Old School Gamer chats with “Pig Eat Ball” developer Nathan Fouts from Mommy’s Best Games, who details the game’s development process and how Pac-Man and Contra ended up playing not only an impactful role in the game’s creation, but also in his development as a gamer.
About Pig Eat Ball:
Eat, Fight, Solve, and Barf your way through hundreds of action-packed levels in the colossal, story-filled world of PIG EAT BALL! Eat all the balls in a level to win, but if you get so fat you get stuck, you’ll have to barf to squeeze through! King Cake has decreed whomever can win his contest will marry his daughter! –But SHE has other ideas! As Princess Bow, take back your fate by winning the contest yourself. The contest spans King Cake’s massive Space Station Kingdom containing Five GIANT Worlds, each brimming with fun to discover!
Old School Gamer: How was this game born?
Nathan Fouts: I wanted to create a new gameplay mechanic. Something other than the standard platforming or shooting!
Old School Gamer: What was development like?
Fouts: It took a long time! Nearly six years. Every time we’d start creating a new “world” in the game, I’d ask the team: How can we use our central, but in a new way?
Old School Gamer: What makes this game special?
Fouts: It twists classic arcade games in a fun, very original way. What would happen if Pac-Man got fat? You’d get stuck in the maze. There’s lots of balls to eat, to beat each level, but every time, there’s a new trick to figuring them out.
Old School Gamer: What games influenced this one the most?
Fouts: Well, definitely Pac-Man! But also other classics like Arkanoid, Q*bert, and Burger Time. But also contemporary games like Super Mario Galaxy, Battleblock Theater, and Super Monkey Ball.
Old School Gamer: Any fun stories or wild moments during development?
Fouts: I once was working on making the barf effects better looking, on the same night my wife was actually sick, and actually barfing in the toilet. Did I use the results for reference art? Maybe!
Old School Gamer: How was it different from your previous games?
Fouts: It’s definitely our biggest game yet–some players have taken 16 hours to complete the main story.
Old School Gamer: Do you think preserving older gameplay mechanics in new games is important?
Fouts: There are some tried and true gameplay mechanics. They work and are fun. But sometimes they can be improved! Mommy’s Best Games thing to do, is to take classic mechanics and enhance or twist them into something new.
Old School Gamer: What’s your favorite memory as a gamer?
Fouts: Every time I’ve played a Contra game and gotten to a new boss. I’m always scared, but also excited. That first time I fight it, I never know what crazy attack it will through at me!
Old School Gamer: Who will enjoy this game the most?
Fouts: Action-Adventure players. Whoever is looking for some original action-puzzles to solve.
Old School Gamer: Bottom Line, why must someone play this game?
Fouts: It’s one of the most original, insane action-adventures of the past 5 years. Don’t take my word for it–the press has said that!
Old School Gamer: How do you want this game to be remembered?
Fouts: Fondly, along other big action-puzzle-adventures like Mario Galaxy, and Super Monkey Ball.
Old School Gamer: What’s next?
Fouts: We are bringing Pig Eat Ball to consoles in early 2019!
Old School Gamer: Anything else you’d like to add?
Fouts: Support quality developers! I’ve made indie games since 2007, and from Shoot 1UP to Explosionade and more, we always put great quality and support into our work. Thank you gamers!
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the author of the book, “The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews With Cult and Classic Video Game Developers,” from McFarland And Company. Featuring interviews with the creators of 36 popular video games–including Deus Ex, NHLPA 93, Night Trap, Mortal Kombat, Wasteland and NBA Jam–the book gives a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of some of the most influential and iconic (and sometimes forgotten) games of all time. Recounting endless hours of painstaking development, the challenges of working with mega-publishers and the uncertainties of public reception, the interviewees reveal the creative processes that produced some of gaming’s classic titles.