Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy is a punishing climbing game, a homage to Jazzuo's 2002 B-Game classic 'Sexy Hiking'. You move the hammer with the mouse, and that's all there is. With practice, you'll be able to jump, swing, climb and fly. Great mysteries and a wonderful reward await the master hikers who reach the top of the mountain.
To quote Jazzuo himself: "The hiking action is very similar to way you would do it in real life, remember that and you will do well".
- Climb up an enormous mountain with nothing but a hammer and a pot.
- Listen as I make philosophical observations about the problem at hand.
- Between 2 and ∞ hours of agonizing gameplay, depending. The median time to finish for my playtesters was 5 hours, but the mean was closer to ∞.
- Lose all your progress, over and over.
- Feel new types of frustration you didn't know you were capable of.
Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy is a platform video game developed by Bennett Foddy. The game was released as part of the October 2017 Humble Monthly, on October 6, 2017 where it went on to be played by over 2.7 million players. A Steam version of the game was later released by Foddy on December 6, 2017. The game was also released on iOS that same day. The Android version was released on April 25, 2018. The Linux version was available for beta testing in August 2018 and received a stable release in the same year.
Getting Over It revolves around a man by the name of Diogenes – who, somewhat true to his namesake, resides in a large metal cauldron – and wields a Yosemite hammer, which he can use to grip objects and move himself. Using the mouse or trackpad (controllers are supported but make the game harder because of the lack of precision in the joysticks), the player tries to move the man's upper body and sledge hammer in order to climb a steep mountain.
The game is accompanied by voice-over commentary by Bennett Foddy discussing various philosophical topics. The commentary also provides quotations relating to disappointment and perseverance when significant progress is lost by the player.
As the player progress up the mountain, they are at a constant risk of losing some or all of their progress; there are no checkpoints. The game concludes when a player reaches the highest point of the map and then enters space. Upon reaching the conclusion, a message asks players if they are recording the gameplay. When a player indicates they are not, the game provides access to a chatroom populated by other players who have completed the game.
Foddy had been drawn to difficult games while growing up; living in Australia in the 1980s and 1990s, he was limited to what was brought into the country through imports, with many of these being games that lacked any type of save mechanism and required players to be sent back to the start of the game if their character died, such as Jet Set Willy. Into the 1990s, video game developers in the United States and Japan began adding means to save or have checkpoints, so players would not have to return to the start on death. Foddy said, "The flavor of being sent back gradually disappeared up to the point now where it's this boutique thing. People of a certain age still have that taste, or maybe everyone has it, but it's been written out of the design orthodoxy." In 2018, Foddy stated that the main reason he put his name in the title of Getting Over It was due to a culture that doesn't generally "recognize the individuals who make games".
Getting Over It was aimed towards "a certain kind of person, to hurt them" and took inspiration from Sexy Hiking, a similar game released by Czech video game designer 'Jazzuo' in 2002. Foddy learned of Sexy Hiking around 2007 from a post by Derek Yu on TIGSource, and according to Foddy, the game was 'somewhat of a meme among indie game developers', with Adam Saltsman having described Sexy Hiking as "the single worst game I have ever played". While dismissing Sexy Hiking at the time, Foddy found the game memorable, and later showed the game to students of his class on game design at New York University Tisch School of the Arts, whereupon he "realized how timeless the design" of Sexy Hiking was. Foddy stated that he is a fan of "messy, realtime physics puzzle games", and further expressed that they are "huge area of inspiration in my own work". In a now-deleted Tweet from 2014, Foddy asked his followers "would it be wrong if I made a sequel to Sexy Hiking? Given that I am not actually Jazzuo (as far as you know)".
More recently, Foddy had seen a return of difficult games such as through the Dark Souls series. In August 2017, Foddy observed that while there was outcry by players over the saved game mechanism in Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, which reportedly would erase the player's save file if they died, other players readily took to the challenge, showing renewed interest in games that were difficult by design. He said, "whenever you see something that disproves a strongly held design orthodoxy it's extremely exciting because it opens up new avenues for exploration", and considered Getting Over It as his exploration of this new development space.
Finished, overly designed video games never want to force a player to go backward. Maybe you’ll retread areas in a Metroid, but even in those situations, you are always progressing forward. Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy focuses on making players experience the emotions of losing an achievement that other games are desperate to avoid, and that’s what makes it special.
Getting Over It is about a man in a cauldron attempting to climb a mountain of garbage with a Yosemite hammer. All you control is the hammer, and you can swing it around by moving your mouse. This enables you to grab ledges and and other objects to climb higher and higher. But Bennett Foddy’s mountain is cruel, and — at any time — if you make a big enough mistake, you could tumble back all the way to the base of the mountain. And that is … frustrating.
But that is the point of Getting Over It. The “With Bennett Foddy” part of the title refers to the developer’s narration, which talks you through the experience. Foddy opens up by talking about the feeling of losing your homework after completing it the day before its due and how he made this game to help people confront those emotions. He will also give you quotes, songs, or words of encouragement as you reach new milestones or if you suddenly lose a lot of progress.
The narration and the gameplay combine to create something devious. Every time you fail or your stomach tenses up as you fall back to the start, the game acts like it is doing this for your own good. It almost makes me more angry with myself than with the clearly broken game.
Bennett Foddy is one of my favorite game designers. He’s the creator of the sprinting simulator QWOP that has you controlling a world-class athletes thighs and calf muscles in each leg independently with Q, W, O, and P on your keyboard. By giving you too much control, you instantly see the importance of disassociating the mechanics of the real world from gameplay through layers of abstraction. In a similar way, Getting Over It shows you the upside of polished game design — but it also reveals how easy it is for players to excuse a game and blame themselves.
I haven’t reached very high in Getting Over It yet, but I’m planning to get to the top of the mountain. I think I can do it, and I’m not gonna let this game stop me.