Game-related ramblings.

Tag: Yahtzee Croshaw

Celebrating Super-Hard Platformers

A couple of weeks ago I posted about Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw’s latest game, Poacher. After taking a break to revisit The Desolate Room, I went back to Poacher and found the secret ending. As expected, it involved an incredibly difficult multi-stage boss fight, followed by a hilarious special ending. It’s no secret that I have a soft spot for these kinds of challenges. I think the reason is that they reward my inherent stubbornness. Encountering a seemingly impossible hurdle, I keep trying, getting a tiny bit closer each time, until my persistence is vindicated. It’s the same satisfaction of solving a tough problem in real life, but miniaturized and accelerated, something that can be solved in hours or days rather than months or years.

Of course, my love of roguelikes has similar roots, but in that case it often actually is a matter of years before victory is achieved. And the challenge of roguelikes is fully cerebral, a matter of strategies and the weighing of options in harsh situations. The extra-tough platformer is a different kind of challenge, one of pattern recognition, timing, and motor skills. It’s faster and more active, requiring one to learn and adapt quickly, and it provides a different kind of satisfaction.

The problem, of course, is that once such a platformer is mastered, there’s little reason to revisit it. This means I’m always looking for new games that fit the bill. Fortunately, there’s a lot of them out there, and I’ve got quite a few favorites to recommend.

Indie Time: Poacher

Most people know Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw for his fast-talking, foulmouthed and often hilarious Zero Punctuation video reviews of various games, but he’s also made a few games of his own. Long before starting Zero Punctuation he made several point and click adventure games with Adventure Game Studio, the most famous of which comprise the four-game John DeFoe series (aka the Chzo Mythos series), beginning with 5 Days a Stranger. He even managed to create a few platformers with Adventure Game Studio, including Trilby: The Art of Theft, a stealth platformer with a different style to Stealth Bastard that’s well worth checking out. Like the rest of his games, it’s available for free.

Lately, Yahtzee’s efforts have been focused on Zero Punctuation and writing a novel, but he did find time to make Poacher, an exploration platformer starring “unflappable Yorkshireman” Derek Badger. Indeed, Yahtzee was apparently inspired by a google image search result for “Yorkshireman” (a result I was sadly unable to reproduce, but then I am in a different country). Being a fan of exploration platformers and of Yahtzee’s earlier work, I decided to check it out.

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