If you grew up in an age where dithering was a a common graphical trick to get around color limitations and were excited when CGA was succeeded by EGA which gave way to VGA, just seeing a screenshot of Kyle Pittman's You Have to Win the Game will turn you mad with nostalgia. The exploration platformer shares a lot of design elements with Terry Cavanagh's VVVVVV, Lyle in Cube Sector, and Celestial Mechanica, though its main trick is emulating the computing environment of a decades-old PC. But even if you don't get excited by 16-color CRT monitors, You Have to Win the Game is a thoroughly enjoyable ride!
Run and jump, explore and backtrack, activate switches and avoid enemies, ring bells and gather cash. That's pretty much the gist of what you'll do in You Have to Win the Game. The environment is filled with twisted passageways, forked tunnels, and seemingly impassable spots marked by platforms and moving lifts. You'll need to find a few switches to activate or deactivate certain blocks, much like the colored switches in another practically ancient favorite, Super Mario World. Along the way, you'll ring bells to activate checkpoints and pick up tiny bags of cash you come across, all in the name of turning that little exploration percentage number into a full and healthy 100%.
You Have to Win the Game leaves some of the less-desired classic gaming conventions behind, so no worries about cheap deaths, limited lives, or corrupt floppy discs (hey, that used to be a real problem!). You do, however, have to deal with a lot of backtracking, something that can grate on you after you've conquered new territory only to step off a ledge and find yourself back at the beginning of a one-way tunnel. But, despite this, you'll have a pleasurable run through You Have to Win the Game, and since persistence will be your key to making the title come true, all you have to do is stick with it and you'll conquer this deliciously classic platform game!
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