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/og/ - Other Games

saya no uta
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File: 1354566412559.jpg (532.91 KB, 1274x994, you have to burn the rope.jpg)


I'm sure you all have played "You Have To Burn The Rope" by Marzapan. If you haven't, take two minutes out of your day and click this link: http://www.kongregate.com/games/Mazapan/you-have-to-burn-the-rope.

A lot of people complain about You Have To Burn The Rope for being too short or too simple of an experience. It really is simplistic, and according to the creator, it is meant to be. While that is true, there is a possible interpretation of the game that might make you look at it in a different light and perhaps give you more enjoyment out of its 2 minute-long playtime. That alternative interpretation is as follows:

You Have To Burn The Rope is about a video game hell.

Or, at the very least it is about a cyclical, Sisyphean game with images and themes of torture, descent, the occult, and repetition.

Note: You don't have to believe, or even like everything in this interpretation, but it does make the game a lot more interesting.

TL;DR - You Have To Burn The Rope alternate analysis


File: 1354566453453.jpg (33.6 KB, 234x264, yhtbtr.jpg)

The protagonist of You Have To Burn The Rope (YHTBTR) is a circular pink creature with a bowler hat. This character ("Bowler Hat") has an appearance that is similar to the original Kirby sprites from older Kirby games, except that Bowler Hat has a hollow, ghost-like expression on its face. [see picture] This is to represent Bowler Hat as the typical video game character as well as an ethereal soul. The idea that Bowler Hat appears hollow, and therefore easily suggestible, is important as well and will come up later.


File: 1354566515859.jpg (276.37 KB, 1026x657, post 3.jpg)

The main enemy of YHTBTR (and the only other character present) is called the Grinning Colossus. It is a giant, pitch-black mass with only a mouth and bulging eyes that can't be killed by your weapons. In any other context, it would make a good monster in a typical creepypasta. If you look at its expression closely, it doesn't look like the Grinning Colossus is grinning at all, but rather like it's constantly screaming out in agony (driving home the torture theme). You can try to kill it with your weapons, but even if you do somehow manage to get it down to 0 health it still survives (which can be done via a hack seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fA7UqQtUS7g), which is another Sisyphean torture in itself.
Another possible interpretation of the Grinning Colossus' appearance can be representative of the victim of a lynching. Billie Holiday's infamous Strange Fruit, a song about lynching African Americans in the South, includes these lines:

"Black bodies swinging in the Southern breeze / Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees / Pastoral scene of the gallant South / The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth" (http://www.billieholidaysongs.com/lyrics_strange_fruit.htm)

I'd rather not include a picture, so this description will have to do.
When looking at the Grinning Colossus, you can see these characteristics (black body, bulging eyes, twisted mouth in agony) showing through almost exactly as they are described. This is especially so in the Grinning Colossus' death animation. [see picture] The fact that lynching is another kind of torture involving a rope should be noted as well.


File: 1354566578818.jpg (495.9 KB, 1049x748, shepard tone loc.jpg)

"Descent" or "descending" is another motif that is present in YHTBTR that lends itself to the idea of the game being part of hell, or perhaps part of a descent into madness.

You begin the game by falling down a shaft. This is not explained by the game in any way, and really doesn't have a point unless you consider it a reference to falling into hell. Another time you fall in the game that should be noted is directly after completing your objective of burning the rope and defeating the Grinning Colossus. This means that the game itself begins and ends with you falling, thus reiterating the cyclical nature of the task as well as the descent motif.

The most interesting use of the motif of descent in YHTBTR occurs just before entering the room where you have your battle, between the messages "3. To kill him you have to burn the rope above" and "Have fun!" [see picture]. If you play the game again after reading this, I recommend staying in this spot for a while. The music that plays takes an abrupt shift towards the creepy, playing eerie howling sounds that sound like they are constantly rising. It's an auditory illusion known as a Shepard tone (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shepard_tone) in which frequencies are made to sound constantly rising in pitch when in actuality they are not. This is used to represent the world around you rising as you make your descent into the battle against the Grinning Colossus, and therefore your descent into you hell.


File: 1354566624271.jpg (132.92 KB, 816x528, yhtbtr axe.jpg)

A piece of the game that seems out of place and indeed nonsensical is Bowler Hat's use of a battle axe as a weapon. It could have been literally anything else, since it serves no purpose other than to give the player false hope in defeating the Grinning Colossus. But it turns out that the particular battle axe design that Bowler Hat uses (also known as a "labrys") has many different symbolic meanings that refer to various mythologies as well as to the occult. These connections are very interesting and deserve notice:

"On Greek vase paintings, a labrys sometimes appears in scenes of animal sacrifice, particularly as a weapon for the slaying of bulls." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labrys)

"The Labrys, described as an "Ax From Crete" is listed as a "Demonic Symbol." "The double headed axe is also a symbol of the Orisha Shango." (http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=cabc&c=whs&id=8557)

"Shango is known as the god of fire, lightning and thunder god of fire, lightning, and thunder." "Shango altars often contain a carved figure of a woman holding her bosom as a gift to the god with a single double-blade axe sticking up from her head. The axe symbolizes that this devotee is possessed by Shango." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shango)

The idea that the axe makes references to themes like ritual sacrifice, demons, a fire god, and being forced to do something against one's will is admittedly purely unintentional. But it does make it much more interesting when considering these elements in light of the other themes that are present in YHTBTR.


The song at the end of the game is, at face value, pretty comical. It is meant to be very similar to Jonathan Coulton's "Still Alive." But if you look at the lyrics in light of the themes mentioned, a whole new, much darker tone is discovered:
The lyrics at the end of the game give some light as to the nature of this Sisyphean torture (lyrics can be found here: http://villains.wikia.com/wiki/Grinning_Colossus).

The first verse seems to be directed at Bowler Hat, repeating the words "you burned the rope to save us all." This is to mock Bowler Hat's fate of being destined to burn the rope over and over and over again for the player's enjoyment. Bowler Hat doesn't really have a choice in the matter, as it is just a hollow shell that is being possessed by the player to carry out a ritualistic sacrifice for the enjoyment of the player.

The chorus is directed at the player. It goes on repeat at the end of the song as an infinite loop. It does not reference Bowler Hat as a hero, but the player itself as a hero. It also offers that you can move on to, say, watch a video somewhere else online. Or to play the game again. This is an important line, because it directly refers to the cyclical nature of the events of the game: the player can choose to move on or make Bowler Hat re-live these events over and over again. Either way, Bowler Hat will be there, stuck in its own little personal hell. It can't leave; the game is the only place Bowler Hat exists. The fact that there is no other game made by the game's creator that has Bowler Hat is another thing that should be noted. (The Grinning Colossus is in another game, Death vs. Monstars, but that is made by someone who had nothing to do with YHTBTR, so it can be disregarded.)


This cyclical nature is not unique to You Have To Burn The Rope. In fact, all video games can be considered cyclical in some way (although, there can be different endings, or even continuous storylines, they essentially can be played over and over again.) As players, we possess video game characters and make them re-live frustrating or repetitive events over and over again for our enjoyment. What if every video game was a private hell for every video game character? Every time the character fell into a pit of spikes, every time you shot a character in the head and laughed, every time you erased the character's hard-earned struggles by restarting the game just so you can get that one item you missed… What if all those things are remembered and felt by that character, every time?

Think about that as you press that refresh button to start again.


File: 1354566799467.jpg (145 KB, 822x264, post 2.jpg)

Just thought you guys might find this interesting. Also, this is the image that was supposed to go with the second post.


File: 1355112800033.jpg (102.37 KB, 720x480, rudolphs-shiny-new-year-08.jpg)




I was just skimming through this post before bed. The use of a bowler may be an homage to A Clockwork Orange. Kubrick's work has a lot of occult symbolism, and Kubrick himself was interested in conspiracy theories and such. Nothing major like lizard people blah blah blah, but he did use some cool stuff.

Not sure if that character is supposed to have one eye bigger than the other, or if it's just weird perspective. But it does remind me of Alex.


File: 1355301049298.jpeg (27.78 KB, 701x511, moloko.jpeg)

Forgot picture.


Good catch! You actually may be on to something. Perhaps the bowler hat is a reference to the mindless violence that Alex from A Clockwork Orange is known for. That would feed in to him being in hell, as well the idea of your main character in YHTBTR being a souless husk.


It may be a coincidence but A Clockwork Orange has a lot of themes in common that would be interesting to people who lived through criticism about violence in videogames in general.

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