Quantcast
This Adorable Japanese Cat Game Is Everywhere And We Tried to Figure it Out

Neko Atsume: Where fish is currency, and cats come to play.

Editor's note: It feels like everyone I follow on Twitter these days is playing Neko Atsume, or ​ねこあつめ, which is sort of like ​The Simpsons: Tapped Out but with, uh, cats. Cats! You can buy things with fish, because fish is currency in this world, and all these cats come and visit your house and eat your food and play with your toys and everything is in Japanese. I have no idea what's going on half the time, which is part of the fun! Here to walk us through the insanity—catlamity? catcauphony?—is ​Soha Kareem and J​ordan Hale.


From: Jordan Hale
​Sent: Wednesday, April 08, 2015 1:52 PMTo: Soha Kareem

Subject: nya nya nya

dude

the cat game

it has changed my life. it has made me a new friend at work and has me speaking to my sister again and yeah my partner is sick of hearing about it but whatever, i have a catnip mouse and a fuzzy squid that matches the IRL fuzzy squid we have at home

also i have 420 silver fish right now


From: Soha Kareem
​Sent: Wednesday, April 08, 2015 2:25 PM
​To: Jordan Hale
​Subject: Re: nya nya nya

So, I have to admit, this is the second time in the history of playing mobile games that I've made in-app purchases. (First time was Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, and I'm not sorry). I'm usually good about avoiding these things since I work for a F2P game studio and don't want to, like, buy into monetization stuff?

But, these cats. THESE CATS. I just want them to be happy and see them cuddle on big pillows together. I've got one cat left to find and I've been checking my phone obsessively to see if it pops up.

How are your cats, btw.


From: Jordan Hale
​Sent: Wednesday, April 08, 2015 2:26 PM
​To: Soha Kareem
​Subject: Re: nya nya nya

So my in-app purchases in the past have been limited to 99 cent packs of new Sudoku levels and that was years ago when there was only, like, one Sudoku app with an interface that I could deal with. I don't think I've bought anything in-app since then, and I am actually resisting buying more fish with real cash now. (Did you know they are anchovies? At least I think that's what they are.) I am collecting cats the hard way but am determined to keep them happy with what I have. I am a fan of boxes and balls. I like the tiny cardboard box and the blue rubber ball.

I keep seeing your screenshots of RARE CATS and I've resisted showing them to my friends or even asking how you got them because spoilers. I gotta find them for myself. I saw a walkthrough pop up on my Twitter feed—well, sort of a walkthrough, it explained what to buy in order to make certain cats come out—and I had to close it because I don't want to know. Though that site had translations of their names and stuff and I do want to learn those!

Did I tell you I have been relearning the very little Japanese I knew from this game? With the help of an online kanji dictionary and the handwriting function on the Google Translate app I've been muddling through all of the "meowtadata" screens and translating their personalities and characteristics. THEY ARE ADORABLE but they are all scrawled on sheets of paper at home so I will update this email with that later. Like fatcat is "devilish eater" or something like that. At least once a day I send or receive a text that says "fucking fatcat."

My cats are great of course. I love that there are multiple tuxedos in the garden.

Image: Soha Kareem


From: Soha Kareem
​Sent: Wednesday, April 08, 2015 3:38 PM
​To: Jordan Hale
​Subject: Re: nya nya nya

The RARE CATS are probably my favourite part of this game. Where do they get their costumes? Is the mysterious owner of these gardens and apartments the ones sewing the outfits for them? So many questions have gone unanswered, but I think I prefer it that way.

I've been a bit disappointed (okay, well, more like unreasonably furious) that my cats lately have been giving me fewer gold anchovies. My version of fatcat (I've named him Blerch, based off an Oatmeal running comic strip) is also showing up more regularly and now I'm wondering if I've hit hard mode. Maybe the Gaming Gods are cursing me with impossible difficulty settings because I haven't been playing Bloodborne.

I remember you texting me some of the Japanese nicknames for some of these babies! What's Japanese for "where are fucking gold anchovies, you goddamn brats?"

Sidenote: they should update the game to add cleaning up litter boxes and hairballs.


From: Jordan Hale
​Sent: Wednesday, Apr 08, 2015 5:31 PM
​To: Soha Kareem
​Subject: Re: nya nya nya

listening to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' "Push the Sky Away" while playing nekoatsume but the background music is playing and I am turning neither one of them off

This game is perfectly scored. We have rdio playlists selected for each one of our real cats, songs that reflect each one of their personalities, and the nekoatsume music belongs on each. It belongs on the playlist of all cats.


From: Soha Kareem
​Sent: Wednesday, April 08, 2015 10:04 PM
​To: Jordan Hale
​Subject: Re: nya nya nya

So I dig the new update where your music doesn't turn off when Nekoatsume loads, but I have to admit there was a special moment I had on the streetcar when I was feeling moody as fuck and listening to Nine Inch Nails and accidentally switched to Nekoatsume only to hear ADORABLE BUBBLY HAPPY CAT MUSIC. It was so heavenly, it would've even made Trent crack a smile.

ALSO HOLY SHIT! One of my rare cats, Teacup (the one you find in the house), just got me a gift! It's been a long time since I've received a gift from these kittens, let alone a rare one.

Have your cats responded to the game at all? Sometimes my cat Garnet likes to swipe at apps if I'm looking at my tablet, and I have a couple of cat games for her that she'll paw at before getting bored, but she seems only mildly interested in Nekoatsume at best. Her head will ping pong back and forth if I'm putting out food and toys for them but then she'll walk away and do something else (or start whipping her tail on my phone to get my attention).

Image: Soha Kareem


From: Jordan Hale
​Sent: Thursday, April 09, 2015 10:43 AM
​To: Soha Kareem
​Subject: Re: nya nya nya

https://welcometowonderland.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/how-to-play-neko-atsume/

Do the cats' "fighting strength" mean anything?

I'm not 100% sure about this, but I heard that a stronger cat will push a weaker cat out of the way if it wants to play with the same item.

WHAAAAAAT


From: Soha Kareem
​Sent: Thursday, April 09, 2015 10:57 AM
​To: Jordan Hale
​Subject: Re: nya nya nya

JORDAN, holy fuck. I literally JUST had this conversation with my boss and am currently had that website loaded up when you emailed me. I think this game provided us with a very important psych-cat link.

PS There's also a way to get free daily fish that I thought would've involved installing a Japanese keyboard but I was able to just get them by tapping on the signs?! AMAZING.

Anyway, who are the asshole cats strong arming other cats? Is this a post-apocalyptic universe?

I'm so happy that we're spreading the news of this game. My mentions on Twitter are "where can I find this?" and "how is everyone playing this suddenly?" I feel like this was somewhat my doing, or at least I'd like to think that. Currently, two managers in my office are playing the game and providing me with a steady stream of updates.

I AM SO PLEASED.


From: Jordan Hale
​Sent: Thursday, April 09, 2015 11:21 AM
​To: Soha Kareem
​Subject: Re: nya nya nya

I reinstalled the Japanese keyboard to play this, and I've been copypasting kanji via the Google Translate app (which does a decent job translating screenshots but I've been using the handwriting input to relearn the little I know), but I was so happy to discover the free fish function.

Fairfax Tinycat, despite being tiny, is one of those cats who strongarms other cats because he is a giant brat. He tries to ride Wilshire like a horse. [Editor's note: These are Jordan's real cats.] I wonder who the strongest cat is - okay, Chillin' Cat (on the red zabuton) has 222 strength and the tortoiseshell has 180 and one of my favourite cats, the little silver tabby whom I call Bucketcat because its profile shot is taken in the bucket, has a score of ZERO. Omg! Kitties!!!

You were the one who brought this game into my life!!! I had seen screenshots on my feed from one of the several Japanese cat-tweeting accounts I follow but I had no idea what it was and now it has consumed my life


From: Soha Kareem
​Sent: Thursday, April 09, 2015 12:56 PM
​To: Jordan Hale
​Subject: Re: nya nya nya

It looks like Samurai Cat has 250 strength?? That katana, dude. Murder.

I GOT MY LAST CAT! I feel complete. Now to wait for all of the gifts.

I think we can conclude that between you re-learning Japanese and the amount of happiness I'm witnessing unfold on my Twitter timeline, that this game is an international treasure that holds the secrets of world peace. Y/N?

You too can download Neko Atsume, or ねこあつめ, for ​iOS and ​Android.