It's no secret that The Binding of Isaac creator, Edmund McMillen, really loves cats. His feline obsession is well chronicled in the documentary Indie Game: The Movie, while he and his Team Meat partner, Tommy Refenes, have been collaborating on a "cat lady simulator" called Mew-Genics for the last couple of years. So it's with a heavy heart that McMillen reported last night that his fluffy pal Guppy passed away.
Guppy wasn't quite as well known as McMillen, but the Super Meat Boy co-creator made an effort to include him in his work. "Guppy was Danielle and my mascot," McMillen said about he and his wife's relationship to the cat in a developer's blog post about the recent tragedy. "We included him in almost everything we did and every video we made."
Sure enough, Guppy was the basis for several items in The Binding of Isaac. He's even been featured here at Eurogamer when I interviewed McMillen about Mew-Genics, and the McMillen's sold Guppy figurines on their online shop.
But now that Guppy's lost his ninth life, McMillen decided to add yet another tribute to the furriest unofficial co-creator of Super Meat Boy by adding a new item, Guppy's Collar, to The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth.
"Wearing his collar grants the user a 50 per cent chance of coming back to life at half a heart in the previous room," McMillen explained.
Guppy was McMillen and his Danielle's first cat who they adopted in 2002 after McMillen found an extra stray in a bundle he had to detain back when he worked as an animal control officer. He knew that without a mother back at animal control HQ the kittens would have to be put to sleep. So he did the only thing he could think of: he asked Danielle to pick the one she thought was the healthiest as a belated birthday present. And so Guppy came to be a member of the McMillen household and a muse for his human caregivers.
"Guppy was our only cat for seven years," McMillen lamented. "He was a very odd 'lil boy. He hated people. He was scared of the outdoors and had a habit of making direct eye contact and never looking away. He was extremely loving to us, a great majority of my games were made with him laying his head on my right arm while I drew with my left."
"It's impossible to put into words how significant Guppy was to both of us. He was our first baby and we both loved him greatly... 12 years feels like a short amount of time but I'm so grateful for the time I got to spend with him, our little ghost kitty."