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Exclusive: Nyamyam On Bringing The Award-Winning “Game Sitcom” Astrologaster To Switch

Astrologaster© Nyamnyam

Those of you with very good memories might recall the UK studio Nyamyam, which was responsible for the gorgeous Tengami on Wii U. Fronted by former Rare developers Jennifer Schneidereit (Kinect Sports) and Phil Tossell (Star Fox Adventures), Nyamyam created a game engine which simulated to the look of classic pop-up picture books, and in 2019, used this innovative engine to create the ambitious Astrologaster on iOS, a “comic narrative adventure” based on the real-life physician and astrologer Simon Forman, who must use his knowledge of the stars to help the various characters he meets.

Since its release, Astrologaster has been showered with industry awards and nominations, including “Excellence in Audio” (22nd Annual IGF Awards) and “Best Music for an Indie Game” (18th Annual G.A.N.G. Awards), amongst others.

We’re happy to announce that, following the game’s release on Windows and Mac, Astrologaster is coming to the Nintendo Switch on February 18th, and pre-orders go live on the eShop today. We were also lucky enough to sit down with Schneidereit, the game’s Creative Director, to talk about its origins, development and what it was like bringing it to Switch.

Nintendo Life: We’ve read that inspiration for Astrologaster came after seeing a research lecture on the casebooks of Simon Forman. What was it about this man and his patients that excited your creativity?

Jennifer Schneidereit: Forman’s casebooks seemed to me as a window into the lives of people from 400 years ago – ordinary people like you and I, people who are rarely mentioned in history books. Forman’s biography is quite peculiar; for example, one of the first stories I heard about him was that he was arrested for having had (ahem) “relations” on a man’s grave with his widow. How bizarre is that?

Forman’s biography is full of these weird little stories. That, and the fact that Elizabethan diseases and medicine are hilarious sealed the deal for me. What is not to love about diseases called “Dropping down of the p***” (incontinence), “Knobs on the yard” (genital warts) or “The green sickness” (sexual frustration suffered by women)?

Astrologaster is based on historical accounts and records — can you tell us a little about the process of going through those stories and how you chose elements to adapt and embellish in your narrative?

First off, the astronomical records for the times and days used to perform the readings are real. For example, if a client arrives on November 2nd, 1595 at 10:15 am, then the astrological chart in the game uses the exact planetary positions as they would have been over London at that time and date.

Second, all diseases and medical treatments (with the exception of two) are real. For example “stroking the hand of a corpse against your throat” was considered to be a cure for tonsillitis (AKA quinsy). And, if you were a man with bleeding haemorrhoids, you had nothing to worry about – according to medical science at the time, it was considered to be the male period (menstruation) and therefore perfectly healthy.

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