Monster Pet screenshot, pet asking for a snack


Every day the kids can play 4 mini-games with their pet, such as this memory game where they have to feed fruit to the pet in the correct order.

Monster Pet customization screenshot


Players can unlock cool outfits for their pet and then take a picture with them in augmented reality.

Monster Pet evolutions


Players get to watch their pet grow bigger and bigger as they progress throughout the month.


Here's a peek at the gameplay for Monster Pet! (No Sound)

Now let's take a look at how this was all created!

Red radish monster winking
Creative Director - Shiu Pei Luu
Producer - Robin Quick
Engineer - Trevor Lundeen
Artist - Niccolo Inigo Balce
Animator - Goose Manriquez
Game Designer - Adam Simpson
Tamagotchi keychains


We were inspired by a very popular line of digital pets called Tamagotchi. We wondered how we could bring a similar experience to Messenger Kids.

At the time, we didn't have the technology to create persistent save states, a crucial element for this type of game. So I worked with an artist and we created a presentation to get buy-in from the Eng-team. 
The presentation was a success!  The Eng-team gave us full buy-in and built out all levels of local and global persistence that we asked for.
But now the pressure was on, as we had to fill our part of the bargain and design an experience that showed off this new tech! 


The artist had already created a rough draft of the design, so I made revisions that streamlined the game, and created a first draft of the game design document.

Monster Pet paper prototype layout

Then I constructed a paper prototype of the design. I had participants pretend the prototype was a tappable interface, and I emulated the animations and interactions.

Monster pet progression chart for paper prototype

I conducted the prototype over several days, and had the participants record their progression.​​​​​​​ 

Monster Pet written feedback sheet

I collected feedback from the participants, and I brainstormed ways to address questions and concerns.

1. Participants saw the progression chart and felt bad that they might miss out on unlocks if they skipped a few days.
2. The progression didn't always feel rewarding and made some participants stop playing.
3. The mini-games were a bit too easy and became boring after a few sessions.

1. Remove the wilting mechanic, and hide the progression system so participants don't experience any FOMO.
2. Space out the customization unlocks and evolutions so that something special happens every day.
3. Add a layer of difficulty for each mini-game to increase variety and challenge.
Adam using scissors to alter prototype

I reworked the progression system, altered the mini-games, and relaunched the experiment. The updated prototype yielded a much smoother experience for the participants!


I detailed out the designs of all the mini-games.

Monster Pet main room screenshot

I finalized the game design documents, and guided the team as they built out the digital experience.

Doughboy Monster Pet billboard screenshot

Monster Pet became a huge success for Messenger Kids, driving long-term retention for the app, and reaching millions of children worldwide. We launched new pets every other month, making new mini-games and outfits for each one. 

After completing Virtual Pets, I designed dozens of other fun activities for Messenger Kids.  
Here are some of my favorites:
Nugget Hero
Nugget Hero
Baseball Cap Designer
Baseball Cap Designer
Temptation Dice
Temptation Dice
Blast Ball
Blast Ball
Sushi Cat
Sushi Cat
Eye Dropper
Eye Dropper
Trash Wizards
Trash Wizards
Dice Fighter
Dice Fighter
Thanks for checking out my work. Let's get in touch!

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