Garfield was once a beloved comic strip about the adventures of a lazy, lasagna-loving cat. For decades, Garfield enjoyed his spotlight in wholesome, fun stories shared around the world. Then, something tragic happened: Garfield became a parody.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when the world turned on Garfield, but a memorable turning point was the terrible hybrid CGI-live action Garfield film released in 2004. It was here that the cat re-entered the public conscious, and the childhoods of many, after a slow decline towards irrelevancy in the late 1990s.
The Garfield the film introduced was lazy, rude, unloveable, and not helped at all by shoddy early-2000s CGI. But somehow, despite the poor critical reception of the first film, it got a sequel in 2006. This, too, was poorly received, and contributed to the character’s loss of stature.
While it’s hard to say whether it was these films that caused the disillusionment of the wider public, Garfield’s ascent towards memedom was hurried by their release. After decades of the comic being marketed and merchandised to oblivion, Garfield became divorced from his origins sometime in the mid-2000s.
Rather than short, wholesome comics, the cat became known for turning up exactly where he wasn’t wanted. He turned into a “harbinger of doom” and an eldritch beast as people began to imagine and stretch what Garfield‘s world was really like behind the scenes. The more annoying and pervasive he got, the more Garfield became a terrifying, all-knowing figure in the realm of pop culture.
This may have been a product born of Garfield itself — one particular strip, often referred to as “the last Garfield comic” implied Garfield was living in an imagined reality created by his fear of being alone.
Others built on the idea, conjuring up Cthulian horrors and existentialist nightmares from the pages of Garfield to formulate their own deranged versions of the titular cat’s universe.
One of these is Garfield Kart, a racing simulator featuring the entire cast of the comic strip. While it has a very positive rating on Steam, critical reviews are unabashedly negative. It’s been called unbalanced, bland, dreadful, poorly designed and unimaginative with low production value and terrible mechanics.
It’s not a good game by any means — but if you were so inclined to experience one of the many Garfield video games that celebrate this horrifying beast, there is excellent news. The horrors of Garfield are just a mouse click away. Right now on Steam, you can buy Garfield Kart and its equally hideous sequel, Furious Racing, for the low, low price of $2.17. For just $2, you too can embrace the modern myth of Garfield.
Should you buy it? Probably not. But as a gift for a friend in these trying times? It just may open their eyes to the wonders and beauty of the franchise.
Everybody deserves the gift of Garfield, and Steam has wrapped up the franchise’s best games for a steal. What a time to be alive.