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Neko Atsume: the game of passivity

Cat collecting is an activity, after all

I have played Neko Atsume for several months now. First, I renamed every new cat I saw, so my menagerie was entirely personal essayists and fictional characters. Then I waited.

Neko Atsume isn't a game, necessarily; more like an activity. You set out food and then you come back and there are cats playing on the toys you left out. They bring gifts, the silver and gold fish that are the game's money, along with more mundane trophies like cicada shells and rolling pins. You don't really do anything with them; you just set out food and passively observe.

The stakes couldn't possibly be lowerIn some sense, video games have had their "bureaucratic hero" phase already; Sim City and Civilization essentially make you, the player, chief bureaucrat. Neko Atsume is almost totally passive; the only decisions you make are what you will buy, and what you will place in your yard. With the new update, you don't even have to place toys in the yard yourself; a randomizer will do it for you. The cats don't demand much, either — they won't die if you don't feed them, they just won't visit or bring you any fish. The stakes couldn't possibly be lower. It's ideal for someone who only wants to check it once a day, if that.

Is there a way to "win" at Neko Atsume? Hard to say. You can collect snapshots of all the cats, and mementos from them all — thus "completing" the game, in some sense. Is there a point to Neko Atsume? I can't tell. I'll keep playing and let you know if I find out.