Hello! I am back with another list about videogame animals. This time it is about cats. You might know about cats from Very Important Cultural Institutions like Buzzfeed and Inspirational Posters. Perhaps you have read a book about them by T.S. Eliot, a poet who wrote the line “I will show you fear in a handful of dust”. That line is not from his book Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, which was adapted into a musical called Cats because that is how the 1980s were.
Despite the numbers, this is not in any particular order.
The early-to-mid-90s were saturated with mascot platformers: 2D games where a cartoony hero ran and jumped and collected things in an attempt to be the next Mario, with all the exposure and merchandising that would bring. Bubsy, anthropomorphic and clad in a white t-shirt with an exclamation point, grabbed yarn balls and could glide. But it’s Los Angeles-based Arcane Kids’ Bubsy 3D: Bubsy Visits the James Turrell Retrospective that you’ve got to play.
Big the Cat, rod-and-reel carrying member of the ever-expanding cast of the Sonic the Hedgehog games, was retired in 2012 (according to a podcast interview with then-community manager Ken Balough). Being, well, big, the poor guy caught a lot of flak from folks who thought increasing the cast size was doing a disservice to the integrity of the series of games starring an incredibly fast blue hedgehog with red sneakers and a 1993 magazine ad attitude.
When Heavenly Sword developer Ninja Theory rebooted Devil May Cry, main character Dante got a new guide in Kat. She’s not the typical young-woman-as-guide device, holed away in a command center away from the action where they won’t have to spend resources on animating her. She moves through the space along with Dante, although sometimes she’s in an adjacent dimension. Her magic isn’t “high art” ivory tower old white dude literature, it’s spray paint and stencils. It’s the rare videogame graffiti that isn’t an exposition delivery device.
Armor Games’ Sushi Cat gets off a lot easier than the other large-bodied cat in this list. He’s basically a squishy Plinko chip. You drop him from above many a calculatedly kawaii board and hope he bounces into enough pieces of sushi that you can beat your high score before the staff meeting is over. Not that you’d ever play a browser-based game at work.
Apparently the are only thing there are fewer of in videogames than women protagonists are the names they can have. This Kat gets her gravity manipulation powers from her cat, Dusty. There’s probably a low-hanging criticism about how rather than having the ability to control her flight, Kat cedes to gravity and falls in whatever direction she’s pointed. She hasn’t quite mastered the knack of throwing herself at the ground and missing.
Nyamco (Goro in the US version) is a cat that hides behind stolen goods in a mansion filled with other cats. If Mappy, the mouse-cop that Wikipedia says is named for a derogatory Japanese term for “police officer”, grabs an item while Nyamco is hidden behind it, you get bonus points! And this character from the Namco arcade game isn’t even the weirdest thing on this list.
Cait Sith is a Japanese role-playing game character named after a Celtic folk tale. He is a puppet controlled by an executive in an environment-destroying corporation initially used to spy on the group of heroes trying to stop said corporation, before eventually switching sides. He wears a crown and a cape and a bowtie and travels on the back of a giant stuffed animal that he brought to life with magic.
Who doesn’t love heavy machinery? Backhoes, dump trucks, that thing that you call a bulldozer but is actually a digger. PLUS it’s a brand name that has been expanded for a lot of people to refer to the generic equipment itself. And in this age of social media, who doesn’t love a brand that’s a proprietary eponym?
It’s gray and purple and psychic and not technically a cat? Pokemon are weird.
All I know is that if I was murdered and then brought back to life as a ghost who could relive the last moments of the dead and alter things so that they didn’t die, I wouldn’t look this good . A spike of blonde hair, black shirt and white tie, shades and red suit: Sissel is one cool cat. Plus, he gets to hang out with Missile the Pomeranian, our number 11 best videogame dog.
Brian Taylor is a SWM, 32, who lives with two cats. #ladiiiiies