Sometimes, inspiration can come from the craziest – or even stupidest – places. Last weekend, one of those places was in a game that was gifted to me for shits and giggles. I had promised that I would give the game my full, undivided attention until I had either beaten it completely, or spent at least fifteen hours trying.
That game is the Mysterious Adventures of Michael.
Mysterious Adventure of Michael is honestly an affront to modern gaming at this point. Not only are the first couple levels direct knock-offs of the first levels of Super Mario Bros, but the rest of the game is about as uninspired as can be.
So, the question is, why in the hell did I have so much fun playing it?
Mysterious Adventure of Michael would be a prime candidate for the poster child of “baby’s first game.” That is, it’s exactly the type of game you’d come up with if you were just learning how to make a video game for the first time.
Trust me, I’ve done just that. The difference between me and the maker of Mysterious Adventure of Michael is that I did not sell my game for $2 on steam.
By all rights, I should be insulted that this game not only exists in a public space, but actually costs money. But the thing is, Mysterious Adventure of Michael forced me to remember the purity of the feeling of playing a challenging video game to completion.
This game presents a significant challenge, particularly starting with the third level onward. The challenge comes from both the platforming and the enemies. However, the focus lies heavily on the platforming. When you die enough times, the game gives you a cheeseburger power-up, which makes you immune to damage from enemies. This allows you to focus entirely on the platforming itself.
The goal of the game is to collect all the stars. Each level has two stars – one for completing the level and one for collecting all the coins in each level. I had to make two full runs in most levels to 100% complete it. As I did, I slowly became more and more proficient in this ridiculous piece of shit game. And doing that gave me a new appreciation for how games are played.
You see, the core of every game is to find a real challenge and to slowly get better and better at overcoming that challenge. In that way, games are supposed to be practice for achieving things in real life. Perhaps it’s the fact that I played this game right as I set out to really improve my writing that this revelation hit me so hard. In any case, because I forced myself to overcome the challenge of played Mysterious Adventure of Michael, I have regained some of my appreciation for video games as a whole.
So for that, I suppose I must thank you, Mysterious Adventure of Michael, you disgusting filth of a game. Thank you for igniting the spark of both my gaming and my life.