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12 Games of Christmas: You Have To Burn The Rope


What could be in a name? Clues. Instructions. Jokes. Anagrams. Inspiration itself?

For the eighth game of Christmas, my true blog gave to me…

You Have To Burn The Rope.

(Warning: this article contains spoilers)

Jim: Whatever we write about this game, it can't be long... Kieron always says that you should be able to joke about anything, but perhaps you should also be able to make anything into a joke. Games as one-liners? Puns? They're already heavy on the slapstick. Anyway, what a peculiar phenomenon this was: an out-pouring of riffing on the idea, as if people want to absolutely confirm that they got the joke. It's this kind of sudden surge of unexpected enthusiasm that makes bloggery so much fun.

Kieron: Totally. You sit down in the morning with the tea, turn on the computer and never know what the world's going to present you - and never really know what the world's going to do when you present something back. And, yeah, it's the sort of thing you could totally write a proper clever piece of deconstruction around. But why would you dissect that particularly butterfly? Totally commendable. Totally lovely. And - wankmodeon - probably a better artifact of what gaming is about in 2008 than anything you'll find in the all format top 10 at Christmas. And funny. Funny always helps.

John: I think it's possible to spend a considerable amount of time being quite specifically wanky about why this was such a good idea, and why it caught so much of people's imagination. But I also think it's pretty self-evident. Regarding Jim's comment about wanting to join in, it was like a viral meme that was just for us gamers. A special piece of smart nonsense designed to make us knowingly laugh. My need to play along was the walkthrough I wrote, which took me a frightening amount of time to create as I painstakingly created the ASCII title, before someone told me that - obviously - there are sites that generate it automatically for you. Now all I have to do is figure out how to complete the game and my year will be complete.

Alec: I just feel so sorry for that poor rope... Anecdote time - whilst visiting a university chum a couple of weeks back, he surprised me by bringing up YHTBTR. This is guy for whom, love 'im, GTA IV and COD IV were the biggest gaming events of the year, so I wasn't really expecting him to be so enthusiastic about something that didn't involve man-killing. Turns out he'd picked up YHTBTR from RPS and adored it - as he proved by singing pretty much the entire credits music at me. "You need to blog about more games like that", he demanded afterwards. He's right, y'know. And for that reason, I'm far more excited about what next year will bring in terms of indie and flash micro-gaming than I am about any or all of the big-name stuff we're due.

And finally, the walkthrough:

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The all-seeing eye of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, the voice of many-as-one.

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