News Article

Bit.Trip Runner is About "What it Means to be Human"

Posted by James Newton

Alex Neuse reveals game's story and influences

Have you played Bit.Trip Runner yet? It's rather good and, as we said in our review, "cements Gaijin's reputation as a developer that has repeatedly shown it has a firm grasp on the craft of gaming." You might not actually understand what the game's about though: like previous Bit.Trip titles, it's not abundantly clear at first, but a recent Bitmob interview with Gaijin's Alex Neuse has shone a little light on the story.

Revealing that Commander Video has found human form after years as an ethereal spirit and goodness knows what else, Neuse expanded a little on the meaning behind the game:

It was a very deliberate move that we built up the abstract stuff in the first three games, which kind of represents the abstraction of what it means to be a human. And then we explore what it means to actually play as a human in game number four, with Bit.Trip Runner.

Unless you've got the reflexes of a ninja cat, you may find Runner's depiction of the human experience to be madly frustrating amongst all the rainbows and bars of gold, but that's a pretty accurate representation of the day-to-day here at Nintendo Life.

The rest of the interview makes fascinating reading as Neuse chats about inventing Canabalt before Canabalt, hints for the fifth game in the series and plenty more.


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User Comments (15)



LztheQuack said:

So..if an N-life user or moderator get struck by a meteor, they have to start over? That's terrible



James said:

@lz That's why we had to stop Sean going for all the gold. It always ended badly. He's now on his fourteenth life. Poor guy.



Sean_Aaron said:

You know I haven't thought too hard about the meaning of the games, but this makes sense. In BEAT we see CommanderVideo try to take a step and fall on his face, he's just starting out, trying to find his way in the world. In CORE others who appear large and strange are like adult figures coming to help him on his way. In VOID he's growing, seemingly beyond those who were aiding him - swelling with overconfidence. In RUNNER he crashes back to Earth, but is still determined to get on with things, charging onward through all obstacles.

I haven't met Alex yet, but he does live in "granola country" and if he's in a similar stage of life to myself, I can see this kind of reflective, spiritual vibe getting into the games. I'm definitely looking forward to sharing a veggie burrito with him and the other Gaijin Games' guys in June!



Z_Bone said:

This is a great game, but who else is having a really hard time with level 3-10. I've probably played it over a hundred times and still haven't beaten it.



Adam said:

You'll get it, Z Bone. It takes over a hundred times.

I guess I kind of understood the cut scenes. Makes more sense now having the designer put it into words though. Interesting article all around. I like how well planned and theorized the whole series is. All that forethought really shows in the final products, and it's great to have this behind the scenes look into how they came up with this stuff. That's something you don't get from every developer. The article needed more Bit Trip 5 hints though.

I'll just have to have my veggie burrito with Commander Video, assuming he has a mouth.



bro2dragons said:

man, i love these games. for something so simple, with 8-bit graphics, and Atari-esque gameplay (though polished and addictive... it's nothing new), there's definitely depth if you want it. great developer. can't wait to see them finish the series, or see what they do when it's done.



theblackdragon said:

@Machu: so much of the human experience is trial and error, though. You do something, it doesn't work, you try something else, and when it works, you do that next time instead of the first thing you did. :3



Machu said:

Damn! I was just coming back to delete that comment, but you caught me. Untitled Which proves your point I guess.

I'm sorry, I just found the game extremely shallow and joyless. To see articles like this, scores of 10, and people everywhere singing it's praises, is most frustrating.

but yeah, I'll shut up now

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