Spawning a litany of outrageous memes, I sometimes get the feeling these furry felines have sneakily taken control of the internet. Cat simulators, cats underwater, politi-cats, Nyan cats, is there anywhere they haven’t been? The moon, probably. I believe Gromit made it there first. Anyway, it goes without saying cats have claimed shares in video games with varying degrees of sophistication. From Atari to PlayStation to PC, we’ve seen cats leaping through windows, searching for lost frogs, and even ones stuck in a depressed funk without employment. We’ve selected some memorable games starring cats below, but if we’ve skipped one of your favourites? Let us know!
If you’ve ever read the comics, you’ll be all too familiar with Garfield, the world’s laziest cat period. In the eponymous PlayStation and PC games, players had to help Garfield clean the house or risk going on a diet. Normally, that’s a good thing, but when you love lasagna as much as he does, it’s tantamount to punishment. Garfield also appeared in subsequent titles on Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, and Nintendo Wii.
2. Night in the Woods
Released to critical acclaim, Night in the Woods is an arthouse indie adventure that covers atypical themes like depression and mental illness. It was funded on kickstarter in just over a day, and after four years of development, the story of Mae Borowski was ready. After dropping out of college, Mae winds up back in her home town of Possum Springs, but something feels off. Jobless and lacking any real direction, she tries reconnecting with her old friends, which eventually results in finding a trail of clues that lead to the woods.
3. Alley Cat
Alley Cat’s limited neon colour palette might seem boring by today’s standards, but this game is a darling of the 1980s. In it, you control an energetic black cat that jumps around trash cans, dodging dogs and jumping through open windows to complete a slew of difficult minigames. Originally released for Atari, Alley Cat made the leap to PC, and can still be played today on the Internet Arcade.
This title certainly doesn’t give away much, but HK is a beautiful looking game about a cat meandering through the busy streets of Hong Kong. Specifically, a place called Kowloon Walled City. Robots lean against the walls, deep in conversation. The glaring lights of shop signs clash against the night, and a cat moves eternally forward, using pipes as transport to reach its destination. HK is currently in development, so stay tuned for more updates later this year.
5. Rain World
As you might have noticed, the protagonist in Rain World is actually a “nomadic slugcat”. And while its ghostly presentation is a little disturbing, the objective of the game is rather fascinating; you need to guide the slugcat safely through a ravaged ecosystem, hunting for scraps of food to stay alive. The world around you is bleak, unforgiving, and overflowing with frightening creatures that won’t hesitate in making you their next meal.
6. Sonic Adventure
A bestselling launch title for SEGA Dreamcast, Sonic Adventure was a much-loved platformer that put high-speed gameplay into the spotlight. It even got re-released for GameCube and PC. Sonic Adventure lets players control six different characters including Big the Cat, a feline whose reputation precedes him. In Sonic Adventure, his story involved chasing after his friend Froggy and fishing him out of ponds—something fans didn’t find particularly exciting. Last year, a trial for Big’s Big Fishing Adventure 3 released, a parody visual-novel about Big the Cat’s lost story.
7. Petz (Catz)
Catz is an animal simulation game for PC that belongs to the Petz series. It let you adopt a cat, raise and care for it, and eventually, breed it with other cats. Another game called Petz: Catz 2 came out for PC, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii but unlike the original Catz, it offered a new adventure that tasked players with defeating an evil wolf intent on destroying the universe.
And finally, “Cat Mario” is an absolute impostor and can’t be in this list because he’s in a tanooki suit.
Other lists in our 7 Games series: