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June 26, 2020 6:33 PM   Subscribe

Poppy Seed Pets (formerly named “Maslow’s Pets”) is a virtual pet site based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Pets have four needs: food, safety, love, and esteem. They will focus on meeting lower-level needs (food) before higher level ones (esteem), and the experience they gain is based on how well their needs are met.

There are various species that can be taken home from the pet shelter, including Peacocks, Hedgehogs, Sentient Beetles, and Fish with Legs. In their adventures, pets may come across many different items, including the Ant Queen (options: “squish,” “put outside,” “feed,” “introduce yourself.”), the Magpie's Deal (which may bestow quintessence, bird products, five sticks, or shiny metals), or Benjamin Franklin (equippable). Pets can form relationships: maybe they’ll meet new friends or rivals, fall in love, create a band, or form an astronomy lab! They each have unique food preferences, enjoying flavors such as meaty, floral, chemically, earthy, or tannic.

Recently implemented features include jousting, lunchboxes, grappling hooks, fan mail and royalties for bands, and the five love languages. You can also check out how it’s made or browse the Poppyopedia. Poppy Seed Pets is benmakesgames's second shot at a game based on Maslow's hierarchy of needs: the previous version, PsyPets, was made open-source and is still available online.
posted by brook horse (22 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I’ve no affiliation with this site, but it seemed right up MeFi’s crouton-petter alley. My partner (a petsite connoisseur) introduced me to it, and when I mentioned I wanted to make a FPP about it, they said, “It’s a great little game that could benefit from having people from Metafilter join, who in general seem pretty chill and fine. Ben [the developer] seems like the kind of 30-something that would hang out on Metafilter.”
posted by brook horse at 6:34 PM on June 26

I'm quite happy with the pet rock I inherited from my grandfather back in the 80's, thankyouverymuch. It's got Maslow's hierarchy beat all to hell. I've even got a Troll Doll to keep it company!
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:08 PM on June 26 [1 favorite]

This is so cute!
posted by dusty potato at 7:11 PM on June 26

Before I look, can they die or starve or otherwise be neglected?
posted by Glinn at 7:26 PM on June 26 [4 favorites]

As a crouton-petter, I second Glinn - I need to know the possible nadirs of this hierarchy pyramid prior to clicking.
posted by mephisjo at 7:36 PM on June 26 [1 favorite]

Pets can't die but they can become hungry and may have a 'starving' status if they get hungry enough. However, pets forage while you're away and if they become hungry they will start eating the food they have found. This behavior isn't immediate, so I have occasionally logged in to a hungry/starving status, but I also went for nearly a month without playing and my pets' statuses were '...' (which is 'neutral') which means they had eaten recently.

One other thing to note is that if another player abandons a pet, their safety/love/self esteem will go into the negative (which does not happen any other way AFAIK), which some people find upsetting. However, these pets are only acquired via a Summoning Scroll, which rescues a pet from the wilds. So you won't see that adopting pets from the pet shelter.
posted by brook horse at 7:47 PM on June 26 [1 favorite]

Oh and in regards to safety/love/self esteem in general, I have never seen negative/less-than-neutral statuses based on player actions. Pets will hang out with other pets which fills those needs, and they're programmed to do that more when those needs are low. But sometimes pets will become temporarily discouraged from failing at a task (such as wrestling a goat) or lightly injured ('scraped up' from harvesting blackberries 'cause of the thorns, or they might burn themselves if they fail at forging something).
posted by brook horse at 7:55 PM on June 26 [2 favorites]

Thank you so much for the detailed write-up, brook horse!
posted by Glinn at 7:56 PM on June 26 [2 favorites]

MetaFilter: will become temporarily discouraged from failing at a task (such as wrestling a goat)
posted by hippybear at 8:08 PM on June 26 [7 favorites]

Thank you because I needed another time-management hunter-gatherer game to obsess about.
posted by bendy at 8:13 PM on June 26

One of the pets reminds me of Kyubey...
posted by ursus_comiter at 8:14 PM on June 26 [1 favorite]

*backs away slowly* I already have 3 pet-collection games, I don't have time for a 4th!
posted by Ahniya at 8:30 PM on June 26

Ahniya, you'll love this pet-collection-game collection game I just heard about!
posted by Reverend John at 10:35 PM on June 26 [2 favorites]

Wow it turns out I find it extremely gratifying to be told I've made a little creature feel safe. I know nothing about this genre of game, what other ones would people recommend?
posted by ITheCosmos at 4:49 AM on June 27

I love this game! It feels very gentle and kind.
posted by beandip at 5:48 AM on June 27

This is adorable, thank you for posting it!
posted by Mauve at 7:44 AM on June 27

This is adorable. Is there anywhere I can look to see my pet’s current level of Affection? I know how to increase it, but I don’t know How to find out what it is now.
posted by nat at 2:52 PM on June 27

Is there anywhere I can look to see my pet’s current level of Affection? I know how to increase it, but I don’t know How to find out what it is now.

This is why I have cats.
posted by hippybear at 3:19 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]

I know nothing about this genre of game, what other ones would people recommend?

So my partner (who has been into these kinds of sites since childhood and was flabbergasted to hear that there are people who have never heard of the concept) says that Poppy Seed Pets is pretty unique in focusing on feeling safe/loved, but most virtual pet sites will have some 'care' component, usually feeding. Neopets is the oldest and most popular, though neither of us have played in a decade so I can't say what it's like now, but brief googling shows that they still have hunger and health levels to be taken care of. Partner plays Flight Rising, though it's more focused on the collection/dragon breeding (baby dragons!) aspect. But you do feed your dragons, which affects their energy levels. The site partner likes the most right now is Figment.pet (full disclosure: they were recently made a mod), which has you feed your pets and has another care tasks planned for the future. Figment.pet is in alpha right now, and you need an alpha key to create an account, but keys were included in the itch.io bundle for racial justice and equality, so if you bought that you'll have a key--if not, I'm sure you could post on the thread or AskMe to see if anyone has an extra, since so many people bought the bundle. Another popular one is Dappervolk, which is open for registration but is still in beta, which means everyone's pets/progress will be wiped once the game goes into alpha. The actions you can take are to fetch items that they ask for, give them tokens to increase their stats, and talk to them about your day. Partner also likes the Star Stable Horses app--its purpose is to raise horses that you can transfer to the online PC game, but it's enjoyable as just a pet care game, as you feed, water, clean, pet, and teach your horse tricks. They don't have any other specific app recommendations, but loads of titles based on caring for a pet come up in "similar to" on the app store: Pet World - My Animal Shelter, Cat Hotel, and Dog Town for example might give you a similar fix, though neither of us can vouch for those specific games ourselves.

Is there anywhere I can look to see my pet’s current level of Affection?

Not precisely--it goes up by level, but you can't see the affection itself. The developer has said he's trying to strike a balance between giving players information to help them play, and becoming too much like the Sims where everything is a visible stat/number.
posted by brook horse at 4:16 PM on June 27 [2 favorites]

thanks brook horse!
posted by ITheCosmos at 4:34 PM on June 27

Go buy that itch.io bundle. Give them more money than they're asking for. It's a ridiculous amount of content for basically no money. Go do it.
posted by hippybear at 4:55 PM on June 27

(I believe the bundle ended and is no longer available if not already purcahsed, unfortunately.)
posted by brook horse at 5:12 PM on June 27

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