Viridian For The Win
I spent some time this morning playing VVVVVV a second time. Specifically, I spent a fair bit of time tackling the infamous “Veni, Vidi, Vici” level. It’s the one where you’re separated from a “shiny trinket” by a single, tiny block, but since you can’t jump have to jump through hoops to get to it. The hoops involve falling upwards through about six or so screens full of spiky, twisting passages, then bouncing off a disintegrating platform to fall all the way back down… to the other side of the block. It’s pretty hard.
But today I managed to do it! Prior to beating that sequence, I regarded it as a kind of holy grail of arrow-key mastery in gaming. Now that I’ve beaten it I’m less sure. It was pretty tricky, for sure, but maybe not as hard as all that. Or perhaps I’m just writing myself off and should be heartily slapping my own back for days to come, hurrah!
It’s a great part of the game for a lot of reasons, chiefly its sheer knowingness about what a ridiculous thing it is to have to do. The tiny little block just sits there in front of you, blocking your way to the trinket with it’s all-of 10 pixels in height. Interestingly, though, by the time you get there, I feel that you’re also so immersed in the logic of the game – specifically, it’s gravity flipping mechanic – that you look at the little block and think, “oh well, no way past that.” We very quickly take on the action potential of our avatars as gospel. It would probably be fun to make a game that pushed us into questioning such things.
The nicest moment in my quest to defeat “Veni, Vidi, Vici” wasn’t when I actually beat it (though I did thrust both arms skywards and do one of those strangled inner-screams). The best moment was a period of about three attempts where I became incredibly distracted by just how joyous Viridian (the avatar) looked as he plummeted upward through the spike-infested tunnels. Upside down though he was, his beaming smile was simultaneously totally ridiculous and totally charming.
So much so that I accidentally guided him to his death, even as I smiled along with him.