There’s an episode of Black Books where Manny discovers that he can play the piano perfectly on his first attempt. In my family’s lexicon, comprised almost entirely of TV and film references, “I’m Bill Baileying it” has become an oft-used phrase that means instant and improvised expertise. “I don’t know what’s happening or how on earth I’m doing this, and I want it to end right now, but also I want it to keep going forever.”
Now, have you ever played Geometry Dash?
Geometry Dash is one of those single-button reaction-based games. Your aim is simply to hop your little cube over or through various obstacles to the beat of musical tracks that are now so ingrained in my memory I can recall them at a moment’s notice. When you fail a jump or touch an obstacle, you die and must restart the level. Yeah, you already know whether you’re gonna love or hate this game.
I’m a masochist, I love these kinds of games. The games that look you up and down with one arched eyebrow and say, “oh, you think you’re good at games? Think you have fast reactions? Try this on for size, dipshit”. And no game does this better than Geometry Dash, whose learning curve dips and rises drastically from level to level as new features are added such as bounce pads or little blue thingies that reverse gravity. At several points you fly through a portal and suddenly turn into a spaceship. It’s a ridiculously punishing and challenging game, particularly if you don’t use Practice Mode, which I never did because I felt it took away from the game.
Why did I stick with it? Because of all those moments where I’d get past that fiendishly difficult part of the level that I’d been stuck on for ten minutes, and discover new things, and be forced to react to them on the fly without any time to think or plan. During those times, the only thing going through my mind is the image of a bewildered hairy-bald man shrieking and playing the piano with no idea how he’s doing it.
I’m Bill Baileying it, baby.