In the grand tradition of using incredible technologies to do dumb things (we're looking at you, makers of iBeer), pet-food brand Friskies today released a new iPad game for cats.
More accurately, the game - You Versus Cat - is for you to play against your cat.
You Versus Cat is not the first cat-centric iPad game. Friskies, which is owned by Purina, released three such games last year: Cat Fishing, Tasty Treasures Hunt and Party Mix-Up! Other companies have produced iPad games for cats before, all of which involved small objects that move quickly around the screen. The cat scores points by successfully pawing the objects.
Friskie's latest entry to the category represents a small step forward. Instead of the cat playing alone, the human launches tiny objects through a goal. If the cat can swat the objects before they go in, cat can haz points.
According to a leaderboard on the game's homepage, cats led humans 382,000 to 309,000 by 3:15 PM EDT on Thursday.
While the games may seem lighthearted, the programming is not. Friskie's has produced all four of these games using HTML5/CSS3, meaning they can be played across tablet types, from iOS to Android. The company also claims to have done serious research into divining what sorts of images and actions would stimulate the feline brain. "The colors, movement, and game-play have been researched and tested for maximum feline fun," reads the Web site.
It's unclear how many times the app has been downloaded so far, but by Thursday afternoon it had racked up 13,000 Facebook likes and 2,545 tweets.
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Douglas Quenqua is a journalist based in Brooklyn, NY who writes about culture and technology. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Wired, The New York Observer, and Fortune.
March 19, 2014