Night Trap to Petz: A natural evolution?

Night Trap is a game that caused major controversy when it was released in 1992. The horror title, for Sega CD, was held up in U.S. Congress as an example of the “harmful effects games were having on minors”. In Australia, it had somewhat longer-lasting effects, as it was the game that pushed the government to create a ratings system for video games. (And, at the time, as “games were for kids”, nobody thought to include an R18+ adult rating – something that still plagues us nearly 20 years later…)

Night Trap

Night Trap, for Sega CD

Well, it turns out that the game (which memorably featured scantily-clad women being attacked by monsters) is also responsible for the creation of another “controversial” series, the über-popular Petz.

Rob Fulop, games industry veteran, has admitted to [surl=http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/6316/the_replay_interviews_rob_fulop.php]Gamasutra[/surl] that he came up with the idea for the virtual pet game after watching people’s reactions to the horror title, which he’d also worked on.

“Friends of mine, my parents and my girlfriend, didn’t really get games. All they knew was that a game that I had made was on TV, being talked about as being bad for kids. And, you know, Captain Kangaroo came on TV and said, ‘This is bad for kids.’ It was horrible.”

It makes a sort of sense then, that Rob wanted to create something totally different to his earlier game. He decided to try for something that was “so cute and so adorable” that Captain Kangaroo (and Congress) couldn’t possibly find fault in it.

The result, based on a mall Santa’s statement that kids always wanted a puppy for Christmas: Petz.

Catz 5 - Adoption Center

(It's still set at night...)

The original games, Dogz and Catz, were released in 1995 for PC, and the empire has since expanded to also include Hamsterz, Dolphinz, Horsez, Monkeyz, Pandaz, Bunnyz and Tigerz, all on a range of platforms. Today, it’s frighteningly arguable which of these two Rob Fulop games have had a greater impact on the world.


This story was featured in Episode 8, Season 2 of playerattack News:

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