Video Game Thoughts: Super Meat Boy

Super Meat Boy was a 2010 platformer game by Team Meat that I played on the PC. What initially caught my interest about this game is that it was one of the highest rated indie games I’ve seen. At the time I had an a nostalgic itch to play a good Mario game. I had played the original ones too much, so they were out of the question. I didn’t have a Nintendo DS or Wii to play the New Super Mario Bros. games. There were no games like that on PC, until Super Meat Boy.

Like all good indie games, Super Meat Boy made a number of innovations. First, they got rid of the concept of lives. When the character died the level would reset instantly. I never had to worry about running out of lives and selecting continue or restarting the game from scratch. I only ever had to restart the level I was on. This kind of change is always good in my book because I hate repeating content. I realize as I get older that time is precious. I don’t want to waste time doing the same thing I already did. Super Meat Boy cut out as much repetition as was possible.

The other innovation they made was in all the secret characters and minigames. Several levels had a secret portal that when entered unlocked another character and gave the player a special minigame to play. These secret characters and minigames were based on characters from other indie games. It was a nice touch for anyone that follows the indie game scene. These characters were not just cosmetic changes though. They all had their own unique feel and special abilities. The standard “Meat Boy” character could only jump, but another character might be able to hover for short moments.

One thing I disliked about this game was the subject matter. It just seemed disturbing. Just read this: the main character is a piece of meat trying to save his girlfriend, Bandage Girl, from the evil Dr. Fetus. That villain is even shown with a fetus inside a glass tank. I don’t know what they’re trying to say with this game. My only guess is that they see fetuses (and babies) as evil. If true, I guess it’s expected with the sad “culture of death” society has these days. People have become so selfish they hate babies.

This game was in many ways meant to be throwback to classic platformers like Super Mario Bros. This was evident in the high difficulty of the game. Some of the later levels took me over a hundred tries to complete. The player had to be perfect sometimes. The levels got longer as I went with several very hard button combinations required to get through each dangerous section. The difficulty was not to my liking, but that wasn’t not a flaw. It was just not my preference. It was probably for the best because the high repetition gave me minor tendinitis in my hands. I played enough to complete all the main story levels, and that was enough for me.

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