Episode 18: Snak

Christa Mrgan: If you had a Nokia cell phone in the late nineties or early two thousands, you probably remember Snake, the game where you play as a simple snaking line that continues to grow as you steer around the tiny screen eating apples, while trying to avoid running into your own ever expanding body. but what if you could jump over your own back? And what if the apples you were trying to eat could also eat you?

And then what if the whole thing felt more like a skateboarding game once you had reached a sufficiently high level?

Welcome to the Playdate Podcast, bringing you stories from game designers, developers, and the team behind Playdate, the little yellow game console with a crank. I’m Christa Mrgan. Today I’m talking with Zach Gage, designer and developer of Snak, and Panic Designer Neven Mrgan, who created the game’s artwork.

Slight spoiler alert: it’s a fairly straightforward game, and we talk about the overall gist of it, as well as some tactics. So consider yourself warned!

Okay, let’s meet the team.

Zach Gage: I’m Zach Gage and I made Snak.

Neven Mrgan: My name is Neven Mrgan. I’m a designer at Panic.

Zach Gage: Neven did some of the art … or all of the art, I guess.

Snak is kind of a homage to Snake. You know, it’s not exactly Snake, it’s Snake with one twist that I think changes the game pretty substantially.

So the difference is you can jump. Basically you can jump onto your own back or over yourself. And then the apples that you’re trying to eat, instead of being just static obstacles, they move slowly, and as you get longer, they can run into you and if they run into you, they’ll hop on top of you and crawl up towards your head.

And if they get to your head, they’ll kill you. And so you have to sort of eat them off your own back.

Christa Mrgan: I love the twist, that the apples are carnivorous

Zach Gage: They’re more than carnivorous. they’re aggressive.

I’ve been making games for more than 10 years at this point, mostly on mobile, but I’ve done some other stuff. I made Bit Pilot, Unified, SpellTower, Really Bad Chess, Good Sudoku, Ridiculous Fishing, Typeshift, Flipflop Solitaire, Sage Solitaire Tharsis, Card of Darkness, probably something more than I’m forgetting.

I make games that are kind of easy to understand and get into, but then pretty difficult. So I try to make games that are accessible but difficult to try to get people to engage in more of a critical thinking mindset and kind of trick people into doing that. So a lot of the games I make on mobile sort of look like very boring casual style games to try to attract the kind of audience that is comfortable with those kinds of pieces.

But then under the surface, they’re complicated and deep and rich. Sort of like you’d expect a video game to be.

Neven Mrgan: Zach is great because he’s a really nice person and he’s also super experienced with games, and so a lot of this stuff is both no nonsense for him. But then he’s also somebody who has a lot of like, sort of like theories, like he’s thought a lot about what makes games good. And it’s, it’s fun to, to talk to him and you know, he has like good intuitions around this stuff, around what’s going to work and what’s going to appeal to a large number of people. Which is something like, I, I don’t have, I just sort of like am stuck in my own brain.

I’m like, well, I like this thing and I hope other people do. And I think he can sort of put on other people’s brains like a hat a lot more.

Christa Mrgan: “Put on other people’s brains like a hat.” That is an awesome turn of phrase. Reminds me of that Oliver Sacks book.

So how did Zach hear about Playdate and come to make a game for it?

Zach Gage: How did I first hear about it? Bennett Foddy told me he was working on something cool with Panic, and then I think I said, that sounds cool. And then I think he told them that I might be interested and then they approached me.

Neven Mrgan: We’ve all known Zach and liked his games on iOS for a long time, and given sort of the size and the juiciness of his games, how attractive they are to pick up right away and play for a long time, we all knew that we wanted to have him make something for Playdate if possible, and I was super happy that he actually agreed to do it.

Zach Gage: When they approached me with making a game for the Playdate for me, the thing that was really exciting about it was working with a system that had a really strong set of constraints and then also a system that had buttons. I don’t usually work with buttons.

Most people who make video games only work on things with buttons, but for me, buttons are a, a real luxury. And so I really thought back to the kinds of experiences that I’ve had with button based stuff and sort of embedded things. And I thought about my like Nokia phone way back when, and. I thought it might be nice to try to make a game for the Playdate that was simple and small and wouldn’t exhaust you on it very quickly. Well, I guess also I really thought about my TI 83 back in high school. That was a really big gaming weird moment for me with my friends because we would make games for each other on the TI-83 or like download weird games from the internet and load them onto our graphing calculators.

Christa Mrgan: So I looked it up and realized that since this specific model of graphing calculator was only on the market from 1996 to 2004, there’s a chance that someone listening to this podcast might never have used one of these in high school or college.

So the TI 83 from Texas Instruments was this bulky graphing and scientific calculator with a three inch, 96 by 64 pixel monochrome LCD screen. And unlike earlier models, it included a very tiny amount of flash memory, so you could write and save programs on it, using, its built in ti basic programming language. Or you could load programs onto it from a computer.

Zach Gage: And that was like also sort of like a hideously constrained system. And it kind of felt like you know what I’m excited about with the Playdate is this idea of it being sort of social community of people who are making these games on these devices. And so I wanted to try to make a, like a, a simple game for it, that that would keep people coming back and be just some, something that was always there in the background that they could load up and play if they just needed something short to do.

And I also wanted to, lean really heavily into buttons and the feel of buttons and so. It’ll buffer your inputs, which is sort of a strange thing for Snake to do. And that was kind of question for me was, you know, it, if it could be interesting if you added a button to Snake. What would be the difference?

So if you’re gonna like jump on top of yourself and turn right, and then turn left again, like you can do that in a way that feels really fluid which is really important because like ultimately Snak is kind of maybe more akin to a skateboarding game than a Snake game. It sort of starts as a Snake game.

But then as you get longer, there are constant obstacles that you need to. Onto or off of or over. And because those are you and you’re constantly moving, it’s sort of like, Playing a strange sort of skateboarding game on a, a dynamic park where the obstacles are always changing and you can’t jump a second time, so you only have one layer.

So a double layer Snake is effectively a wall the same way the original Snake is. So you have to be very dynamic about like which directions you’re going and how you’re kind of approaching how to move through the space and not run into yourself.

It was a very small sort of goal. The scope of the game is very small. So there wasn’t a lot of room for a ton of unexpected stuff, I guess. I didn’t really expect it to feel so much like a, like a skateboard following game on a high level. That was not what I thought would happen. I thought it would be way more focused on Hopping onto yourself and eating these apples.

I didn’t really know what the experience would be like, but it really is super strange at a high level when you have like a lot of double walls and single levels of yourself and you’re like jumping onto your back and skating and then turning and dropping and then hopping back up on yourself and then turning left and then dropping off and running next to yourself.

There’s a lot of weird little rules that are not extremely obvious that are become sort of clear if you play long enough like the apples. They can, if they’re on your back, they can go under a double section of yourself as, as they like crawl under, but they can’t ever get onto you if you’re a double section.

So you can build a double section and then they’ll just stop next to you and then you can go and go up the side of yourself and sort of like eat them all as they’re standing there. I don’t know. I think it probably just, there were a lot of like little rules that had to fit in to make the game work.

And I was surprised how much it felt like a very different kind of game.

Christa Mrgan: Yeah, that’s super interesting. I hadn’t made the skateboard game comparison myself, but it totally makes sense. And even though everything is essentially a remix, Zach seems to really excel at taking an existing game and giving it a new twist, while playing with expectations and working somewhat within the constraints of the original rule set.

Zach Gage: To some extent I do think one of my strengths is editing. The editing part of creation shows up really prominently in my work. And I think if you look at like a solitaire that I made, it’s clear that like, well, making a new solitaire variant that’s more in the editing direction than it is, than making, you know, a completely new board game or something like that.

But I definitely do enjoy doing both. I think for me, the bigger part of it is sort of like defining the kind of challenge that I like to solve and like building the sort of puzzle for myself in terms of what I’m gonna design. I think there’s something that’s very compelling about working within a space that is already very rich as somebody who doesn’t really understand much about that space, like coming in from the outside and trying to sort of learn it and navigate it at the same time.

Because trying to make a game. In a space with components that already exist, like solitaire or word games in general or, you know, chess games or whatever. There’s, there’s a huge amount of built in expectation from players for how that game is going to operate and how they’re going to interact with it and how it should feel to play that game.

When you just make a game from scratch, those kinds of things are things that you end up defining as you build the game. So you, you have a lot more freedom in that way. You have to sort of be very thoughtful about how you’re gonna narrative-ize all of your components and make sure that people understand. But typically You know, if you make a platformer there are some expectations, but those expectations are, are pretty loose and open and don’t tend to have a huge impact on like the actual gameplay of the game.

That it’s just sort of like a feel thing. Whereas making a solitaire game, those expectations are, you know, gonna drill down to all the to, you know, what should the mechanics in this game feel like? How should I expect the deck to behave? What’s my win rate supposed to look like? There’s like all of this intense sort of scrutiny that you end up having to deal with, and for me that is a really comforting place to be designing new mechanics because everything is super constrained and you have to be very clever and it’s very difficult to get lost. I think-- we redid a bathroom in our apartment a couple years ago, and I’m a, it’s like a nightmare for me. I hate picking things out.

I don’t like doing anything. But one of the things that ended up working out was the bathroom was very small. And so we decided to do a full shower, like the whole room is a shower, so that meant the whole room had to be waterproofed, and that meant that any lights or fixtures or anything that we put in the room had to be fully waterproofed.

And that meant that I really could only pick between like three different lights that could go in this bathroom because everything had to fit this intense set of constraints. And I think that’s kind of what it feels like when I’m designing these games in these highly culturally specific areas like solitaire that have been iterated on over the years.

You know, for like a hundred years, more than a hundred years people have been playing solitaire games. It’s like, I, I really only have so many choices when I’m, when I’m actually adjusting game mechanics or deciding things. And that’s really comforting for me, I think because it’s both intensely challenging in a really fun way, but it’s also very directed.

That’s a weird answer to your question.

Christa Mrgan: No, I love it and I’m intrigued by the fully waterproof bathroom, but I wanted to ask about the sound design in Snak, which is very minimal and all correlates specifically to the action happening in the. So it becomes very rhythmic as you get into the zone.

Zach Gage: It’s very generous of you to call it sound design. It’s a very limited amount of sound design. I think music was something that I thought about a little bit, but I’m not particularly skilled at music. So that wasn’t, I would’ve had to figure out a way to, to get someone to come in and do music which was pretty complicated at the time.

But also I think when I designed this game, so something about Snak that is funny and weird is that I designed it I think probably seven years ago, which was a really different time for me in terms of the kinds of games that I was doing and the kinds of choices that I was making when I designed games. And I think at that point in my design career I was a lot more sort of rigid and ascetic about the kinds of visual /audio experiences that people were gonna have.

And a big part of that was Sort of demanding that all of the parts of the game fed into the game itself and your ability to play the game. Since then, I sort of feel like having extraneous things or flashy things actually does really affect what it means to play a game. And they’re important in ways that are not just, you know, connected to the game design mechanics, but when I did Snak, I was really much more like everything is about the game design and the mechanics.

This is what’s happening. And Snak is really, really hard. And I really wanted To make sure that one of the things that happens in Snak is because you can buffer your inputs. Whenever you push a button, it makes a noise for that button. It’s got like a little like di di noise. So if you do like a quick jump on yourself and turn, you’ll hear like a da, da da.

As you push those buttons in, and that’s. Against the backdrop of the Snake moving. And so having a really sparse soundscape was really important for being able to recognize those button input sounds. And it does like really drive how you can understand the game when you’re playing it at a, at a higher level.

And then also, you know, it, it’s really meant to basically, what if we did Snake but added a button that let you jump? Like I didn’t wanna go too far from that. And so the soundscape is, you know, very intentionally designed around what the Snake soundscape was which is also super sparse. Like you hear your Snake moving, you get noises when you eat apples.

And that’s pretty much it.

Christa Mrgan: Cool. It works, and is actually surprisingly stressful at the higher speeds. So what about the art for the game? the version of Snake I played on my Nokia back in the day was pretty much a lengthening rectangular line and some little squares.

How did Zach want to approach the art for Snak?

Zach Gage: So I have a degree in art, but that doesn’t mean that I can draw very well, but I can sort of maybe draw enough to convey ideas and I think something that we did with Snak and then I’ve ended up doing quite a lot in further games. Is getting to work with artists where I draw a lot of the sort of mockups and then they take those ideas and turn them into things that actually look good.

Which was a real treat on Card of Darkness. Cuz I was working with Pendleton Ward and so I would draw a creature and then he would make that creature look amazing. But it was like my drawing and I got to be like, ah, that’s, yeah, I came up with that. But, but now it looks incredible. And that was kind of our approach to working on this.

Um, Neven at the Panic offices, we sort of went down and I was there for a couple days working on the game and looking at the hardware many years ago, I can’t even remember exactly when it was. And I think Panic had sort of said, you know, if you need help with the art, Neven can help and Neven was pretty game.

Neven Mrgan:

Early on, we also were so thankful for anyone wanting to make a Playdate game at all. So we offered, you know, if it would be helpful for us to do the, you know, the art or something, we would gladly do that. And I offered that I could do the art for Snak and I’m very glad that he agreed to that.

Zach Gage: And basically we just talked about what it was gonna be and I gave him the art files that I had already built that worked within the game, and then he did art that we just dropped in and it, and it looked great. And we talked a little bit about what the, the sort of title screen and what the title card would look like.

And then he just came up with them and did them. And I think he also almost definitely pitched some ideas for sort of, you know, he came up with the whole logo, the font structure, like how the font looks and where it says Snak everything.

Neven Mrgan: We love game box art at Panic and mostly like retro game box art because the current vibe with box art is that you put like the main character in the middle and the title of the game and a weapon of some sort, and then that’s your box art.

Whereas I feel like in the seventies and eighties it was way more creative and it’s especially fun when you have these games that consisted of like, four, You know, blocks on the screen and the box art is like a beautiful watercolor painting showing like armies battling and dragons in the background and like children running and rainbows and whatnot.

So as much as it’s possible to do on a tiny black and white screen, I try to have very evocative scene setting storytelling, epic you know, launcher art, like our equivalent of, of box art for the games. So for Snak, it is this very like, Dramatic in perspective image of a giant apple coming after a fairly like happy looking Snake and like a garden maze.

It is entirely too, like large and strong for how the game feels itself, which is pretty chill. But I like that sort of contrast. I also think like it’s been established in the history of video games that box art will often be way bigger and more badass than the actual game. So it doesn’t feel like dishonest to me or anything.

It just feels like a trope that this is how you do it.

Zach Gage: And I had sort of this idea of bushes being around and that the apples would sort of like hide in the bushes and then leap out because the game, there was a gameplay reason where if an apple spawned but couldn’t leap out immediately, it needed to sort of be there. And I wanted the player to have a heads up as to like where these things were. And so he got excited about sort of that structure and I think took some inspiration for that for the title card.

Neven Mrgan: We all know how the basic idea of a game like Snake works, and again, I didn’t want to add too much like story or whatever to it, but Zach did have this idea that it’s sort of like you’re eating the apples, but the apples are eating you. You know, there’s some sort of like quick joke to that. And the only thing that I thought in terms of like story or setting was that this is all taking place in like a garden. And so there are some bushes and these you know, apples are jumping out. They could have also just been showing up from like off screen, but I thought that kind of made it a little more of like a self-contained scene if they were, you know, coming from, from the outside.

It also, I think clear to me if you are playing you know, a Snake type game for the first time, that you can’t like leave the screen, you know, it’s not like a scrolling level where you keep moving. So containing it with those bushes makes it very clear that this is the play field and this is where things take place.

And also something jumping out of the bushes, I think has this instinctive feeling of like, ah, that’s a bad thing that’s coming after me. Uh, Rather than if it was just like, you know, walking down the road cuz then maybe it’s, you know, a friend, but an apple jumping out of the bushes. That’s, that’s not gonna be good.

Zach Gage: But yeah, it was It was easy and fun and and simple. Neven thought we should do little sort of like flippy numbers for the score and stuff and have them be on top of the bushes.

Neven Mrgan: I’m a big fan of integrating the like UI parts of a game, you know, different like readouts, like HUD type stuff, your score, your health, whatever, into some part of the game. And in this one, especially since we don’t want to obscure any of the actual play field, we have those like bushes, like hedges to play with.

So I wanted to put the score somewhere in there and it could just be like floating in mid-air, you know, like a number, like seven, however many apples you ate. But instead, I kind of made it like a little scoreboard that’s like in perspective, you know it’s like the tiniest little bit of design in the world and probably the closest thing to like a decoration in the in the entire game.

But I think it’s cute and it adds like the tiniest, tiniest bit of perspective to it so it doesn’t feel 100% flat.

Zach Gage: And so he did that and it looks great. I mean, it was it’s always great to collaborate with people who are really talented, who just give you stuff that works and then you go, oh, this is exciting. I can’t wait to implement it.

Neven Mrgan: Since the game is simple conceptually, and it was going to be simple visually and in terms of play, I also thought that you know, the art should be simple and clear and kind of communicate things right away. So you’re not like parsing it visually very much. And so I think kind of we’re on the same wavelength about what it should be. It should be, you know, a little bit cute, but not like, It shouldn’t be too much decoration to it.

He had this very like specific simple, simple idea for the game where if you think to the like original Snake games for like your T nine cell phone it’s, you know, a bunch of squares. He didn’t want that specifically, but he wanted it to be on that level of sort of simplicity and how quantized everything is, everything sort of happens on the level of these you know, squares and a ticking clock.

And so, When I hear something like that, I start thinking of art that’s almost like little paper cutouts or something like that where they can be cute and everything. But in terms of expressiveness, they’re sort of locked into now they look like this and now they look like that. There’s not necessarily a lot of animation particles effects.

It is more like a picture book type of art.

Zach’s game was one of the earliest made for Playdate, partly because Zach is good at what he does and he had an idea quickly and he executed it quickly.

And partly because he was one of the first people we contacted.

Zach Gage: the game has sort of existed in almost its final form for a very long time. I think the weirdest thing for me, honestly, was just building something.

That doesn’t come out for seven years. That was like a very interesting challenge that I don’t think I fully understood when I started and and became sort of an interesting lesson to learn on how to approach that kind of thing, I think. Even like when I believe the idea. When I first started was that there would be games and that you wouldn’t be told any of the people’s games at all.

And so you would just buy this device with no idea what you were going to get whatsoever. And then every game there would be a surprise game by somebody that, and maybe it was someone you’d heard of and maybe it’s someone you didn’t. And that really changed. That was like a big shift, was sort of like announcing the games and the people and, which makes sense.

Because the idea of, I mean, launching a system, , it’s like the most ambitious idea I’ve ever heard in my life in retrospect, that like, you’re gonna build hardware, you’re gonna commission games in advance, and then you’re gonna convince thousands of people in the world to buy a system with random things that they don’t know who’s gonna, I mean, it’s just like completely impossible.

But I think , it was, it’s interesting to like, Design a game from moving contextual target to like, have that change a lot is really weird. And it’s not something that I ever thought about because most of my games are built and released within, you know, six months or a year. And so there’s sort of like a natural understanding of what the context of the world is. What are people thinking about in games? What are people expecting? What am I interested in? Like all of that stuff is just naturally built in. But when you make something and then you release it seven years later, it’s like, oh, , like this is, this is on a system that’s very different.

This has got a totally different kind of launch strategy. I make very different kinds of games now. My reputation is a completely different reputation than when it started. It’s that I think is the, the strangest and most interesting part to think about and, and sort of experience and through, through what the launch will be like.

It didn’t even occur to me when I was starting to design this game how excited the world would be about the crank. I think now if, if they were like, Hey, we want you to make a game for this system, here’s what it looks like.

And I, there was a crank, I would be able to look at that and be like, whoa, a crank, like that’s gonna be the, the feature. But seven years ago, I mean I was like much younger and much less experienced and I think I had less of an understanding of sort of what the press structure of some kind of object looks like.

So it didn’t even, I was just like, eh, a crank, that’s cool. But like, I’m really excited about buttons. It didn’t even occur to me that, that people would sort of like be overwhelmingly excited about the crank and thinking about the crank. For me it was just like, oh, I get to make something with buttons.

What a joy!

Christa Mrgan: Not every play date game has to be about the crank! Well, one thing I like to ask game developers is how they determine how hard to make a game, balancing, making it challenging while keeping it fun.

Zach Gage: One of the things that has been kind of funny about Snak is that it’s really at its best when you’re quite good at it and when you’re not as good at it, it’s not as good a game because it’s really similar to Snake when you’re not good at it and when you’re really good at it, it’s a completely different game than Snake.

It’s a weird, amazing skateboardy grind on your back strange experience. And that happens kind of when you’ve got like 30 apples. Like if you get to 30 apples, the game is a completely different game than it is under 30 apples. And so That, that’s a real struggle because like, you don’t want to make a game that’s not fun until you’re good at it, because who’s gonna get good at it?

And trying to figure out ways to get people into the space of being good at it I think is a real, there I went, I underwent a real shift. In terms of my own personal game design strategy and like approach in that very particular area over the time that I’ve been making this game. And so the change that I made recently was I added frame buffers for how much it would accept a jump.

So instead of having to jump , like at the exact moment that you would wanna leap over your body now if you jump a little earlier, it’s okay, and if you jump a little later, it’s also okay. And so it makes it so that this thing that’s actually precise is now super loose and it allows you to play sort of ahead of your skill level.

So people who are less good at the game will still be able to get quite far, but it’s not a powerful enough sort of boost that it really fundamentally changes the game at a high level. And that was something that I Came up with after talking to JW, who worked on a Minit and Nuclear Throne and Disc Room, and it’s something in particular that they did with disc room.

Where Disc Room is this game where you’re dodging all of these like flying saw blades and he had told me that they made it so that the game decreases ti the speed of time by 10% if you’re next to a saw blade, which you don’t even notice when you’re playing, like you can’t tell. But what it does is it makes the game much easier because if you’re about to get hit, you have this like little window where you kind of have 10% faster reflexes because the game has slowed down for you.

Which is I think, totally genius because it doesn’t do anything to make the game any less difficult because really what the game is about is about planning where you’re gonna be. It’s not about dodging these saw blades. And talking to him about that made me realize that Snak is really also a game about planning what you’re gonna do.

And it’s not about pressing the buttons at the exact right time. And so giving people much more space to press the buttons at the right time, then sort of moves the cognitive part of your brain into the planning part, and you’ll still get like screwed up and stuck in an area and hit a wall that you didn’t expect because now you’re allowed to sort of play a little bit ahead of your skill.

And I think that’s a really big part of, trying to do. The, the thing that you asked about is just like thinking about how to, you don’t want players sort of like struggling to catch up to the state of the game. You want them to be able to play a little bit ahead, because playing a little bit of ahead.

Is actually much harder than than operating in the present. And if you let people play a little bit ahead, then they’ll get to that sort of like flow state complicated part of the game sort of naturally.

Christa Mrgan: Brilliant! And there are different speed modes too, which is helpful and I love the way they’re named.

Zach Gage: Oh, that was kind of a fun-- so originally the modes were named for animals. So there was like slug mode, frog mode, Snake mode.

But we didn’t want the game to be judging you for the mode that you played. And there’s sort of like an inherent judgment for playing slug mode versus playing Snake mode. Cause it’s like this is what it’s supposed to be. Which is like kind of a bizarre Thing to have to grapple with. It was hard to try to imagine like, how do you rename these modes in a way where people are gonna understand intuitively the difference between these modes, but not feel judged in any way.

Cuz it’s not, I mean, I, I really feel like playing at a slow speed is a totally fundamentally different experience than playing at a fast speed. And then they’re not meant to be one as easy and one as hard. It’s like different. So I think one of my friends eventually suggested increasing the number of A’s, so you have Snak mode and then Snak mode and Snak mode.

Which makes it impossible to tell people which mode you’re playing. But I think is like a, a good solution to the problem of not being judgy and being intuitive. And also it fits with the, the vibe of Snake and what you’re doing.

Christa Mrgan: Awesome. So I did this interview back before Playdate was actually out in the world and in people’s hands, and I asked Zach what his hopes were for the game and for Playdate in general.

Zach Gage: I’m really excited for it to come out because there are online leaderboards and I’m very curious to see, you know, if, if anyone gets into it at a, at a super high level, how well they can do. And I think it’s really tough to know how successful the game is in that until it launches and it exists in the context where there are all these games, but Snak is just sitting there and you can always pick it up. And so I think that’s something that I’m very curious about.

And I’m really excited for this thing to come out and I’m really Excited to see what, what people make with it. I think that’s the, the most exciting part, I think. For me, the dream console is like a little thing that is wireless that I can pick up in the morning that.

I can go on and see that a bunch of people have made a bunch of strange little creative games that they could make because they’re, you know, low overhead to do. And I think I, I’ve gotten little taste of that over time. I think like playing Little Big Planet levels for a while was like that, or Mario Maker levels. There’s like little pieces of that where you get to sort of walk around in some 12 year old kid’s imagination of what a video game is. And that’s really thrilling. And I think for me, Thinking about the Playdate and what the Playdate ecosystem could evolve into, could really look like, something like that.

If there’s a really big uptake on it, and I think Panic is so particularly skilled at building tools and like an ecosystem that they could really do that really well if it gets that kind of uptake, that that would like lead to that kind of environment. And so I’m really hopeful that that will happen and I’m really excited about it coming out and you know, I’m excited to see how people feel about my game, but I’m more excited to see how people feel about the device and making games for it, and what kind of community could build up around it.

Christa Mrgan: Me, too. So far it’s pretty amazing! And I hope you have a great time hopping over your own back and eating those aggressive apples before they have a chance to eat you in Snak, whatever your speed may be.

You can learn more about game Designer Zach Gage and Panic Designer Neven Mrgan via the links in the show notes. Thanks so much for listening and stay tuned for more episodes coming soon to the Playdate Podcast feed. Bye for now!

Zach Gage: Bye.

Neven Mrgan: Thanks, bye.

Christa Mrgan: The Playdate Podcast was written, produced, and edited by me, Christa Mrgan. Cabel Sasser and Simon Panrucker composed the theme song. Additional Sound Effects were composed by Zach Gage and come from Snak.

Huge thanks to Tim Coulter and Ashur Cabrera for wrangling the podcast feed and working on the website, James Moore for making me an awesome Playdate audio extraction app. And Neven Mrgan who created the podcast artwork and site design. And thanks as always to everyone at Panic. Playdate is shipping now and available for pre-order at play.date. Of all the interesting aspects of game development we touched on, the thing I really wanted to know more about was Zach’s fully waterproofed bathroom. Specifically, what is the toilet paper situation in a bathroom that’s completely waterproof?

Zach Gage: there’s one window in the bathroom and that window has a shelf and the shelf is inset to the wall and the shower on the other side of the bathroom. So it’s like in inset area that’s very difficult to get wet. We have rubber toilet paper.