Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Why Spelunky on PC was my real game of 2013

5:00 PM on 12.27.2013 // Alasdair Duncan

The port of the 2012 XBLA version wasn't eligible for our 2013 GOTY

When it comes to working out which games are eligible for our Game of the Year voting process, the issue of a re-release is a thorny one. Plenty of games are either console or PC exclusive, only to have a version come out a year later on another system.

The question we ask ourselves is: Does this new version do enough to justify inclusion in our voting for another year? After some discussion, it was decided that the 2013 PC release of Spelunky wasn't eligible for our 2013 GotY voting.

The hell with that, Spelunky on PC is my game of the year -- it's the game I've been singularly obsessed with since its release back in August. Whilst I'm happy with the top 10 games I submitted for voting, there was only one game that really sucked me in and here's why.

So why Spelunky? Why not any of the other "roguelikes" that were released in 2013, like Rogue Legacy or Risk of Rain? Well there's a couple of reasons both of which are related; firstly was the brilliant addition of the Daily Challenge and the other was The Daily Spelunk, hosted by Jordan and Conrad. Combined with Spelunky's precise platforming and compelling risk and reward structure meant I just kept playing and playing.

If you don't know, the structure of Spelunky's levels is randomized every time you play. You'll always have the Mines first, then the Jungle, Ice, Temple and, if you can make it there, the Hell levels but the actual layout of the platforms is random. The Daily Challenge is a set of levels that all players can try their luck on with everyone gunning for places on the daily leaderboard. As someone who found the Autolog in Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit a key reason to keep racing, the Daily Challenges became the reason to log into Steam each day and keep trying. The drive to get a better score than my friends was like dangling a particularly tasty carrot in front of me.

As someone who is admittedly pretty crap at videogames, Spelunky's Daily Challenges became almost like a training exercise. Every day I felt I was getting a little better, understanding the systems a bit more and working out which risks would be worth the reward. Part of this understanding came from watching The Daily Spelunk; Conrad and Jordan's expertise was invaluable to discovering Spelunky's quirks and secrets.

I've not been one to watch Let's Plays but that's mainly because I've always preferred story-driven games and I'm no fan of spoilers. The Daily Spelunk was different as it was more like watching a cooking show; Conrad and Jordan were showing what and what not to do, where to experiment and what risks to take. The guys were demonstrating what the right ingredients were to a successful attempt. 

Conrad was the guy who made it clear what was drawing me back and back to Spelunky: the gameplay is a perfect mix of risk and reward. Despite the randomness of the levels, there are constants that once learned, help you form a strategy in how to take on the game's early challenges. At first, I used my bombs and ropes freely in the mistaken belief that they would always be plentiful in the shops and crates in later levels.

This, of course, wasn't the case and I would find myself missing out on vital equipment and other items because I didn't ration my supplies. One of the most vital lessons I learned was to just take my time and pay attention. Considering I love stealth games, where I have to take my time and take notice of my surroundings, it's a surprise that it took me so long to adapt to Spelunky. It's not just a simple platformer where reactions and dexterity are necessary to proceed; a good plan and caution are vital too.

I've lost count of how many times playing Spelunky where I've just dived into the unknown and gotten an arrow to the face or fell into a nest of tiki traps. These days, I'll take my time in the Black Market because I know one stray tiki man with a boomerang or an exploding frog and I'd have a host of angry storekeepers all gunning for me. Of course, there's some times when you want to take a risk and rob a storekeeper, especially if they've got a jetpack at the start of the game. That's a decision that you'll have to live with for the rest of the game. It's all about risk and reward and it's what I've found so compelling in 2013.

These days my daily routine involves getting home from work, playing the Spelunky Daily Challenge, then getting some dinner and maybe doing cleaning and other chores. Then it's another couple of runs in Spelunky, then some writing for Destructoid, then some more Spelunky and finally to bed. Then I'll probably complain about how I don't have enough time to play more games but truth be told I'd play more Spelunky. That's how I spent half of 2013 and it looks like that's how I'll spend 2014 too.

I can't see another game coming next year that's going to give me the same level of challenge, secrets, and depth that Spelunky has; that's why it's my real game of the year for 2013. 

Alasdair Duncan, Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure Full_of_hornets Tips
Alasdair Duncan is that bearded, bespectacled Scotsman that covers PC gaming that is not Fraser Brown. A long time Destructoid community member and forum moderator, he covers adventure, puzzle, F... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

voex avatarvoex
*Sigh* time to figure out how much a Fallout 4 capable PC upgrade is gonna cost me...
ooktar avatarooktar
Ordered this on Thanksgiving and surprisingly got here today. The case is amazing and Now I got all the Persona Cards. [img][/img] [img][/
Jiraya avatarJiraya
You probably already saw this - but it is gold - Fallout 4 One Punch Man Mod [youtube][/youtube]
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
I just got my new Mega64 Blu-Ray! But now I have a problem... Do I watch that or keep watching Claymore...
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Hey, my new blog is up! A few days ago! Go read it! Before......before its too late. Please. *walls start crumbling, reality starts oozing out, things begin to eeeeeeeeeeeeeee
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Alright so I'm looking for a few games for my newly repurchased DS. I'm already set on RPG as it's all I have pretty much. Were there any good puzzle games? I've heard good things about Professor Layton.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
I made chocolate and banana cake because why not.
able to think avatarable to think
After hearing Persona 4 Dancing All Night come out of my surround sound system; I can safely say my $20 Playstation TV purchase was totally justified. The bass on Best Friends (Banvox Remox) literally shook the floor. It's freaking awesome!
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
I wish I could say I made this 'shop. [img][/img]
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Triple brown, triple brown, triple brown meow. Triple brown, triple brown, triple brown meow.
Alfie avatarAlfie
Was on the front page and was greeted by a new post, which I clicked to find "You cannot see the future". Then refreshed and it was gone. I saw Chris's post on Eight Days' cancellation as it was brought, new and unready, into the world! Rare and wonderful
Archelon avatarArchelon
Community Question: Have you ever purchased a game only to regret it later and then sell it/give it away, only to even later regret selling it and wind up purchasing it again?
gajknight avatargajknight
A decadent staircase adorned in gold rises into infinite darkness. Writhing beings beyond comprehension lurk in the shadows, their mere presence encroaching on the edges of human understanding. A blood moon glows . I am losing my mind. I need more eyes...
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
We need to be implanted with microchips because I'd really like to know how much time I've spent playing different video games my entire life.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
If there are rainbows in Xenoblade Chronicles X, Reyn must be in it as well. You can't have a rainbow without Reyn, baby!
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
I really hope Xenoblade become it's own franchise, it has way too much potential to simply being reduced to 2 games.
Sotanaht avatarSotanaht
Touchable Holograms? When this eventually matures and hits market, almost all our regulars will vanish for weeks.
Serethyn avatarSerethyn
Xenoblade Chronicles Wii for €10? Sure, Nintendo, don't mind if I do!
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
Super Smash Bros. 4 has too much content. So much so I almost don't want a sequel. I honestly hope that NX gets a "Super Smash Bros. For NX" port rather than a new installment. It could be a GOTY edition and come with all of the DLC.
Batthink avatarBatthink
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -