Play with pigs the modern way

Have you ever wanted to play with a pig without having to actually climb in the pen with them to do so? Well, guess what!

A team of Dutch designers from Wageningen University and the Utrecht School of the Arts in the Netherlands created a game that humans and pigs can play together. The game is called “Pig Chase,” and the goal is to maintain contact between the pig’s snout and the human’s finger to direct a ball of light toward a triangular target that shoots out colorful fireworks once accomplished.

Pigs play the game on a large touch-sensitive display that is mounted on a pigpen wall, and humans can play wherever they want since their part of the game is controlled straight from their tablet app. The app acts as a one-way mirror, so the human knows where the pig’s snout is and where to start pointing.

This sounds like yet another classic case of  “What pointless app can we make for the iPad to try to convince people that they need it in their life?”

According to the project’s website, the game was created to keep pigs from getting bored and attacking other pigs’ tails. It helps prevent farmers from having to perform a risky procedure known as docking, where they would amputate the animals’ tails to prevent that from happening.

There has to be a better, and more fun, way to play with the pigs. Why not just put colorful toys in the pigpen? Why not just turn it into a playpen?

While conducting the research necessary to create the game, the designers learned that pigs are captivated by light and enjoy investigating new light sources on surfaces. That is where the ball of light comes in. The longer contact is maintained between snout and finger, the more colors the ball will show and the larger it becomes.

I get the idea of entertaining the pigs and ensuring good emotional health while being entertained yourself, but I also feel like a laser light would achieve the same goal. It works for cats, so why wouldn’t it for pigs?

To direct one ball of light into a target is to gain one point, and those are indicated by a triangle next to the human player’s name in a high-score table at the end of one “round” of “play.”

But what if more than one pig wants to play at once? One ball of light just doesn’t seem like enough. Isn’t sharing caring?

The game isn’t available for computer tablets everywhere just yet, but that is what the designers are working toward now that the game is pretty much finalized, according to the website. Once that happens, though, it will be interesting to track the number of downloads the app will actually get.

This all just seems like a ploy to entertain those designers more than anything.

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