You just can’t prevent cat-astrophe
Hidden in the deepest bowels of Steam’s extensive library is an educational little oddball named The Cat and the Coup. It’s a short experience that combines history with surrealism and is totally worth the time of anybody with a cursory interest in world affairs.
The game focuses on Mohammed Mossadegh, the first democratically-elected leader of Iran back in 1951. His career was a short and turbulent one, resulting in an ousting three years later by coup d’état aided by American and British intelligence. Players control a cat who visits Mossadegh on his death bed and then takes him on a whirlwind tour of the events of his life in reverse chronological order. The game is divided into short scenarios with outlines to help players place the cat in a particular scene. Pressing the spacebar will allow the feline to interact with the world via a swipe.
Amusingly, the cat in question – analogous to a mischievous spirit – seems responsible for a lot of his life’s misgivings. From swiping people to knocking objects onto the floor, it often sets events in motion that result in Mossadegh’s life taking a drastic turn, often for the worst.
Of note is the art style. It’s a bizarre mixture of 17th century-style Persian miniatures combined with primitive, cutout animation that creates a look unseen in most other games. This is amplified by the haunting ambient music that perfectly sets the tone.
Despite the game’s short length, it definitely warrants a playthrough. It’s extremely unique, both in terms of subject matter and in presentation. It handles a difficult historical subject without being preachy or patronizing. And you’ll probably walk away wanting to learn more about Mossadegh. Best of all, it’s free! Snag yourself a copy by navigating over towards its official Steam page here.