All of you 90’s kids, take a moment to go back to your childhood. Imagine you are snuggled safe and warm in your bed with your favorite Toy Story sheets pulled closely to your chin. Your eyes begin to slowly drift shut as you hear a click from your closet. Panicking, your childhood eyes fly open and beeline to your closet door that you swore was fully closed before. The season’s hottest toy falls out of the closet and looks at you with big, unblinking eyes as it slowly starts to sing to you. Weird, you thought its batteries died weeks ago.
Everything about Tattletail screams 90’s from the games trailer to its premise. The game was inspired by the fear of our slightly creepy childhood toys. Tattletail, the season’s hottest toy which the game focuses on, obviously resembles a Furby. Not that I would know, I never got the Furby I wanted all those years ago…Anyway! Furbys and Teddy Ruxpins (the inspiration behind Mamma) were notorious for giving children nightmares with their supernatural behaviors. The toys were rumored to appear in places where they hadn’t been left, would speak with no batteries, and say some pretty dark things. Just look it up on YouTube and enjoy that rabbit hole! Even lead programmer, Tom Astle, shared his own Furby nightmare: “I’m pretty sure I had one as a kid, I have very distinct memories of trying to teach it to say its name, but I have no idea where it is now and my siblings and parents tell me they don’t remember anything about it…”
Waygetter’s Electronic’s Tattletail is a game that plays on that very fear. Our main character is a child waiting anxiously for Christmas to come. Despite only being a few days aways, the excitement is just killing you and you can’t wait any longer. So, you sneak to the basement in an attempt to find the stash of presents you know your parents have hidden away. (You know what they say about curiosity!) You discover your gifts and find a talking baby Tattletail toy…out of his box. The toy won’t stay in his box and now you have an even bigger problem. His overprotective Mamma is there and will do anything to protect her baby.
It’s no surprise that a lot of horror games and movies, like Chucky or Emily Wants to Play, focuses on children’s toys. However, Tattletail handles itself in a unique way, and not only because it’s the first game to take inspiration from furry robots. The developers have a healthy respect for the indie horror genre, even if some of them may be too afraid to participate in the games themselves. They knew their concept was wonderful and silly but they wanted to create something that would also unsettle you as well. Tattletail is a perfect blend of horror and comedy that is rarely easy to do or done well. In my opinion, there’s nothing better than a horror game that doesn’t take itself to seriously. A well-placed giggle between the screams can really set the pace of a game.
The team that brought us Tattletail began working on the idea pretty early in 2016, and they worked really hard to get the game released right before Christmas. After realizing how little time the developers had to work on the project, Tattletail’s visuals and gameplay are even more impressive than before. The 4 person team includes Ben Esposito and Geneva Hodgson (the concept creators), Ryann Shannon (the voice behind Tattletail), and Tom Astle (lead programmer). Ben and Tom have worked on a few games in the past but this is their first project as a team. With how well their first project turned out, let’s hope we see more from them in the future!
Waygetter Electronics released Tattletail on Steam on December 28th, 2016. The game is only $4.99, and I promise you’re going to have a fun time playing it. The game has picked up some pretty great review from Steam users and is well liked in the Let’s Play community. The developers had this to say about the positive response to Tattletail, “Ultimately we wanted to make something people would play with their friends to get scared together and we’ve seen a lot of that!”
For the team’s first horror game, this is done extremely well. The game is charming, spooky, and it totally makes you feel like a kid again. They have taken a familiar, childhood favorite and really made something entirely their own. Everything from lighting to color to the voice work creates a fun and immersive environment that will keep you up late into the night. Aside from just being a great experience, the team has a great sense of humor that bubbles over into their project. Do your part in keeping Tattletail happy; Mamma is coming!