Gamers Aren't The Only Creatures Captivated By This Popular Video Game

There was a time when gaming was considered quite a niche hobby. In the early days of the industry, the likes of "Pong" and "Space Invaders" certainly drew a lot of interest, but they were unlikely to lure in the unconvinced with their simple visuals and repetitive bleepy-bloopy sound effects.

Some decades on, video games represent an enormous industry. According to an April 2021 study by Accenture, in fact, it's a global industry with a value of more than $300 billion. The staggering figure, of course, includes every facet of the industry, from the most accessible and popular of mobile games to the deepest, most befuddling of RPGs. Inclusivity is the name of the game, as it were: However obscure your tastes may be, a developer somewhere has probably created a title that caters to them. Whether you only own a smartphone or you have a high-end gaming PC and every console known to humankind, it'll hopefully be on your platform.

Say, for instance, you're a cat, and you'd be super interested in a video game that lets you play as a cat and embrace every aspect of cat-ness. Here's some great news: There is just such a game, and, unsurprisingly, cats around the world have become dedicated gamers in response.

Every cat's favorite video game

For many fans of video games, it's the escapism aspect that appeals the most. With this in mind, the simulation genre has proved enduringly popular. "Animal Crossing: New Horizons," Nintendo's cutesy life sim for Nintendo Switch, has been a monster hit. According to ArsTechnica, reporting in February 2021, it had sold 31 million copies.

"New Horizons," of course, had the might of Nintendo and the tragic influence of a global pandemic behind it. There was no better time to escape into an adorable and anthropomorphic-animal-populated fantasy world. BlueTwelve Studios' game "Stray" is destined not to quite hit those sorts of numbers. It has certainly proven popular, though, and not only with human players. According to the website for "Stray," the game is "a third-person cat adventure game set amidst the detailed, neon-lit alleys of a decaying cybercity and the murky environments of its seedy underbelly." Rest assured that it also offers feline-focused silliness in spades. The player, the website promises, will "interact with the environment in playful ways. Be stealthy, nimble, silly, and sometimes as annoying as possible with the strange inhabitants of this mysterious world."

Be a cat and do cat things, essentially. BlueTwelve, apparently, is a modest little French team "mostly made up of cats and a handful of humans." It seems as though the influence of those cats can be truly felt in this authentic feline experience. Players have been sharing footage of their own cats captivated by the kitty action of "Stray."

Inspiring a new generation of furry feline gamers

Our furry friends sometimes seem to be absorbed by TVs. Nature programs, and the sights and sounds they provide, have driven many dogs to a barking frenzy (and induced one in all the neighborhood dogs in turn) (per the American Kennel Club). Cats, being the curious and chaotic souls they are, seem to vicariously enjoy the kitty mischief of the realistic cats of "Stray."

On the game's Reddit page, cat owners are sharing their pets' interactions with the title. "Well they got the cat behavior spot on!" writes 42Hexic, sharing a video of an adorable kitty licking its paws in a pose reflected perfectly by a cat in the footage of "Stray" playing just behind it. "Made it almost to the end of the game before my orange boy noticed his twin," SnarkTheBoojum posts, along with footage of said orange boy watching the screen, transfixed, while a cat that looks just like him stares back at him from inside that magical television screen he doesn't understand.

CNN reports that the game is now available on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, and that it's quickly proven to be a phenomenon with the world's cats. As the outlet rightly suggests, our feline companions are often disdainful, haughty and very difficult to please, but the game gets the very rare kitty thumbs up. The adorable and hilarious Cats Watching Stray Twitter account (which has 28,600 followers at the time of writing) is further priceless evidence of this.