Getting Over It: Video Games Meet the Myth of Sisyphus

Getting Over It
Get over it.

When someone deliberately sets out to make an annoyingly difficult game… that’s special. Bennett Foddy developed this one all on his ownsome – it was released on Steam in 2017 and immediately caused a bit of a ruckus. Why? It’s nonsensical and bloody annoying. If absurdists and existentialists had ever developed a video game in the 20th century, this would have been the result. Being and Nothingness? Yes, pretty much.

Getting Over It

But Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy is more of a digital embodiment of Camus’ the Myth of Sisyphus. In that famous essay, Camus lays out the argument for why we should bother with life. In Greek mythology, Sisyphus is doomed to spend the rest of his days rolling a massive rock up a hill. At the end of each day, it rolls back on down to the bottom – he repeats the process again daily ad infinitum. In the face of that, why bother?

Its creator, Bennett Foddy, developed an equally infuriating game in 2008 called QWOP – it caused an online sensation due to its amusing, but utterly incongruous, rag doll physics and intense difficulty. He’s from Australia and trained as a moral philosopher, helping others overcome addictions. As Foddy put it about his second project:

"I created this game for a certain kind of person. To hurt them."

Charming! But not as charming as Getting Over It, if relentless failure and soul destroying gameplay anomalies are your thing. You start the game as a nude man who’s in what looks like a cauldron. This man is called Diogenes (if you know anything about antiquity, this chap gave up everything to live in a barrel and beg for a living). He has a Yosemite hammer and must try and traverse his way up a mountain of contorted debris.

With tricky as hell controls and a near impossible difficulty setting, it’s driven many gamers insane. Foddy was clearly aware, thanks to the success of QWOP, this would attach itself to a certain sect of the gaming community. Sure enough, there have been marathon sessions to get it completed – you can see the current world record above.

This isn’t intended to be a fun experience – it’s about suffering. Foddy even setup a running narration where he discusses philosophy, as well as how to deal with disappointment and the importance of perseverance (the latter of which any gamer will need a huge hunking dose of for Getting Over It). Inventive, weird, and thought provoking? Yes. We can only cower in fear at what his next project might be.

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