A. Bee and PuppyCat is a web cartoon released in 2013 by Cartoon Hangover and Frederator studios. The series features a twenty-somethings temp worker, Bee, and her intergalactic vocaloid-voiced looks-like-a-cat smells-like-a-puppy bestie, PuppyCat. This web series garnered in $200,000 over their initial Kickstarter funding goals. Written by Natasha Allegri and directed by Larry Leichliter, Bee and PuppyCat season 2 is set to air on Netflix in 2022. 

Bee and PuppyCat are both ailed by their financial burdens and are looking for quick temp work (regardless of planet). Their temp work takes them on all sorts of intergalactic adventures, and while the show maintains its pink and glittery exterior, it grapples with questions of maturity, posthumanity, and the millennial experience in the anthropocene. Both similar and different to its accompanied 2010s wave of “kidult” cartoons like Adventure Time, Over the Garden Wall, Gravity Falls, and Steven Universe, Bee and PuppyCat caters directly to the audience’s twenty-somethings age range. 

B. For my final project, I will be translating Bee and PuppyCat into a two-player board game. The game will follow the aesthetic design of the original cartoon and will turn the temp-work space adventures into the main objectives of the game. By translating only the temp-jobs into the playable parts of the game, it forms a mimetic structure with the reality of the show. On earth, there aren’t clear parameters whereas the intergalactic temp positions have specific goals they wish to accomplish, comparable to the physicality of moving through space on the game board. 

C. As for my theoretical frameworks, I wish to look at Bodenhamer’s “Narrating Space and Place” and Sylvie Bissonette’s Affect and Embodied Meaning: Becoming Animated. Pairing these two theoretical frameworks together will allow me to explore the spatial agency I am granting Bee and PuppyCat in the present, while also recognizing how the players embody the characters, and are animated in this process. Bissonette writes, “The spectators piece together the elements on the animated interface as they engage with the animation machine—the machine that animates bodies on the screen and animates the spectator’s neural system. The spectator becomes part of a ‘functional ensemble’ that interconnects his or her perceptions and sensations with the animated interface. First conceived by philosopher Gilbert Simondon, the idea of ‘technical ensembles’ stresses the intertwined and productive relations between humans and machines in society” (Bissonette 8). Depsite the fact that the board game is not autonomously animated, I chose to work with Bissonette’s text because it lends itself well to Bee’s machinistic body. The player will be able to play as Bee (each player will have a sort of costume to differentiate the character) and is granted their own agency in constructing the animated interface through imagination and in-game decision making. Further, Bodenhamer writes, “…we also orient ourselves in other ways, such as with spatial markers that represent a symbolic geography governed by beliefs, ontologies, or otherwise created relationships—sacred and profane, colonizing and colonized, or town and country, for instance. Narrative arises when a character or event crosses these symbolically charged spaces” (Bodenhamer 14). The nebulous boundaries between our participation in the game and an actual construction of interplanetarity is, at its core, what the game will be mining at. The identification of the events of the game are self contained, which allows for the players to compare their own spatial experiences to thr in-game microcosm. Comparison can not be possible without our personally identified “symbolically charged spaces.”

D. As I currently write out the game’s logistics and blueprints with pen and paper, I plan to design the game cards in procreate. There will be two piles to draw from, both of which will be made from pixel art. It is a two-player game: a Bee avatar and a PuppyCat avatar. I want to structure it like the board game Forbidden Islands, where all of the players work together to defeat a common enemy. This common enemy is dark matter and destroys different planets after every round, making less opportunities to make rent money for Bee and PuppyCat. Defeating dark matter is not what ends the game, however. While Bee and PuppyCat are on their space adventures, they are still trying to collect enough money to pay rent while the dark matter creates irreparable damage. I have yet to configure the logistics of the board and score keeping system, but I plan to have the entire game blueprinted digitally, and hopefully will have prototypes made in the future if not by the submission deadline. As of now, I plan to have the board be a cluster of planet cards that are randomly configured: Jelly cube planet, Fishbowl space, Cat-head planet, Cloudworld, or Donut planet.

I plan to have a Temp Job deck of cards that give out the planet and the task for Bee and PuppyCat to do, and a Temp Bot pile that dictates at random what challenges the player will face during their turn. Each turn will consist of 2 actions per character, such as eating a dad candy which increases health or transporting to a new planet. The first player to reach 10 moneys is the winner, and is able to pay Cardamon, the landlord, the rent for that month.

 

Bissonnette, Sylvie. Affect and Embodied Meaning in Animation: Becoming-Animated. Routledge, 2019.

 

David J. Bodenhamer, “Narrating Space and Place.” In Deep Maps and Spatial Narratives (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2015) 7-27.