2020 Winner: Cat's Cradle

Project Information
Cat's Cradle
AGPM 120, CMPM 120
Despite physical separation, can cooperation and communication keep a bond alive?

“Cat’s Cradle” is a two-player puzzle platformer where two cats in a long distance relationship are separated by two different planes of gravity, and must reunite using the single thread of yarn connecting them.

Players should feel a sense of connection, teamwork, and struggle, but also accomplishment when keeping their relationship intact. The combination of these two aesthetic elements, wanting people to play together and giving them the feeling of a connection/separation cycle, provides a natural and sincere play experience. And this sincerity was aided by our visual goals: characters that were cute and warm to each other, a bedtime story backdrop, and interaction that felt playful and dramatic, but not overtly silly or serious.

“Cat’s Cradle” was made for ARTG 120: Game Design Experience and CMPM 120: Game Development Experience. These two combined courses had us design and develop a game in a small team, with a focus on one of two themes: Eternal or Delicate. We decided to embody the Eternal theme because we wanted to communicate the idea that relationships can be eternal rather than delicate.

We wanted to challenge ourselves by making a two-player cooperative game where the players are inherently linked and one player’s actions will directly affect the other player. We latched onto the idea that they were connected by a string because we wanted something to symbolize the players’ relationship. And then the rest of the ideas quickly cascaded: What if they had opposite gravities? What if they were cats? What if they were in love? We stuck with all of these ideas because of how weird yet oddly coherent they were altogether. But also the fact that these came together to make an incredibly cute premise.

We innovated by creating a game where the two players have a physical separation between them yet are still able to interact with each other. On a technical level, we had to manage physics involving reversed gravities and constructing a yarn mechanic that can mimic the real behaviors of a piece of string. On an aesthetic level, our unique game mechanics reinforced the idea of a long-distance relationship: Despite not being in the same location, both partners are able to lift and support each other through difficult times.

After the course was over, our team wanted to continue to polish the game to fully realize the potential of our game. We continued to meet up every week for the summer, and worked on fixing bugs, redesigning levels, and overhauling the art to make the game feel more meaningful and alive. You can play “Cat’s Cradle” for free at https://recyclist.itch.io/cats-cradle.
  • Georgio Lee Klironomos (Crown)
  • Erica Ming Li (Ten)
  • Herman Wei-Jye Wu (Merrill)