If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Learn more.

Ernest Hemingway's Olympic Challenge: The Old Man Club

Wrestle with fish

The hairy chests and the steely gazes, the short sentences and the bulging crotches and the calm, almost brotherly invitations to war. The snarling lionhead and the gaping fishmaw, the smirking dolphin and the crab most muscular. Literate arm-wrestling challenge The Old Man Club is Hemingway's very particular interpretation/incarnation of masculinity twinned with body-horror absurdism. And a touch of Tyler Durden too, of course.


Click on a muscled merman, engage in conflict, click-click-click to win, if you wish. The finger-straining, button-hammering discomfort of Daley Thompson's Olympic Challenge, twinned with the battle against nature and steely self-belief/egomania of The Old Man And The Sea. This means you must win. You must defeat that lionman in an arm-wrestling contest and you must prove yourself man enough to take on the swordfish. Swordfish, I love you and respect you very much. But I will kill you dead before this day ends.

The Old Man Club works even if its tongue-so-far-in-cheek-it's-indecent literary references fly over your head. A beautifully drawn, if grotesque, pricking of macho pomp and the shallowness of such posturing, but it achieves its hold nonetheless. My finger is cramping, and I fear my poor mouse will fracture, but I must endure. I hate a cramp. It is a treachery of one's own body. I must endure. I must defeat these animal-men or they will not know me to be the strongest one there is.

When the last opponent is respectfully defeated, I will exit the game and forget, and it will not matter. Every day is a new day.

mkoloch's The Old Man Club is pay what you want (including free, if you so wish) from itch.io.

Happy birthday Hemingway, you ridiculous man.

About the Author

Alec Meer avatar

Alec Meer


Ancient co-founder of RPS. Long gone. Now mostly writes for rather than about videogames.

Join the Rock Paper Shotgun supporter program

Sign up today and get access to more articles like these, an ad-free reading experience, free gifts, and help us create more great writing about PC games.

See more information


We love having a friendly, positive and constructive community - you lot are great - and we want to keep it like that. Our main commenting rule is "be excellent to each other". Please see our code of conduct, where you can find out what "be excellent" means. TL;DR? Respect others, think before you post, and be prepared for puns.

More News

Latest Articles

We've been talking, and we think that you should wear clothes

Total coincidence, but we sell some clothes

Rock Paper Shotgun Merch