Watching Someone Play Spelunky Is More Fun Than Actually Playing It

I’ve been playing video games for as long as I can remember. I remember getting stuck on a Toy Story 2 level as a kid and having my stepdad help me through it. I’ve never been shy about asking for help or looking up a guide if I’m well and truly having trouble.

Recently that’s evolved into me preferring to watch people who are good at games more than playing those games badly myself. Well, I think it’s time to admit I’m not good at platformers anymore – heck, maybe I never was…

As a 90s baby, I grew up playing platformers, most of them were terrible licensed games on the GBA or PS2, but I was a kid and the colours were pretty and I had fun, so it didn’t matter. Even today, revisiting childhood favourites is always fun, even if my nostalgia can no longer hide some of their imperfections.

Sometimes I’m met with a game just as amazing as I remember, other times an utter mess that I can’t believe I enjoyed. A lot of the time though, the games are also way harder than I remember. I’ve heard that our coordination and reflexes get worse as we age, but I’m only 25, this shouldn’t be happening to me just yet.

This is all a long-winded way of me saying I used to be good at games, honest. But, I’m just not that good at platformers anymore, especially not the hard ones. Celeste? Forget it. Super Meat Boy? No way. However, I always feel like I’m going to be good at Spelunky or Spelunky 2 because my housemate makes it look so damn easy.

We’ve got both games on my PS4 in the lounge, so when he plays we all watch, he’s that good. He easily whips arrows out of the air, perfectly judges the distance of jumps and falls, has gotten every trophy on the first one, he’s great. I however, have the coordination of a drunk sloth when I play. Even beginner guides can’t help me.

Watching people play video games isn’t a new phenomenon. People have watched older siblings and friends since the medium was first invented. And since the rise of YouTube and Twitch, many have grown up watching let’s plays or live streams. What’s new for me, however, is that while I love watching my housemate play Spelunky, I absolutely cannot stand playing the game myself.

It might be because I compare myself to him, which is dumb considering he’s played hundreds of hours of these games, and I’ve played maybe ten. But, that still doesn’t help the fact I feel like a little baby who doesn’t even know what buttons to press and he seems like a damn esports pro when we play. If you’re baffled at how I can be bad at a game you think is too easy, try these tough games out.

I think it’s also important to note that I think Spelunky is an absolutely fantastic game, and its sequel is perfect too. The game design is flawless and the way its systems interact makes every run fresh and exciting. Even my housemate is getting surprised by things after 100 hours. I’m just terrible at the game and have absolutely no fun playing because I can barely make it past the first world, let alone unlock the super-secret endings. Dinner was once delayed in my house because we were all glued to my TV watching Spelunky. I wouldn’t change that for anything, just don’t ask me to play it.

Next: Pokemon Sapphire Finally Has A Safer Speedrun Route

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Issy is an avid film lover, writer, and game-player based in the UK. He combines his love of film and games in his writing, trying to find as many connections between the two mediums as possible. When he’s not writing, playing, or watching, Issy loves to DJ and look after his growing collection of houseplants, as they make him feel more adult.

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