Talkin ‘Bout Bugsnax: new Playstation game is more than meets the eye

Talkin+%27Bout+Bugsnax%3A+new+Playstation+game+is+more+than+meets+the+eye

Scott Cacheleur, Reporter

Sony recently released the PlayStation 5, which came with several notable launch titles. None of them are quite as strange as Bugsnax. Bugsnax is a game made by Young Horses, developers of Octodad, which places you in the shoes of a journalist investigating the mystery of Snaktooth Island and the disappearance of Elizabert Megafig. What you wouldn’t expect is that the game is filled with messages about self-worth, addiction, and the normalization of homosexuality. From this point on there will be light spoilers for the events of the game.

Bugsnax easily could have fallen between the cracks of other big game announcements but kept afloat due to its rather charming art style, amusing concept and playful depiction of body horror.

Twitch streamer and YouTuber, Barry Kramer weighed in on how he stayed informed about the game. 

“I’ve known of [Young Horses] for a long time now and I have kept [up] with them ever since Octodad came out. One of the biggest factors [of playing it] is because I have a friend, their Twitch channel is missdeerface, [who] played the game on stream, and they were ranting and raving at me not to just play it, but to stream it because of how unexpected the game turns out to be.”

In the story of Bugsnax, players gather information from several of the island’s inhabitants about what happened to Elizabert. Players can even gather film reels to see the story of Elizabert and her loving partner Eggabell and watch their relationship start to crumble apart due to Eggabell’s low self-image. You also meet Filbo, the mayor of Snaxburg, appointed by Elizabert to govern the town, but he sees himself as inadequate for the position of power he holds.

Bugsnax has a very strong message and depicts it more effectively than most game on the shelf.

“I think [Bugsnax] did a pretty good job. I am by no means an expert on the topics at hand, but I do believe that as accessible as a game it is and as kid-friendly that it is, I think [the creators] do a very solid job at introducing and discussing [the underlying themes],” said Kramer. “It’s no college dissertation, it’s saying, ‘hey! These are real issues people are experiencing, these are real insecurities people are having, every single character has its own insecurities and issues they are dealing with,’ and in that way it is very much like a Sesame Street-like situation, just with a very different kind of approach and angle. I am very impressed with the way [the developers] handled all of [themes].”

Could we see an uprising in content that presents serious issues to a younger generation? Ideally, yes. The vehicle of a video game is a great way to utilize the platform to convey complex messages to a younger audience in an appropriate fashion. 

“ I think you can get away with [dealing with controversial topics] as a small developer, I don’t know how big of a developer Young Horses is, but I don’t think they are huge by any means. As a smaller team, you can get away with a lot more risky topics and this is a very risky game,” said Kramer. “Think about how hard it is to explain this game to your friends and convince them to play it. I would like to see it start a trend. I think it makes it clear that you can tackle these kinds of topics in this format and with this kind of approachable aesthetic, but I think we are already seeing a lot of this stuff from independent games. My kind of hope is to see this move into the bigger production and triple-A (AAA) space.” AAA games are high-value games that are usually played by more people than most other games.

Bugsnax broke its way into the spotlight and accomplished its goal in tackling risky topics in a safe way. If you have the smallest inkling to check this game out, definitely do so, as its themes are quite interesting and presented through an engaging storyline.