Kitten Loss

Kitten Loss, a game for the 'kittens and loss' assignment by Jim McCann, featuring some creative-commons-licensed pictures from flickr ( one, two, three, four, five, six ).


I wanted the user to feel loss -- a loss of youth, of kittens. I wanted them to know that the loss was coming, but to scramble to prevent it.


Since I wanted to spend as little time as possible writing the game, I decided on a very simple mechanic. The user would control a "flashlight-like" view of some pictures of kittens. Over time the size of the flashlight and the kittens would decrease until there was no view and nothing to see.

In order to give the user something to do, I decided to make the kittens disappear faster if they were not being looked at.


This game has a very passive mechanic it's -- minimally -- similar to the mouse-training game on early versions of Mac OS. Here, however, the targets are dynamic and myopia/loss are inevitable. The slowly-decreasing-view idea also appears in Jason Rohrer's "Gravitation", which seeks to capture a similar theme. However, in that game the methods of changing the view size are significantly different.


The resulting game does seem to fulfill my goals of evoking a sense of loss, especially if you play it while listening to The Flaming Lip's "Do You Realize." The end-game is a bit odd, however; it seems to go too fast, and on some plays you miss it entirely. I'm not sure whether I should accept this as being a good parable, or tune the size decrease to prolong the player's desperation.

I'm also pleased with the fading-out cursor at the end of play. It's a clean of way of saying "sorry, buddy, you're done here."