Last week, I realized I have a problem. I’d just finished browsing the Nintendo Switch’s entire eShop for a second time in search of a new game. That’s a weird thing to do, especially considering that I still haven’t finished Breath of the Wild. I should finish it, but I can’t bring myself to do it. Hours and hours…
Celeste seems almost built for speedrunners. With its tight controls and constant dashing, it demands that you play it as quickly as possible. Speedrunner TGH has played it so fast that he’s broken the world record at 31:25 for an Any% run.
Speedrunners can rush through Celeste in about thirty minutes but collecting everything and completing all challenges is much trickier. Last night, someone finally completed a 114% speedrun, collecting all hidden items and completing the game’s most difficult levels without dying.
For game developer Matt Thorson, tough-as-nails yet kind-as-kittens platformer Celeste represented a breaking point. His depression and anxiety had gotten so severe that he had no choice but to face them head-on. Thorson says the process was “painful,” but it’s also when Celeste’s story began to take shape.
Last weekend, I spent hours chasing after a single elusive strawberry in Celeste. Over and over again, I kept dying to the toxic muck surrounding my collectible prize. Hundreds of wasted lives, an endless number of fuck-ups, a complete halting of progress. There was only failure, but I was stubborn. I was going to get…
Celeste is pure. Each room offers new challenges, but the solution is always the same: jump. Jumping is remixed in dozens of different, exciting ways. Celeste is the very soul of simplicity, and that’s what makes it such a beautiful game.
A few days ago, the game designer Matt Thorson was watching me idly jump around one of the many comically challenging rooms in Celeste, his new game that is on the verge of release. “Wow, it’s nice to just watch someone play the game,” he said, his voice brimming with sincerity.