I Wanna be the Guy
‘I Wanna be the Guy’ is like Home Alone. It reminds you of the nineties, and it’s fun. The problem is, you’re not Kevin. You’re normally Marv and Harry. You’re Marv (the stupid one) when you jump into an apple that kills you. You’re Harry (the angry one) when you die right after completing a section you’ve struggled to get through. Kevin is normally Michael “Kayin” O’Reilly, the guy that setup all the insane traps for you to struggle through.
‘I Wanna be the Guy’ doesn’t always makes sense. It is a game that infuriates its players. The game’s obstacles operate without warning, explanation, or forgiveness. This is a brutal game. But the problem isn’t with the difficulty; there are plenty of good games which are very difficult. ‘I Wanna be the Guy’ falls down because the parts which are difficult, are difficult because they don’t follow a pattern. The game becomes more of a memory test, than a test of skill. If you can remember what seemingly random patterns the game will follow, then you’ll be able to succeed. If not, you’ll have to retry until you can remember what happens when.
This ‘almost illogical’ gameplay hasn’t happened by accident; it’s a designed and intentional feature of the game. It’s introduced right from the start when you’re asked to dodge spike traps. The random elements of gameplay are part of what makes ‘I Want to be the Guy’ one of the most popular ‘Masocre’ games. ‘Masocore’ games involve twitch gameplay and trial and error levels with seemingly impossible difficulty.
These kind of games have a postmodern, ‘Myth of Sisyphus’, ‘Kafkaesque’ type feel to them. You’re stuck endlessly repeating pointless tasks and you’re punished without explanation. ‘I Wanna be the Guy’ is also postmodern in the way it uses pastiche; it makes reference to classic platformers, and it uses and inverts the conventions of the genre. The things we expect to happen, don’t always happen. Apples kill you, and clouds drop you into spike pits.
These painful surprises are part of what make the game fun. Each deathtrap that you avoid brings the promise of more death traps to avoid. And because you’ve been through them once, you know you can do them again. So when you die and you have to start from your last save point, you’re tempted to give each challenge just one more try.
‘I Wanna be the Guy’ is not for everyone, but people who like it, will love it. At times it can be great fun; normally when you’ve just figured out one of the game’s brutal puzzles. And progressing through this game definitely gives you a sense of achievement. The problem is that most of the puzzles in the game are are clever as they are stupid and annoying. It’s because of this that the game is more of a novelty than a real success. Maybe I need to dedicate more time to the game; admittedly I haven’t got very far. But the game doesn’t really encourage you to progress. It beckons you to try and progress until you finally give in. Kudos to all those people who have dedicated time to this game; you’re my patient than I am.
TL:DR A game which deals out random punishments. ‘I Wanna be the Guy’ is as much a throwback as it is a send-up of the trend for retro games. Play this if you enjoy games which are annoying, funny, and very, very difficult. You can download it here.