Aby-a-Day – 30 October: “If you get stuck, draw with a different pen” (Cartoon Tuesday)

The weekend before last, Björn, Kalle and I went to the aby-aSweden Game 2018 here in Skövde. I’m not really much of a gamer, but I went along anyway, figuring there’d be something interesting there. And I was right! The first thing we saw was a huge display of Wacom tablets. I do have one, but I find it very difficult to draw on it as I find the disconnect between drawing on the table and looking at the computer screen difficult. But they also had the Wacom MobileStudio Pro tablets, the type where you draw directly on the screen, available to play with. They were also holding a Spiderman-drawing contest…so the drawing above is what came of that combination. I know it’s not up to my usual standards…but it was drawn in under an hour whilst standing up and using an unfamiliar device, so I can’t beat myself up too much about it.

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But I actually found an intriguing came to play as well: Cateau. Cateau, made by a company based right here in Skövde, is an award-winning choose-your-own-adventure type game that involves walking around in Paris making friends with outdoor cats you meet along the way. Sadly, though, it’s only playable on PCs and I don’t know if they’re going to create a Mac or iOS version. They had a sheet of paper where people who tried out the game could “leave a cat,” so of course I had to sketch a quick Jacoby. There are a lot of other players who are good at drawing cats, though!

Aby-a-Day – July 24: Bread Kitten

Thanks to Sherry’s niece Selena, I’ve discovered a new addiction…Bread Kittens!

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Bread Kittens is a game for iPhone and iPad that involves outfitting cats with bread armour and setting them to battle with unbreaded kitties in order to save them and save Catlandia. Of course, as you defeat the kitties, you add them to your kitty dojo.

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And of course there are Abyssinians. That’s part of the game’s charm: almost every cat is a recognised breed.

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In fact, there are three different colours of Abyssinians in this game! Besides the ruddy (I named mine Jaystar), there is a blue (who I call Wrenflight) and a…chocolate silver? Well, I’m not sure what colour he is, but I named him Foxthorn. Here’s my all-star Aby team outfitted in pink Pop-Tarts.

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Of course, Jaystar is named after Jacoby…or rather, what Jacoby’s name would be if he were a Warrior cat.

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I’ve been having so much fun playing with my virutal Abyssinian and his virtual bread armour that I couldn’t resist breading my actual Aby with an actual bagel.

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In the game, different types of bread afford you different protections and different benefits. Some breads assist in the capture of other cats, while other breads aid your attack. These are classified into groups: Flatbreads, Breakfast Breads, Loaf Breads, Chinese Buns and Bagels.

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As you can see, Jake has a Poppyseed Bagel. This is a pretty powerful bread armour: it adds 90% of the hit points your cat takes from his opponent.

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In the game, though, I have Jaystar wearing a Pork Bun instead.

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I don’t think I could get Jake to keep a meat-based bread on his head for any length of time in real life. Especially not one with barbecued pork in it.

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Jake just loves it when I discover a new game to play!

Abys are Everywhere – Gambling Abys

You may recall a post I made about two years ago when I discovered a cat-themed slot machine with Abys on it.

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Well, guess what? Now you can play this game on your computer or on your phone! Just go to DoubleDown Casino and you’ll see Kitty Glitter (and the Aby) as the featured game.

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It’s exactly like the real slot machine you find in casinos.

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Just much, much smaller.

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And you don’t play with actual money…just virtual play money.

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Which is too bad since I have over $60 million on this game…

Aby-a-Day – December 8: Tsumineko Abyssinians

That the Japanese really, really love cats is a well-documented fact, especially on the internets. And they also seem to love certain breeds of cats: you see a lot of photos of Japanese Scottish Folds, Munchkins (I saw my first Munchkin in real life in a pet store in Tokyo), Japanese Bobtails (of course), and Abyssinians. I see more Abyssinians depicted on Japanese items than anywhere else.

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I got this stationery around 1999 or 2000…mainly because it featured an Aby kitten!

So you can just imagine my delight when, playing the newest smartphone cat game craze Mew Mew Tower, I noticed that some of the cats were definitely Abyssinian-oid.

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See that little kitten on the top of the heap? That’s meant to be an Aby!

Also known as Tsumineko (and, sometimes, “Cat Sin Crime” when translating Japanese websites to English), the object of the game is simple: stack cats as high as you can.

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You take your cats randomly out of the balloon-supported “Kitty Box” and you stack them, one on the other, as high as you can. Simple, right? The cats themselves, though, are the fun of the game. They make faces and meow, especially when a bigger one is set atop a smaller one.

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Of course, my favourite part of the game is the Abys. There are kittens…

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…and adults. There are no fat, bob-tailed Abys in this game.

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Here’s a close-up of a kitten.

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And here’s one of the adults.

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There are different versions of the game available for iPhones and iPads, and most of them feature an Aby. My personal favourite is Mew Mew Tower 2.

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There is also a comic book that can be found at Amazon.jp, and there’s also an e-version available through iTunes. All of the variations are pretty darn adorable.

I’m not exactly sure of the translation of the word “Tsumineko”… according to Wikipedia, “Tsumi” means “sin” or “crime” and I’m not entirely sure how stacking a tower of cats is a sin. But it explains why the common English translation is “Cat Sin.”

The Tsumineko website has lots of information (all in Japanese) and also wallpapers and desktop patterns.

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Tsumineko aren’t easy to find in the US or Canada yet, but if you look at eBay or Amazon.jp, you can find some Tsumineko toys, like this plushy stack of three (that stay together through the magic of Velco).

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There are also keychain/cellphone charms that are remarkably detailed.

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You can also find cellphone charms that can be stacked into a sort of chained tower. You buy them in sets of two or three cats and link them together as you choose. This one features a big fat cat and an Aby kitten.

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Which Google translates as: “By connecting Fastener Mascot sin cat (Abyssinian Chibi Hachiware & fat)” on Amazon.jp.

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You can get cats being pulled from the Kitty Box by the disembodied hand (which I personally find to be rather creepy).

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You can link the cats together into a pretty impressive tower-chain.

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There are also sets of magnetised cats that you can stack into actual towers.

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These sets also include the Abyssinians.

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One part of the comic book features photo-cartoons of cats posing with their plastic Tsumineko counterparts. It’s adorable, and, although I can’t read Japanese, I’m sure it’s hilarious, too. But these photos inspired me…

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…so, here’s Jacoby with the Tsumineko Abys.

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He’s not quite as good as posing as the Japanese cats were.

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Whoops…he knocked down one of the towers. Not the Abys, though, you’ll notice.

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But best of all, there are more Tsumineko items coming out all the time. I discovered a set of four Otoneko (middle-sized) cats with mufflers that were released in late October/early November, one of which was the Abyssinian!

Well, of course I had to find that Aby! Sadly, the muffler cats aren’t available for sale; they’re only available as claw machine prizes at various “UFO Catcher arcades in Japan But, thanks to a marvelous eBay seller called Gentleakindo_in_Japan who promises “If you can’t find items you’re looking for, please feel free to contact us. We will find any item for you!!” I was able to get the Aby Otoneko!

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He’s a really well-made plushy, too. I have a Docomo Mushroom that was wrested from a claw machine at an arcade in VenusPort after a long struggle and many 100 Yen coins, and it’s wonderful. This little Aby is as well-crafted as any stuffed animal you would pay for in a store.

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Of course I had to put a red scarf on Jacoby and pose them together.

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He posed much better with the larger Tsumineko than he did with the little ones. In fact, he posed so well I was inspired to make this:

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Because one of my favourite LOLcats needed an Aby update, don’t you think?

Tsumineko have not been around that long in Japan; from what I can tell, they’re about a year old. Hopefully, their popularity will spread to North America, and we’ll be able to find these toys here.

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Thanks to Karmen…this is so cool: An Aby Puzzle!

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I managed it in under 10 minutes…not sure what it means, but the right hand cat was easier for me to “see” than the left hand one.