'Neko Atsume' is the addicting app where you feed cats

The goal? To feed cute stray cats in your virtual backyard. Up to 45 of them, if you're lucky.

It's called "Neko Atsume" -- that's Japanese for "Cat Collecting" -- and Internet users can't stop talking about it.

Playing the game is super simple: Leave food and toys out in your backyard, and wait for the cats to come. The goal is to collect all 45 cats, each with a unique look and personality.

There are the more realistic kitties -- with all white fur, stripes or spots, and very special ones, like "Prince-san" who is wrapped in a Persian carpet and comes out on an elegant cushion. One cat even looks like Vogue editor Anna Wintour.

Although "Neko Atsume" is only in Japanese, it's easy enough that you can probably figure it out with some trial and error, even if you can't read the language.

'I don't understand why it became so popular'The game seems to be all the craze for players in Japan and beyond. Since it first launched last October, "Neko Atsume" has been downloaded about 5.5 million times, both on Apple and Android devices, according to its developer.

Now it's building a following around the world. In the last week, English tweets using the hashtag #nekoatsume exploded from a few dozen to a few thousand per day.

Users post screenshots to show off the different cats they've spotted, and to discuss methods for attracting more cats.

"The game is designed in such a way that players do not have to take too much time or energy (to play it), nor be a hardcore gamer," creator Yutaka Takazaki told CNN.

He added "Neko Atsume" is easily the most popular game his company Hit Point Co. Ltd., which is based in Kyoto, has produced since it was founded in 2007.

It took some time for the game to gain popularity, Takazaki said. It first started getting mentioned in blogs in January -- and the following month downloads significantly increased in South Korea. That was followed by downloads from China and North America.

Now Takazaki says up to 40 percent of downloads come from outside Japan.

"We created a game that even children can understand and play," he said. "Honestly speaking, I don't understand why it became so popular."

Japan's feline love affairTakazaki is a self-admitted cat-lover -- and developed the app with that target audience in mind. A smart move -- but he's not the first.

Hello Kitty is made in Japan. Even after confusion last fall over whether Hello Kitty is really a cat -- she has fans and merchandise all around the world.

She celebrated her 40th birthday last year, went into space and even opened a restaurant in Hong Kong in June with dumplings in her likeness. The Hello Kitty franchise is reported to be worth some $7 billion a year.

Doraemon, though less popular in the West, is a Japanese-made cat cartoon that started as a comic strip in 1969. The chubby blue character is famous in many parts of Asia https://www.android.com/play/ and has been featured in books, TV series, films, video games and even a musical.

Then there are real life cats -- like Maru: A Scottish Fold male who lives in Japan and has been a YouTube celebrity since 2009. His initial debut video has had more than 21 million views.

And let's not forget about the island of Tashirojima in Miyagi prefecture -- also known as "Cat Island," because feral cats there outnumber residents about 6 to 1 -- that's 20 people and 120 cats!

"Neko Atsume" is also expanding. Its official book went on sale on Monday.

Though far behind its predecessors it comes to fame and fortune, so long as #nekoatsume keeps trending -- Yutaka Takazaki stands a good chance of having Japan's next feline franchise.

Read: The animal celebs of Japan

Read: Tama the cat, Japan's cutest stationmaster, has died

CNN's Wilfred Chan contributed to this report.


Ex-Hitman artist enters open beta with free-to-play social builder KoGaMa

Danish indie game developer Multiverse ApS has today announced that their free-to-play browser-based game, KoGaMa, has finished their alpha stage and is now in open beta. KoGaMa is a social builder in which players can create their own games, publish it to the community and sell creations in the marketplace for other players to experience. The devs come from Triple-A titles like Hitman and MovieStarPlanet, and http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYHKIsmoZsW6Nr6EA0JRo2At07WwH1zhh have described the game's features and style as akin to Minecraft with a mixture of social networks like YouTube that allow users to share their content with others. Creative Director and ex-artist for Hitman, Michal Bendtsen, says about the game,



Multiverse ApS

KoGaMa empowers you to create your dream games and share them with others - not just the KoGaMa community. The fact that clicking a game link anywhere on the web takes you directly into a 3D multiplayer session makes sharing your games simple.

The KoGaMa games range from fantasy worlds to epic deathmatch arenas to fast paced racing games and intense horror games. Extra features like tanks, helicopters, massive dragons, additional weapons, as well as an adventure game mode and new achievement system will soon be added to the game creation system. Check out the trailer below.

To get involved in the beta, visit KoGaMa's website and jump into any multiplayer map to test it out for yourself. If you want to start creating your own content, then you will have to register, but as it's free-to-play, that shouldn't be much of an issue.

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BBB Issues Warning About Single-Ring Phone Call Scam

The Better Business Bureau and the attorneys general of several states are warning consumers of a phone scam that costs victims $20 or more per call.

It works like this: Your phone rings once, leaving you notice of a missed call from an unfamiliar number. When you call back, you're charged $19.95 for an international call, plus $9 per minute for however long you stay on pou cheats the line.

Russian spies, mobsters hacking smartphones

What keeps the scam going, Adam Levin, chairman and founder of Idenity Theft 911, tells ABC News, is the average person's "unquenchable curiosity" about a mysterious call.

"These are robocalls," says Levin, sent out by the thousands by computer. The scammers assume--correctly--that a certain percentage of people will respond.

Brian Kowaleski of Lansing, Mich., got one such call. "They try to make it like an odd call in the middle of the night," he told the Detroit Free Press, "like an emergency." The area code that showed up on his phone was 268--for Antigua.

Patrick Morrisey, attorney general of West Virginia, says, "This is a national scam. Calls seem to be coming from Caribbean countries such as Antigua, Barbados, Jamacia, Grenada and other island nations using area codes such as 268, 876, or 473. But calls also may be from domestic numbers."

The best advice, he says, is to be cautious about answering or returning phone calls from numbers and area codes you don't recognize. "If someone calls and doesn't leave a message, chances are fairly good they didn't need to reach you that much."

22 charged in insurance fraud ring

Angie Barnett, president of the Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland, tells consumers to ignore calls from unfamiliar area codes and to not return them. "As they say," says Barnett, "Curiosity killed the cat. Don't let a one-ring call get the best of you or your pockebook."


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