230: The Pains of Being The Guy

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The Pains of Being The Guy

For some players, it's about the humor. For others, it's the nostalgia. But regardless of what keeps them coming back, most players agree that the game is pure torture. Richard Poskozim speaks with the creator of I Wanna Be The Guy, the hardest videogame of all time, ever.

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Wow...Reading this makes me realize how much of a sadist the developer of "I Wanna Be The Guy" is.

I suck at platformers (and don't care to much for them), though I only got as far as the Moon scene in medium difficulty in that game.

Though it makes me wonder if I'm a sadist like the developer because I enjoy watching people's pain on Youtube as well. xD

With that game, I gave up. I'd simply had enough of it. Some people, however, have a lot more devotion than I do. A lot. And no, I don't hold any of that anger and frustration against the creator. He sounds like an alright guy.

An alright guy that makes impossible games, yes, but an alright guy.

It's not impossible unless you put it on impossible (unless you aren't mortal). Sure it took me 7 hours and 1700 deaths, but I did it. I actually thought it was quite a well put together platformer.

It was once said that Kayin locked a group of elementary school kids in a room with the hardest of Nintendo Hard games. Whichever sections made them cry are the challenges found in IWBTG.

I didn't actually find IWBTG /that/ hard. Of course, it did take me countless days to get to the final boss, and I still haven't beaten him...

I've played a large amount of iwtbtg getting probably only 8 screens in. It's strangely addicting. I've always thought it'd be a great addition to xbox live. Achievements would make it worth the pain.

"the hardest videogame of all time, ever."

Buuuuuull-shiiiiit :)

If that was true no one would enjoy playing it. The hardest game wouldn't even allow for memorization.

I'm a fan of ROMhacks of Megaman myself, of which many are ridiculously difficult. The thing is though, they're expertly designed and inventive. I'd go so far as saying that, for instance, Deus ex Machina (a Megaman 2 romhack) is better than the game it is based on.

IWBTG is unfair, sure, but it's unfair in a way that keeps you interested. You want to see what new and bastardly ways the creator has thought up to kill you on the next screen. And so you keep on playing. The same thing (kind of) applies to games like Kaizo Mario World, but to be quite honest those games rely a bit too much on having exactly the right timing on a ton of different jumps, many of which are almost entirely luck-based. IWBTG has more room for error; you actually have time to react to things that happen for the most part.

Syntax Error:
It was once said that Kayin locked a group of elementary school kids in a room with the hardest of Nintendo Hard games. Whichever sections made them cry are the challenges found in IWBTG.

Wow this game even has "Lore" to it, are there commandments written on huge stone slabs?
Like "Thou Shalt Not Play On Easy" or "Thou Must Invoke The Words Of Curse Upon Death".

Syntax Error:
It was once said that Kayin locked a group of elementary school kids in a room with the hardest of Nintendo Hard games. Whichever sections made them cry are the challenges found in IWBTG.

That. Fucking. Water. Temple.

Heh, I want to go back and finish this game now. I only have one boss left before I fight the dragon and The Guy. (Mother Brain is haaaarrrdddd....)

I love this game, my friend and I had a race to see who could beat it first and he won :( I pretty much gave up after that, I think I've killed about 5/ bosses and im stuck on the bowser/wart/willy/clowncopter boss. Still, awesome game

Funny story: I escaped the "fake error message" trap the first time I got it... because I was playing on a Mac via WINE, so I knew a Windows error message couldn't be real.

Wait, I thought that when the first guy reported beating the game on Impossible, it was the creator that said "you're not serious are you" Oo

mcmicker:
I didn't actually find IWBTG /that/ hard. Of course, it did take me countless days to get to the final boss, and I still haven't beaten him...

Same here, i mean, i found it hard but i got to the boss and i still haven't beaten him.

Sylocat:
Funny story: I escaped the "fake error message" trap the first time I got it... because I was playing on a Mac via WINE, so I knew a Windows error message couldn't be real.

That is funny.

I originally found the concept of IWBTG funny, and some of the levels were hilarious, but after watching a 'Let's play' and witnessing the player literally have an emotional breakdown atfer trying and failing the same screen over 100 times (he was physically weeping), the fun dissapeared.
I thought Inward Chaos from Dissidia was PSP-snappingly difficult, but I played about 1 minute of IWBTG, realised that I wasn't having fun, and stopped. I'm glad I made that decision.

I've played this game.

All I can say is that if satan was a game, he'd be IWBTG.

i fucking love/hate this game

Never got past Tyson ='[

It's amusing enough, and I'm all for difficulty, but I'm fundamentally against any game where the only way to improve is to memorize every screen.

I love the game.

Though sometimes it gets me kinda frustrated.

A lot.

This is definitely the most unfair game I've ever played. I gave up after making it to Dracula, I could never beat him. And like many other people, this game also did drive me insane at some parts. Mecha Birdo was so incredibly frustrating.

JLrep:
It's amusing enough, and I'm all for difficulty, but I'm fundamentally against any game where the only way to improve is to memorize every screen.

This is why I don't consider IWTBTG to be the hardest game ever. Instead, I just say it's one of the most unfair games ever created. Tons of hazards that you could only predict with clairvoyance will instantly kill you. All of the Bosses have cheap attacks that require perfect timing to dodge. These things don't make the game hard, they just make it unfair. Though when you are designing a game with the sole purpose of frustrating people, that's not a problem.

As a long time gamer, I refuse to really get into IWBTG for the same reason. Memorization != skill at platforming. In a way, it's a really pretty version of Simon, where you discover the next move by dying and starting over from the beginning. That said, watching somebody else who has already learns the ins and outs of IWBTG going from beginning to the end of the game is thoroughly entertaining.

Cave Story, now that's IWBTG done right.

I think this is an absolutely great game and the devotion people have put into completing it, despite it being nearly-impossible, demonstrates this.

Making a game fun is a challenge and it takes more than just making it difficult. In fact, for many people, a ridiculously difficult game is the opposite of fun. But IWBTG makes a game out of the difficulty, and that's what makes it fun.

IWBTG is intended to be ridiculously hard. The player is aware of this. They expect to die. A lot. In fact, the point of the game isn't to save the princess or see the next cutscene, but just to be able to say you've finished it. Winning the game is serious bragging rights and that's part of what makes it so addictive.

But it's more than just hard. It's a good challenge. The first level demonstrates this beautifully. The first time the spike trap hits you, you know this is a ridiculously hard game. Eventually you figure out the trick. The next spike trap is similar, and you get that feeling that you've bested the game. Then the third spike trap throws you a loop and hits you from the other side. Not only is it unexpected, but it requires an entirely different approach -- it's a new problem. This is what makes games interesting: a continual stream of new, interesting challenges.

To add to the fun factor, the game constantly leaves the player wondering what is going to happen next. From objects flying upwards instead of dropping down, to the moon falling out of the sky and attempting to crush the player, to fighting a gigantic Mike Tyson, there's always a new surprise, tempting you to see what each level holds. You want to complete the level just so you can see what the next one will throw at you.

And, most importantly, despite the difficulty, the game is never unfair. Sure, it requires split-second precision, pixel perfect movements, and even requires some intense memorization, but all of this can be overcome with practice. It isn't random, so the player never has to leave things to chance, and it doesn't kill the player for unknown reasons, so the player always knows what the next obstacle is and can reason about how to overcome it.

From the challenging levels, to the wide variety of challenges in each level, to the mocking, self-referential humor, to the nostalgic artwork, this game does everything well. So well that people are willing to drive themselves to violence trying to beat it. And others are willing to follow suit, knowing how frustrating it will be.

I beat it over the summer. Haven't reported it yet, though.

I HAVE BESTED FRUIT, SPIKE AND MOON

I really want to play this game. I remember watching OverTheGun post his How To Successfully Fail on YouTube and thinking that despite how hard it is I really wanted to play that. I'm also the same person who downloaded Spelunker off the Virtual Console and just laughs every time something kills me. It's all about the proper mind set.

I Wanna be the Guy. I really, really don't know why I went all the way like I did. I struggled, I yelled, I cursed, I hated myself and the game, I nearly gave up a few times. It took me months of on and off playing to finally manage to beat it on Hard, 7:36:40, 2535 deaths (in all truth, it was probably double or even triple that number: I kept playing it from a flash drive and on multiple computers, that didn't collectively register all my deaths).

Yet I think the one element that most attracted me to the game wasn't the humor (although I certainly laughed more than once), nor the nostalgia (although I was familiar to quite a few games it references to). No, what kept me going was the immense satisfaction after successfully reaching another Save point, in itself a strong motivator, and, to an even greater extent, the sheer challenge of it all.

And I'm not talking about bragging rights either (I know few people who'd appreciate this particular feat), I mean doing it for the sake of it. George Mallory was reputedly asked why he wanted to climb Everest, you're probably familiar with his alleged answer: "Because it's there". That's what attracted me to this game, above all. Because it's very existence taunts a person like myself, almost saying that I shouldn't dare challenge it, lest I face doom itself.

In fact, the analogy can be extended even further. In many ways, this is a gaming Everest, a challenge that few will complete successfully, although many try, that requires patience, dedication and time, that will provide glimpses of joy on occasions, but will mostly require an immense effort and repetition on part of the 'adventurer' and, when you finally manage to reach the summit, you'll be so exhausted and in sheer disbelief of what you've accomplished that you might not even successfully register the feat into your soul.

It's most certainly not for everyone, but for me? It was worth it, every agonizing second of it. I conquered my personal Everest and I'm proud of it.

What kept me going through the game?

$50 someone offered me if I beat it.

It. Was. Not. Worth it.

I gave up after the first boss.

I am not dedicated. I feel shame.

I think I beat Mecha-Birdo then gave up.

I am curious. I am downloading the game now. I want to see just how frustrating it is!

Ah, this game. I've spent so many raging hours on it, but I kept coming back.
Every shot at a savepoint is such a milestone that every screen cleared is a reward in itself. Though I will admit, I got to The Guy, and can't seem to beat his 2nd form.
I know I'll beat it in time, but hey, at least I made it that far, and I plan to beat it eventually.

I actually gave up on that level that he talks about in the first paragraph (the one in the background image, with spikes covering every inch of the walls) the first time I played this about a year ago.

Just a few weeks ago, though, my cable went out during a wind storm. I was kinda bored and didn't feel like playing any offline games, so I decided to try this game again. It was still fun, but I only got to Mecha-Birdo before going to bed, and, because the internet was back up the next morning, I havn't continued. After reading this, though, I remembered how much fun it was and have the urge to once again attempt at becoming the man. Wish me luck!

I beat the game on very hard last year but I haven't reported it either

That game looks truly disgusting, and possibly more torture than Soldier Front or Gunz....

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