Why Does Celeste Make Us Feel Anxious?


Do you know what the best thing about Mario
is? The reason why Nintendo’s mustachioed mascot managed to take over not just platforming,
not just video games, but global culture as well? It’s because his games are just so
damn *happy!* Whether it’s the chirpy, catchy tunes, Charles
Martinet’s iconic wahoos and yippies, or the bright, expressive art style, nintendo
have got making the player feel good down to an absolute science. This stuff doesn’t
just come across in the aesthetics either, a sense of fun is hard baked into mario’s
moveset and level design as well. For a platforming character, mario has a massive
array of moves at his disposal, he’s got long jumps, side flips, spin jumps, buttslams,
triple jumps, wall kicks, and a bunch more moves that I won’t bother to list, but because
nintendo uses context-sensitive commands, players only need a grand total of three buttons
and the control stick to open up an incredibly versatile toolset. Flicking the control stick
turns a regular jump into a flip, crouching as you run creates a long jump, and jumping
against a wall kicks you off of it instead. This is combined with Mario’s absurd levels
of air control, and a variety of game specific gimmicks like fludd or cappy, to create platforming
that feels fun, accessible and expressive. This design trend is reflected in the level
design too, mario levels are usually made of wide open spaces with varying terrain for
you to run around in, and even at their trickiest, nintendo always give players a lot of margin
for error and recovery through clever use of mario’s moves, rather than requiring
pixel-perfect precision. And of course, mario’s not alone here, the
characters in Yacht club’s shovel knight all evoke specific feelings through the fun
of their core abilities. Shovel knight’s use of vertical space against bigger enemies
through his bounce makes him feel like a heroic underdog, spectre knight’s diagonal strike
and wall climbing make him feel like an unstoppable badass and king knight’s shoulder barge
gives him this brilliant sense of chaotic momentum. Joy and fun are fantastic ways to make everyone
feel welcome and to create an atmosphere which encourages a whimsical, experimental attitude
to play, but it’s not the only way to do things. A huge variety of games work not because
they deal with positive emotions like exhilaration or wonder, but because they orient themselves
around negative ones like stress, regret or even frustration. It seems illogical, games
are supposed to be fun, right, but by putting players into different emotional states, games
can create totally different kinds of experiences that they never could if we were having mario-style
whimsical fun all the time. This is a topic that I really could explain
using any genre, after all, shooters are great at leveraging a sense of cathartic rage and
horror games, get this, sometimes make you scared. I think platformers are a great fit
though, because not only do they span the entire emotional spectrum, but also because
their core gameplay is usually incredibly simple and relies mostly on intuitive, instinctual
low-level decision making skills. Compared to something like a strategy game, which are
very abstract and involve long-term, big picture thinking, platformers have you acting and
thinking in the moment, usually about a single character, which makes them great candidates
for a bit of emotional manipulation. And no game is better at emotional manipulation
than Celeste, a critically acclaimed platformer from a few years back that’s all about dealing
with anxiety. In celeste, Madaline has got three main abilities, a little springy jump,
a mid-air dash that turns her hair blue and recharges once you’re on safe ground, and
the ability to climb, which eats up a hidden stamina gauge. In the initial stages of your climb up celeste
mountain, you’ll come to rely on your dash and climb as a way of hopping you up onto
patches of safe territory at the end of a short platforming segment or recovering from
a botched approach. But, as the game progresses, and the levels get harder and harder, safe
areas where you can recharge your abilities become fewer and farther between, and it’s
here that celeste really ramps up the pressure. Rather than your abilities being a series
of get out of jail free cards, they become part of a tense, stressful resource management
challenge as you’re forced to use up your precious dash and stamina to get further into
a level, forcing you to platform the rest of the way without a safety net. Usually, the only way to recharge your dash
mid-level is to hit a crystal, a spring or one of these orbs, all of which pull your
further away from safety, and deeper into an anxiety-inducing platforming gauntlet.
By switching up how and where you can recharge your abilities, Celeste can keep players constantly
on edge. Long endurance challenges across lots of easy jumps but with no safe areas,
provide a different sort of pressure to short bursts of intense platforming that pushes
you to your limits, and leave you unable to catch your breath . As celeste forces you
to give up a feeling of control and safety in order to progress, it heightens the threat
of failure, and pushes you into overthinking each of your moves which is more often than
not, exactly what ends up getting you killed. No better is this represented than at the
end of chapter 2. Chapter 2, which is also called Old Site, gives you your first confrontation
with the manifestation of Madeline’s fear, regret and self loathing who I’m going to
call Badeline. Badeline’s whole thing is that she chases you through each level, meaning
that when she’s around, there are no safe areas, as hanging around for too long, or
backing out of a scary jump means Badeline will catch up with you and take you out. This constant sense of threat means that the
back half of chapter two is a single extended panic attack that forces you into ever more
dangerous situations with no chance to cool down. If Celeste ever let up during this segment
then the effect would be lost, instead it keeps on pushing you further and further and
robs you of the luxury of methodically making your way through levels which is probably
what you’ve been doing so far. The entire chase is actually pretty easy, but its the
way Celeste scares you and makes you doubt yourself that makes it challenging, not the
platforming itself. In fact, the way to beat not just this segment,
but Celeste as a whole is to acknowledge the fear and stress that the game deliberately
induces in you, but rather than letting them overwhelm you and make you act out of blind
panic, you should fall back on a sense of faith in your own abilities and confidence
that you can push forwards, even if you feel like you can’t – a piece of advice that’s
a pretty big part of the story as well. By using the structure of a game to get players
into negative states of mind, the juxtaposition they feel when things do start going their
way can make the eventual fun much more meaningful, but you’ve got to be sure to do it in a
way that doesn’t drive players off before they can get to the good bit, Celeste keeps
you going with the promise of narrative resolution, but that’s not the only strategy. Super Meat Boy is the king of anger-inducing
masochistic platformers, and has absolutely no qualms about killing you over and over
again. THis can get kind of disheartening, particularly when you get stuck and spend
ages grinding away at the same level. But, when you do eventually beat the level, Super
meat boy cleverly shows you just how far you’ve come by overlaying all your previous attempts
over each other until only the lucky surviving meatboy is left. This moment feels great every
single time, and excellently galvanises your resolve to do it all over again in the next
level. Sonic the hedgehog is a great example of how
nailing that crucial flip from frustration to fun can be harder to execute than you’d
think, even if all your ideas work in theory. Playing through a level in a Sonic game for
the first time is more often than not going to be a kind of frustrating experience – even
in the good ones -. You’ll miss shortcuts you never would’ve seen coming, fall down
into the boring slow routes a lot because sonic’s weird momentum means it’s hard to
get back up to speed if you mess up and on top of it all, you’ll probably get a crummy
score at the end for your trouble. Believe it or not, this frustration is key to sonic’s
design, because unlike mario, the levels in a sonic game are designed to be replayed and
optimised over and over again rather than just enjoyed once or twice. Once you know what’s coming and when, Sonic
transforms into this amazing navigation challenge as you try to plot your way through each level
on the fly, taking the right jumps and finding the right shortcuts to shave seconds off your
time and shoot for the high score. The annoyance of missing this secret route in Chemical Plant
Zone the first time around locks it into your memory, and so going back to get it next time
feels even better. Its only once you can get good at playing each level that sonic’s
weird momentum makes sense, the faster you go as sonic, the better he feels to control,
and so staying at top speed and effortlessly gliding through each level becomes the aim
of the game. When sonic works, and you’re able to let
loose by going really fast, but are also challenged to optimise your path through each level my
mapping out how each path connects and intertwines, sonic is a platformer like no other… Unfortunately,
this really only happens in a minority of the games, and even then not all the time.
Some sonic games, like the original, never let you get out of that state of heavy sluggishness
and constantly slow you down with mini puzzles and diversions that’d be more suited to
a mario game, and others, like the new Sonic Forces are too simplistic, making the levels
more fun to zoom through – at the cost of making them shallow and no fun to navigate,
just frustrating to slog through if you lose your rhythm. Unfortunately, sonic’ s uneven
reputation is down to the fact that so many of his games forgot or actively tried to avoid
the unique emotional quirk that made his classic games so iconic. Whilst sonic’s weird physics and often unhelpful
controls aren’t anywhere near as intuitive as mario’s, they’re an integral part of
the experience. If sonic didn’t feel like he was made of lead, and if his levels didn’t
pull a few blink and you’ll miss it tricks, the games wouldn’t be nearly as satisfying
to master and there’d be no skill in maintaining that sense of momentum for as long as possible.
When designing a platformer, It’s very tempting to follow the mario formula and make it just
as freeform and expressive as something nintendo would design, but in doing so, you lose the
ability to convey emotional nuance through the way you character, or characters control. Speaking of platformers that involve playing
as a girl who wants to go on a journey up a mountain as an obvious metaphor for personal
growth, A Short Hike brilliantly communicates letting go of anxiety and the freedom of being
in nature not through its narrative or level design, but through the way Claire’s movement
abilities change over time. In a short hike, you’ll quickly notice that
claires abilities seem to be built in such a way that makes it a little bit tricky to
actually get around; your jump is very weak, you walk slowly and everywhere you go you’ll
be faced with these big walls and hills that are seemingly impossible to scale with your
current capabilities. You also have an ability to glide, but with limited opportunities to
gain any height, it’s not particularly useful. So what’s the appeal of a platformer where
your fundamental movement mechanics feel so disempowering? Well, that’s because they’re not disempowering
forever. Over time you’ll find these golden feathers which give you the ability to run,
climb and do double, triple, quadruple, quintuple – you get the picture jumps. And the more
you collect, and the more you explore the island, the more liberating moving around
it becomes, and crucially the more useful your glide becomes. By the end of the game
you’re soaring across the island from the highest peaks and easily maneuvering across
terrain that was a real hassle before. Claire’s disappointingly weak early game toolset gradually
metamorphoses into one of the most empowering and smooth kits in any platformer ever, brilliantly
representing Claire letting go of the problems that were literally weighing her down. Brothers, a tale of two sons sees you controlling
two kids, one with each side of the controller, and getting your dominant and non dominant
hands to work together at the same time is incredibly difficult, and brilliantly conveys
the feeling of two squabbling siblings being forced to work together. The big brother is
the stronger of the two, and little bro is smaller and can squeeze through tight gaps,
and most of the games puzzles involve using the fiddly control scheme to get the brother
in the right place at the right time. As you slowly learn to master the controls,
that fiddliness becomes emblematic of the brother’s interpersonal struggles, before
gradually becoming easier as they bond over the course of their adventure, with the younger
brother needing help from his sibling when it comes to climbing or conquering his fear
of water, a little mechanical quirk that blossoms beautifully towards the end of the game in
a moment that everyone who’s played brothers is familiar with and I won’t spoil. All of the games I’ve talked about so far
manipulate the player into experiencing negative emotions so that they can learn from the experience,
or appreciate being happy that much more. However, games can absolutely still be memorable,
compelling and brilliantly designed without this reversal, and by doubling down on frustration
and misery. The best example of this sort of design in
action is in Bennet Foddy’s games. You might recognise getting over it as the favourite
game of shouty lets play people a few years back, but behind the brutal difficulty is
a game that’s been deliberately crafted as the antithesis to a lot of modern game
design trends, particularly in platformers. In Getting over It, you play as a man named
diogeneise in a pot, and you’ve got to maneuver your way up a mountain using a hammer, yes
a hammer. Getting over it is intensely frustrating to play, using the mouse to control the cyclical
motion of the hammer swings is incredibly unintuitive, and even getting over the very
first obstacle takes a while. Where the likes of tomb raider or Assassin’s
Creed make scaling walls an almost effortless, cinematic affair, simply getting diogenes
to do what you want him to do is a challenge in of itself. All of Bennet foddy’s games,
from QWOP to GRIP to Getting over it, are completely uncompromising and offer you no
help at all, and that means that your victories, as well as your failures, come entirely under
your power, and as a result of your will to continue in spite of the outwardly hostile
design and objectively awful controls. The game isn’t even particularly fun, because
it’s not supposed to be, getting over it is an exercise in determination, in pushing
through and beating something that goes out of its way to not be beaten. If bennet foddy
taught you how to do the little pogo stick hop or how to get up this vertical shaft,
or rewarded you with an achievement and a checkpoint when you did then those victories
would mean much less on a personal level and your struggle would’ve been less authentic. Whether it’s celeste’s journey of self
discovery, Sonic’s iterative mastery or the battle of will at the heart of Bennet
foddy’s games, negative emotions aren’t just a great storytelling tool, but they can
also be a great motivator. By putting players under pressure, game designers challenge their
audience to learn and change in order to reach their full potential. Without the occasional
cheap death, you’d never develop the sense of awareness that’s crucial to beating dark
souls, and if the aliens weren’t always stronger and better equipped than you in XCOM,
there’d be no incentive to try and outthink them. By only engaging with one half of the emotional
spectrum, we aren’t just missing out on half of games, we’re making it harder to
appreciate all of them. Particularly in today’s hard times, its easy to stick to art that
feels comfortable and and puts us in a familiar frame of mind, whether that’s cozy, easy
games, or masochistic, super hard stuff. But in reality, the only way to grow as people
is to experience new things that don’t just challenge your reflexes or brain, but your
ideas and beliefs. Maybe Celeste will teach you how to stay cool
under pressure, maybe a short hike with give you a new perspective on how to focus on the
small things in life, and maybe getting over it will harden your resolve to persevere against
insurmountable odds, who knows? One thing for sure though, if you want to make a game
that speaks to players on an emotional level, make it about climbing mountains apparently,
who knew? Hi, Hello and Welcome, to that bit I do at
the end of each video – wassup? You might’ve noticed that I sound a bit different, and
that’s because I’m in a new house and I have a completely different audio setup!
It’s not because I’ve been replaced by a near-perfect alien doppelganger, even if
that would be the exact thing i’d say if I had been replaced by an alien doppelganger
which I must stress, isn’t what happened. Anyway, let’s talk about people you should
subscribe to on youtube and this time it’s EdbotnikThe which is a weird name, but I guess
I can’t talk and he’s an animator who does these cool low-fi 3D takes on mario stuff
and there’s this smash bros thing, he’s very good at what he does and I just found
him so go take a look over there. Finally, I need to thank my top-tier patreon
supporters for being so lovely. If you’d like to join them and get a shoutout of your
own, please do check the description. Those people are: Alex Deloach
Aseran Auno94
Baxter Heal Big Chess
Brian Notarianni Calvin Han
Daniel Mettjes David Dumitrascu
Derk-Jan Karrenbeld doodlehog
Evie Ibbathon
Jessie Rine Joshua Binswanger
Lee Berman Lucas Slack
LunarEagle1996 Macewindow54
Max Philippov MrTWithSomeTea
Patrick Rhomberg Philby The Bilby
Pr05p3ro ReysDad
Samuel VanDer Plaats Strategia in Ultima
yaron miron Zach Schuster
Chao Right, I won’t keep you any longer, this
video was already late enough as it is and I need to get to work on something else, bye!

100 comments

  • Adam Millard - The Architect of Games

    All I ever wanted was to post links to my patreon on the internet, support my dream for just $1 a month. Plz. :https://www.patreon.com/ArchitectofGames
    DaE think this guy sounds like INSERT ENGLISH MALE HERE maybe their tweets are the same too: https://twitter.com/Thefearalcarrot

    Reply
  • Chance

    It's a good game mechanic wise, but to me the whole story just felt pretentious. Just like something slapped on for people to find deeper meaning into and to be this typical "indie game" about "deep topics" just to sell more copies.

    Reply
  • Denis Seredin

    …and Plague Knight makes you feel like a bitch

    Reply
  • Xystem 4

    Hot take, Celeste is actually a horror game

    Reply
  • Mr Munch

    Climbing a mountain has been a symbol of adversity since mountains existed– I think it's very neat to see that cultural shorthand so commonly adapted to games, and I think it's all the easier because climbing and platforming is so well represented in games. Thrown on top of that, upward momentum/moving up the screen feels really good. I think Getting Over It is the game I've most seen explore the feeling of going down the screen, but that ultimately facilitates the dopamine of climbing back up.
    Anyways, awesome video as always!

    Reply
  • xRandomPerson13x

    I've been following edbotnik since his SFM days, he's great 😀

    Reply
  • Tungsten Dioxide

    12:29 "you might recognize "Getting over it" as the favorite of the shouty let'splay people of few years back.'

    Me: Did you just said few years ago?

    Reply
  • Derrad

    Spec ops the line, Space beast terror fright, rain world, all focus on stress and helplessness.

    Reply
  • Xarin Sliron

    Not into most of the kinds of games this vid is about myself, but I can see why other people might be.

    Reply
  • Nathan's Art Project

    RIP Adam

    Long Live Alien Adam

    (The vids are still good so I’m cool with it)

    Reply
  • Tantan

    Reads video title
    Great I'm already anxious…

    Reply
  • Johan Agstam

    Celeste's breathing exercise alone (let alone what the rest of the themes has done for my anxiety) has helped me enormously much in coping with anxiety better. It's the best breathing exercise I've ever tried and I really didn't expect that from a game. It's fantastic in so many ways. Easily the best representation of mental health in games.

    Reply
  • Lovro Rončević

    Hes an alien!!!

    Reply
  • ruolbu

    15:15 Yes! Climbing is really good. Anyone who's has tried it will understand 😀

    Reply
  • yan

    i feel like this video was a little misguided. I don't think Celeste makes you feeel particularly anxious (it certainly didn't make me). Yes, it has stressful platforming portions and a tie-in narrative theme of dealing with anxiety. The gameplay could be described as challenging (frustrating yet rewarding etc) but I would never describe it as anxiety-inducing just because it's… hard? So is every difficult/retry-intensive game supposed to be anxiety-inducing? Like Super Meat Boy? I don't see the common thread here. Celeste is definitely not (mechanically) about "lack of control" like you said, much of the opposite. In fact, the game even gives you MORE movement options the longer you play (sense of control and personal growth, as per 10:55 etc). As a platformer, it controls amazing, and a sense of control is very opposite to the feeling of anxiety – even in a very challenging game.

    Getting Over It, which you mentioned, might be a much better example of applying anxiety to game design because of the unwieldy controls and monstrous setbacks (and in turn fear of failure). You never feel fully in control of your character, and you're always on the verge of losing a lot of progress – that's anxiety-inducing. Darkest Dungeon's death's door mechanic is anxiety-inducing. Opening a door in Resident Evil is anxiety-inducing. Dying repeatedly in order to beat a Meatboy level isn't.

    Seems to me like this video was supposed to be about the importance of challenge and why mastery is interesting or something. Or maybe about negative emotion and its importance in games? It definitely didn't ressonate with me at all in understanding anxiety in game design. I felt like it was a pretty unfocused video in its purpose, you kinda flew haphazardly from topic to topic.

    Maybe something flew over my head though, if anyone is willing to help me out here.

    Reply
  • KiruDan

    yay a strawberry

    Reply
  • nog een kanaal van koekyfloekyboe

    Adam sais Mario is happy.

    MARIO AND LUIGI PARTNERS IN TIME WATCHES YOU FROM THE DARK WHEN YOU SAY THAT

    Reply
  • Ruben Dragonoid

    I would love to see what you think about pathologic! Seems like a game with all these emotions all at once

    Reply
  • Gaswafers

    When you are depressed, doing anything seems as difficult and pointless as climbing a mountain.

    Reply
  • Eddie Smock

    Every time he starts going through the Patreon supporters I just sit and wait for MaceWindow54. It always makes me smile.

    Reply
  • nicholas reale

    I have a serious question… how is this channel not bigger. Every thing on here is so interesting and informative. If you see this and would like to answer this question, what thought you to do this kind of stuff?

    Reply
  • iota-09

    sees title
    Wait… What?

    Maybe it's because i consider the instant respawns a safety net themeselves, but aside from one b-side stage, I've never felt anxiety throughout Celeste, the quick and close-by respawns made it very easy to accept failure and the controls are ridiculously tight.

    Now, hollow knight on the other end, with its minutes-long boss battles and the dreaded path of pain… That's anxiety.

    Reply
  • Henrik Andersson

    Aspect ratios, they seem to be hard to understand. Don't stretch 4:3 video to 16:9. It's that simple.

    Reply
  • NuStiuFrate

    I simply can't understand how adults can play and talk about mario games as if they're anything other than kids games. They look so absurdly cheap and immature and yet here we are, looking and talking about them.

    Reply
  • Pe pi

    YouTube sensed, that I was about to go to bed, and immediately notified me about this video.

    Reply
  • Raven Joker

    I have to complain about Getting Over It a little if you will indulge me.
    I'm fine with it's message and difficulty and all but by GOD do I hate it from the bottom of my soul. For some reason, Foddy just HAD to include a secret at the end, and I didn't have the nerves to actually complete the game so I installef a third party save point app… needless to say, the secret felt like a copout after that, but I stand by it – Foddy challanged my curiosity and I won't stop cursing his name.

    Reply
  • Mezurashii5

    No it doesn't.
    Honestly, the only games that can really make me anxious are racing games. Always being at the verge of utterly wrecking myself (I'm bad at them) feels like a prolonged heart attack, to which Dead Space, Half-Life 2, CS:GO and score attack games pale in comparison.

    Reply
  • Victor Singer-Carter

    Another emotional game about climbing a mountain: Journey

    Reply
  • Marvin G.

    My favourit Moment was when I thought I will never get through that and did it on the first try!

    Reply
  • William Koch

    Would you mind examining I Wanna Be The Guy and why people enjoy games that explicitly seek to be as difficult as possible and practically revel in their torturing the player with uncertainty?

    Reply
  • Casey C

    When you play games for the feeling of sheer terror

    Reply
  • thechucknorrisofNSMB

    "Super Meat Boy is the king of anger-inducing masochistic platformers"

    I Wanna Be The Guy that reminds you about something you've forgotten…

    Reply
  • Witchfynder_Finder

    Mostly I'm just glad that Getting Over It had Bennet Foddy talking the entire time about nothing so that the metaphorical weight of the gameplay wouldn't be lost on the player nor minimized in any way by having him tell you how metaphorical it is like he's the protagonist in Parasite.

    Reply
  • Mustachio

    Well now I think you've been replaced by an alien doppelganger

    Reply
  • Ferdinand Avila-Soto

    The more I hear about Celeste, the more I learn about it. At first, I passed on it, but now I think I should get it one day.

    Reply
  • KitTheKat

    13:21 Oh no! This hurt just watching it!
    Shout out suggestion : Daryl talks game, Razbuten or Gamedenker, who are three great small channel about video game stuff 😀

    Reply
  • Daniele Mazzali

    Just a reminder: Celeste is actually pretty fun ti play

    Reply
  • Francisco Farias

    "OMG I can't believe he won't mention Dark So…. oh"

    Reply
  • Stefan Lopuszanski

    Not all of Foddy's games are like that, just almost all of them. 😛

    Reply
  • Recht_voor_zijn_raap

    "Because all his games are so damn happy:

    Super Paper Mario :
    "Ima gonna stop you right there"

    Reply
  • Max Moran

    This is so great. I’ve struggled with anxiety as long as I can remember, but just recently — through a lot of therapy, support groups, personal growth, etc — I’ve gotten to a much better place and ease of managing it. Celeste spoke to me in a really personal way, as I think it did a lot of people. I also went through Madeline’s journey of realizing you can’t fight the things you hate about yourself. They’re a part of you. You have to embrace it, accept it, and learn to love it in order to find peace and growth and happiness.

    Anyway, on a game design note. You alluded to this but I wanted to say it out loud: anyone notice how Mario levels are typically open plains with only one or two things to focus on at a time, while Celeste levels are dense and cramped and force you to skirt around obstacles in narrow spaces just to advance a few pixels of screen distance? Just the visual experience of looking at a level in Celeste is already anxiety-inducing. There’s so much going on! So much that can kill me! So many moving parts and things to keep track of and AAAA! But as you try and fail and try some more, you come to see each part of each screen as one piece of a cohesive whole, and realize what you need to do, which skills the screen is testing, and how to accomplish the task. Just like any anxiety-inducing problem, the key is not to panic, but to break the problem down to its constituent parts and handle it one bit at a time.

    Also, no other game delivers the same feeling of mastery and growth as Celeste did for me. There’s only three player actions, like you said, and each level only has a handful of gimmicks. But as you come to understand each of those mechanics and gimmicks on a deeper and deeper level, you’ll find yourself doing things on your first try you never even thought possible before. It is so much a game about pushing past your previous limits and becoming more than you thought you could.

    Celeste is often compared to Dark Souls just because they’re both hard. But Dark Souls is all about crushing the player under a feeling of hopelessness and oppressive difficulty, which makes it rewarding when you seemingly defy the game by overcoming it anyway. In contrast, it’s clear from the get-go that Celeste deeply wants you to succeed. Dark Souls’ punishing death mechanic is its most iconic feature, but deaths in Celeste are a complete non-event, just another step on the road to achievement. The game even has a pop-up early on encouraging players to think of their death counter as a good thing, a sign of how far you’ve come. All in all, Celeste is such a heartfelt and wholesome experience, and deeply, perfectly Canadian.

    Reply
  • E

    He's not an alien doppleganger…

    He's an artificially created AI robot designed to replace him after he was kidnapped by aliens.

    Reply
  • FinetalPies

    I'm really excited for this trend of examining and appreciating the different emotions that games can provide that go beyond "fun".

    Reply
  • Weird One

    I really liked the video. (especially because it is about my favorite video game of all time Celeste) I do have a problem that I would just like to try to recognize but at 5:18 you use the term "panic attack" in a not really appropriate way. I experience them frequently and it hurt a little when you used it the term this way. Panic attacks are different and a hard, scary, and painful experience to go through. Please be a little but more mindful of the term and how you use it. Actually the one in Celeste is as close to a explaining a panic attack as I found but you can never really understand them unless you have had one.

    Reply
  • Kevin Stefan

    Stretching out 4:3 games to 16:9 should be punishable by death.

    Reply
  • Discursion

    Man, I'm in the B-Side of Mirror Temple, and I took a break from it. But whenever I think of going back to it I feel anxious.

    Reply
  • Prototype LQ

    My entire experience in Celeste was just irritation or outright frustration at the game. Controls are hard to master (the amount of times I've rushed in the wrong direction because the stick was not perfectly diagonal is absurd), but they are even harder to understand. Celeste was a huge safety net for you to recover from mistakes in form of Climb ability, but it doesn't give you any time to use that safety net. My "oh ****" moments, when I have only just realised I've made a mistake and was about to die, happened right when I already died.
    I've never felt anxious in this game, death is so common that it's just a setback, and an annoying one.
    Earlier stages felt like button mashing untill I find that perfect password to finish the level. But later ones, starting at the hotel, felt just pure random. I have no time to think and to try to avoid those blobs, just because I am already dead.
    All of these are reasons I did not have any good time in Celeste. Yesterday, after another set of deaths, I decided just to pick something else, so I've played Hyper Light Drifter for about 20 mins. Those 20 minutes felt better than my entire in Celeste.
    Basically, Celeste is absolutely not for me, and I do not understand why so many people loved it, I just don't.

    Reply
  • Etterra

    Don't get me started on Spelunky's fucking ghost. Gawd I hate that game.

    Reply
  • Jack Anderson

    15:10 wait a minute, Undertale starts with you climbing a mountain too.

    Reply
  • HEHEHE I AM A SUPAHSTAR CLOD

    I really enjoyed Celeste, but this was the first time I've heard of A Short Hike. Looks super interesting, I definitely plan to give it a try sometime

    Reply
  • Markus Fuchs

    Am I the only one who finds a lot of Mario games frustrating?

    Reply
  • Boi

    Even undertale has you climb a mountain, i think theres a conspiracy here…

    Reply
  • SuperMuffinBros

    Badeline is actually canon because of Steam cards.

    Reply
  • Jake Scott

    Shoutout to Alex Deloach. I've heard that name so many times now, but I still wouldn't be able to spell it from memory.

    Reply
  • Leunenkoenig

    Whenever he says "A few years back" a part of me died.

    Reply
  • Crash Bandicoot

    Thanks !!

    Reply
  • Nonno

    A short hike it's a metroidvania. Change my mind.

    Reply
  • Ray Matthew Lamzon

    A short hike was an amazing experience. Great ending sequence too

    Reply
  • MrCrazybark

    Man I love these

    Reply
  • Rugerfred

    Great video, and so in synch with my works! Thank you for normalizing the discourse about this!

    If you want to delve more into the topic, I can point you at some game design resources about this. Specifically:
    – A paper by Markus Montola called "The Positive Negative Experience in Extreme Role-Playing"
    – A talk by Tobias Wrigstad called "This Might Sting a Little"
    – A talk by Richard Dansky called "You can’t make a game about that"
    – A talk of mine (you can find it on my channel) called "The Problem with the Words Immersion and Fun"

    Also, many of the games on my portfolio (rugerfred<dot>com) are about exploring negative emotions and personal/intimate themes!

    Reply
  • Duchi

    The thing I dislike about your videos

    is that there aren't enough of them

    Reply
  • GreenHeart

    "A short hike" seems to be the same game process as Grow Up / Home, which you showed before. At the start your character is heavily limited, but with time and stuff collected, you can move around more and more freely. It really gives you a good sense of progression.

    Reply
  • Josiah Sepulveda

    Why does everyone love to shit on Sonic the Hedgehog?

    Seriously?

    Reply
  • AWanderingSwordsman

    Why does celeste make us feel anxious? Uh…it doesn't?

    Reply
  • Colouratura

    It does?

    Reply
  • Kurt Rozentaun

    Lmao i felt kinda cozy and warm for the entirety of the game 😀

    Reply
  • weckar

    Looks at title
    It doesn't.

    Reply
  • MrTomansky

    Even in Legend of Zelda you climb a mountain, nearly every temple is built up from that concept.

    Reply
  • Mattias Boganes

    Long difficult sections without rest are super anxiety inducing- ever gone through path of pain in Hollow Knight? By the end I was shaking like mad, I realized after each section that I had held by breath pretty much the entire time

    Reply
  • Liam Bauser

    Makes a Celeste video and barely talks about it.

    Reply
  • Ethan Healy

    hey whats the game at the end thats first person?

    Reply
  • Silver Golden

    The outtro makes you seem very much like Wheatley from Portal2

    Reply
  • Master Austin

    I just love this game. I’ll listen to anything you have to say about it

    Reply
  • Chase

    Must be why that celeste wasnt that bad to beat (not 100% walkthru) im always nervous lmfao

    Reply
  • Matsuri Mizusawa

    for me i felt anxious at first but literally only on the tutorial. the rest of the game i felt just happy

    Reply
  • o k

    Finally, Celeste. My favorite game.

    Reply
  • Haris Naufal

    this game makes you feel like anxiety

    3/5

    Reply
  • klyxes

    Watching this video just gave me PTSD of all the b and c versions of the levels….thanks!

    Reply
  • Kyle Owen

    Interviewer: "Why do you want to a climb mountain?"
    Mountain Climber: "Because it's there."
    Note: I can't remember the names of the people involved or the exact quote, so I paraphrased it to the best of my ability.

    Reply
  • ESF1

    Everybody chillin till you get to the Cotton Alley Dark World

    Reply
  • Scott

    9:10 To be fair the first sonic game was slow but you can hardly criticise sonic 1 for failing to meet the standards set after it, that is just ridiculous. If anything you can use the reverse criticism. Who is to say Sonic isn't supposed to be slow and deliberate? Sonic 1 set the precedent. Not the other way around. I don't disagree with you but using Sonic 1 as your example feels a teeny bit disingenuous. Its a bit like criticising the first Zelda game for not being like Ocarina of Time, well duh.

    Reply
  • Jademonas S2

    13:22 this hurts

    Reply
  • מיכאל רחמילביץ'

    Don t remind me of chapter 2

    Reply
  • Dank Maymays

    Glad to see more videos on my favourite game ❤️

    Reply
  • Nick MaGrick

    4:58 im done

    Reply
  • villager four

    DID YOU SAY SHOVEL KNIGHT

    Reply
  • Throttle Kitty

    Mario: Happy smiles
    Bloodborne SCRRRREEEEEEEEEEYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUGHHHHHHAAAOOOWW

    Reply
  • Toby Knecht

    1:47 you wanna talk about a chaotic sense of momentum? We’ll plague knight is were it’s at

    Reply
  • Eric Spangenberg

    Because it's hard as hell! The whole game is like the Path of Pain from Hollow Knight.

    Reply
  • Kyrylo Reznykov

    what is the name of that scary game at 2:32 ?

    Reply
  • Eric Smart

    I see your point for sonic games' joy being from optimizing a route upon reruns, but the problem is that first play throughs are boring because of this. It doesn't punish you for mistakes as much, which allows you to beat it despite making mistakes, but this doesn't mean you enjoyed it b/c it is a clunky mess when played slowly. The problem with sonic's design is you have to make quick decisions blindly… which just isn't fun (in the way they lay it out anyways)

    Reply
  • Mint.

    I love celeste

    Reply
  • Seafarer Pixel

    For the entire video I thought you were Mark Brown until I saw the profile picture below the video again when it was over.

    Reply
  • #Team Sprit

    Finnaly a nee vid! Ive been binge watching your vids latly great Work man

    Reply
  • Spartan War118

    Actually i played that brothers game, but i never finished it
    And i may never get to unless it's on Xbox one, cause my mom traded my 360 for said xbox one
    Or if it's on PC, i got one of those, clearly

    Reply
  • WetToast 115

    Anyone would be anxious after dying for the 3 thousandth time on a save trying to get the c sides done

    Reply
  • RuizuKun_Dev

    Market acquisition, there were fewer games back then

    Reply
  • Marco Sodano

    It's incredible how Super Meat Boy is always remembered and praised but nobody ever talks about or even mentions The End is Nigh (which is by the same guy). It would have also been very relevant to the video's topic.
    I wonder why it got under the radar so much.

    Reply
  • Ansel

    Celeste made me cry. It really was such an emotional journey from start to finish, and the level design is so masterful at inducing those emotions. I also love the story being so blunt about its meaning. It could have easily relied on just the level design to convey that, but the forwardedness and rawness of it brings it all together into a really amazing experience. Seriously, if you haven't played Celeste yet, do it !

    Reply
  • MarkoGOLEM

    When he skipped over Plague Knight when talking about how fun the Shovel Knight characters are. I felt that 😔

    Reply

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