You Have to Win the Game Reflex Review – Do I Have a Choice?

Hey spider, you stay on your side and I'll stay on mine.

Hey now spider, I’m just after the money bag… I don’t want any trouble.

I discovered this game when Steam recently suggested the sequel Super Win the Game. Pulling on my nostalgia and pixel art heartstrings, I clicked on the profile page to buy the game. The page suggested a free game of the same style title You Have to Win the Game. Not a free-to-play game mind you… just a free game, or “freeware” in case you’ve never heard the term. Don’t worry, Super Win the Game, I’ll definitely be back for you once I’ve completely beaten your little brother.

Developed by J. Kyle Pittman, co-founder of Minor Key Games, creators of Eldritch – another lo-fi game with a certain classic video game appeal. You Have to Win the Game is an interesting case study in trying to recreate that old CRT monitor look that we remember (or have purposely forgotten) every computer game looking like in the 80s.

I can only sketch if it's in a fourth grade workbook.

All the best artwork comes from fourth grade workbooks.

The game only takes about an hour to reach the end. I have yet to heed the call and “Win the Game.” I’ve spent two hours on it and still haven’t figured out the final puzzle that actually wins me the game. To complete that 1980’s experience, I’ll forgo my usual wiki-and-cheats internet search and just have my older brother figure out how to beat the game and show me.

I can’t say I am excited about any one thing in particular about You Have to Win the Game that would cause me to recommend it to everyone. But if you look at that screenshot above and feel anything… this game was definitely made with you in mind (let me know if you actually win it though, and how you did it!). Everyone should at least have it installed in their Steam library. The pixel art is awesome and its free.

The only thing that could make You Have to Win the Game more perfect in my mind is if I could buy it at Toys “R” Us and if it came with a large instruction manual I could take with me to school and study instead of doing my spelling homework.

“You Have to Win the Game” is a self described exploration platformer with a retro 1980s PC aesthetic originally released in May of 2012 by Pirate Hearts. It is available for FREE, for Windows, MAC, and Linux.

Reflex Review – Like a memorable meal, some games make a big enough impression that you’ve got to tell other people about them before they’re fully digested.