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January 3, 2011

Meaty Masochism

Hi. I'm Dave, and I'm a Meat-aholic.

(Hi, Dave!!!)

No, I'm not talking about a good steak (though that is totally awesome too). I'm talking about the video game Super Meat Boy.

Not only do I love the game, but I can't stop playing it despite the fact that it continues to beat me and beat me and beat me and beat me and...well, you get the idea. Instead of saying "enough of this! I'm playing something else!", I stare at the TV screen, thumb throbbing from pushing buttons, and say "more, please?"

Yes, this is the evil person that's treating me like this. And it's wrong. So wrong. Yet it's also right. So right.

So just what the hell is Super Meat Boy, anyway?

First, in a game like this, there really isn't a "story." Much like Mario in Donkey Kong, all you need to know is that you're trying to save the princess from the mad monkey by running, climbing, jumping, etc.

In Super Meat Boy, you're Meat Boy. Yes, a piece of meat with legs. Your girlfriend, Bandage Girl, has been kidnapped by Dr. Fetus (yes, a fetus in a mechanical suit...don't ask). You go through the huge number of different levels trying to reach Bandage Girl, only to have her stolen away again every time you do so.

Super Meat Boy is a throwback, both graphically and gameplay-wise, to those old platformers in the old days. Think Mario. Think MegaMan, think...well, I didn't play a lot of platformers in my past, so I can't think of any others, but they are out there!

Your button pressing has to be precise, because one false move and you will either fall to your death or be ripped up by spinning buzzsaws. All with a kind of sickening, yet also entertaining, "squish" sound. And with lots of red flying across the screen when it happens.

(This is one of early levels, already looking insane and dangerous)

Don't worry, though. The graphics are straight out of 1989 Nintendo, so it isn't really "graphic" violence or anything like that. Besides, if a piece of raw meat was cut up by a buzzsaw, I think there would be blood!

One cool thing about Super Meat Boy is that, in addition to being a throwback graphically and gameplay-wise, it also includes a lot of classic characters that you can unlock and play as. There's Commander Video, Tim (from the game Braid, which I've heard is an awesome game as well), the Pink Knight from Castle Crashers, and a bunch more. Some of the characters you unlock by collecting a certain number of bandages scattered throughout the game world. Others, you unlock by solving their "warp zones".

The game has a number of worlds, with 20 levels in each world. If you complete the level in the recommended time, you get an "A+" rating and unlock the dark world equivalent of that level. It will be a little harder, but still manageable. All in all, I think there are something like 300 levels in the game.


And this game might drive you insane. It can be *really* difficult at times, with precision jumping and button-mashing required. You will die. A *lot*. But each level is so short, the reincarnation is instantaneous, so you never feel *too* bad when you die. It's not like some games where you do a lot of stuff and then, when you die, you have to repeat all of it. This one, you've basically wasted about 10 seconds at most.

And when you do finally complete a level?

Yep, that's the feeling you get.

Also hilarious is that, when you complete a level, the game will show you a replay of every attempt you made to complete the level. All at once. In other words, if you died 30 times, you will see 30 Meat Boys running and jumping along, all of them getting gished on a saw or falling to their doom, except the one version that finally makes it to the top.

While the game can be frustratingly difficult at times, it rarely gets to the point where you want to throw your controller at the TV. No, it just adds to your determination that you WILL BEAT THIS #$@%@%@% LEVEL before you go to bed. And when you complete the level, you just have to play the next one a couple of times...just to see what it's like before you turn the game off for bedtime.

Then, three hours later, when you finally complete *that* level, the cycle repeats itself.

I've completed 20% of the game (32% of the "light" world and 13% of the "dark" world), and I've already died 2165 times.

Yet I still keep coming back for more.

That's a sign of a good game. Though keep in mind, it's not for everybody.

Hi, I'm Dave. And I'm a Meaty Masochist.

Edit: I guess I should add that this game is available on XBox Live Arcade, PC & Mac, and (I think) the Wii as well. Not sure on the last one.


  1. You are still a little kid.LOL Hope you can stop playing it tonight since you have to go to work tomorrow. I'm addicted to my games to so I know how hard it is to quit playing. HAVE FUN;.

  2. I believe the Wii version got cancelled or delayed until further notice. Some form of, "Yeah, that means it's not coming."

  3. So, due to my lack of Xbox/High-Speed Internet, I have not played SMB. I just checked out the flash version, however, called "Meat Boy". SMB is based on this game, and all I can say is... Wow. Challenging, sickeningly evil, dastardly cute, with lots of laughs and solid gameplay. Now I see why everyone is talking about this...

  4. @Mom: I am having fun, don't worry. :) Had to quit this game, though, because my thumb was starting to hurt again.

    @Carson: Thanks for the heads up on the Wii. I didn't realize it had been "delayed."

    And you nailed why this thing is so addictive!


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