Homebrew Legends Interviews: Zack Manko – Mega Cat Studios.

Mega Cat StudiosHere we interview Zack Manko from Mega cat Studios, the guys behind the hugely successful Kickstarter for Megadrive/Genesis game Coffee Crisis. Please enjoy.

HBL

Thank you for agreeing to our interview, please take a moment to tell us a little about you guys?

Zack

We make games, love cats, and are ecstatic to see so much activity in retro gaming.

HBL

What was the first game you created?

Zack

Something hello world I’m sure, maybe a puzzle in C++.

HBL

Can you tell about Mega Cat Studios, how it started, its mission statement and so on?

Zack

Mega Cat Studios brings game ideas to life. Most of our time is on client facing work, not retro games. Retro games are something we’re happy to take part in for the art of it.

HBL

Why the name Mega Cat Studios?

Zack

It’s the celebration of several things that make us happy.

HBL

What do you guys do for a living now?

Zack

Game development!

HBL

Whats next for Mega Cat Studios?

Zack

Possibly some more retro games! We’ll always make time for them in between contract work.

HBL

Any thoughts for doing games on other systems? (Atari Jaguar, Dreamcast or Spectrum)

Zack

No plans, although it’s awesome to see the activity! If someone with Dreamcast experience wants to port some C titles, I’m sure we’d consider.

HBL

Are you surprised with the resurgence in retro gaming?

Zack

Happily surprised! It’s so great to see.

HBL

Do you have any games that are just sitting on your drives unfinished that you may release one day?

Zack

I’m sure everyone does. Sometimes those games are just best left on the drives, and other times they can help with inspiration for other projects down the line.

HBL

Can you tell us what prompted you to get involved in Retro Game Development?

Zack

The same thing as everyone else: A love for retro gaming!

HBL

What games at the time (and now) would you say are your biggest inspirations?

Zack

We all have different inspirations, but the top few are Super Mario 3, Mega Man X & Castlevania Symphony of the Night.

HBL

What is the biggest challenge you face with the limitations of the hardware, particularly as you continue to expand features title-to-title? (Memory? Graphical capability? Speed?)

Zack

The same issues everyone else has, all based around optimizations.

HBL

Do you have timelines built in to the management of these games?

Zack

We mostly work on these games in the slack time that falls after our main priorities. We try to keep some kind of boundaries/timelines in mind, but, in the end they’re creative works that are best not rushed.

HBL

Do you actually meet each other at events? (team members)

Zack

We try to get around everywhere to meet everyone, it’s something important to us. Everyone is only as good as their team, and we’re quite lucky to have the team that we have. We’re in touch pretty much all day on Discord, slack, skype, hangouts, etc.

HBL

How long does it take to create the graphics and music that you create? Is there a set routine that you use?

Zack

Every project is different! Mitch Foster is the guy that makes most of our music and does all of our sound design. He’s an awesome team member! More recently, Karl O has been tagging in on some of the Megadrive tracks. I love the way the Sega MD’s chip sounds.

HBL

Which game you guys have released would you recommend to a first timer in this scene?

Zack

That probably goes to be Little Medusa. It does well with a huge scope of ages and is easy to pick up, hard to put down.

HBL

Tell us about Coffee Crisis, what was the inspiration for this game?

Zack

We wanted to make a game for a friend’s local coffee shop that embodies some of the things we hold dear: music, art, entrepreneurship, coffee and metal.

HBL

Which one of your games you have created are you the most fondest of and why?

Zack

I have to say that the best are yet to come. Apeel’s Court and Lethal Wedding could be a few months away, or a few years away, but they have been a ton of fun to work on this past year.

HBL

And which would you say was the biggest headache to make and why?

Zack

Without question, Coffee Crisis. The game scope kept changing, the art was redone several times, and every step of the way something went wrong. It’s projects like that which really bring a team together, and became our introduction to so, so many members of the community that we keep in touch with now.

HBL

What games company from back then was your fav and why?

Zack

If I have to pick one, it’s going to be Natsume or Atlus. Their games are always so incredibly well done with absolute attention to detail.

Huge thanks to Zack for taking time out to briefly answer our questions.

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