I miss my cat. Detective John Munch, which is my cat’s name, is staying with my in-laws while we’re out of town. I miss her when I’m away, but it’s harder now when my wife and I returned home for a few days before leaving again. Kitty usually sleeps next to me, purring until we both fall asleep. I have no trouble sleeping, I think mainly because I have a small zolpidem cat by my side most nights. It’s such a cool situation that it successfully blocks out the guilt I have that Detective no longer sleeps next to my wife, the original owner of him.
Whatever. My wife is fine with it. She says that part of what attracted her to me is that I instantly loved her cat so much. How could she not? Detective is a small 7-pound ball of fluff that works with magic and cat food. I’ve met quite a few cats in my time, and Detective is the best of them both in looks and personality. She’s basically real life Nermal, only Garfield could find a way to get mad at her.
Now she’s out, and it’s a little harder to sleep with a noise machine instead of a purr machine. I’m going to live. But I miss her. Her meows and failures bring me joy. Usually when I miss my cat, I pull out my phone and scroll through the 20,123 photos I have of her on my iPhone. I’ve been doing that recently, but I also played Lost.
Lost it’s a pleasure. Our very own Patrick Redford wrote a wonderful little review of the game on Sunday. He argued that the real joy in the game comes from the ability to inhabit a cat’s life for five hours, and I agree. (Although the game took me six). It is fun to play with the cat. The spine of cats is especially elastic and does not have a collarbone: the spine is connected to the shoulder blade only by muscle. It allows them to move in tremendously fun ways to control. I think the game understood the physics of cats very well. (“Stray is the first game to capture cats perfectly,” wrote one reviewer, probably inevitably.) in my lap The detective doesn’t even sit on my lap.
The game has become a surprise hit; perhaps less surprisingly, there has been a batch Good coverage of the game. Wikipedia has six review summary paragraphs; I particularly liked Alexis Ong’s review on Polygon which explored the game’s successes and failures as a Western version of Hong Kong. (The game’s setting is loosely inspired by Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City, which has since been demolished.) Many words have been written about this game. Every conceivable angle seems to be covered.
Well, except one. Screenrant’s blog about the purported cat voice actor, Lala, contains this clause: “It didn’t hurt that the little orange cat design was exceptionally cute.” CNN called the cat “adorable.” In a blog about real cat that the main character of Stray is based on, SVG said that the real-life cat was “equally adorable”. I would like to address this point.
I love cats. I like them cute and ugly, skinny and fat, well behaved and not. I like my next door neighbor’s three well-fed cats and the real-life stray dog that lives down the block. I like the many random kittens I see on the streets of my city. I understand that even these ugly cats can be “cute” and “adorable” and the stories referenced about Lost not bad but come on. This cat is ugly.
Sometimes a journalist just needs to break through self-censorship and elite surveillance and tell the world the truth. And my truth is that this little ball of digital fur is ugly. Lost it’s a visually interesting game, so I can only imagine this is intentional: since your cat is just a cat and can die in the game, they made it ugly so people wouldn’t be so upset. There are some emotional moments in LostThe final chapters of, and it is a testament to the quality of the game that they are legitimately moving despite the cat being ugly and also the other characters in the game being robots.
But think how awesome this game would be if my cat was in it.
Watch! That’s a much nicer game. Look at my nifty little kitty sitting on that box in the post-pandemic cyberpunk wasteland! Awww, little baby cat.