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      Game Culture — indie gaming

      Hop to the top with Murtop!

      Hop to the top with Murtop!

      Ribbity rabbity boo! What happens when carrot-hungry moles invade the world? Who's gonna save the day? We believe it's going to be Murti!

      Mega Cat Studios had the amazing chance to interview Xavi Gomez the Producer of the up-and-coming fast-paced arcade game Murtop! Count your coins and get ready to hop as we check the development of the game!

      How was this game born?

      Murtop was born in 2019. But before being a game, it was an arcade cabinet which I built from scratch in my spare time, from 2015 to 2018, to play old arcade games. The name Murtop comes from “Murti” (a bunny that my partner and I had) and “Bartop” (an arcade cabinet without the base, or pedestal, which was the model I was building). Once I had the cabinet built, I decided that I wanted to create my own game to play on it, and that’s when Murtop, the game, was born.

      What was development like?

      Murtop was a hobby for me for almost 3 years. I was working from time to time, at night, on the weekends, mostly getting used to Godot (the game engine I use). Basically, I was just having fun learning about everything related to game development while creating a game. I didn't have in mind publishing at all. I was casually posting my journey on Twitter and Reddit and people seemed to like it, which encouraged me to keep going. But in a drastic turn of events (in a good way!), Flynn's Arcade, my publisher, contacted me in the summer of 2022 and they offered me a deal to publish Murtop.

      From this point onward, I could say I turned into a "serious game developer" by force. First of all, Murtop didn't have any music nor sfx and I also needed some promotional art and such, so I hired a professional musician and an artist to help me. Now, I only had to finish the game, hehe! And having a full-time job, managing game development, work, family, hours of sleep... The last few months of development were challenging. But I made it through and now Murtop is going to be a reality!

      What did you learn about yourself through this game?

      That I need to learn to focus. Do one thing at a time, and do it properly. I tend to do multiple tasks at once and it nevers ends well. I also learned that I’m actually capable of creating pixel art, which was a new thing for me.

      What makes this game special?

      It’s a new take on the 80’s arcade games. It has more pace, better playability and controls. It’s also designed and programmed having in mind the restrictions those games had, so it could be easily ported to actual older systems. Murtop can run natively on a "potato computer" (e.g. a Raspberry Pi).


      How does sound play a role in the game?

      Sound is crucial in Murtop. Thankfully, Valen Haralambidis, a great musician, helped me with the music and sfx. He designed the whole sound to be resemblant of the old arcade sounds but with a modern twist. This type of games rely a lot on sound because the graphics are kind of basic.

      What games influenced this one the most?

      Murtop is mostly based on Dig Dug and Bomberman. I took the digging and killing subterranean enemies with rocks from Dig Dug and the bombs and their explosions in multiple directions from Bomberman.

      Any fun stories or wild moments during development?

      I would say that the wildest moment was when Flynn’s Arcade contacted me. I was in my bed, ready to go to sleep, scrolling through Twitter, when I received a DM asking if I would like to publish Murtop on the Nintendo Switch. I just couldn't believe it! First of all, someone wanted to publish my game, which was bonkers, and secondly, on none other than on a Nintendo console, which are the consoles I grew up playing with.


      Do you think preserving older gameplay mechanics in new games is important?

      Yeah, I think it is important because usually older gameplay mechanics are easy to understand and the players can pick up and play the game more quickly. But preserving older gameplay mechanics doesn't necessarily mean that new games can't introduce new mechanics or innovate in other ways or mix them with older ones. This can lead to a more enjoyable and satisfying gaming experience.

      What's your favorite memory as a gamer?

      In terms of arcade games, I remember fondly playing Pang and Puzzle Bobble with my father in the bar next to my childhood home. I spent so much money on it! I also remember having a blast playing multiplayer games with my friends, such as Age of Empires, Warcraft, and StarCraft. We also liked to gather to play GoldenEye 007, Perfect Dark, and later on, TimeSplitters 2.

      Who will enjoy this game the most?

      I believe that everybody will enjoy Murtop, but I think people who played arcade games in the 80’s and the 90’s will appreciate it the most.

      Bottom line, why must someone play this game?

      Because it’s so funny to see a cute little bunny poop bombs! 

      How do you want this game to be remembered?

      I would like Murtop to be remembered as a “classic new arcade” game.

      What's next?

      I’m in talks with some companies to release Murtop on their platforms. I would love to  see a physical release of Murtop and I would also like to have a dedicated “Murtop” arcade cabinet, with a vertical CRT monitor, its own art and controls and so on. So I will do everything that’s in my power to make those things happen.

      Anything else you'd like to add?

      Thank you all for having me. It’s been a pleasure. Let’s keep arcade games alive!


      Check out Murtop on Steam

      Check out trailer here:

      Follow Hiulit on Twitter, Github, and Youtube to get the latest updates from them! Support them on Ko-fi and Patreon!

      Get ready to rumble! Big Boy Boxing is punching through your way!

      Get ready to rumble! Big Boy Boxing is punching through your way!

      *Ding ding ding! Think slapstick, pixel art, and boxing rolled into one. This is how our showcased game for this month is seen. Mega Cat Studios had a chance to interview one of the founders of Soupmasters, Martin Calander, about their upcoming slapstick boxing game, Big Boy Boxing! Ready for the punch? Here’s how it went! 


      How was this game born?

      The game was born after we created many funny characters with personalities during school time. And we needed a game to showcase them, first, we tried to make traditional smash bro like fighting game, but that didn't work out. After a while, we decided to try making a punch-out-esque game with our characters, and it evolved from there.


      What was development like?

      We are still in the development phase, but it's been souper fun!


      What did you learn about yourself through this game?

      I've learned that things take double the time I think they will when developing a game!


      What makes this game special?

      The characters, the slapstick humour, and the fast-paced boss-rush gameplay!

      How does sound play a role in the game?

      In gameplay, sounds are used as "tells" for the bosses' attacks. And the voice acting gives the characters another level of personality and relatability.


      What games influenced this one the most?

      Punch-Out!! for the Wii, Cuphead by Studio MDHR, and Undertale by Toby Fox.


      Any fun stories or wild moments during development?

      One really fun thing I've worked on is new approaches and ways of animating Pixel-Art, which hasn't really been developed since 3D in games was introduced.


      Do you think preserving older gameplay mechanics in new games is important?

      Yes, definitely worth preserving.


      What's your favorite memory as a gamer?

      My time creating plugins and mods for Minecraft.


      Who will enjoy this game the most?

      Lovers of 2D Animations or pixel art will surely enjoy this game.

      Bottom Line, why must someone play this game?

      You won't find another retro pixel art game with this level of animation and over-the-top characters. 


      How do you want this game to be remembered?

      I want the players to remember the characters in the game, and the journey those characters have been through! 

      (Here are some of the characters that will appear in the game!)

      RyanPsychoFreezy Star    Hank

      What’s next?

      We are working on getting this game ready for testers!


      Anything else you’d like to add?

      Be sure to wishlist Big Boy Boxing on steam! It's the easiest and best way to support us for now!


      Check out Big Boy Boxing trailer:


      Follow Soupmasters on TwitterInstagramDiscord, and Youtube to get the latest updates from them!

      This Week In Gaming History - November 29th - Dec 5th

      This Week In Gaming History - November 29th - Dec 5th

      Winter is coming and it’s time to dust off that old chest in the attic where your Mum keeps the old Christmas decorations, rummage through it and you just might find that video game memento you’ve been looking for all these years. Lets go ahead and open that secret wardrobe right there and let Catslan the Lion transport you to another nostalgia filled past in This Week in Gaming History.

      As gamers, we’ve all asked the age-old question as to what video game is considered to be the first of its kind and a lot of people seem to agree it’s Pong. They’re not wrong but they’re also not right. See it all depends on context. 


      The very first video game produced was in February 1962, made by a group of MIT engineers and was actually called Spacewar!, this was never released commercially despite its popularity in the university where it was developed. This however, inspired the creation of the very first commercialized video game called Computer Space developed by Bushnell who would later co-founded Atari. Sadly, the game never took flight as intended and Bushnell left Nutting Associates to put up Atari. 

      When he assigned Allan Alcorn to make a video game as a training exercise, Pong was born! Bushnell was so surprised at the quality of the game that he decided to have it manufactured. By November 29, 1972, the game was commercially released. In a span of 2 years they sold about 8000 Pong units and it took the fledgling gaming world by storm! In fact it was so popular before its official debut that the prototype cabinet used in a local bar broke down due to the huge amount of coins inside. 

      See popularity also brings with it copy-cats and Pong inspired a slew of bootlegs and ripoffs but this didn’t deter Atari and instead countered them by releasing Home Pong, a console version of Pong and in 1973 released a sequel called Pong Doubles that featured 4 players; another first in the gaming world. So again, was it the first actual video game? No. But was it the first video game that launched a whole new industry centered on entertainment and fun? Definitely!

      Here’s another video game inspired by real life sports, specifically ice hockey! NHL 99 was released on November 30, 1998 for the N64 and was met with high review scores by different gaming publications with an aggregate score of 84%. To make the game more immersive, the N64 version of NHL 99,  faithfully represented the official NHL and NHLPA licence showing all teams and players, including the Nashville Predators expansion team. Talk about bang for your puck, I mean buck. 

      Speaking of immersive, Daryl Reaugh returned from NHL 98 as the new series’ color commentator however, he left after NHL 99. The play-by-play commentary was done by ESPN's Bill Clement. The game also featured Eric Lindros on the cover. Lindros was with the Philadelphia Flyers when this game was released and was ultimately recognized in 2016 as an appointee into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Nice, ice baby.

      Here’s something to do in-game if you wanna skate on thin ice while playing hockey. If you type the word “zambo” anytime during the game, a random Zamboni will appear and start driving around on the skating rink even if a game is still ongoing! I hope that doesn’t happen in a real live game though, those things can be dangerous.


      We’re all dangerously in love with the Legend of Zelda franchise cause we can’t stop talking about how awesome the games have been over the years! Released on December 1, 1988 for the NES,  Zelda II: The Adventure of Link was a direct sequel to the original Legend of Zelda however it deviated from its predecessor in terms of gameplay, introducing RPG elements and side-scrolling action. In addition to this, the game introduced elements such as Link's "magic meter" and the Dark Link character that would become commonplace in future Zelda games.It was also the first Zelda game to feature invisible enemies and also featured secrets such as being able to get past locked doors without keys by using the fairy spell and flying through the keyhole. Zelda II was slated to be released at an earlier date but due to the 1988 shortage of ROM chips, it prevented Nintendo from releasing most of its games according to their original schedules, including this one.

      Despite the differences it had with its predecessor, what Zelda II shared with it was its popularity,  as the game was met with mostly positive reviews from critics and became one of the most popular NES games of 1988, with many retailers reporting that the game was selling out that year. The game ultimately sold 4.38 million copies worldwide. Now, that’s flashy! 

      Speaking of flashy, the original NES/Famicom releases of this game showed a rapidly-flashing screen whenever Link dies. This was changed in the remakes to a blank screen, as the rapid flashing was known to cause epileptic seizures. Good thing they dialed down that kind of flashiness though. On a happier note, I’m glad they put Link’s name on the title, cause you know, to avoid confusing Zelda with Link. Admit it though before you got to play the game, you thought the main character’s name in the original Legend of Zelda was Zelda.


      You know who are masters at confusion, deceit and stealth, though? Ninjas! And who loves ninjas? We do! They have got to be one of gaming’s best tropes and that shows in Revenge of the Shinobi for Genesis. Released on December 2, 1989, it is the sequel to Shinobi for the arcade. Revenge of the Shinobi was a masterclass in design and gameplay and a lot of gamers and gaming critics agree that it is in more ways than one, superior to its predecessor. It has received 5 stars and 9s across the board and was even inducted in a lot of greatest games list, notable of which is Gamespot’s list of the greatest games of all time. 

      The game follows Joe Musashi as he finds his master bloodied and dying and his bride, Naoko, kidnapped by the notorious Neo Zeed. It is a traditional side-scrolling action platformer game that features 8 district levels, with its own set of enemies and unique bosses. Joe Musashi can also perform ninjutsu techniques and attack and jump simultaneously, hurling deadly shurikens at enemies. Now you think the game follows a serious plot line and story but wait till you hear about the bosses. 

      It’s funny to think that a game of this caliber would actually be a huge target for copyright lawsuits from different major companies owning certain popular characters. This is because in early versions of The Revenge of Shinobi, it had you fighting Batman as a boss, but because SEGA failed to get the licensing rights for the Caped Crusader, he was replaced by a winged demon in later versions of the game. I mean good thing they removed Batman from the game though, I’m sure he was prepared to beat Joe to a pulp. 

      Funnily enough too, district 7's boss was no other than the big G-man himself, Godzilla! Again it was eventually replaced by a skinless dinosaur whose name was Monster-G, which was obviously not a reference to a certain Kaiju. One of the other bosses is also very reminiscent of the Hulk. Spider-Man is also present as a boss. Like the actual Spiderman. This time though they were able to use Spiderman as a boss but was eventually deleted too as soon as the license for it expired. Serious question, who is this ninja guy? Is he like a dimension-hopping ninja Thanos-Darkseid-Ghidora hybrid? But, you know who the real boss is though? Joe Musashi is.


      The next game on this list is based on another game that is set in a hybrid world with aliens and dinosaurs and involves a dimension hopping, time-traveling warrior. Sounds confusing huh? Enter, Turok 2: Seeds of Evil for the Game Boy Color. Not to be confused with the N64 game with the same title, Turok 2 for the GBC was released on December 3, 1998 with low to middling reviews. Even IGN reviewer Peer Schneider described the game as "an E-rated cookie-cutter sidescroller with decent controls and unimpressive visuals". It followed a completely different story from its N64 counterpart but was essentially  set in the same world. 

      You are Joshua Fireseed a Turok or a Son of Stone tasked with protecting the Earth from multiversal incursions stemming from the Lost Land, a barbaric world that is an amalgam of all existing timelines. You are tasked to slash and gun down the Dinosoid Army in eight levels and battle four bosses using your wits and weapons like a knife, bow & arrow, pistols, shotguns and more. Schneider may not have been impressed by the game but lemme give you a very interesting tidbit about the game.

      Interestingly enough, the major plot points of this game is based on a comic simply titled Turok published by Acclaim Valiant in 1997 and 1998. This follows Joshua Fireseed also known as Coyote Knight, who is essentially a new Turok after the mantle was passed to him by his deceased uncle, Carl Fireseed. Although Josh was a new Turok he had the ability to call upon the previous and future Turoks to act as his guide in a style similar to  Avatar the Last Airbender. As puzzling as the state of the GBC game was, I think this is  an awesome piece of info and it’s best to experience the game and the comics hands-on. 


      Speaking of puzzling, here’s a puzzling challenge to boggle your mind on and I think you’d be interested to know it involves our favorite monsters we all aim to catch, Pokemon. This game was released on December 4, 2000 and has undergone more name changes than your favorite ninja game in Europe. It was initially announced by Nintendo employee Peter Main's "Industry Review" webcast under the title Pokémon Attack on January 13, 2000. Its name was eventually changed to Pokémon Puzzle League, but was released as Pokemon Puzzle Challenge. Puzzling ain’t it? Despite the name changes, what didn’t change was  the fact that it was a very-well made game as it holds an aggregate score of 90.20% at GameRankings, making it the 10th best Game Boy Color game and the 300th best video game on Game Rankings. 

      Of course, they wouldn’t put the word “Challenge” on the game title if the game wasn’t challenging right? You can unlock two extra modes for the hardcore gamers out there by doing these button prompts. When at the difficulty screen in Challenge Mode, pressing select & A while hovering over Hard More will unlock Super Hard Mode. Doing this again while hovering over Super Hard Mode will unlock Intense Mode, the highest difficulty level available in the game. Talk about punishing yourself in a Pokemon game. 

      Incidentally, there’s a secret involving the weird human-shaped Pokemon, Jynx. Her losing animation features nothing but her detached hair holding a white flag of defeat, similar to what happens when you defeat her in Pokemon Stadium.


      Like the Legend of Zelda franchise, Mario games have been a staple for Nintendo systems ever since it was first released way back in 1983 and the next game in this list is a striking testament to that. Super Mario Strikers was released on December 5, 2005 for the Game Cube. However, this was the last Mario game to be released on the GameCube in Japan and North America. It didn’t disappoint though as it was able to reach its goal and was ultimately considered to be outstanding in its field. It sold a total of 1.61 million copies at the end of its cycle owing to its fun gameplay and tight controls. Before the game was conceived however, game director Mike Inglehart and marketing director Grace Kim revealed that Strikers was originally intended to be a more realistic Mario sports game, but the development team opted for an "over-the-top" style after numerous consultations with Nintendo. Which is a wise decision in my opinion cause Mario games have always been over-the-top. 

      In a lot of firsts for the game franchise, this is the first game to feature Kenneth W. James, who temporarily replaces Scott Burns, as the voice of Bowser, a role that would become permanent starting with Super Mario Galaxy. This is also the only Mario Nintendo GameCube game to support 16:9 widescreen as well as 480p. Early concept art for the game shows Mario wearing number 10 as his team number but this was ultimately given to Princess Peach as her team number. In a first, breaking football tradition, Mario was given the number 1 as his team number which is supposed to be reserved for goalkeepers.

      That is all for this week’s gaming history lesson. Which one is your favorite pick on this list? Or do you remember a different game released on these dates? Join our Discord and subscribe to our YouTube for more!