The popular game Neko Atsume, an app in which you collect cats in a virtual backyard by enticing them with food and toys is being made into a #Film starring the Japanese television and film actor Atsushi Ito. The game's title means 'kitty collector' in Japanese and has been wildly popular as a creature collecting app that was released by company Hit-Point long before the virtual reality game Pokemon Go, with more than 5.5 million downloads in its first year.
Neko Atsume takeover
Neko Atsume came out in late 2014, although only in Japanese, and an English-language version was released in October 2015. Players are rewarded with gold and silver fish in the game when cats visit their back garden, which can be decorated using food, toys, and furniture bought using these fish. The game's soothing interface and relaxing gameplay combined with the need to catch a visit from every cat have made it highly addictive to many. The mental health possibilities of smartphone #Games such as Pokemon Go have made headlines, with many people using the game as a chance to get out of the house and focus on something engaging, but many people also use less active games like Neko Atsume as a way to unwind and settle anxiety.
The Neko Atsume film looks set to follow this trend. Masatoshi Kurakata, the film's director, said that he 'wanted to make a simple movie that gives off feelings of warmth'. The film tells the story of a young author who is struggling with writer's block, but starts to leave out food in his back garden for a cat he spots, leading to an obsession with befriending the cats that visit his garden. Titled Neko Atsume No Ie, or 'Cat Collector's House', the film seems set to be popular on the internet in particular, where cat photos and videos are routinely shared. The combination of this popular app and real life cats is likely to draw in people looking for a heartwarming experience.
The film is set to be released in 2017. With its creation comes questions of how can popular #Technology and entertainment be combined and whether these combinations bring the same enjoyment as the original apps that become so popular. Are addictive apps a short-lived fad or can they offer lasting cultural value?