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How 'B-games' influenced the design of  Getting Over It

How 'B-games' influenced the design of Getting Over It

April 12, 2018 | By Emma Kidwell

April 12, 2018 | By Emma Kidwell
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More: Indie, Design

"Game reviews and previews don't talk at all about the designers, game players don't know who the designers are, and game designers work actively to make sure their identities are invisible in their games and sometimes even in the credits."

Bennett Foddy on underappreciated B-game creators leading to the decision to insert himself into Getting Over It.

Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy was not the first game to infuriate players by challenging them to climb obstacles using only a hammer controlled by a mouse. 

It was actually Sexy Hiking, a small game with unconventional controls created by a mysterious Polish designer known only as "Jazzuo" who created "B-grade games" (featuring odd controls and "low quality" art) and published them online. 

In an interview published by PCGamer, Bennett Foddy and creator of Spelunky Derek Yu discussed how Sexy Hiking influenced them as designers, as well as the explaining the importance of B-games in shaping the future of indie titles. 

Yu had written about Jazzuo's Sexy Hiking on TIGSource years after it had been released, saying "every new area seems totally impossible at first, and there is NOTHING THERE TO HELP YOU SAVE YOUR OWN GRIT." But Foddy was not keen on it at first.  

"Honestly, at the time I dismissed the game, but it became something of a meme among indie game developers, and I never really forgot about it," he told PCGamer. "Years later, I changed my opinion of the game when I showed it to my students at NYU, as part of a class on games by European developers, and I realized how timeless the design was."

"The things I loved about Sexy Hiking are what I assume people love about Getting Over It now—a unique and frustrating challenge coupled with a bizarre premise," Yu adds. Foddy presented Sexy Hiking to his students, which was met with mixed responses.

"They reacted in much the same way as indie developers did in 2007—they were polarized. Some of them became angry at it and refused to continue playing it, a few were captivated by it," Foddy explained. "I have showed so many old games to students, and honestly usually they can only take a dry academic interest because norms of user interaction and game design have moved on so much from the 80s and 90s."

For more insight into how b-games influenced Foddy and Yu, be sure to check out the full article over on PCGamer's website.

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