Okay, so now that I have completed* Spelunky, I obviously feel like I’m in a position to dole out advice on how to do it. This isn’t basic tips or do’s and don’ts like Tom Francis’ blog post from a few years back but more of a general attitude with which to approach the gameplay.
Spelunky – as I’ve said before – is a complex game. Each playthrough presents the player with a huge amount of tiny decisions from the mundane – how to kill the bat heading towards me? – to the strategic – what is my goal for this level? Cash-in-hand? The damsel? Ghost mining? Some specific achievement? Misc.? Complex games tend to develop a body of thoughts on strategy. So the question is: Is abstract strategy applicable to a game like Spelunky or is success just a matter of pure muscle memory?
I did it. I finally nailed that sucker. The ‘ironman’ way and incidentally also the first time ever and only the second time I got to Olmec’s lair. When my phone gave a a little noise after the whooping and the yelling and the celebrating had subsided, my first thought was that Derek Yu had texted me to congratulate me in person. Man, this feels good.
I don’t wanna go all Oscar overboard but ahem… I wanna thank the guy who wrote this excellent piece on how playing the game helped him cope with multiple sclerosis. I’m sure it’ll inspire much greater things but for me it just nudged me not to give up on a bad start. A lesson for life as well as Spelunky. And the guys who created The Stanley Parable. Taking a one hour break from Spelunky to play the existential mouse-inna-maze put the right perspective on what I was trying to ‘achieve’. It’s utterly ridiculous but that doesn’t mean we don’t care.