Getting Over It, a game that wants to hurt you.
Game developer Bennett Foddy makes frustrating games. QWOP, one of his best-known games, is a game of trying — and failing — to control your own limbs. Getting Over It, his most recent release, is about a man, a pot, and endless failure.
The trailer above has the gist of it. You play a man in a cauldron who can only move by swinging a hammer. The obstacles you must overcome aren’t easily traversed by a man in a cauldron who can only move by swinging a hammer.
In a post with gentle spoilers, Screen Therapy digs into why this isn’t just an opportunity to giggle at streamers getting extremely upset, but an intentional effort to give us a safe space to explore and learn from disappointment.
Resilience is our trust that when we fall we can get back up. It is our added understanding that falling isn’t going back to square one with nothing but that we have learned something important we can use when we get back to where we were. Resilience is our ability to stay relatively calm when we’ve endured loss, disappointment, or humiliation.
Everything about this game, evident even in its cheeky name, was made to both test and bolster our resilience.
Foddy starts the game with the very clear statement that this game could make a bad day worse. He recommends only playing it when we’re feeling particularly calm or at least ready to practice some safe failure. He makes it clear that the experience of the game we are playing is not going to be pleasant. True to his promises in his trailer he knows he has made a game that will hurt, anger, and exhaust us.
Screen Therapy goes on to look at how it helps us find calm, appreciate art, and practice failure.
Personally, I’ve always found intentionally punishing platforms very meditative, and this article helps explain why. And hey — given the many blow ups the gaming community goes through regularly over disappointing games, a little practice with healthy reactions to frustration can only be a good thing.