Interview: Zach Manko of Mega Cat Studios

Last year, I conducted an interview with the folks at Mega Cat Studios back when they were busy with their Kickstarter for the new SEGA Genesis game, Coffee Crisis. However, they don’t just intend to support the original house of Sonic; they have recently released new video games for the NES! What are these new titles and how did they come to be? Read on as I ask Mega Cat’s Zach Manko about them and more.

Ryan Silberman: Last time I interviewed [Mega Cat Studios], Coffee Crisis was still going through its Kickstarter. How has that been coming along since?

Zach Manko: It’s out! Coffee Crisis has been released, and you can get a Sega Genesis or Mega Drive version through our site and some cool retailers. We decided to release the PC version with the Xbone iteration simultaneously, which is going through approval with Microsoft right now.

Is Coffee Crisis going to launch on any other platforms? (Playstation 4, Vita, Nintendo Switch, etc)

Yes, it will be released concurrently for Xbox 1 and PS4.

How has the focus shifted to the NES as of late?

We finished those games awhile ago, and have just been sitting on them, trying to find the time to give them a proper release. As a life long fan of the NES, I’ll always want to work on any of these projects that I can, but they’re never going to be anyone’s full time focus. We make games that meet a quality standard of what we want to play, and what our current friends and followers like. As an example, Log Jammers & Almost Hero have been played at video game conventions we’ve set up at for more than a year before the release. Log Jammers has an awesome PC upmake, giving the same characters a new life. It should be available in the next month or so, with upgraded graphics, levels, gameplay, and trash-talking. You can see some gameplay video here:

What are Almost Hero, Expedition, and Log Jammers?

These are some of our NES titles available now. Almost Hero is a side-scrolling beat ’em up featuring ninja protagonists and a bonsai seed economy. Log Jammers is an axe-throwing fantasy sports game with trash-talking lumberjack characters. Expedition is our NES companion to the card-based tabletop RPG.

How did you go about combining elements of tabletop RPGs with NES gaming for Expedition?

Luckily we have some pretty experienced pen and paper RPG players on the staff. Since the goal of Expedition is to offer a streamlined experience, we sought to augment that by with soundtracks, animated artwork, and special quests. The creators of the card game are in our hometown, and it seemed like a great opportunity to do something unique.


[It was] said Coffee Crisis was written in SGDK & ASM. What programs were applied to the NES titles?

All NES dev is going to be some mix of C & ASM. Thanks to Stephane for the awesomeness that is SGDK! Like all retro dev, the beauty and challenge is working under restrictions. What’s interesting is that these limitations can actually serve as a tool rather than a burden, informing the game’s aesthetic and design in meaningful ways.


You can buy these modern classics directly from their website. Be sure to look out for their titles to come!

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