We’re not in Farmville anymore

By Kimberly Clark, Science Tuesday Editor

Pigs still can’t fly, but they’ve been playing video games.

Dutch researchers and designers from the Utrecht School of the Arts and Wageningen UR developed an interactive iPad game for pigs and people called “Pig Chase.” To play the game, pigs need a large touchscreen wall in their pigpen, and people need an iPad. During the game, a person uses an iPad to move a large ball of light around the screen. The same ball of light appears on the pigpen screen. If a pig touches the ball of light with its snout, virtual sparks will shoot out of the ball. Large fireworks appear when the ball of light and the pig’s snout touch a triangle target on respective screens. During play, the pig’s snout chasing the ball can be seen from the iPad screen.

The inspiration for the game came from the 2001 European law that requires pig farmers to give their pigs some form of entertainment in their pens in the hopes of eliminating boredom, aggression and tail biting. Though the game was developed in January, quite a few other iPad games have surfaced for cats, mice, bugs and fish. Even the larger cats, lions and tigers, enjoy a good chase:

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