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Fishbowl is a Game About the Impact of Grief

Games about difficult feelings, such as grief, are not difficult to find within the games space – especially now, with the global pandemic having effectively robbed the majority of us of so much. As a form of art, it isn’t uncommon to find people making games as a means of expressing ourselves, especially during these times.

The two-person studio imissmyfriends are gearing up for the release of Fishbowl, dealing with exactly the above. We had the opportunity to interview the India-based team on Fishbowl’s inspirations, and what it’s been like developing their first game.


Can you summarise Fishbowl in one sentence?

In Fishbowl, twenty-one-year-old Alo gets her first job in a new city and is living by herself while grieving her grandma’s death. The choices she makes each day in figuring out life will lead to a unique journey of self-discovery.

You unpack puzzles to rediscover childhood memories, video call loved ones, work from home while taking care of yourself and chores, get to know yourself better, one day at a time. 


What were some of the main inspirations behind Fishbowl?

The idea of Fishbowl is closely inspired by our mindset during the pandemic. Through this time, we were reflecting on our lives in isolation, what it meant to support our loved ones long distance, and to take care of ourselves.

Grief from losing a loved one is a central theme in Fishbowl and is rooted in our experience of grief, what it means and how it impacts people differently. 

Balancing life and our dreams and nurturing relationships is something we have wanted in our lives and is a relatable quest for most people. That is an integral part of Fishbowl as well. 

To the Moon was one of our biggest inspirations starting out. We loved every part of that game, the story, the tears and how deeply a work of love can impact us as players. Since then, we have really enjoyed the chill vibes in Coffee Talk, the simple yet profound experience of playing A Mortician’s Tale and the characters who truly felt like friends in Night in the Woods. 


Fishbowl is your team’s first game! What were some of the things you did to learn about the game development process?

Yes! Developing Fishbowl has felt like being in school with a vast, exciting and sometimes intimidating curriculum. 

We have learnt all the different aspects of game development while making Fishbowl, which engine to build our game on, marketing & building a community and the business side of things in terms of publishers and funding.

Being part of Discord communities has been super helpful for us to find our way. We’ve been learning so much from the generosity of game devs like Rami Ismail, Victoria Tran, Tanya X Short, Yadu Rajiv, Meghna Jayanth, Callum Underwood, Chris Zukowski, Gwendelyn Foster, and so many more who share their knowledge through talks, blog posts and newsletters.  


How did the two of you meet?

We met in college and became friends when we were randomly put in the same group for an assignment. Slowly, as we talked about games, someday building them together became our dream.

For ten years, we’ve been pursuing completely different careers, Rhea as a fashion & fine art photographer and consultant in the sustainable fashion space and Prateek as a developer & UX designer at a non-profit. But we were always making notes of game ideas which we would eventually get to, someday.

Now that we have started making games part-time, we hope we can bring our unique experience, stories and lots of heart to the games we make. 

What do you hope the audience will take away from playing Fishbowl upon release?

We hope people enjoy getting to know our diverse cast of characters and see some part of themselves in the game. Growing up we never got to play as brown or dark skinned characters, we love to see that changing. 

We are excited to show players the beauty of Indian handicraft, artefacts, fashion and food through Fishbowl, for those who know about it, to have fun spotting the little details, and for those who don’t, to get a little slice of urban India through our eyes. 

We are focusing on making Fishbowl accessible and continually learning more about it so everyone can enjoy playing our game. 

We hope players can come out with a sense of hope and comfort and a reminder to live with love and to keep loved ones close, always. 


Final Words?

We are excited to bring Fishbowl to the world and we’re pouring our all into every pixel, chord and word in the game. If anybody reading would like to support us and Fishbowl, please follow us on Twitter and sign up to our newsletter! We will be making some exciting announcements soon! 

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