Eric Johnson

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CatLand Is the Foursquare-Tamagotchi Spawn That Apparently No One Invented Yet

catland1Go figure: No one seems to have stuck “geolocation” and “virtual pets” into the “it’s like ___ for ___” blender yet.

Oh, wait. Scratch one more idea off the list. Now seeking funding via a just-launched Kickstarter, CatLand would give users the chance to care for a Tamagotchi-esque pet by sending check-ins to a location-aware mobile app.

So, if your cat is hungry, you can check in at a restaurant, and if it’s bored, you can take it to the park. CatLand’s creators said they’re still uncommitted to any one business model, since their first priority is just to get funded and get users. But it might eventually offer the ability for local businesses to sponsor special check-in hotspots that reward one’s digital kitty with more virtual points than check-ins at other, non-paying locales.

Silly? Yeah, a bit. But this piqued my interest for two reasons:

  1. Foursquare, the former mayor of location-based gamification, is backing away from check-ins and moving toward local discovery; since it’s targeted at teenage girls, CatLand may be an interesting test case for check-ins as a niche product as opposed to a broad “Yelp-plus” service.
  2. With the exception of a few apps like Quadstreaker and — more notably — Google’s alternate-reality game, Ingress, mobile games haven’t yet embraced location as an important element of play, either because it’s hard to implement or maybe because it’s just not fun for most types of games. So that’s two trends this silly Kickstarter project is bucking.

(And — unofficial third reason — just because this is about cute animals. We’re definitely gonna win that Webby next year, guys!)

CatLand’s Kickstarter page is here, and a video explaining the app in a bit more detail is below:

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Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”