment. This is because I am really very stupid.

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      BlackestTea says:

      As far as this particular post is concerned, no version of “meh” will probably suffice as a worthwhile comment. “miau” is much more appropriate (although my personal reaction went more towards a lazy “bark”)

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      Satire or Edit I wonder…

  2. InternetBatman says:

    I’m sorry to hear about his loss. It’s a catastrophe.

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    RobF says:

    I adore The Fabulous Screech. It’s wonderful.

  4. applecup says:

    All the cat games are tagged, for ease of browsing

    http://www.freeindiegam.es/category/cats/

  5. Mordsung says:

    Cats and humans have formed a bond that is quite unique in the realm of pets. Unlike dogs, we didn’t choose to domesticate cats. We created cities and towns and villages so full of vermin that the cats moved in. Since they did a fabulous job of cleaning up the vermin, we let them stay and even began feeding them and treating them like family.

    We created a symbiotic relationship with cats that they were equally involved in the decision. No other pet can say this. No other animal we use/own CHOSE to become our pets, and I think that makes cats special.

    They’ve even learned from us. Cats don’t vocalize to each other in the wild. Lions roar for challenges, tigers are an amazingly silent animals, but our house cats have learned to mew at us to get what they want, be it food, or pets, or being let outdoors.

    Think about that as well. If you let a dog out, you have to go looking for it. If you let a cat out, it’ll be back eventually.

    They’re amazingly little animals and it sucks that their lifespans are only a 6th or so of our own.

    • EPICTHEFAIL says:

      Well stated.

    • zergrush says:

      ” If you let a dog out, you have to go looking for it.”

      Either dogs are usually able to return home on their own or I have the smartest puppies in the world.

      • Vorphalack says:

        It really depends on the dog. Some are unfortunately functionally retarded, and literally cannot survive without human intervention. Excessive in-breeding might have something to do with that. Other dogs can be sharp as a pin. You can usually tell just by looking at them, there’s something of the wolf about smart dogs. I think that’s why cats are generally more self reliant, they retain more of their wild instincts while being able to co-exist with humans. Most breeds of dog have had that bred out of them as it makes them too aggressive.

      • InternetBatman says:

        Yeah, that part just wasn’t true. Here’s a study that shows that dogs are twice as likely to come back home.

        http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107131/

    • Koozer says:

      Obviously dogs have never, ever learned to make unique noises at humans when they want something, or returned to their owner when being let off the lead. GOD dogs are so STOOPID.

      • Mordsung says:

        The point was this:

        Canines have always been vocal animals. They vocalize in the wild to each other all the time and the sounds they make to us are the same sounds they make to each other. Dogs are incredibly intelligent, most likely far more intelligent overall than cats. Cats don’t seem capable of deductive reasoning, which dogs have been proven to be able to do.

        Cats only started meowing as they do now after they had been living with us for a while.

        So I wasn’t saying cats are smarter than dogs, I was saying that cats have created a unique bond with humans where they chose to become our pets, and we chose to allow them into our home.

        We didn’t breed cats to be how they are. (though we now do breed show cats, and I think it’s as disgusting a practice and pure-breeding dogs)

        Cats are wild animals who originally chose to live with us.

        Dogs were wild animals we domesticated.

        In the end, for me, it makes a dog feel more like one of my children/younger siblings while it makes a cat seem more like an equal companion.

        • Blackcompany says:

          You make excellent points. Since rescuing two kittens I have done a boatload of research on cats. I figured that if I was going to live with cats, I owed it to them to understand them as best I could.

          Its funny, because when I first got cats I would leave a light on for them when I went out past dark. Yeah, shows what I know. Turns out leaving a curtain open is more than sufficient. They see rather well in the dark.

          But perhaps the most fascinating thing of all for me is the communication factor. Cats may well be the only species of animal that has developed a method of communication used only with other species of animal.

          Cats do not meow to one another. They use body language – boy do they ever – and purring to communicate with other cats. But not meows. That is a sound they make only in order to communicate with humans. And each meow – for food or attention or because they are startled – is a different sound. Each is unique not only to the cat but also to the need.

          I think these are remarkable animals and though I know in the long run I too will suffer the terrible loss of having to say goodbye to my furry friends (they feel more like friends or companions than pets, really) I still could not bring myself to turn them away, and I would do it again.

          • JFS says:

            Tell that to the cats that are screaming around my house in the dead of night. They DO communicate vocally if a certain pressure is high enough.

        • Koozer says:

          How dare you reply in a reasonable manner! Don’t you realise this is the internet?

          On noises: dogs use different noises for humans (and other species) than they do for each other. You say cats are marvellous for learning to make noises for humans, and I say dogs have done much the same.

          Also, cats smell, and they emanate evil from their staring eyes of false innocence and contempt.

    • Janto says:

      Hey, I like cats, but I’m deeply skeptical about the ‘special’ nature of their choosing to be domesticated, at least as opposed to any other animal. The exact same theories are out there for dogs, that the initial relationship was dogs/wolves and humans cooperating as symbiotic partners.

      Also, as far as meows go, obviously cats vocalise at each other, when they’re horny, when they’re pissed off, and when they’re kittens meeping for their mother. It’s probably the last trait that’s become more dominant in domestic cats as the random ‘human cuteness factor’ shaped their evolution.

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        Wisq says:

        Both dogs and cats vocalise much as they do now when they’re puppies/kittens. It helps during the period when they’re helpless and relying on their mother for food and protection. But in the interests of survival, the mother eventually teaches them to be quiet (for most of the time), because in the wild, being loud can lead to being dead.

        Once you remove that pressure, and make their long-term survival dependent on a human “mother”, it’s only natural that both species would continue to make noise for their entire lives.

        It also provides a useful guide for owners wishing to teach their animals to be quiet on demand. In my experience, giving your dog a gentle physical cue (such as a downwards push on the nose) combined with a quiet murmer (such as the word “quiet”) from an early enough age is enough to teach otherwise yappy dogs to quiet down on demand, eventually needing only the word itself.

    • gwathdring says:

      Indeed, Janto. I absolutely love cats, but there isn’t quite enough evidence to suggest we have a profoundly different evolutionary relationship with cats and dogs. But as cats spent a lot of their time with humans being used to hunt small furry rodents, and in breeding since then have had their behaviors altered for much less specific behaviors than dogs have … cats today at least appear to have substantially more “wildness” in them and independence. That said, most breeds of house cat will live wildly shorter lives in the great outdoors and many will be unable to make anything resembling a healthy living for themselves. Stray cats are not remarkably more well off than stray dogs. They aren’t, fundamentally speaking, more “wild” than dogs. Less inbred or less genetically unstable compared on average, perhaps.

      There’s this rather interesting mythos around cats. They move so softly, seem so competent and independent that we build that image into our personification of the cat while we build a sort of friendly stupidity into our personification of the dog. And yet dogs, both through intentional manipulation of their genes and their natural abilities, are often far more adaptable and intelligent in the human sense. Similarly, cats are incredibly affectionate and desirous of human company and often just as lost without us because of how we have bred and trained them to live.

      So much of our imagination of these animals, as far as I can tell, is mirrored in the way their movements are personified. The big, spunky, plonking skip of the dog versus the quiet, slinking, almost seductive creep of the cat. Whether the personification or the myths came first is another matter entirely.

  6. bill says:

    Ripley is a cool name for a cat.

  7. MichaelPalin says:

    “If I could be somebody else, it would be Terry Cavanagh…”.

  8. The First Door says:

    Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear that! I grew up with a cat who was only 6 weeks younger than I was. When I lost her as a teenager, I think it was easily one of the most upsetting days of my young life.

    All I can say is that I hope you start to feel a little better as soon as possible, Terry!

  9. Jimbo says:

    Greatest game with cats? Lion? ChuChu Rocket?

  10. Koozer says:

    Can the internet get over the whole cat thing yet? It’s the dogs’ turn.

    • FKD says:

      Does Dog Fort count?

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      Wisq says:

      Dogs just aren’t as funny, somehow. Or at least, last time I checked.

      That might have been augmented somewhat in the meantime by all the cat jokes being beaten to death, though.

    • gwathdring says:

      Cats seems to do more obviously silly things than dogs. It’s more obvious when they misapply their natural behavior set (i.e. they are more prone to unintentional physical comedy). The funny things dogs do tend to make decent enough stories, but not necessarily good visual comedy.

      Have you ever seen a dog do a spazzy backflip because a flickering dust mote floated by and set the dog into kill mode? Dogs are usually much less slapstick.

    • dE says:

      When it comes to comedy, few things can beat the joy and satisfaction of seeing someones smugness getting wiped out by their own doing.
      Have you looked at cats? The way they prance about like they own the goddamn place, how they allow us, inferior humans, to pet and feed them out of their good will? So if one of those furry little Majesties suddenly finds itself in a rather stupid situation – it’s funny. Especially since they try their hardest to keep their smug composure. A comparison would be some holier than you bastard sitting on a high horse cavalry – being forced to dismount while having to eat his own words.

      Now a dog on the other hand… They’re in danger of getting heart attacks simply from how happy they are to see us. They could probably survive on love alone and if you need them, they’re there. No questions asked. So when a dog finds itself in a rather stupid situation, it’s more like a good friend being unfortunate. Sure, one might laugh for a moment but generally you don’t laugh about friends. You help them back up.

      I have seven cats. I must be masochistic… or full of gleeful Schadenfreude.

  11. Davee says:

    Wow. “The Fabulous Screech” was incredibly moving for it’s simplicity and length (not long at all).

    My condolences to Terry. The day I lose any of my two cats will be a sad day indeed.

  12. RaffyS says:

    i enjoy pulling cat tails.

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    Toupee says:

    Terry, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry for your loss. I too lost my cat of 15 years last year, and it is painful. Best wishes to you and yours, and what a fantastic cat name.

  14. CaptainDeathbeard says:

    I feel your pains cat brothers! My kitten got ran over last night. Wasn’t even a year old…