For ages, all the animals living in the household had very specific tasks to perform to earn their keep. Dogs, the first carnivores domesticated by humans, were used for herding, hunting, and protection. Cats, these small-scale killers, were tasked with keeping the household rodent-free. Rodents, spiders, snakes, and the rest of today’s collectible animals were… usually undesirable within the walls of a human dwelling. It was not until the Victorian Era that modern pet-keeping emerged, initially as a sign of elitism, next as a part of the bourgeois culture, with animals losing their roles as assets and turning into decorative objects, property, and later companions. From there on, their impact on popular culture has grown, especially with the emergence of various media channels that made them popular. Today, pets are everywhere – from printed newspapers and online media, and effectively taking over social networks. And they are there on our computers and smartphones, in the form of casual games, to keep us company even when we’re away from home. Today, let’s take a look at some of these.
Cats, dogs, and spinning reels
At the Euro Palace, the cool cats are back on Pretty Kitty. The venue has quite a few slot machines inspired by pets, and Pretty Kitty is one of the most beautiful of them. The cats featured on its reels are distinguished and beautiful, many of them wearing collars covered in gems. But cats are not the only pets inspiring slot machines at the Euro Palace – members of the canine family are also there in Hound Hotel, depicting a lodging facility run by various dog breeds (this one has a feline counterpart, too, called Kitty Cabana).
Talk to me, Tom!
Talking Tom and his girlfriend Angela, along with his friends like Ben the dog, Pierre the parrot, and Hank, the world-traveling puppy, are behind a series of popular mobile apps created in 2010 by mobile app developer Outfit7. Since then, the franchise has produced 17 smartphone apps, a 10-episode web series produced by Disney Interactive Studios, a TV series produced by arx anima, an Australian animation studio, and further animated series. The initial “My Talking Tom” app was downloaded over 11 million times since its release in 2010, and the characters’ YouTube channel has almost 6 million subscribers.
Virtual pets have been around long before the emergence of the smartphone. The first such piece of software was “Dogz”, released by PF Magic in 1995, followed by a sequel called “Catz” the next year. The phenomenon became widespread later in 1996 with the release of the Tamagotchi in Japan, which became a global phenomenon in no time. Tamagotchi was a worldwide success, with more than 76 million units sold. Taking care of the Tamagotchi is similar to taking care of a real pet – after it hatches, it has to be fed, played with, trained, and taken care of. It can get unhappy, sick, and depressed, and can eventually die.
The game has been revived as a mobile app in the early 2010s, but never managed to recreate the original’s success.