A webstory written by Solar Crimson. Completed since May 2009, and occasionally spruced up. Can be read here (though FictionPress messed with some of the formatting). It is the author's first completed serial story, as well as his first original story (he dabbled in fanfiction for several years beforehand).
The story begins with geeky student Thomas Kirkland mustering up the courage to ask out the rather popular and seemingly nice Melissa Cruz. She miraculously agrees, and the following Saturday Thomas travels to her house to pick her up. Little does he know that she has no intentions of letting him leave. Turns out, she only accepted his date request for more sinister purposes; brandishing a shrink ray, she shrinks Thomas and throw him inside of her closet with other captives. However, he is rescued by a rival faction of captives who also managed to escape from her closet and lives a rather hostile life within the house's walls. Their leader, the arrogant Bruce Black, promised a way out of the house and to freedom, but so far he has made no strides towards that goal.
The story takes on a more gruesome light when it is revealed that Melissa takes delight in torturing, maiming, and especially killing her small captives; she calls her twisted activities "Bugman Games", "Bugmen" being the name that she has given her shrunken captives. She is occasionally joined by the troubled Sayuko Takei, who reluctantly carries out Melissa's brutal wishes only to ensure that her brother Taro—who was shrunken weeks before the start of the story and is being held hostage by Melissa—remains unharmed.
Thomas must work with his comrades, and later Sayuko, to bring an end to Melissa's "games" and escape with their lives. The path to their goal will be filled with blood, sweat, and tears, but mostly blood.
The story was written with the size-changing crowd in mind, but the author believes that the story has enough literary merit to stand on its own. Whether those outside the original target audience agrees is up in the air.
It has a one-shot prequel story set some time before the events of the story called The Portal Project, chronicling another project by Melissa's father Edgar Cruz which does not work as expected; the story is rather old and slated to be rewritten to better fit with the author's current style. It also spawned a currently on-going spin-off called Hell Manor, which takes place a year after Bugman Games and in a different location; Hell Manor's Tina Yashiro takes Melissa's sadistic insanity and pumps it Up to Eleven.
Bugman Games provides examples of the following:
- Asian and Nerdy: Robbie, though not as much as his best friend Thomas. Robbie's girlfriend Kim also has shades of this.
- Author Avatar: Thomas—in appearance (sans glasses), personality, and interests—could be seen as one for the author.
- Babies Ever After
- Berserk Button: After Melissa insults Sayuko's deceased family, Sayuko goes ballistic, assaults the shrunken Melissa, and pours out everything she's had to endure over the course of the story.
- Much earlier in the story, Melissa's button is pushed by a Homeless captive calling her a racial slur. She slaughters him, and then tells the others to use the right slur next time (the man called her the N-word, whereas she makes it a habit to point out that she is Dominican (but has strong African features)).
- Beware the Nice Ones: Once Sayuko gets her hands on Melissa's Shrink Ray, the former puts the latter through hell, 1) to force the locks combination out of her so that she can rescue her brother, and 2) possibly as revenge for what she has put her through throughout the entire story.
- Blackmail: Melissa is forcing Sayuko to partake in her gruesome hobby by holding her brother Taro hostage, and regularly threatens to kill him if she refuses to obey her. When you consider that Taro is all the family that she has left in the world, and she's willing to do anything for his safety...
- Break the Cutie: What Melissa is doing to Sayuko. It eventually backfires in the worst way for Melissa.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Happens during Robbie's and Dawson's conversation in Chapter 33.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Dawson and Matt's battle against Isaac and Garet (no, not those two).
- Daddy's Girl: Melissa adores her father. Much moreso than her mother, whom she lies about to others that she abandoned her or that she is dead.
- Domestic Abuse: In Chapter 38, it's revealed that Jenna's father physically abuses her mother.
- Dream Sequence: The beginning of Chapters 7 and 15; the latter of which involves Thomas and Melissa having a Pokémon battle, with them as the Pokemon.
- Nightmare Sequence - Happens a few times, the most significant of which was Sayuko's nightmare in Chapter 28, which made her physically ill afterwards.
- Driven to Suicide: The ultimate fate of Ray.
- Earn Your Happy Ending
- Fan Disservice: The portion of Sayuko's nightmare involving the giant homeless men in Chapter 28. Unless you're into that.
- Flashback: Several times over the course of the story (in order: Dawson, Claudia, Bruce, Sayuko, and Thomas). The flashbacks are also told from the viewpoint of the person narrating them.
- Heroic BSoD: Carlos suffers one after hearing about Gloria's death. It also serves to change his personality in the process.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Marcus pulls one to save Sheryl during the Refugee-Homeless battle.
- Idiot Savant: Reagan. Also counts as a Chuck Cunningham Syndrome, as he is never spoken of again afterwards.
- I Kiss Your Foot: Either forced or voluntarily.
- I'm a Humanitarian:
- Involuntary example: Melissa forces Sayuko to eat four of the small captives in Chapter 20.
- As mentioned by Gloria, Melissa once attempted this, but vomited almost immediately afterwards, and then vowed to herself to never do it again.
- Infant Immortality: In a show of mercy, Melissa can not bring herself to slaughter the newborn child of one of her prisoners, and instead takes it to an orphanage. The kicker? She DOES kill the mother, and lies to her that she did kill her child. The woman believes her, and dies thinking that she will see her child in the afterlife.
- Jerkass: Ray and Bruce.
- Starting with Ray, he, after one of the other captives gave birth to a child, told Melissa about it and caused the prisoner in question to be killed (though her child was placed in an adoption agency, unknown to the parent), and then laughed at the whole situation. He also led the rest of his group back into the waiting hands of Melissa, under the pretense that he was leading them to freedom, and was rewarded by being set free.
- In Bruce's case, he self-appointed himself the leader of the Refugees, but despite promising to lead them to freedom, he actually has no plans to do such a thing. He spends most of his time in the basement of Melissa's house with her mother, who convinced her to not kill him, and is using her for both sex and potential freedom. He is also prejudiced against Asians, which led to Sayuko's brother Taro not being rescued when Melissa captured him and Sayuko becoming involved with Melissa.
- Karma Houdini: Lampshaded by Thomas in Chapter 38.
- Laughing Mad: Melissa after being bested by Sayuko and Thomas.
- Mad Scientist: Edgar may qualify. Implied in the epilogue.
- Missing Mom: Melissa tells Thomas that her mother ran out on her and her father when she was young. Which is a lie; her mother is right inside of that very house, but shrunken and contained inside of a dollhouse in the basement, along with Melissa's half-sister.
- Nerds Are Virgins: Thomas. Until Gloria does something about it.
- Prank Date: How Melissa traps Thomas, and assumably her other captives.
- Prequel: The Portal Project to this story, which is actually removed from the plot aside from some references.
- Punctuated Pounding: Jenna does this to Dawson in Chapter 12.
- Shout-Out: A couple:
- Shrinking Violet: Sayuko is a shy young woman, and has been that way for her entire life.
- Shrink Ray: Melissa uses one to shrink her victims.
- Sick Episode: Chapter 29. Poor Sayuko... And then Melissa makes the trip over to Sayuko's house.
- Slobs vs. Snobs: Respectively, the Homeless and the Refugees. The Refugees are people who were lured to Melissa's house and shrunken; they are mostly young adults and mostly male, and they managed to escape from Melissa's closet and live inside of her house's walls (for a while), hence their name. The Homeless are exactly what they sound like; they were captured directly from the streets under the cloak of night. The Refugees managed to escape from Melissa's closet and create some sort of interconnected network within Melissa's walls, while the Homeless were left trapped inside of the closet. The Refugees look down upon the Homeless, while the Homeless despise the Refugees' arrogance.
- Spin-Off: The story Hell Manor; its events are alluded to in the epilogue of Bugman Games.
- The Stool Pigeon: Ray, who tells Melissa about the Refugees and then leads them right into Melissa's waiting hands, doing so by playing on their strong desire of escaping.
- The War Sequence: The majority of Chapter 31, which finally pits the Refugees and the Homeless against one another. The Refugees win.
- Your Cheating Heart: Bruce and Claudia, and, in Claudia's case, inadvertently led to the events of the story.