Bennett Foddy谈Getting Over It的挫败式设计美学
原作者：Alex Wiltshire 译者：Willow Wu
在2018年Kotaku的一段采访视频中，Bennett Foddy在边说边玩的情况下仅用34分钟就通关了Getting Over It，体现了他的精湛技巧和身为其创作者的冷静沉着。然而在此之前，Foddy只成功通关过一次，耗费了四个半小时。
Foddy自己的经历就是一个很好的例子，说明了Getting Over It的核心设计理念：惩罚性设计的和情绪控制之间的持续博弈。
就跟之前的QWOP、CLOP、GIRP和Get On Top等游戏一样，绝望的游戏操作把你逼到窒息，其它情况下你可以轻易完成的动作在这里却是异常艰难。通过这些游戏，Foddy创造了一种跨越不同主题和风格的趣味挫折式玩法，特征包含笨拙的控制方法以及难以理解的运动机制。
在Getting Over It中，他探索了 “爬得越高可能跌得越惨”这一概念。玩家的目标很简单：登山。但问题在于主角是一个与大釜合为一体的人，仅用一个锤子攀登悬崖峭壁，跨越各种悬臂。行动是很难控制的，而且你绝大部分时候都是在往上爬，一失手你就很有可能跌回地面，从头再来。
如果你玩了这个游戏，很想痛骂某人（或者某个东西），请把目标转移到澳大利亚，那是Foddy的出生地。出于保护主义贸易限制和电子/电视信号标准方面的原因，NES等很多游戏主机花了很长时间才进入澳大利亚，所以Foddy和许多同龄人一样，他的成长岁月是在自家的ZX Spectrum和朋友们的Commodore 64s上度过的。这些8位家用电脑上的游戏是直接从街机移植过来的，一般都没有优化，或者性能损耗极其糟糕。
“他们都不在乎游戏的公平性，这要归因于当时的一种游戏制作文化：很多青少年开发者受到了发行商的剥削，短时间内必须做出游戏，所以他们很难顾及游戏公平的问题，”福迪回忆起Jet Set Willy——如果你失败了就得从头再来。“如果你是玩街机游戏长大的，你几乎不会意识到这一点，因为那些街机游戏也是一样难玩。但这产生了一种特殊的情感偏好。你要么在五岁时就对它失去兴趣，要么就学会享受这种游戏，坚持下去，重来再尝试。”
Getting Over It就是想呈现这种探索成果。尽管Foddy谈了很多Getting Over It从过去继承的东西，但它有一个非重要的不同之处。游戏中的山是一个带有连续性的世界，与之前的离散式关卡很不一样。这意味着，当你往下掉时你会看到之前努力攀登的的每一块地快速在你眼前飞过，然后迫使你从着陆的地方重新开始。
这是继续，而不是重新开始。在GIRP中，玩家也是随时有可能摔落，但是游戏会重新开始，又是一次新的尝试。“Getting Over It跟其它失败后重置的游戏在情感层面就很不一样，”他说。
没到顶点之前，无论掉到哪里都是算是同一周目的进度，你不做需要准备重头开始的心理准备。Getting Over It确实是“迷人的远足”，同名游戏是Getting Over It的直接灵感来源。
Foddy回忆起了Alex ‘Baertaffy’ Larrabee之前的直播视频，他从接近顶峰的地方跌落到了起点。“15秒的沉默，我当时真的很好奇他会说什么，然后他终于开口了‘好吧，重新再来。’”Baertaffy是最厉害的《洞穴探险》玩家之一，对这种反复从头再来的设计已经非常熟悉了。“但是我觉得，玩《洞穴探险》或者其它带有随机性的游戏，死的时候打击并没有这么大，”Foddy说。因为你可以怪罪于随机生成的关卡，尽管他明白玩家的风险和努力是随着游戏进程递增的，但压力和窒息感并不会因此而升高。
关于Getting Over It的跌落，另一个值得一说的特点是Foddy本人的评论音轨。在你玩游戏时，他会跟你讲述游戏的灵感来源：《迷你的远足》，并且承认出于平衡考虑，他为这些鼓励性的旁白加了一味辛辣。
玩Getting Over It这个游戏，就像是经历一段特别的的挫败之旅，它与一般电子游戏的先抑后扬式挫败感完全不同。这是Foddy通过游戏机制提取、升华情感的神奇能力的又一次展示。然而对他来说，这次的制作体验略有不同。
“这对我来说是一个不同于以往的开发过程，”他说。“通常情况下探索性会更强，依靠感觉、品味，就像喝汤一样，做一些判断然后调整。Getting Over It的设计方向从一开始就很明确，一直沿着这个想法做下去。这样很好，我试着加快开发节奏，让自己无暇产生任何质疑。所以这个过程是很有效率、轻松自在的，并且在某种程度上说是令人愉快的。做游戏通常不是这种感觉，但我非常清楚自己要做什么。我知道游戏要怎么设计才能产生我想要的感觉。”
In a recent video on Kotaku, Bennett Foddy completed his newest game, Getting Over It, in 34 minutes.
He was talking to Kotaku’s Tim Rogers as he played, demonstrating the kind of mastery of technique and cool composure that comes with being its maker. And yet Foddy had only ever beaten Getting Over It once before, and even then it took him four and a half hours.
“In fact, in the weeks leading up to the Steam release I was trying to play through it to make sure there weren’t too many bugs, and I couldn’t beat it,” he says. “I kept getting right to the top and falling right down; some terrible falls, and not for lack of practice. I would feel myself tensing up and I’d be too careful and I’d tighten up and I’d lose it.”
Foddy’s own experience is illustrative of the continual tussle that plays in the heart of Getting Over It between its willfully infuriating game design and human psychology.
It’s a space in which a daunting situation causes you to choke, to fail to perform a move you’ve perfected in any other circumstance, and something Foddy has explored across such previous games as QWOP, CLOP, GIRP and Get On Top. In them he’s developed a language of playful frustration across different themes and “flavors”, from awkward control schemes to hard-to-parse movement mechanics.
Putting down stakes
In Getting Over It, he explores the concept of having a lot to lose. The object is simple: to ascend a mountain. The thing is, you’re doing this as a man in a cauldron, using a hammer to drag and push him up sheer cliffs and across overhangs. Movement is difficult to regulate, and because you’re climbing a mountain, the threat of falling all the way back to the bottom is ever-present.
If you’re looking to blame someone (or something) for Getting Over It, point your finger at Australia, where Foddy was born in 1978. Consoles like the NES took a long time to make their way to Australia because of protectionist trade restrictions and its electrical and TV signal standards, so like many of his generation, Foddy’s formative years were spent playing his ZX Spectrum and friends’ Commodore 64s. These 8-bit home computers hosted games which had directly evolved from the arcade and were often also unpolished or pushed the capabilities of the machines to their limits.
“They shared that with a disregard for fairness that comes from a culture of making games which, at the time, was very often teenagers in their bedrooms on contract to some publisher,” says Foddy, remembering Jet Set Willy, which would send you right back to the start if you died. “That’s almost invisible to you if you grew up playing arcade games because it was so ubiquitous, but it had a particular emotional flavor to it. You either get turned off by it when you’re five years old, or you learn to enjoy that taste and persevere and come back and try again.”
Foddy persevered, partly because he didn’t have many games, which were expensively imported from the UK. Meanwhile, in Japan and the US console games such as Dragon Quest and Mega Man 2 were beginning to feature save systems; for Foddy, this was the point when the punitive way games would send players back started to die.
“The flavor of being sent back gradually disappeared up to the point now where it’s this boutique thing,” he says. “People of a certain age still have that taste, or maybe everyone has it, but it’s been written out of the design orthodoxy.”
He points towards the outcry in August when it was announced that Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice would delete a save if the player died too many times, and at the way PC games will often be criticized for not having a quicksave/quickload function.
“But there are all these people walking around who enjoy being sent back in a game,” he says. “The glimmerings of that still being a living aesthetic is probably in Demon’s Souls. I was excited that this game deletes your money if you die twice in a row. For a lot of designers it was; whenever you see something that disproves a strongly held design orthodoxy it’s extremely exciting because it opens up new avenues for exploration.”
Getting Over It is an expression of that exploration. But as much as Foddy talks about the past in terms of Getting Over It’s heritage, it bucks it in one significant way. Its mountain is a single, continuous world, quite different to the standard discrete levels that came before it. That means that when you fall down, you watch every yard of ground you covered speed back past you, forcing you to resume from where you land.
Never be ‘Game Over’
That’s resume, not restart. In GIRP you could fall off the mountain, but the game would restart, giving you a fresh attempt. “It’s emotionally different to having to pick yourself up again,” says Foddy.
Since it’s a continuation of your run, you don’t get to prepare yourself to start again. It’s true of Sexy Hiking, too, the game by Jazzuo which directly inspired Getting Over It.
“It’s divided into levels and even if I lose on level 10 and go back to level one I don’t have the same sensation of falling back from my current position all the way back to the beginning,” Foddy says. “That’s something unusual. It has an effect on the meaning of it, right? It’s taking something away, even though in a structural way it’s the same as losing all your lives and restarting the game. There’s more of a sense of loss of something you had. It escapes your grasp more than if you just restart.”
He remembers watching a stream by Alex ’Baertaffy’ Larrabee in which he fell all the way back from near the summit to the start. “There was 15 seconds of dead air and I was really wondering what he was going to say, and he finally says, ‘Well, start again.’” Baertaffy is one of the premier Spelunky players, someone who is surely no stranger to the idea of starting over and over. “But I feel like in Spelunky, or any game that’s randomised, it’s a little bit less frustrating to die,” Foddy says, because you can blame the random level generation, though he appreciates that towards the end of a run, with the stakes – the time and effort you’ve invested in it – higher, you still get the same sense of stress and choking.
“This is one of the things I’m most interested in,” says Foddy. “As a game designer, the most fundamental problem you’re up against is that games don’t matter, they’re fake, they’re imaginary playgrounds.”
When a game doesn’t matter, you sleepwalk through it. One solution is to drop other humans into the game, since they can enliven anything from noughts and crosses up. For single-player games it’s trickier. Narrative games can hook in character and emotion.
“But skill games can’t. What I’m interested in is the feeling of developing stakes just from the effort you’re putting into the game,” Foddy says. “Somehow, when I’ve get high up a mountain I feel like I’ve accumulated something. There’s a moment in hiking or climbing when you look out and see how far you’ve gone, a sense you’ve accumulated progress. If you feel as though that can be taken away and you might have to do it again, that adds a sense of importance and high stakes that really transforms how you play the game.”
Another feature of the experience of falling down in Getting Over It is its commentary, which is voiced by Foddy himself. He discusses the game’s roots in Sexy Hiking as you play, and also acknowledges falls in a tone that balances supportive encouragement with slight goading edge.
“I have to say, my first take at writing the game was much more goading, much more sarcastic,” he admits. “But people already felt the strong emotions I wanted, and it was better to be more or less totally encouraging so I totally re-wrote it. But I still wanted a little touch of goading, a wink, if only because there’s some goading in genuine encouragement, right? If you were actually climbing a hill and you kept sliding back down and I was like, ‘Come on, you’ll get there!’ you’d be like, shut up! There’s no completely non-annoying way of encouraging someone. Even refusing to point out a failure is annoying in its own way.”
To play Getting Over It is to experience a very specific flavor of frustration, and in isolating it, it holds a candle to the spectrum of delicious frustration that videogames can generate. It’s another demonstration of Foddy’s uncanny ability to extract and synthesise emotion through mechanics, even if for him it came together in a slightly different way to his other games.
“This was an unusual process for me,” he says. “Usually I’m more exploratory, led by feel, tasting, like soup, making some judgments and adjusting. Here I knew what I wanted it to be from the beginning and it’s very close to that. That was nice, because I was trying to work fast to not give myself time to second-guess what I was doing. So it was efficient and reasonably free-spirited, and enjoyable in a way making games often isn’t because I had such a clear idea of what I was trying to make. I had a strong sense of how to produce the feelings I wanted.”
（source: gamasutra.com ）