Top 100 Games of All-Time: #92

Super Meat Boy

Release Date: October 20, 2010

Platform Played On: XBox 360

2018 Placement: #77 (-15)


What It Is:

You are Meat Boy. Bandage Girl has been kidnapped by the evil Dr. Fetus and you have to rescue her. And that’s it! That’s all the plot you get for this twitch platformer that will (likely) frustrate you to no end.

Each world had 20 levels – both light and dark version – and a boss fight at the end. There was nothing between you and the end of each level except a whole bunch of obstacles that will instantly kill you, and all you have to rely on is your expert platforming skills. It’s fun, it’s bloody, and it’s an essential challenge for any person who enjoys platformers. The game also had a stellar soundtrack by Danny Baranowsky in it’s original release – later updates replaced the music with a lot of inferior tracks (although some fine ones) so I really recommend playing the original version if you can.

Why It’s Important To Me:

Platforming has always been one of my top 3 favorite genres in gaming. And in 2010 when this came out, platformers were having a resurgence in mainstream acceptance. We were starting to crest over the bald space marine wave and indie games were stepping out into the spotlight again. Super Meat Boy grabbed my heart and my fingers as it was snappy and fast and just a pleasure to play. It’d been a hot minute since a good platformer had really gotten its hooks in me and for a long while Dr. Fetus was my personal nemesis.

I tried for a long time to 100% the game. I got fairly close (it was the only achievement on the 360 I didn’t get for the game) but in the end I wasn’t able to get everything done before I finally let the game best me. Still, it revitalized the platforming genre for me and also helped put indies on my radar. Between Super Meat Boy and a few others in 2010, I knew from this point forward good games could come from anywhere and not just the AAA advertised developers.

My Strongest Memory:

I’ve got two for this one. The first is the Battle of Lil’ Slugger: the first boss of the game. The level itself is a fairly straightforward chase but the music is just so damn good – please listen to it if you haven’t. I played this level and was just floored by the soundtrack to the point that I played the level several more times just to hear it again and then went and bought the soundtrack so I could listen to it on my iPod. I also immediately sent the song to my friends being like “HAVE YOU HEARD THIS AWESOME SONG OH MY GOD.” It was immediately a hit to me.

The second was unlocking The Kid. I Wanna Be The Guy is a famously unfairly hard platformer game and The Kid is from that – a secret guest character to be unlocked. And true to the game he hails from, the levels you have to beat to unlock him are a terror. I spent a good hour or two on his three (yes, only THREE) levels refusing to let the game beat me and when I finally beat them all I was ecstatic. I’m pretty sure I actually got up and shouted. I’ve lost a lot of patience for repeating challenges over my years of gaming, but back then I still had the drive and it was so worth it to conquer those stupid levels.

Why It’s #92:

There was a time that Super Meat Boy would have ultimately been higher on my list simply because its soundtrack rocks and it’s a really well done platformer. And while I feel this game is important in gaming history and paved the way for later platformers like Celeste, it’s been a long time since I played it and the magic has faded a little, especially since I can’t play it on new systems because I just can’t play it without the original rockin’ soundtrack. Maybe on the day I can pull my 360 out of storage, hook it up, and play some of my old favorites this will rise in the rankings again. But until then Meat Boy has to survive in the 90s.