The world’s hardest game has been on the interwebs for a few years now, and it’s still going on strong. The premise is simple: You have to move a square through a maddeningly tricky obstacle course of diagonal walls that shift up and down with no warning or pattern (I may be referring to it as “the wall” here). If you move too fast, your square will hit one of these walls and splat; die and you’re back at the start.
Luckily, there are some ways around this. There are pathways that do not touch any walls: if you can find them they’ll get you far in this game. Here I am beating level 3-4 without dying! But even then, it’s a matter of time before the horrible shifting walls catch up to you and splat.
There have been many clones of this game, but none seem as good as the original. It’s an amazing achievement in minimalism: there are no graphics! The background is gray or black with white lines, and the only objects are your square and those damn walls. If there were more distractions I think it would be too much for me to handle. And yes, if you move fast enough those solid-looking gray pixels around the screen will flicker and dance like jagged saw blades (see this example).
As someone who suffers from pretty severe ADD (I’m not diagnosed but I know that my brain has issues focusing), I can understand how this game is so hard for me.
But I also think it’s just interesting to think about, in terms of what we find challenging and why. Do you know anyone who is good at the world’s hardest game? What do they have in common? Does everyone feel like me when they’re trying to beat it (like my boyfriend, who hates the game because he thinks it makes him too nervous)? And if not, what keeps them playing? Are these thoughts even relevant when talking about a video game that was made for our entertainment?! Hey — never underestimate the power of human curiosity!
I’m thinking these questions today because I recently found out that someone has ported this game over to iOS. This means that now anyone can download it and try their luck against the wall.