While a number gameplay contests came and went after the one in 2009, I never found the time to join another one (although I did host a couple!). But when Witzy returned after a long hiatus and announced another gameplay contest in June 2023, I knew it was the right time for another round for me! Read all about the assignments I was given, how my petz liked them, and of course my personal experiences below. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed revisiting gameplay contest participation after all these years!
Day One: Get to know your petz!
- Did you rename them?
- What are your first impressions?
- Do your petz get along with each other?
Initially, I signed up to receive petz from Witzy to do the gameplay challenge with, but not much later I realized Egyptian Mau Week was coming up and I don't even OWN a single Mau... Truth be told, this gameplay contest seemed like a perfect opportunity to give this long-neglected breed some proper attention, so now here we are!
I will spend the next ~10 days getting to know Hanan and Quadria. They are two Egyptian Mau sisters, adopted in Petz 5 and currently residing in Petz 4 (running on a quick/otherwise unaltered unibreed of the P5 OB).
Real companions deserve something more unique than the AC default name, of course! Both are girls, so I searched for feminine Egyptian/Arabic names. Hanan stands for compassion, kindness, and affection. Quadria is strong, succesful. Let's see if they live up to their names - or perhaps add a new twist to their meaning!
On the left is Hanan, a classic, fresh Egyptian Mau straight out of the Adoption Center. Quadria is on the left. Because the Egyptian Mau breed does not have any variations, Quadria was lightly brexed to allow for easy telling-'em-apart. I tried to stay true to that special AC look and feel, so at first I was just going to change her eye color to basic teal, but while I was in there I textured some untextured areas, tweaked the transparency on her main coat texture, and recolored her pawpads, whiskers and outlines to (better) match.
At first glance, Hanan seems like a collected little thing. She did a lot of calm (but still fairly energetic) walking around, and alternatingly, a lot of peacefully sitting, taking the time to take in her first impressions of her new home. There was a bit of grooming, scratching, and rubbing her cheek on things - like Hanan was physically settling, too.
Next up was Quadria. She came bouncing in quite zestfully - skipping moreso than walking - but beyond that, she acted much like her playmate-to-be, and paused her activity to familiarize herself with her surroundings and make herself comfortable. In her case, getting comfortable meant taking a big old nap!
When Quadria woke up again, it was time to introduce the two! Quadria tried to resume her nap, but Hanan wasn't having any of that and pounced on her to initiate a game of play-wrestle! Hanan came out on top, though they seemed pretty evenly matched. After a few rounds, Quadria still seemed sleepy - yawning and strecthing - so I decided it was time to call it a night for these two.
Day Two: Let's learn about your petz' favorite things!
- Do your petz have favorite foods or treats?
- What toys do they like the most? Any toys they don't like at all?
To check for the girls' favorites, I laid out a bunch of options in each of category and let them check out the goods at their leasure.
When it comes to food, they did not seem particularly fazed by any of the available dishes - ranging from classic foods to more exotic hexed concoctions. In fact, for a good while, both of them seemed far more interested in playing with the bowls than sampling any of the food!
Hanan eventually found the liked the green food bowl, but Quadria refused to try any of the foods laid out before her, no matter how much I tried drawing her attention to each of them!
Next up were treats. I put out a box of each type, with a single piece laid out in front of it. Both girls started off their inspection just chilling out near all the goodies, seemingly untempted. But unlike with the food, they soon went straight to snacking!
Hanan quickly pounced on and gobbled up the chicken treat, quickly followed by a candy heart and a bone treat. Once she got started, she was on a roll! If I'd let her, she'd probably have cleared out the whole room haha.
Quadria's first choice were the olives - curious! I've never noticed a pet really liking the olives before, most of my petz are not too eager to eat them at all. Quadria must have particular tastes!
Finally, toys! Pulling out all the stops, I made a giant pile of every toy I had in game (minus the auto-rolling ball, it's unfair competition!) and let the kitties run wild! Or, well, as wild as these two get - as is starting to look like a major pattern, upon being taken into the room both of them first just stood there for a while, seemingly unimpressed.
And then they wrestled! Who needs toys, anyways!
Finally, they started trying out different things to play with. Both would play with almost anything I drew their attention to. When left to their own devices, Quadria went back to the squeaky doll several times. She did not like the parrot plush (a little scary!), and did not show much interest in any "plain" ball toys (soccer, star, beach, circus, etc. balls).
Hanan did not seem to favor any one toy in particular, but absolutely shunned the unicorn plush. I think she might have been interested in the wooden train - she did play with it several times, but looked kind of unimpressed every time, so it's hard to say (compare with Quadria absolutely going in on that squeaky toy right next to her!).
I might run an actual preference checker after finishing the event to get a closer look at what floats my kitties' boat, but am sticking to regular observation for now - even if the results are a little undecided so far!
Day Three: Time for a fashion show!
- Did you find outfits your petz like?
- Any articles of clothing they think are out-of-fashion/they don't like?
Let's see if I can get the girls in something cute, coherent, and season-appropriate! First up is Hanan...
Sunglasses: indifferent. Disapproved.
✨ OUTFIT COMPLETE ✨
Cap: uncool. Disapproved.
Shirt: very approved!
Cap: turning it around does not fool anyone. Still uncool. Disapproved.
✨ OUTFIT COMPLETE ✨
And some bonus pics of them looking cute and stylish together because I did not expect this to work out as well as it did haha.
(And yes, Hanan tried to wrestle Quadria again. Their day wouldn't be complete without it!)
Day Four: Let's make some new friends!
- Introduce your new petz to some of the petz from your crew!
- Any new friendships? How about budding romance? Or even some rivalries?
I didn't want the first other petz the girls would meet to be too big or intimidating, so I chose some smaller and/or friendlier petz for this challenge!
First off, Hanan met a tiny little dog called Banana. She was a little apprehensive at first, preferring to stay high and dry. Luckily, Banana was persistent, waited for Hanan to finally come down, and calmly let her inspect him. Apparently put at ease, Hanan went for a nap. Banana wasn't done making friends, and patiently waited for his new buddy-to-be to wake back up.
When Hanan woke back up, Banana carefully started grooming her - a very sweet moment! After a litte bit, she returned the gesture, and then they napped together. Friend acquired!!
All rested, Hanan was ready to meet her next potential friend: an alley cat named Plum. Their meeting was tumultuous and confusing - frankly, I'm not quite sure what to make of this relationship! They were clearly very interested in each other, but kept going back and forth between acting friendly and excited, and downright hostile! The mood fluctuated so rapidly, in fact, that I had a little trouble getting a picture of both of them both expressing the same feelings.
One very interesting thing is that they elaborately mirrored each other - or rather, Hanan would copy whatever Plum was doing. If Plum licked her paw and rubbed it behind her ear, seconds later Hanan would do the exact same animation. An adult cat showing a kitten how to take care of their coat! In the end, it seemed like Plum wanted to show Hanan she isn't all bad - just a little cranky due to the alley in her - and groomed her for a bit. This seemed to tip Hanan's scales in favor of being friendly... until I put Plum away, and the little jerk did a celebratory dance.
All in all, it seems like they do not get along too well, but Plum tries her best to be a good community elder and look out for the little ones.
Finally, Hanan met Palast, an easy-going, friendly persian mix. It would seem Hanan had learned by now that grooming is a way to make friends, as she quickly initiated it! There was also a brief mirroring session, a fragment of which is pictured below (I hope you can see what I mean - it really is so cute when they do this!). But all in all, there did not seem to be much of a connection. Palast seemed more interested in me (even if I was keeping out as much a possible!) than in Hanan. Considering I've had him for a very long time and he's spent a lot of one-on-one time with me, I suppose this makes sense.
After all this, it was Quadria's turn to meet some others - starting with a happy-go-lucky calico mix called Lucifer. They took a moment to warm up to each other, where they seemed both indifferent and mildly curious at the same time. Curiosity won, and they hit it off fairly well, with some happy baby dance moves and chirped meows. Lucifer tried to get Quadria to do the mirroring, but she lost interest fairly quickly. Instead, they took a lovely little nap together!
Just like her sister, Quadria also got to meet a dog. And just like her sister, she was a bit apprehensive meeting said dog at first. She didn't retreat onto a ledge like Hanan, but quietly stood her ground, just waiting and seeing what would happen. The dog, Blank, on the other hand, was mesmerized right away and way more interested in getting to play with Quadria than vice versa. Catching on to her vibe, he approached quite carefully, giving her time to get a good look and a good sniff.
Once he got close enough, Blank started showing off his most likeable side by excitedly jumping up and down, doing backflips, and generally being goofy. And it worked! After repeating his little "careful approach, silly dance" routine, Quadria started being excited and bouncy right back at Blank!
To summarize, Hanan and Quadria have both quite clearly made friends with the dogz they met, which I thought was very interesting! While Lucifer and Palast were both perfectly good company, the girls just didn't hit it off with their fellow catz as well as with Blank and Banana. All in all, not a bad first day of socializing at all! Even though Hanan meeting Plum was rocky, it never got even the slightest bit ugly. It would seem Hanan and Quadria are rather sociable little kitties!
I didn't see any obvious signs of budding romance - probably because Hanan and Quadria are still a bit young - but I have no doubt there will be plenty of that in the girls' future, if they'll continue to be this succesful meeting other petz!
Day Five: Backyard Hangout time!
- Load up your travel toy case and head to the backyard for some time in the sun.
- What do your petz like doing in the backyard?
- Are your petz amateur gardeners? Try planting some seeds and see if they like what grows.
We packed the carrying case full of outdoor toys, some refreshments, and seeds, and went on our merry way!
Hanan was soon absorbed in making soil biscuits. Maybe it feels nice on her paws? Whatever the reason, this was her go-to backyard activity that she kept going back to throughout our stay.
Quadria, in the mean time, was quite interested in more conventional outdoor activities. Playing with the toys I brought was fun, but even more fun was discovering little bits and pieces of nature!
Something they both enjoyed was, you guessed it, wrestling! (Look at their little pawpads... so cute hehe.) Including in the flower bed I was trying to grow...
...so it's a good thing there wasn't any sort of laid-out plan that they could disturb! Hanan and Quadria were free to roll all over the place, play with the seeds, etc. as long as they kept it roughly within a certain perimeter. The flower bed turned out overflowing with a melange of flowers - a nice way of saying it was over-full and messy, but that's just the way I like it! The kitties agreed, too; they seemed quite drawn to the general area, and liked to hang out among the flowers.
One thing they DID NOT like was getting a good watering... Which was a complete accident, of course, but they were both pretty dang mad for a little while after!
Hanan really wanted to bring some flowers home... I accidentally picked a few, and she would pounce on them or even try to take them right from my hands!
Looks like we will have to put out a bouquet or two when we get back inside!
Day Six: Take a trip to some new playscenes!
- Take your petz to any playscenes they haven't visited yet. Do they have a favorite new place to visit?
- Did they meet any petz hosts on the way?
- Are your petz bringing home any fun souvenirs?
The kitties had never been to the beach before, so naturally it was high time they got to check it out! Quadria had a good time pawing the sand and catching the frisbee (even if she only ever caught it after it was already on the gound).
Hanan, meanwhile, was not having such a great time. Only a few minutes into our trip, she got hit by a wave, and it left her upset for the rest of the stay.
She got hit when she was trying to retrieve a spiky white shell from the surf - so clearly, we had to pocket that and bring it home to make sure her little misadventure wasn't in vain.
Not much later, Quadria also met the wrong end of a wave, and it was time to retreat somewhere more safe and dry. Safe to say, the beach is not where it's at for these two!
The weather here has been exceptionally hot, so I thought it might be nice to take Hanan and Quadria somewhere very cool for a change of pace - the snow scene! Seemingly unphased by the cold, they went for their daily wrestle match right there in the snow.
Soon enough, they met a new friend - clearly, a new wrestling partner! Quadra boldly went in for the pounce.
To make sure the girls wouldn't get too cold, we settled down to enjoy a hot beverage! Quadra dug right in - this might very well just have been her favorite thing today!
Hanan was less enchanted. Drinking the beverage was the last thing on her mind!
All in all, the snow scene was a fun place to visit! With it being summer, all my winter/snow toys are tucked away in storage - though it should be said Hanan and Quadria entertained themselves perfectly well without - and we'll have to come back at a later date and try all the go-to snow activities!
Day Seven: Free day!
- Choose your own adventure today.
- Revisit a challenge above if you would like, or just enjoy playing with your petz.
- Maybe make a stamp to share with others participating in the contest.
In the spirit of today being a free day, I let Hanan and Quadria just run free in the playpen with a bunch of toys to keep them occupied!
Quadria really wanted to eat, and kept trying to, but Hanan had her little heart set on wrestling her and ruining the meal...
Eventually, Hanan was distracted by a balloon, and Quadria was able to clear out her bowl. Once she was done eating, she too went to play with the balloon, and Hanan went to eat - they really took turns!
As you'll have come to notice, these two just love to wrestle. So there was a lot of that... and I took a lot of pictures of it, because their dramatic expressions are just so funny haha. They even managed to do a weird sideways wrestle.
I'm not sure if this is because they're very similar personality-wise, or if they just (aggressively) want to spend time together, but every time one of them did one thing, or played with a specific toy, the other just had to join in! It's really cute, in a way.
Since both girls are seriously on the skinny side (despite eating fairly regularly, for petz anyways!), I thought it would be nice to end today's play session with some extra treats. To make sure they'd eat their fill, I put out a few of their favorites all over the playpen and let them at it! Quadria got a little more than Hanan, but both had a great time stalking the treats together...
As for making a stamp... you don't have to tell me twice!
Day Eight: Let's try to learn some tricks!
- You've already learned which treats your petz like... so let's see if we can teach them some new tricks!
- What new tricks have your petz learned?
- Bonus: enter your petz in an activity show (like an agility or a trick show)!
It turns out that, like most catz, Hanan and Quadria are NOT interested in doing tricks! There was just a lot of... you know...
I tried with Hanan first, until she started getting visibly upset - just looking so sad and frustrated as she stalked the treats, refusing to give up (or listen to trick requests)! I figured it was time to just let her have a few treats for her efforts anyway, and move on to Quadria.
For some reason, I thought maybe toy tricks would be different, so when regular directional tricks weren't happening, I tried getting Quadria to do a toy trick instead. And she almost got it!
In conclusion, no tricks were learned... except perhaps ways to trick me into giving up the treats without having to perform for them.
As poorly as trick training went, the girls did to quite well on agility! I couldn't find any open agility shows here or on RKC, but I did take a few nice pics that I'll have at the ready in case I catch an open show! I thought Hanan's hoop jump looked particularly nice!
Day Nine: Are your petz yearning to be Supreme Grand Champions?
- Try to pose your new petz for petz shows! Do they have a natural talent or do they have other interests?
- Bonus: enter your petz in a pose show!
- If you don't enjoy showing your petz, just take some cute pictures of your petz; try making a collage.
Ha! The outcome for this prompt is clear before we even start. This whole time, it's been a challenge to get nice, spontaneous pictures of Hanan and Quadria doing anything, because (almost) every time they hear the camera, they stop whatever they're doing and pose instead!
So, it's come to the time to actually aim for pose pictures! As per the laws of physics, when you want them to pose, suddenly they really need to do a lot of coyly working up to a pose first, haha.
They both still need a little practice. As cute and full of character slightly-off poses are, that's not what the judges want to see, so keep those heads still and straight, please!
They both gave me a fairly nice pose after a few tries, and have been entered into specialty kitten shows! Now we wait...
Day Ten: Reflection time!
- What are your favorite things you learned about your petz?
- Did you enjoy the gameplay contest?
- Any suggestions for future gameplay contests?
It has been quite fun watching the girls grow into catz of their own, and not at all as much work as I was concerned it might be! It probably helps a lot that the whole vibe feels a lot more low-key than the last time I participated in any kind of gameplay shenanigans (whenever that was haha).
I feel like I am still just getting to know Hanan and Quadria, and there is still so much left to learn that it's hard to pick one thing in particular about either or both of them that I particularly enjoyed learning about. However, in a more general sense, I can safely say the Egyptian Mau breed has started to grow on me! I had never really played with any petz of this breed before (not even when I first got P5, which feels crazy!) and this gameplay contest has been my first proper introduction. I've really come to like their big silly ears, and with a little tinkering with the transparency their texture can be a lot of fun too.
I also totally got a kick out of the "mirroring" behavior between the kittens and the adult petz they met on day 4. It had been so long since I saw this first-hand, I had pretty much forgotten all about it. So that was very exciting to experience again!
As for suggestions for future gameplay contest, it's hard to think of anything major to change! I would maybe move the free day further towards the end, so that there are more prior challenges to revisit. I really liked the idea of entering contests/shows as a "bonus", so it might be cool to incorporate a little more interactive stuff like that - maybe a massive playdate all participating petz can attend as a big "closing event" at the end of the contest's runtime, or something... anything that adds an element of community!
My final suggestion is a little more meta - I personally would have liked to see the types of prizes per tier be more varied/mixed. For example, all the stamps are in one tier; if you're primarily interested in collecting stamps, you're in a way "done" after completing that tier. While I'm pretty sure the majority of people participate in stuff because it looks fun rather than for the prizes, I do think it might be fun to have something for everyone at every tier, just as a fun little extra.