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Pet Population Problem

This game deals with the issue of the need to spay and neuter (referred to simply as neuter from here forward) pets. The premise is fairly straightforward – keep the town from being overrun by cats. In this one player game, the player first selects a house and clicks on it. Upon doing so, the player is presented with a puzzle. If the player solves the puzzle within the time limit, the cats in the selected house are neutered and can no longer reproduce. If the player does not solve the puzzle within the time limit, the cats in the house are not neutered and reproduce. When reproduction occurs, the number of cats in the house doubles. When a house reaches the 10 cat threshold, the cats can no longer be neutered, and therefore they are able to continue reproducing at a rate of 200% for every two user clicks. The game ends when the total number of cats in the town reaches 150. It is not possible to win this game; it is only possible to delay the overrunning of cats for as long as possible.

Analysis: 

The main goal of this game is to instill a sense of urgency in the player when it comes to the need to spay and neuter pets. Everyone needs to be personally responsible for their own pets, but unfortunately in the real world this does not happen. The result is an abundance of unwanted pets. If more people became aware of the grave consequences of not neutering pets, maybe the problem would become less severe.

I kept the look of the neighborhood as simple as possible to make it have universal appeal – every user can relate to the image. The amount of houses is just enough to make the game somewhat challenging while at the same time keeps it from feeling overwhelming, providing a balance between the two. The numbers on the houses along with the “Cat Count” make it clear to the user exactly how many cats there are and where they are located. This leads the user to feel as though they are in control of the number of cats, when in reality the number of cats will eventually increase no matter what. This false sense of security is what many people who are unaware of the problem feel.

The simple game play makes the game accessible and easily understandable. I chose to model reproduction by doubling the amount of cats in the house. While this method is not entirely accurate according to nature, it emphasizes how quickly pet populations can become out of control if the proper precautions are not taken. While playing the game, the player should experience a sense of shock when they see first-hand how rapidly populations can grow. This experience should convince the player that all pets should be neutered, and hopefully the player will recruit friends and family to have their pets neutered as well.

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