In Holland, they're building computer games for adorable, edible pigs

While waiting around in their pens, swine can get ornery and restless. To placate the porkers, a group of Dutch designers are devising a basic video game that allows humans to square off against pigs (and vice versa). It's an extremely cute idea until you realize your porcine opponents are bacon-bound.


This game, "Pig Chase," was developed by a team from the Utrecht School of the Arts and Wageningen University. In the concept video above, a human controls a ball of light on a wall in the pigpen. If a pig nuzzles the light, the ball changes colors. The human and pig must work in sync to maneuver the ball over to the goal, where the team is rewarded with a display of fireworks. Here's some further background from the Playing With Pigs project:

Illustration for article titled In Holland, theyre building computer games for adorable, edible pigs

European legislation has made it compulsory for pig farmers to provide entertainment in the pens to combat boredom, aggression and tail biting amongst pigs, which will hopefully eliminate the need for routine tail-docking. Farmers have been experimenting with all kinds of materials and games, but in practice it proves difficult to provide the animals with an adequate challenge[...] Pig farmers and their pigs have also been closely involved in the design process. This means they have been helping to create the game by reacting more or less enthusiastically to gaming elements in the test phase. The farmers were charmed by the video images to be projected on the wall. The designers then found out that the pigs were also interested in light effects and followed them with their snout.


The team has yet to realize a full system — and it's unclear what sort of benefit the pigs derive from playing this game — but I have the fugitive notion that Trans-Species Pigball is the curling of the 21st century.

[Playing With Pigs via Boing Boing]

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This story really reminds ya that pigs are surprisingly clever — from what I've read, at least as intelligent as most dog breeds. I'm not a vegetarian, but I avoid pork products for largely that reason... Factory farms, where animals are crammed into tiny little cages where they can barely move at all, living out short lives in hellish conditions, are bad enough for chickens and the like, but when you get to something significantly smarter, like pigs, they become -really- sad. It's good to know there are efforts in the world to make it a little more humane, at least.