Heya everyone! First off, serious thanks to Kayin, and everyone involved in the support of this game. It's been an absolute pleasure to play, although I will admit, I didn't find it hard so much as I found it like a great old puzzle game, like Soloman's Key. The more you do something in it the better you get, and that really makes it like the best old NES games. Plus, the humour is beautiful. But I'll do a full review later, if that sort of thing goes over well. I just thought that because I play games like Silent Hill way too much, I'd introduce myself with an alternative plot analysis of the games. Be forewarned in advance that this is meant to be completely silly, I don't take any of the following with any degree of realism. But hey, I thought it might amuse some people!
At it's core, IWBTG seems to be the simple story of a little boy in a fantastic world, struggling to achieve his heart-felt dream: to become The Guy, who apparently is either the harbringer of all good things, or an overlord of Destruction; examples include both great heroes and villains in the hall of the guy, and the Kid's idealistic ending view of his own assumption of the Guy's role. However, the closer we look, the more we began to see a few strange inconsistencies the story, things that began to make us wonder... What's really going on here? First off, let's take a look at the Kid's choice of attire and weapon. The cape and suit lend him a very fantastic look, like he's aspiring to be a superhero, but whoa, why not a sword or something? The kid's weapon is a 'small gun', something you would expect to be used in a game of Cops and Robbers, but why in his own personal quest for power, if it is even truly for that..? A gun is a symbol of destruction, and often masculinity, the small gun implying that the Kid still has to grow into the role of the Guy, among other things. It still doesn't explain why he doesn't use a legendary sword or other fantastic weapon though... But we'll look at that later.
The lands the Kid venture through are fantastical... And Deadly. Not only does everything attempt to kill him, but the area around him, the music, even the enemies he face tend to be drawn directly from older NES and SNES games. This doesn't phase the kid; he still has the happy, content face of one who is permenently happy, even as spikes jut from the floor towards his body, spectacularly exploding it(although never his happy, smiling face, which seems to survive every death to fly dramatically around the screen). Death doesn't matter to the kid; however often he's killed, with the switch of an r button, he's back on his feet at the last save point he saved at... Although the game remembers how often he died. Suggesting he doesn't actually die, perhaps, but that he was seriously injured... And he imagined he was?
When he finally reaches the Guy, not only is he in for a gigantic shock, that the Guy is in fact his father, and the murderer who killed his (possibly decent) grandfather the Guy, but we get a good look at his father; he's almost exactly the same as the Kid in everything except the evil expression, obviously unchildish extras (A large, menacing looking gun, and a lit cigarette), and menacing voice. Not only that, but after his supposed defeat, he rises from the grave even more ridiculously huge in the Kid's eyes, shooting lasers and fire, and yelling threats that sound ludicrous to us... But how ludicrous to a seven or eight year old boy?
The meat of my theory is this: IWBTG is the mental refuge of a battered young boy, who lives with his possibly physically abusive father. His only relief is the only thing he's managed to get his hands on, a treasureload of old video games. Although clearly a modern game due to it's smoother controls and more... Refined glitches, the influence of ideas on the Kid are apparent. Bosses are the arch-villains and most frightening characters in older video games, people he could envision standing up to and beating. And no matter how many times he gets knocked down, he pulls himself off the floor, dusts himself off, and keeps on going. Why? Because it makes him happy, or at least provides the fuel for him to keep on going. But, what does it really say about him...?
Just as there is no mention of the Mother in IWBTG, the Kid's mental landscape is devoid of any maternal influences. The only possibly female enemies(who is originally a guy anyway) are the mechanized, distant Mecha Birdo, who with it's cold demeanor and mechanical nature automatically seems distant, alien, torn away, and mother brain, who is sheltered and distant in a glass cage that shatters, killing her while the kid scrabbles to reach out to her. I don't include Witchy as an enemy as she never 'attacks' the Kid specifically, but is instead flying around distantly, another distrustful portrayl of a female.
A kid's wonderland should be filled with images equally happy as frightening, but nothing seems to be truly good or kind for the Kid. Even fruit tries to kill him, revealing his deep scarring at the hands of a father who would beat him with anything he could get his hands on, even unripened apples or cherries. As for the Father himself, when we finally reach him, his primary distinctive feature is his height; everything he has is bigger, stronger, more menacing, something that must stand out especially to a young boy. His gun, when compared to the crude and tiny implement that the Kid uses, is larger, more phallic, and obviously more destructive, but is also the symbol of his authority over the Kid. When the Kid takes it from him(steals it in real life), the Father attacks him in a drunken rage, seeming even more violent and huge as he yells out curses about flensing bones, and his fatherhood. They make us laugh, but for the mentally and physically scarred Kid, they are terrifying. His only way to defeat his Father is to use his small size to his advantage, ducking, weaving, and hiding, the latter being what he does in reality. His Father is eventually defeated on the own symbol of his power, a field of spikes that the Kid has knocked him onto, and the plot ends on an up note, with the Kid showing his good intentions and inner most wishes by leading out a field of freed kids(other people his father hit or punished?).
But, something's wrong with this picture. The ending to such a fantasy should be happy, but every time, when the Kid, now the Guy, having defeated and emasculated his father, reaches his peaceful and safe home, a refuge in any world, one last threat befalls him, a single cherry which messily decapitates him in front of nonplussed and uncaring watchers, a symbol of those who said nothing in his silence, and that the same problems for him exist in real life, and will always be there. He hasn't stopped his father from hurting him, and will always suffer it... Or will he? Just as it implies that pain is unescapable for the Kid, the player is allowed the ability to press left, and guide the Kid out of this last hurdle, finally achieving him safety and piece, even as events continue indefinately(at the room of Divine Transport.).
So, what is the final point here? I play way too many psychological horror games. IWBTG is just one of the best action/platform/puzzle games of any and all time, and is entirely a silly confection about the journey of a Kid. But, if you take any of this seriously, remember to root extra hard for the little guy next time! Because you know, there could totally be a serious metaphor in there, somewhere... =P
And it's a pleasure to meet ya all!