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 Pocket! A 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.
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: