Prolegomena to a History of Cats in Videogames

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As opposed to cats among videogames. That is an altogether separate matter. Apologies for the confusing header image.

Ian here—

By now, every right-thinking person on the internet knows that omgcatrevolution is the most essential Tumblr in existence. (Perhaps even the greatest site, bar none, on the internet.) But although it is an ever-more-exhaustive archive of cats in mainstream cinema, cats in experimental cinema, cats in animation, cats on television, cats in music videos, and cats in porn, there one crucial bit of moving-image culture that remains its blind spot: cats in videogames. I am swooping in to rectify this.

In all seriousness, the summer has hit, classes are over, and I have some big things brewing on my horizon. I’m determined to still post regularly, though, so I’m trying to design some sort of mechanism that forces me to update on a set schedule. It is for this reason that I now announce a new feature on this blog: videogame cat of the week.

Yes, really.

I can’t think of a better game to start this series out with than Will Herring’s My Garbage Cat Wakes Me Up at 3AM Every Day (2015), which was first brought to my attention by my good friend Hannah Frank, contributor to and co-founder of omgcatrevolution.

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An incisive investigation for what it means for those of us who are diurnal and those of us who are crepuscular to co-habitate within the same living space, My Garbage Cat raises questions of animal subjectivity and human-nonhuman relations. As the titular garbage cat (whose poor color vision is reflected in the game’s GameBoy-esque color scheme), your job is to meow, knead, and knock things over. For some reason the human you’re living with doesn’t like this, but whatever. The two of you share different priorities.

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My Garbage Cat is a deep delve into an alternative form of being-in-the-world. Although its platforming is admittedly clunky—Garbage Cat lacks a certain feline grace—it can now be definitively said that more games could use a dedicated “knead” button. So much potential there.

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