Cat Tram: Drive it Like Toonces!

Are you a kitteh who’s always wanted to drive Toonces? You may get your chance–in a trammy sort of way–by driving a trolley across a hand-drawn landscape.

Short Trip by Australian artist Alexander Perrin is an interactive illustration in which you drive a tram for cats as it rumbles up and down the hand-drawn mountains. It’s a meditative experience that only lasts a few minutes, yet the attention to detail, from the sound to the sketched trees and turning windmills, is transporting.

Why cats? Perrin was inspired both by his mother’s feline passion and his own cat in sketching the characters that populate Short Trip.

“I started making video games with my cat as the lead protagonist a few years ago as a tribute to her, and for whatever reason I’ve kept her in that position ever since,” Perrin told Hyperallergic. “Why she would take to driving trams, I can’t say I know, but ever since I visited the Hakone Tozan Mountain Railway in Japan I’ve been set on creating an experience which would emulate the crafted form and feel of that journey with her paws at the helm.”

While humans might waver in boarding a cat-driven tram, the local cats are all over it. Your keyboard arrows (your space bar rings the bell) guide the tram along.

“I’ve often found that the use of physical mediums in digital contexts is seemingly done for novelty’s sake, and not in any meaningful or convincing way.” Perrin said. “They have very different affordances and qualities which I feel should be acknowledged when being smooshed together.”

Perrin plans a collection of interactive drawings, of which this is the first. You can play for free (donations are welcome) at his website, or take a spin below! Just try not to drive it off a cliff.

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