Designing an iPad game for cats is something you can do

Here’s something you can do this weekend. Design a game for cats! Sure it’s only Wednesday, and something else might come up. But it’s highly doubtful that this other thing might also net you $15,000.

Game jams are quite the thing these days. For example, the Global Game Jam recently helped to spawn a game in which raw slabs of meat were used as controllers. Sometimes’s a theme is involved, and not surprisingly, participants of the Games For Cats Hackathon are being asked to create something that cats would play.

Believe it or not, cats actually play video games. Here’s an example courtesy of Friskies, both organizer of the event and publisher of several iPad games that are aimed specifically towards cats. It’s called You vs. Cat and it’s being demoed by “Buddy”, who goes head to head with various college mascots for whatever reason…

The Games For Cats Hackathon takes place this weekend in Los Angeles and the top prize once again is $15,000. Second prize gets $3,000 and third prize gets $2,000. For those seriously thinking of taking part might be interested in reading several tip from the pros. Here’s an excerpt:

3. Cats love DLC

Like many mobile games, Game for Cats is a free download that monetizes itself with in-App transactions: specifically, the download includes the laser level for free, and offers the mouse level for an optional $0.99 transaction.

Unfortunately, the initial release of the game made that purchase path a little too easy…in the days immediately following its release, cats everywhere were accidentally purchasing the level without their owners’ permission.

“We got in a lot of trouble,” Fuller laughs. “People were accusing us of tricking cats into making purchases. We got a ton of comments on our iTunes page, people accusing us of trying to rip of them off.”

The solution was to implement a test to make sure the purchaser is human before the charge is allowed to go through: specifically, the purchaser is asked to place their hand the screen and hold it there while the app “scans” to see if you’re human. Or, in reality, it makes sure your four fingertip touch points don’t move for a few seconds, a test even the craftiest of cats would have a hard time circumventing.

Again, this is all totally legit, and the entire list is a genuinely fascinating read, even if you have no intentions on flying out to LA to make an iPad game for Mr. Chums. Which I’m guessing is approximately 99.9999999999994% of everyone reading this.