GIRP is a game where you have to use your keyboard and mouse to climb up a rocky cliff using the provided handholds. Now stop and think about how you expect such a game to control. Using the arrow keys, or click to move, or some similar convenient and silly abstraction.

GIRP’s controls refuse to abstract movement in the standard way. You have two arms, and you can aim one of your arms at a handhold by holding down the letter that appears on the handhold. If you stop holding down the letter, the arm lets go. The only other control you have is pressing the mouse button (or shift key) to flex your muscles. So the process then goes aim with your hand, flex your muscle to pull yourself up, grab the handhold, aim with the other hand, repeat.

Sounds a lot closer to the thought processes of someone actually climbing a wall, right? That’s kind of the point. Similar to how QWOP came up with an original control scheme to let you control someone running, GIRP is using it’s controls to simulate the experience of rock climbing. It’s not trying to make you feel like a rock-climbing superhero, or make you feel like you’re managing a rock climber, which would be the standard gamey way to handle this scenario. It’s simulating the thought process. It’s fascinating.

Talking Points: How do attempts at pasting standard control schemes over the theme of rock climbing fail to capture the experience? How do the controls affect how you think about the game when you’re not playing? How do you describe the game to people who haven’t played it, by describing the controls? How does that differ from how you’d describe the game if it had standard controls?

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Nowhere near as insane as QWOP, but still fun.

How do you describe the game to people who haven’t played it, by describing the controls?

Yes, by explaining the controls and how the body interacts with them.

How does that differ from how you’d describe the game if it had standard controls?

With a controller I would just say it's a rock climbing game where you have to move from handhold to handhold and probably equate it to something like Assassin's Creed. It wouldn't be nearly as interesting as the interaction of the keyboard and the physics of the body.

I can think of one or two games that had climbing elements (the CoD series [ice wall] and the old school American Gladiators game [I want to say for Sega Genesis?])...both on controllers and timing related but that's it.

As I do a fair amount of bouldering (a form or rock climbing similar to what GIRP is) I found myself impressed by the way you have to climb in the game. Yes, "it's like twister on your keyboard"...but there was another aspect.

In rock climbing you have to look & plan your route before you put your hands or feet on the wall. Literally thinking "left hand is going to go here, right foot there, etc."...I found myself doing the same in GIRP and it made me quite happy. Whether Foddy is a climber himself I don't know but I think accomplishing this (in regards to drawing a correlation between the 2 in experience and thought process) is quite impressive. Also, "dyno'ing" is damn tough but fun to try. For instance, in the picture, try grabbing M and R and then timing the "flex" key at the right time and letting go of your holds so you fly possibly grab F or T.

Also, check this out. "King Lines" with Chris Sharma...aka "GIRP" the real game: (If you can find a place to watch the whole thing, I reccomend it).

My current record: 64m

It’s simulating the thought process.

More than that, and more importantly, it's simulating the physical process: fingers splayed or twisted all over the keyboard, trying desperately to reach that one key, no, maybe this other key, careful not to let go with the wrong hand, struggling to reach the shift key for that push to grab the ring. It's like Heavy Rain but without the pretense. Brilliant. Love this game. Haven't even cracked 5 m yet.

This game like QWOP has taken too much of my time.

I hate you so much, Pyroman. This game has my hackles RAISED!

Very fun, really uses the keyboard in a new and inventive way. Although it gets really difficult to proceed at times, and you have to make a couple of leaps of faith at the end which I would've hated to mess up. In case you're wondering, the entire cliff is 70m high and I manged to clear it in 31m35.7s.

Here's a screen cap of the victory screen:

Unfortunately, I have a lot of problems with the keyboard control in the game - particularly when multiple keys are pressed simultaneously. While holding two keys down, I'll hit shift to pull myself up, release one of the two keys (rings) and grab at another.... but the game won't recognize either the release (very common) or the next grab (ring won't light up, player won't even attempt to grab it).

Immensely frustrating, as the game seems very intriguing otherwise. Unfortunately, it makes it completely impossible for me to play.

Some keyboards won't recognize more than 2 keys pressed in certain blocks of keys. That may be what you're experiencing here.

haven't had a endgame bring such a grin to my face for quite a long time:


Winner: Bird