Archives in Video Games: Bugsnax - The Isle of Bigsnax DLC
[Spoilers for the Isle of Bigsnax DLC!]
Here's a quick one since coming across this little gem of a find the other day. So, there's a game called Bugsnax from Young Horses that's essentially Pokemon Snap meets Viva Piñata. The player acts as a journalist invited to Snaktooth Island to document the Bugsnax, creatures that are hybrid insects and food with names that imply both aspects. For example, a a grasshopper crossed with a corn on the cob becomes a Cobhopper. It's very Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, if you know what I mean.
Within the main game, the journalist interacts with their fellow Grumpuses (Muppet-like furred creatures) and helps them deal with their interpersonal issues along with solving the greater mystery surrounding the disappearance of explorer Elizabert Megafig and the true purpose behind the existence of Bugsnax. There's also the affable body horror that occurs when a Grumpus eats a Bugsnak and the player can alter their entire body to reflect that particular creature.
In the latest downloadable content (DLC), which takes place before the end of the main game, the journalist and a handful of Snaxburg villagers set out to explore a new island that literally rose out of the ocean. There they find ancient Grumpus ruins, a temple, and giant-sized Bugsnax. Also you have to help these people work together, alleviate the separation anxiety of one villager from his boyfriend, and get a scientist and a mystic to find common ground. No big deal, right?
Within the DLC is a special, secret area created by the team at Young Horses by way of a glitch found in the game when it was first released in 2020. Apparently in the Boiling Bay area, at the tip of the wrecked pirate ship, there was a glitch that would read "triplicate space" if the player came across it, so the developers decided to honor the glitch by creating an entirely new area to expand on the Bugsnax lore. If the player finds a crescent moon key on the new island and the triangular shaped door by the ship, then they unlock the Triplicate Space, a temple previously occupied by junior archivist, crypto-snakological researcher, and former barista Alegander Jamfoot.
While exploring the Triplicate Space, the journalist finds cassette tapes left behind by Jamfoot as he, with a calm and fairly easy-going voice, talks about being a Snakolyte (a secret organization studying Bugsnax and protecting the world from them) and generally bemoaning his isolation and a lack of healthcare benefits. I mean, mood, Mr. Jamfoot. He literally says that one of his regrets in life is getting a degree in library sciences, which he only got because there was an internship advertised in a magazine. I know it's played for laughs, but come on! At the very least it should've been on the back of a cereal box!
There are ten tapes in total and all of them offer a little more insight into Jamfoot's personality. After solving the puzzles within the Space, the journalist finds the living quarters and "break room" where Jamfoot, as the sole inhabitant, has deemed himself Employee of the Month many times over. He even mentions in his isolation that he became attached to a cappucceetle he named Joey Quickbeans, declaring him his best friend with zero irony. This does fit in with a growing trend of archivists in isolation befriending animal companions. I'm sure there's something worth examining there. Anyway, Jamfoot admits that in observing the antics of the villagers and the journalist on the new island that it's the most entertainment he's had in years, which speaks to the extent of his assignment.
It's a shame the player never gets to interact with Jamfoot, but it adds to the air of mystery surrounding him and the Snakolytes with each tape. He's trying to maintain his distance, but one gets the sense that he's happy to play the role of secret society member even if he's not very good at it. There's no real resolution to this section of the story, unless you're playing the game with the DLC incorporated into the playthrough. On it's own, The Isle of Bigsnax is just an island romp with some character development and new Bugsnax to capture. Maybe Alegander Jamfoot will make more appearances if Young Horses releases additional DLCs, but for now he's a blip in the story.
Which is what the Grumpinati want you to think!