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      Game Culture — #gaming news

      Reviving Retro: Classic Game Genres Making a Comeback in 2024

      Reviving Retro: Classic Game Genres Making a Comeback in 2024
      Retro gaming never goes out of style! While these genres are old, their influence remains strong, and modern games take the lessons they teach to heart. Take a walk down memory lane and reminisce about the classics, and see the games that they inspire today.

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      Are you afraid of the dark? - A Void Hope

      Are you afraid of the dark? -  A Void Hope

      Mega Cat Studios had the amazing moment to interview Elden Pixels, the team behind the adventure game. A Void Hope! A Void Hope takes you on an atmospheric puzzle platforming adventure to find a cure for a collapsed city. Follow the story of a tormented couple as they try to decipher reality from nightmares and overcome the shadowy threats lurking in the dark. 

      Get ready to step into the light as we discover how this game was developed! 

      How was this game born?

      At its core the story is about a couple trying to navigate a world where external threats are lurking in every corner, so I took inspiration from the world we live in today with the pandemic and all. We started development at the start of 2021 and with everything going on that year it heavily influenced the direction of the game. But something pivotal happened mid development when we established our very dark art style and all of the sudden all the pieces fell into place and the story came to fruition.

      What has development been like so far?

      Extremely different from our previous games we’ve made. Our first game was Alwa’s Awakening and we had so many classic platformers and adventure games to draw inspiration from, so designing that game was so much fun. And for our second game, which was the follow-up called Alwa’s Legacy, we didn’t really write a design document. Instead, we just made a list of the 10 most vital parts we wanted to improve on, and we just started working.

      For A Void Hope, it was a much more complex development process since this game changed so much during the development process. And we tried a lot of different ideas, design, and mechanics before we landed in what we have now. Now with everything in place and we’re getting ready to finish the game it feels amazing and we’re having so much fun!

      What makes this game special?

      It’s a very unusual game and I can’t really think of any other game that does what we do. It’s not a traditional platformer since you can’t kill anyone or anything. It’s not really a puzzle game, nor an adventure game. I think it’s an adventure platformer with a lot of ambiguity and a story very much open for interpretation. The complete lack of violence is definitely unusual.

      What games influenced this one the most?

      We didn’t look at any other games for inspiration, only movies and It Follows was probably the biggest influence. Other movies we looked at were The Road, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Videodrome and They Live. If I have to say one game, I’d say the retro game Another World.

      Any fun stories or wild moments during development?

      Well, originally the game was a 4-player co-op puzzle platformer where you could rewind time. So each character had a 10-second run to record their moves and then the challenge was to align them all to work together in the time loop, imagine Braid combined with The Lost Vikings. As much as that sounded cool on paper, actually making that game turned out to be quite challenging and as development progressed, we changed from four characters to three, and down to two and finally down to one. And then we removed the time rewind mechanic and changed the story and art style.

      So basically, the original idea never happened and instead we made A Void Hope, which turned out to be a lot cooler and a better game. 

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

      N/A

       

      What's your favourite memory as a gamer?

      Oh, there are so many! Two come to mind. Doing absolutely everything possible and getting every single achievement in Skate 1 to 3. I played the first one on my Xbox 360 and they had this feature where you could load mp3:s from a USB memory stick and I just played for hours and hours listening to the same album on repeat.

      Another one was playing all the old Sierra text adventure games on my Amiga 500 and since English isn’t my first language and this was long before the internet, I always had my dictionary so we could look up words. Sometimes when I played at a friend’s house, I brought it to him so we could play Leisure Suit Larry 3.

       

      Who will enjoy this game the most?

      Very good question. I know everyone is talking a lot about defining your target audience but due to how development looked for this game we didn’t really have a target audience in mind when creating this game. I hope and I think fans of our previous Alwa games will enjoy it and hopefully people that enjoy small indie games will find it interesting as well. We spent a lot of time crafting the game and I think it shows so hopefully it’ll find an audience.

      How do you want this game to be remembered?

      Also, a very good question. Maybe as a good example of how you can create an interesting and fun game that doesn’t revolve around killing, collecting, and draining resources?

      What's next?

      A Void Hope will be the sixth title we release from Elden Pixels, three of them are our own games we developed and the other are great retro titles we are fortunate to have been able to be involved with. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if our next title is a great looking retro title!

       

      Anything else you'd like to add?

      Thanks everyone for your support and in keeping retro gaming alive!

       

       

      Check the trailer here:

      Follow Elden Pixels on their Website, Twitter and Discord to get the latest updates from them and Wishlist the game on Steam!

      Get ready to peek-a-boo this upcoming game, Bug-a-boo Pocket!

      Get ready to peek-a-boo this upcoming game, Bug-a-boo Pocket!

      Now, now, who doesn't love bugs? We at Mega Cat Studios adore and preserve the life of bugs as much as we can! And this upcoming pixel featured game we have for you will definitely make you love bugs more! 

      We had the fly-some moment to interview the team behind Bugaboo PocketA story-driven virtual pet game starring bugs from land, air and sea! Tuck your bug in at night and greet them in the morning with realtime gameplay. Spoil them with minigames, food and furniture. Discover how even the smallest action impacts your pet!

      Get ready to flap your small wings as we discover the story on how this game is made! 

      How was this game born?

      We started making Animal Crossing scenes during the pandemic so we could go on virtual dates. After that, we started brainstorming our own game ideas. A digital pet game about bugs had a message we believed in (bugs are good!) and also was something we could realistically finish.

      What was development like?

      Since we are also life partners, we talk about the game on and off throughout the day. We have a whiteboard in our office where we sketch out ideas. Every aspect of the game’s production is a collaborative effort.

      We spent a lot of time figuring out which bugs we wanted to include in our games, and some were excluded simply because they were far too spindly for the pixel art style I was shooting for. Our native resolution is fairly low so we needed to choose bugs which could be clearly read. 

      What did you learn about yourself through this game?

      We both come from technical backgrounds but we’ve never created a game on our own. Over time, we’re slowly gaining confidence in our game design abilities in addition to honing our technical skills.

      I’ve always pushed for highly polished art at every point of production because I feel it keeps us motivated. That said, it’s a huge time sink and I’ll likely go about things differently next time around.

      What makes this game special?

      There aren’t many games that show bugs in a positive light (which is changing thankfully)! We showcase real world bugs that normally would not be protagonists and when you play the game you actually learn about their life cycles, habitats and food sources.

      We have also challenged ourselves to go above and beyond what a classic digital pet game offers. Our game has a storyline, objectives, death mechanics and so much more!

       

      What games influenced this one the most?

      Since we’ve been together, we’ve introduced each other to so many games we normally wouldn’t have tried on our own. I have a vast knowledge of retro games, and Sarah plays a lot of modern indie titles. Both have greatly influenced us.

      Bugaboo Pocket is inspired by digital pet games like Tamagotchi and Neko Atsume. Our minigames are inspired by classic twitchy arcade games. We’re hoping to appeal to both types of fans with our game.

       

      Any fun stories or wild moments during development?

      We’re always doing low-level research by observing the bugs around us, going to natural history museums and watching documentaries. We even went to Japantown in San Francisco and bought an insect guide book filled with beautiful photography to use as reference. One night, we walked along the beach to watch active sand fleas. I was able to get some pretty amazing footage, but paid the price after receiving some pretty wicked bites. Worth it.

       

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

      Oh, absolutely! I’m incredibly biased here given that I spent a great deal of my childhood in arcades, but I do feel like those twitchy games of yore helped develop my cat-like reflexes. 

       

      What's your favorite memory as a gamer?

      I mentioned it briefly before, but a more recent memory I have is of Sarah and I going on virtual dates early into the pandemic. At the time, it was really our only option. We had just met and desperately wanted to go, well, anywhere. In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, I created a huge park for us to explore together and even built a seaside Taco Bell. (Nothing screams romance like Taco Bell.)

      I also have a much older memory from childhood which I still remember vividly to this day. One Christmas Eve, my father called me downstairs to see “a special on TV about the Sega Genesis”. I ran downstairs and watched as footage of Sonic the Hedgehog played. I started to grow suspicious as the footage began to loop. Sure enough, it was just the in-game demo. Needless to say, that was the year I received my first 16-bit system.  

      Who will enjoy this game the most?

      Digital pet fans and bug lovers will really enjoy playing this game. Our game also has a gay storyline so hopefully queer players will enjoy Bugaboo Pocket too.

       

      Bottom Line, why must someone play this game?

      You should play this game if you want to experience a fresh take on the digital pet genre and/or if you’ve always dreamed of having a pet bug. You’ll see beautifully animated bugs, some of which have never been depicted in pixel art before.

      How do you want this game to be remembered?

      We’re hoping that this game might help some people get over their fear of bugs or at least have a newfound appreciation for them. We also want bug lovers to feel validated with a game that’s made with them in mind.

      What's next?

      We’re working on a public Steam demo! Out later this year.

      Anything else you'd like to add?

      Love bugs, don’t be afraid! They are your friends.

      Check the announcement trailer here:

      Follow Bugaboo Pocket on their Website, Twitter and Tiktok to get the latest updates from them and Wishlist the game on Steam!

      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!