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The Misery Must End: It's Time For Ladder Jam

Rundle Bundle

It is time for a moratorium. It is time for all developers around the world to stop working on their current projects, and come together in peace. Come together to solve the greatest problem plaguing the gaming world. Put aside competitiveness, call a truce on the console wars, and unite together to address a matter that affects everyone who plays games. In-game ladders.

It's incredible, but statistics I've made up show that in-game ladders have killed more player characters than grenades, pipe bombs and sniper rifles combined. Whether it's clipping onto one as you run past, or not being able to get off one once you're at the top, gaming ladders are a lethal menace, and it's time for this to end.

Over the decades of game development, we've seen incredible technological leaps. From 2D into 3D, from square to rounded architecture, from polygons to nanogons, almost all aspects of games have incessantly evolved. But ladders have remained fiddly madness throughout, and it is Rock, Paper, Shotgun's goal to see this change.

Since the dawn of gaming ladders, the technology has used variations on what design documents describe as, "sort of a bit maybe glueing the player to the ladder and having them kind of glide up and down but maybe with an animation." Leaving a ladder's grip has usually required reaching either the top or the bottom, and then somehow carrying on a bit higher or lower, then eventually falling off to the right or left. And while being able to jump off has been allowable, various EU and US regulations have insisted that this ability be intermittent and unreliable.

So it is that so many of us have seen our characters die while mysteriously entangled in some rungs, and no matter how far back and to one side we lean in our chairs in sympathetic movement, it is here that shall be our grave. This has to stop.

We are calling for all developers to take a week off the sequel/remake of 80s classic they're currently working on, and to congregate into a communal development "jam". Ladder Jam. Throughout this week, as the world's greatest, least greatest and most mediocre coders unite, a shared, open source ladder technology will be created. That's the dream. Once created, the code will be translated into all modern gaming languages, and adapted for all engines. Ladders in games past will be retrofitted, such that their tyrannical reign over our gaming past and our gaming future will come to an end.

Can everyone do the first week of May?

Top image by Mykl Roventine

This post was funded by the RPS Supporter Program.

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John Walker avatar

John Walker


Once one of the original co-founders of Rock Paper Shotgun, we killed John out of jealousy. He now runs buried-treasure.org