Sexy Hiking and other B-grade games by the mysterious Jazzuo were an important influence on modern indies
Sexy Hiking was the first game about having to scale obstacles with a hammer commanded by a mouse. It was infuriatingly hard. Back in August of 2007 Derek Yu, today called the founder of Spelunky, wrote it up because of his website TIGSource, saying”every new place appears totally hopeless initially, and there’s NOTHING THERE TO HELP YOU SAVE YOUR OWN GRIT.”
This odd sport about a cartoon man with floating hands was made by an enigma from Poland known as”Jazzuo”. Jazzuo published a series of things with management schemes and B-grade games little, on the internet and ugly that seemed designed by aliens. They had been a significant influence on the games that would follow, while rarely remembered now obviously Sexy Hiking’s religious sequel Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy.
PC Gamer: How can you get into Jazzuo’s games? What was the initial one?
Bennett Foddy: I read about Sexy Hiking on Derek Yu’s TIGSource website back in, oh, 2007 or so. Then it was out for a number of years, but Derek revived it. It was an title in the TIGSource community as he expected. Adam Saltsman (of Canabalt and Overland fame) called it”the single worst game I’ve ever played”. It turned into something of a meme among indie game developers, although at the time I dismissed the game, and that I never forgot about it. Years after , my opinion of the game changed when I showed it to my students at NYU by programmers, and I understood how classic the design was.
Derek Yu: What I adored about Sexy Hiking are exactly what I presume people adore about Getting It now–a one of a kind and frustrating challenge combined with a bizarre assumption. Sexy Hiking does beat Getting It Over in one particular class, but and that’s the title. While”Getting Over It” is a fantastic name and Bennett was, for quite a while, considered a professional namer of games on the TIGSource Forums, I think even he would agree that”Sexy Hiking” is among the very best game names of all time.
BF: Certainly one of the best names! Aside from Sexy Hiking, the best ones are GM Golf and sexy Hand. Be careful, some of his games are in taste!
DY: He created another game in 2007 called Hermies the game that was quite similar in concept to 2016’s Genital Jousting. It’s proof that Jazzuo was ahead of the time, although I have no idea if the creators of Genital Jousting played with Hermies. He made the match for its TIGSource B-Games Competition (which was partly inspired by him) and it won 4.5percent of the votes but didn’t win the competition.
What makes the games of Jazzuo so special to me personally is they’re. When I play a match by a similar founder or him, it feels honest and intimate. As a game developer, it’s tempting to begin obsessing over polish and making sure the participant has a time, along with his matches are a reminder that we’re also. I think Getting Over It is great because it attracted outsider art at a manner that is respectful. Because there are a few aspects that can’t be polished without sacrificing something Nonetheless, it’s still worth undergoing the original.
BF: Individuals also speak quite fondly about his Star Wars Episode VII, however it is not online anymore and I haven’t attempted it. I recommend his other’Sexy’ match, Sexy Hand II, which is a golf game using a control plot that is similarly unusual, and GM Golf which is like a combination of Sexy Hiking and Sexy Hand. He made games which were unconnected to this series, but I think his experimentation with mouse controllers resulted in the most timeless function.
Bennett, how did people pupils at NYU respond to Sexy Hiking? And what is it you expect they get from it?
BF: They reacted in much the exact same way as indie programmers did in 2007–they had been polarized. A number of these became mad at it refused to keep on playing with it, a couple were mesmerized by it. I have showed old games to students, and honestly usually they can take a dry academic interest because criteria of consumer interaction and game design have moved on a lot from the 80s and 90s. That you are aware that it has to be timeless if they get really engaged in playing a match for pleasure. Those games are really in the minority… obviously folks still love Mario and Mega Man, but it is a true joy for me if I could discover classic games that American students are entirely oblivious of: Alexei Pajitnov’s Shawl, David Braben’s Zarch, Mike Singleton’s Lords of Midnight.
What is it about Sexy Hiking specifically that appealed to you?
BF: I am a huge fan of cluttered, realtime physics puzzle games, moving back to Elasto Mania (the original Trials physics game) along with Ski Stunt Simulator. That is a massive area of inspiration in my work. But over that Sexy Hiking just makes a belief that is really arresting; there’s something about how it seems, though the quality is low, unusual. I am a big believer in the ability of games that have a unique and strong’original screenshot’.
Sometimes people who create B-movies end up becoming almost folk heroes, such as Ed Wood or even Tommy Wiseau, but that doesn’t appear to take place in games. We do not have the same appreciation for B-games we’ve got for B-movies. Do you feel is?
DY: Videogames are still young in contrast to movies and it takes some time to nurture that sort of appreciation. However, Jazzuo is certainly a hero to a lot of people in the indie game community and there’s a video of someone beating Sexy Hiking which has over 128,000 views as I am writing this. Hopefully Getting Over it is going to keep bringing him.
BF: Culturally we just don’t recognize the individuals who make games, even in the cases of solo-authored games. Of course there are exceptions, such as Jonathan Blow or even the great Japanese auteur designers, but normally game reviews and previews don’t talk at all about the designers, game players do not know who the designers are, and sport designers work actively to make certain their identities are undetectable in their matches and sometimes even in the credits. This is one of the main reasons I decided to fit myself in Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy.
Jazzuo’s a bit of an enigma, having vanished from matches entirely. Would you prefer to follow in his footsteps some day, simply move on and leave a mythical heritage?
BF: Well, times are different, and I’ve given enough interviews now that I think people would have a fairly good idea of who I was and what I had been attempting to do, if I suddenly broke contact and moved into the mountains. But no, I hope to potter together making games, the majority of which will be pretty unpopular.
DY: I intend on staying in games for a long time, but I know wanting to dissociate from the industry occasionally. I try to read and interact with the pieces of gaming that are positive for me mentally. I realize that I am blessed to be able to do so. A baffling legacy seems awesome, though!
What are several other B-games you think are interesting?
BF: I feel the other god of B-game growth from Jazzuo’s interval is MDickie, whose magnum opus is The You Testament, a match about Jesus. Other than that, well… B-game is a pretty loosely defined term, which mixes to other groupings like”kusoge”, and that I feel the heart of it’s games that are deliberately unpolished. I love Pajitnov and Pokhilko’s Magnetic Crane from 1989, but it predates programmers who thought of themselves as making B-games. I enjoy that Cactus game Dungeon, and Messhof’s game You Found the Grappling Hook. I like the Japanese B-Game Super Panda Ball, sort of like a B-game variant of Zany Golf. And I guess although it costs money, we could also count Justin Smith’s Realistic Summer Sports Simulator, one of my favorite matches of all time.
DY: I highly recommend checking out the job of Ikiki, MDickie, and thecatamites. When I had to select a game from every to try first, it would be Nikujin, Hard Time, and Space Funeral, respectively. Ikiki’s Hakaiman can be great and was a significant inspiration for Hotline Miami.