You Have to Win the Game
March 14, 2015 2 Comments
You Have to Win the Game is the prequel to Super Win: The Game. Before I go any further, let me first congratulate J. Kyle Pittman on coming up with one of the most unwieldy names I’ve seen at IGC. It’s awkward to type and speak, which means the game will inherently struggle with spreading via word of mouth. Remove the “You Have to” part, add a colon, and just call it “Win: The Game.” Still a crap name (so is Super Win, quite frankly), but at least it’s easy to relay the title from one person to the next.
Anyway, I liked Win: The Game more than its super counterpart. Both titles attempt to pay tribute to classic gaming platforms. Super was focused on the NES, a platform I had little nostalgia for. This one is a tribute to old 80s personal computers, something I have even less fondness of. I’m not the target audience of games like these, so my fondness for them might say something profound about their quality. Win: The Game has similar power-ups to Super, but eliminates all the bullshit. There’s no overworld map that breaks up the action. The game is much more focused on precision platforming, and that tighter focus led to better level design.
It’s sort of hard to pick apart a game that costs no money. It’s even tougher when that game has few flaws. It’s not a big game. It took me about an hour to beat (I clocked in at 90 minutes, but that included leaving the game running while I ran errands, a bad habit of mine that I really need to stop), which isn’t especially deep. But then again, it has a lot of extra modes and achievements for multiple play sessions. The biggest omission is the lack of a map. I’m not sure what Pittman has against maps. Maybe as a child, his family left the opera early and was ambushed by a map in a back alley. Maybe a map forced him to play Russian Roulette in a Korean P.O.W. camp. Both Win and Super Win would have benefited hugely from having some kind of map on-screen, and both games suffer the needless tedium of aimless wandering by excluding one.
Oddly enough, the thing that strikes me most about Win is that it could have cost money and doesn’t. This is a quality title that costs nothing. Sure, being free served some purpose. It got J. Kyle Pittman’s name out there and built up hype for his future projects. Still, considering all the lazily produced garbage out there that costs $2.99, a genuinely fun game for free is sort of startling. Maybe he is an artist and just wanted people to appreciate his work, and goody on him for that. But he could have easily charged $1 for this and nobody would have complained. Like the man who sawed off his legs to pay for his farm, he sold himself short.