Apparently I wasn't done with my pain for pleasure gaming philosophy. Although this time, I wasn't doing it because I wanted to play a game that has frustrated me for years and years, pretty much owning my soul. No, this time I wanted to enjoy a game that is purposely built to evoke pleasure from the pain of dying over and over and over and over and over and over and over … and over again.
Enter Super Meat Boy, the game about a sack of bloody meat platforming his way to his lady, saving her from the evil clutches of the antagonist. Literally, a bloody sack of meat. He runs and jumps with the best of them, yet unfortunately, his plight to save the damsel in distress is quite a hazardous one, as it is filled with fire, spikes and saw blades, among many other forms of capital punishment for a little dude made of meat.
And when I say “bloody,” I mean it. He leaves a trail of the bright red life substance everywhere he travels, whether he is walking, running or sliding down the side of a wall. Where that bag of meat hits a surface, bloody smears, leaving a lasting reminder where you have been – and in most cases – where you shouldn't go again. If you were to, let’s say, get demolished by a spinning saw blade, that blade will be stained for the remainder of the level, no matter how many times you die before you reach the goal.
Oh, and trust me, you will die. A lot. Death is unavoidable in this game, as the constant reminders of your failures linger in the level until you get the timing of your jumps and runs figured out perfectly. The best part about the constant and looming acknowledgement of death is the reward for finally beating the level; you get a highlight real (sped up of course) showing all your deaths in one constant stream of bloody sacks of meat being butchered. It’s enjoyable, yet somehow a bit sad once you realize you died 20+ on one level in the span of just a couple of minutes.
For those wondering, I picked this game up during this amazing Steam Summer Sale for a few bucks, despite having played it a long, long time ago. Remember, I like pain and punishment in my video games, remember?
Speaking of sad misery, the independent documentary called “Indie Games” can be found on Netflix, and it is a fantastic watch. In the film, they showcase three different games: Fez, Braid and of course, Super Meat Boy. It’s a fascinating watch, as it shows how hard it was for the two man team that made Super Boy Meat during the development of this game, and how close they came to never finishing it, because of many different factors. Sure, we all love these smaller, independent games, but it is often forgot how difficult it is for these smaller studios to make games we all love.
The film really makes you think differently about the industry, both in positive and negative ways. But it’s something you need to watch for yourself in order to form solid opinions.
As far as the game goes, there is only one opinion to be had. This game was designed to make you fail, and smile the whole time.
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Games played for project : 365