One Off The List is our monthly list feature. Is there something you think doesn’t deserve to be on this list? Comment with your reasons why, and next month it may be struck off.
The house cat. Felis destructus. Humankind’s absolute best mate and undisputed master. Some upcoming video games are planning to examine the motives behind these enigmatic creatures, whose origins remain unknown. Stray will put you in the paws of a street cat finding their way home in a cyberpunk city. Little Kitty Big City will see you wearing the whiskers of a cat less concerned with going home than it is with wreaking urban havoc. But what if you don’t want to wait for these games? Well, you have options. Here are 10 of the best cats in PC games.
Cat Café – Yakuza 6
Having successfully father-figured approximately 95% of humans in Japan, notorious setter-to-rights Kiryu Kazuma can become the loving adopter of many cats. You find them in the street, give them the finest cans of tuna, and call the manager of a cat café to come collect them. You can then visit the café and indulge in some classic Yakuza side story dialogue, such as this important conversation with your new wards. Then, when you sit down, they climb on you. Blessed existence, blessed life.
Sweet Shalquoir – Dark Souls 2
As much as the well-fed, Cheshire-inspired Alvina of the first Dark Souls deserves our respect, fear, and unquestioning obedience, let us not forget the magnificent fur and underlying creepiness of the prim-voiced Shalquoir of Dark Souls 2. Every time you go back to see her, she comments on your scent, observing that you are smelling better and better with each visit. The suggestion, of course, is that you stink. Sweet Shalquoir, being a mucky mouser, just loves the odour of the chosen unwashed.
Nekaroo – Edge Of Eternity
A twin-tailed, horse-sized, feather-eared feline. Evolution is poorer for having never thought of this.
Khajiit – The Elder Scrolls
Cats are people, I am always telling you, and you never listen. The Khajiit, a playable race of light-footed fuzzfolk, talk commonly in third-person and travel widely. They cannot get enough of drugs. In the history of Elder Scrolls, they are one of the few remaining “beast people”, who were hanging out long before humans, dwarves and elves. But then they got enslaved, pushed around, pigeonholed into a nomadic mercantile class, or disregarded as common criminals. I play as Khajiit in every Elder Scrolls and will not be happy until Bethesda set an entire game in their homeland of Elsweyr, where I will hunt mer and men for sport.
Palicoes – Monster Hunter: World
Not only do these cats refrain from clambering on the table, trying to swipe your prawns, but they are the ones who actually cook the prawns. They drench the prawns in sumptuous sauce, and serve it to you with a smile. This is unnatural behaviour for a cat, but… mmm… I am willing to disregard it.
Daffodil – Spiritfarer
Daffodil, the golden-furred feline of mortality-acceptance ’em up Spiritfarer, follows you everywhere on your ferry and can (I hear) be controlled entirely by a second player. More importantly, you can hug Daffodil. This is significant. There are entire Twitter accounts devoted to tracking which games allow you to pet or otherwise interact with cats and dogs. Some might say this is a reductive design philosophy, dissolving a domesticated animal’s essence down to a primaeval human desire to impose our anthropomorphic will via firm strokes and baby talk. Others might say: Okay. But can I pet the cat?
Ship’s cat – Sea Of Thieves
This is Admiral Fangs. He rolls around by the ship’s wheel and meows to get a juicy fish. He is one of the few microtransactions I have made in video games this past decade. I have no regrets.
Slugcat – Rain World
When cats are playable in games, they often exist in the built environments of their wretched human masters. In Rain World, your nimble creature inhabits a world in which those foul opposably thumbed beings are long gone. That’s great. However, it also means you have to find your own food. And open your own doors. And fight your own giant lizards. And spear huge, deadly vultures. And wear the skull of said vulture as a mask to scare away the aforementioned lizards. Just everyday cat stuff.
Jaguar – Shadow Of The Tomb Raider
We are sad to report that the unnamed jaguar who attempted to kill and eat explorer Lara Croft has died. A service will be held in its memory.
Mae – Night In The Woods
Cat-person and self-described trash fire Mae is also, in an unsettling twist, a cat owner. She is a bipedal, talking, 20-something moggy who also happens to have a normal, traditional house cat as a pet. Night In The Woods is sometimes described with a hollow and nebulous descriptor as “evocative”. But what does it evoke? I shall tell you. It evokes fear, it evokes unease. A cat-woman who owns a cat-cat? I am not the first to completely ignore actually important critical thinking concerning this game’s story to ask why trad-cats exist in the anti-anthropocene world of Mae’s hometown. I shall not be the last.
One Off The List from… the best AI in games
Last time we booted up the computer and asked it to compile a list of the best AI in PC games. But one of these robotic intelligences needs to be shut down. It’s… the xenomorph of Alien Isolation.
“The Alien AI in Isolation works right up until the moment you see through it,” said xeno-denouncer ‘Robo God’ in an impassioned tirade completely contrary to my own beliefs. “When you see how extraordinarily simplistic it is, working to a little schedule of when to appear and for how long, it stops being in any way scary and becomes a bit of a chore, like having to deal with an animatronic doorman.”
I will allow such a cross-examination. This time.
That’s all for now. Remember to kick one of these cats to the kerb, fellow list goblins. Goodbye!
Disclosure: Former RPS writer and noted cat liker Pip Warr has worked on Little Kitty Big City, just so you know