Gaming Just like that Serendipity

Getting over it

"It may sound like starting over is a bad thing. It is not. The act of starting over can lead to something better for you, as an individual. It can open new doorways and ideas that may make the process easier than before."

According to my Steam profile, I have been an avid gamer for the last 5 years. Over these years I must have played a vast number of games. Some of them left a lasting impression on me. I have even written about them on this site. Mass Effect and Life is strange, just to name a few. As it may be obvious, I play very specific types of games, that do not necessarily belong to the same genre. Recently I had the opportunity to play ‘Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy.

I came across ‘Getting over it‘ on a boring Sunday afternoon, browsing through the recommended section of my YouTube account’s curated algorithm. It was a speed-run of the game by Lockness06, who at the time of posting of the video held the world record for finishing it in under 2 minutes. I knew I had to try it for myself and bought the game. To give perspective as to why Lockness06’s record is fantabulous, it took me approximately 10 hours to finish it ONE TIME.

The World Record Run by Lockness06

This is not your typical game. Its more of a commentary by Bennett Foddy, the creator of the game. Just like the philosophers and writers, who write books and treatises on specific subjects. ‘Getting over it‘ is Foddy’s treatise on dealing with failures in life and getting past them and not being afraid of starting over. The objective of the game is to drag yourself up a mountain using a hammer by getting over various obstacles in the way.

“Anyway, when you start Sexy Hiking, you’re standing next to a tree, which blocks the way to the entire rest of the game. It might take you an hour to get over that tree. A lot of people never got past it. You prod and poke at it, exploring the limits of your reach and strength, trying to find a way up [and over].”

Bennett Foddy, Getting over it
'Getting over it' is a homage to a game called 'Sexy Hiking' which is based on a similar concept. The former is a much more refined version of the latter.

The obstacles are unforgiving, symbolizing how life tends to be at times. What it also means is that we cannot compare ourselves to others in certain aspects. As Foddy says, some people got over the tree in ‘Sexy hiking‘ almost instantly, some took hours, while many never made past it. Our strengths and weaknesses are vastly different from those of others. It also means that if a challenge is easy for you, it doesn’t mean that it is the same for others and vice-versa. Getting over hardships and problems is a deep, intimate aspect of our lives that nobody else can possibly comprehend.

There will be times when we feel that people are unable to understand what we feel while going up against a challenge. Sometimes you don’t want them to understand the challenge and offer a solution, but just understand you and how you are feeling while facing it. To give you a reassuring hand and tell you what you are feeling is justified. Take your time to go about it and not feel the heat of being unable to overcome this barrier.

In ‘Getting over it’ no amount of progress is a guarantee for finishing the game. There are no checkpoints, save files etc. The danger of falling to the start is always present. You could be overcoming an obstacle at a given moment, and falling down to the beginning in the blink of an eye. You have to be cautious and keep a tenacious grip when leaping gaps and climbing ledges with your hammer. Much like life’s temporal nature. Me, you the reader or anyone in the world must have experienced a sudden heart wrenching change which can push you down the ledge, falling into the abyss. You might be compelled to, start over.

There’s no feeling more intense than starting over. If you’ve deleted your homework the day before it was due, as I have, or if you left your wallet at home and you have to go back, after spending an hour in the commute, if you won some money at the casino and then put all your winnings on red, but it came up black, if you got your best shirt dry-cleaned before a wedding and then immediately dropped food on it, if you won an argument with a friend and then later discovered that they just returned to their original view, starting over is harder than starting up.

Bennett Foddy, Getting over it

To climb up the mountain that you fell off from all over again. Facing the same obstacles yet again, without any guarantee that you will get past them like you did previously. Starting over can be detrimental to your mental fortitude. You could just put your hammer down and click on the exit button. Even if you don’t leave, you have a constant pain in the back of your mind, about whether this attempt will be successful or not. It is natural to feel so, after all we are human beings and our brains are designed to think. Our thoughts can lead to boundless creativity or endless depravity.

The act of climbing is frustrating in ‘Getting over it.‘ Just like our process of achieving a goal or an objective. You’ll fall, hit a roadblock or even at times be unsure as to what is the way forward is. The journey is usually relentless in its efforts to push us down and back to the start. As Foddy puts it, “Imaginary mountains build themselves from our efforts to climb them, and it’s our repeated attempts to reach the summit that turns those mountains into something real.” An example to illustrate this. When you pass a test after putting in your hard-work, the satisfaction gained from it is far more fulfilling than (if) you cheat on it.

Climbing the mountain

It may sound like starting over is a bad thing. It isn’t. The act of starting over can lead to something better for you, as an individual. It can open up new doorways and ideas that may make the process easier than before. Yes, the uncertainties will be present but this time you are better prepared. Each step you take will be deeper and firmer; leading to your destination. We do not have control over the past, but we can influence the future by the decisions we take today. These decisions will reflect through the pages of history. You only have control over what you do today, might as well focus on that then.

This may sound easy while reading, but difficult in practice. In the game, the first few times that you fall are hilarious and you may laugh at the mistake you made. But as you progress and reach greater heights, the fall becomes an impending danger. Greater the jump, twice the progress gained, and thrice the pain you feel if you lose it. It is at times likes these, you must try to recall the purpose of why you keep going through this mountain over and over again. It is not your obdurate mission to taste defeat. You are here because you wish to achieve something and reminiscing on this during difficult times will help you in great adversity.

If ever in the future you find yourself in-front of the tree that took you hours to climb over. Recall the words you read here today. Maybe it will give you the strength to power through whatever it is your are chasing after. Take your time in judging yourself, there is no rush.

Why do we feel the need to rush? Maybe its the transformation our society has experienced recently. We move from one trend to another, swipe up to refresh the feed on our tiny screens and hope for something new, to excite us. Pondering and musing is a thing of the past. No one takes a step back and appreciate the hard-work that has gone into creating something. Out of sight, out of style, out of mind.

Maybe this is what the internet has done to us as a society. The vast expanse of the internet has created a focus on consumption rather than creation. Publishers and creators are expected to keep up with the newer trends. Proper thought is not given to things and maybe this is what is causing the unnecessary anxiety for us. Society has moved into the fast lane of fiber optics, where even a second old meme is not good enough to satiate our needs. Not being up to date with what is going on at this very moment is called being ‘outdated.’ Maybe this is what is causing the fear of starting over?

Everything’s fresh for about six seconds
until some newer thing beckons
and we hit refresh.
And there’s years of persevering
Disappearing into the pile
Out of style
Out of sight”

Bennett Foddy

It is time to take a step back. Let our minds run wild. To think. To breathe new life into our thoughts. Attention shouldn’t be a two second thing. Even we at try not to make our writers stick to deadlines. Creativity cannot be streamlined, it must be allowed to form itself, by itself without hard lines making the process linear. To be original, is to be yourself.

Take the time you think you need to go about your deed. Let go of the need, to keep up with the world. Do not look at others, certain things may be easy or difficult for them. Failure is subjective, to one it may seem trivial, to another it may seem like the entire world. Challenges are also the same. Society has moved on to consuming and spitting things out without digesting, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it as well. Starting over isn’t a bad thing, it doesn’t mean you are left behind. Yes it can be difficult as mentioned above. But It also means that you have explored yourself better and isn’t that what life is all about? A voyage of experiences and exploring oneself? Maybe that is what we should be thinking about today.

Priyamvad Rai

Don’t be afraid to find your tree
The cover image has been clicked by our photographer Srishti Garg.

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