Hello hello hello, hope you are all doing well. This is Christophe Galati, the developer of Save me Mr Tako!, and today I’d like to tell you more about the Game Boy influences, what inspired me, how I used the limitations, and the challenge it provided to maintain the balance between a traditional and modern gaming experience.
Growing up, I had a big brother who collected games, so even though I was born in 1994, I was still able to play many retro games. The Game Boy Color was the first system I personally owned. I always loved the aesthetic, and when I heard that the Game Boy’s 25th anniversary was approaching, it resonated as a call for me…it was time to start a project. I took a little piece of every game I loved from that era to make the original prototype for Tako-San, which I published on September 29, the original release date of the Game Boy in Europe.
When I started to prototype the game, I had just beaten Metroid II and the ice beam from that game directly inspired the ink mechanic in Mr Tako; in fact, it became the primary gameplay feature. The “hat” system of gaining different powers was obviously inspired by the Kirby games, but the powers all took inspiration from other games, like Zelda, Mario and Castlevania. The world structure is also inspired by the Kirby hub system, the dungeons design by Zelda…
The graphical element is what honors the Game Boy most directly. I used the four-color limitation, without any rotation or scaling effects, and most of the sprites are in a 16x16-pixel resolution. In the game, you will be able to change the color palette as you could on Game Boy Color, and have a background like on Super Game Boy. That said, Mr Tako will have more sprites on screen than the Game Boy was capable of displaying and during most of the development, the game screen resolution was 4:3, which is a bit wider than the original Game Boy resolution. You can still play Mr Tako in that resolution, or choose to play it in today’s more common 16:9 widescreen format, too.
The music and sounds also pay homage to the Game Boy era. The composer, Marc-Antoine Archier, used a tracker called Deflemask to make all of the songs true to the Game Boy era. As with the Game Boy, we also have four channels; however, Mr Tako doesn’t shut down a channel to play sound effects above the music. Here is a video where you can see how one of the music tracks was made: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7k9C9IWM99w
The games of this era had a lot of secrets and one of my goals when I began development was to attempt to reproduce this feeling of charm and mystery. Game Boy games were very good at creating an “illusion” and making you imagine the world beyond the limitations. When playing The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, I always wondered what it was like to be on the boat during the intro…I guess that’s why you start on a boat during a thunderstorm in Save me Mr Tako!
I’ll say goodbye for now, and leave you with this image from the game. I’ll talk to you again soon to share more information regarding the gameplay in Save me Mr Tako!