The Memories That Drive Creation
Ever get that feeling when you walk into the kitchen on a Sunday morning and smell something good cooking… and that just brings you back to the bliss of your childhood? Studies show that smells trigger emotional memories, so it’s no wonder that when you smell a fresh batch of cookies exactly like how your mom used to make them when you were younger, the scent takes you back. But what do we do with these nostalgic emotions?
For Mega Cat Studios and Onesto Foods, nostalgia became the driving force and inspiration to create new things. Our new ideas are influenced by retroactive games, and Onesto’s come from home cooking that no restaurant could ever beat. In games, Mega Cat takes the heart of the game and keeps what you love while developing more ideas for what can be changed; kinda like food. You can’t have roasted chicken without the chicken, but you can change the spices and seasonings for different flavors!
Jane Ciccone of Onesto Foods published an article entitled Fond Fall Memories: Pumpkin Mousse and Cinnamon Cookies, she recounts how the sense of smell that people had with various ingredients evokes the strongest memories. Sun Dried tomatoes and basil transport her to Florence, Italy where she fell in love with its local markets and delicious food. Fresh-cut grass and cinnamon takes her back to the kitchen with her mom back when she was a child.
Just like Jane, our game designers and developers have memories in mind when creating the games you love. Bite the Bullet was inspired by Metal Slug, a game we played in a simpler time when we could kick back on a weekend and forget everything to focus on the game. In designing this game, Mega Cat wanted players to get that feeling back while having all the features of modern gameplay flashed with bright lights and good food!
Mega Cat Studios has always honored the influence of food in the game development landscape, while Jane Ciccone plays with recipes passed down through generations so she can have her own flavors. Gaming and cooking aren’t as far from each other as one might think.
An Honest Beginning
Onesto Foods, which traces its company name from the Italian word “onesto” (lit. honest), marked its humble beginnings at the core of the Italian tradition: family. Jane and Jesse Ciccone always gathered their family around 5 o’clock to share antipasti before dinner, a tradition that the two grew up with. However, this activity also rocked the couple’s core as they realized that their young daughter at the time was allergic to gluten.
Not wanting to give up the core values she learned from her Italian upbringing, Jane began her journey to finding gluten-free crackers that her daughter would be able to eat. Discouraged by the discovery that the market is filled with overly-processed and preservative-filled options, she would adjust her recipes and promised to never use less than honest ingredients.
This was when “the seeds of Onesto were planted”. Jane believed that bringing the best possible ingredients not only tasted better but also made the body feel better.
Blast from the Past: Food and Game Development
What does Onesto Foods and Mega Cat Studios have to do with each other?
We’re all about honesty, family, and community… and of course, food.
Mega Cat Studios and Onesto Foods both consider their community of patrons as family, and we all want our families to be given food that not only has great flavors, but are also filling and healthy.
Thus, when Bite the Bullet was born, Mega Cat and Onesto partnered up to bring it to their respective communities. The Cats are campaigning to raise awareness about healthy eating habits and sharing the love that different people have from food. So many gamers out there are foodies, and we have to prioritize our health if we want to continue gaming until we reach level 100 in life!
We use food as sustenance to keep both ourselves and our game counterparts alive and healthy. There’s no coincidence that HP means Health Points--it’s a reminder that in keeping yourself healthy, you’ll be able to live long enough to defeat enemies and face life’s challenges. Running low on health? Grab an apple, or a potion--it’s basically an energy drink. It’s intuitive and familiar. When we see a consumable in a game, we usually already know what it’s for even before we use it for the first time. Games tap into your subconscious so that everything feels simple enough that players can relate and connect the dots easily--and we use food as basic sustenance, because it is.
Like the cookies and mousses that Jane Ciccone created based on the information drawn from her childhood memories as triggered by their scents, the parallels of game design development to food creation has a degree of influence to developers and players to make everything more whole. Creators draw their inspirations from what they know because nostalgia plays a big role in the overall experience, whether it’s through scents or by iconic pixel art games. Our senses remind us of feelings, and we love getting those feelings back.
Bite the Bullet is a game that reminds us that we are what we eat, and in real life, we really should eat nothing less than honest ingredients.
Everybody Loves Food: The Foodie Highlights of Onesto
Jane believes that healthy food made from simple, quality ingredients can taste good--even better than those that don’t! Onesto Foods’ pride is in its gluten-free products such as its soft-baked cookies, which are made from the simplest ingredients. They also offer chocolate chip cookies filled with vega chips. With this line, they have several variations such as the Cinnamon + Sugar cookies and their Double Chocolate Chip cookies for those chocolate lovers.
Their signature crackers are gluten-free, vegan, and non-GMO, which makes them a hit with foodies. They’re great on cheese boards or as a healthy snack! They also have the Everything crackers, which are full of poppy and sesame seeds, onion, garlic, and sea salt. Their Rosemary crackers are a recommended partner for an antipasto platter. And they have Sea Salt crackers for those wanting the nutty and salty finish.
Aside from these products, the Onesto Foods website also features several articles about foods and recipes that could be given a gluten-free flair to them from Jane Ciccone’s recipes!