jumpman

jumpman

not the jumpman of old (either of them), the name of this game suggests the same as its blocky, platonic sprites do: that the author has taken the most basic jumping game, circa 1983, and refracted it (in some cases mirrored it) through the lens of a quarter century of computers learning new tricks. this is something of a trend – this is braid’s and fez’s hook too, among others’ – because the rules and assumptions of these simple jumping games still have all the resonance they’ve ever had. “hold the joystick right to move to the right” is as straightforward as “hold the yellow button to rewind time,” we just havn’t had the capability of exploring one of these two rules until recently.

Like, every old game had something where you could walk off one side of the screen and suddenly appear on the other, right? What was actually happening there? Did space in the world where Pac-Man lives just happen to loop back on itself every ten feet? What would happen if you just took the camera and turned it a little bit to the right, would you see Pac-Man duplicated every 10 feet stretching off into the distance forever…?

jumpman’s levels are, at their best, perfect and mathematically beautiful things, spiralling away into the background like some kind of sprite fractal. each level is an idea, and the presentation of these ideas is unfortunately weakened by the fact that the game can often be frustrating, usually due to unclear hitboxes and the protagonist’s slow decceleration, which makes moving in the game feel like rollerskating. if the game is a series of ideas, then getting hung up on a jumping puzzle derails the game’s train of thought, is an undue interruption of the often-fascinating conversation between player and author, which is why it can be so taxing when it happens.

via derek yu.

7 thoughts on “jumpman”

  1. Does the game really need that slippery player movement? I really enjoy this idea but I can’t fully enjoy it with the lack of inertia to reign in the player.

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