the artistry and psychology of gaming

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I Wanna Be the Guy

I Wanna Be the Guy

Welcome to Gaming on the House; don’t look down and and mind your step! Each week, we’ll be climbing the rooftops of the gaming industry to seek out great experiences that everyone can track down and play, and the best part is they’ll all be free! That’s right; FREE! Gratis. Comp’d. Unbound. Unrestricted. Zero-down. On the House!… we talk about free games here, is my point.

Many may be surprised at how many fantastic games are really out there that everyone can legally enjoy with no monetary committment. Taking together all the flash and browser games, freeware downloads from the independent scene, speed programming archives, free-to-play business modules, and even promotional re-releases from big name publishers, there’s a never ending supply of great games new and old waiting to be played, and it’s our goal to play them all! So, if you’re strapped for cash or just waiting around for that next big release to hit retail, why not give these games a try? After all, they’re free; what have you got to lose!

Our first game comes to us from an independent developer, however you may recognize a few of the themes and characters within…

I Wanna Be the Guy: The Movie: The Game

In the year 200X, somebody will look awfully familiar

Genre: 2D Platformer
Link to Game: http://kayin.pyoko.org/iwbtg/index.php
Game Info: Released as freeware in October 2007 by Michael “Kayin” O’Reilly, however has existed in “beta” ever since.

I Wanna Be the Guy (IWBTG) recalls the age old story of The Kid, who takes his “Cape of Hero” and “Very Small Gun” that he received from former Grandfather the Guy, in order to reach the Dungeon of Doom and defeat The Guy in order to become The Guy. Everyone got that? If not, don’t worry about it. Make sure you hang around on the title screen to get the full story before you dive right in (note: it’s not that much different from the above, but still worth it)!

True, the story given may be a bit cut-and-paste for a platforming adventure, but that’s more or less the point, as IWBTG is actually an amalgamation of many games from the glorious 8 and 16-bit past, featuring many references and parodies of classic franchises such as Mega Man, Mario, Castlevania, Metroid, Zelda, and more, even a few of the characters themselves. The Dungeon of Doom especially dishes out a great nostalgia trip, as you’ll find several portraits hanging in the background of former “The Guy” Characters, including Master Higgins, Sinistar, Ryu Hayabusa, Mike Haggar, and others, which really gives off a sense of a unified video game history and culture that is a real treat to see. The trouble, however lies in getting to see it all.

This is the fifth panel in the game. It took me 45 minutes to reach it.

Among the many attributes of this platformer, nothing is more prevalent than it’s bone-shattering difficulty. Rest assured, if you play this game, you will die. A lot. Those appearing/disappearing blocks from Mega-ManNot only is The Kid constantly faced with avoiding instant death, often escaping it by mere pixels, but the level design in IWBTG is just diabolical, intentionally toying with player expectations with objects flying in every direction, traps around perceived ‘safe’ areas, and even throwing what you thought was the background scenery at you on occassion.

The Game plays out similar to a ‘metroidvania’-styled adventure, however you won’t be acquiring any special powerups along the way. Eventually, you come across environmental features that will boost your mobility, allowing for spring jumps, and wall jumps, however you’ll need to rely on your gun and trusty double jumps to get you through the bulk of your adventure. The game comes down to pattern memorization, proper timing, and perhaps just a little luck on your side as you move past the apples, spikes, lightning strikes, and the deadly return of those appearing/disappearing blocks right out of Mega Man.

Instead of powering up to further your navigation, The Kid is tasked with tracking down eight orbs, each guarded by bosses scattered throughout the world. Bosses are no slouches either; as they’ve been pulled from the top tier of retro video game villany, sometimes with some comedic liberties taken (Kraidgief). Bosses hit hard and fast, often calling platforming into the fight as well to present a real challenge. To put this into perspective, the first boss you’ll likely face is none other than Mike Tyson, the final boss from Punchout!, and the difficulty only goes up from there!

Tetris...What kind of platforming game is this?!?

Whenever The Kid bites the big one, he explodes with a splash of red while electric guitars herald in the Game Over message; although you can restart infinitely from your last save point. The game does feature an easy mode (labeled as “Medium” with “Hard” being the real normal) that adds more save points into the world for faster navigation, but with the downside of being called a “wuss” and forced to wear a pink frilly bow. While the game can torment you like few others truly can, the difficulty also carrys with it  a very rewarding sense of accomplishment, often presenting itself after fully moving through every single screen (and again when you die within seconds on the next screen and have to do it all over!). By the time you reach the end, and see The Kid finally shout out “I WANNA BE THE GUY!” you are right there with him. You are The Kid. YOU wanna be The Guy. Hopefully you have what it takes.

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