Last on MOTD: Adebayor vs Qwop

HAVE you ever played Qwop? It’s an internet browser game that has been around for nearly three years, but I was only introduced to it by a friend relatively recently. And it’s both infuriating and addictive. So a bit like Top Gear, really.

I’m not sure how to describe Qwop. Wikipedia calls it ‘a ragdoll-based Flash game’. I’ve no idea what this means. (This worries me. When did I start losing the ability to understand my own language? I’ve got an A-level in English, for goodness sake, so I must have been reasonably fluent once. If this carries on, I can see myself, in about 15 years’ time, being reduced to communication by pointing, grunting and sending abusive Tweets to celebrities.)

Anyway, I’ll do my best. In Qwop, you have to propel an athlete 100 metres down an athletics track using your computer’s Q, W, O and P keys to move his legs. Sounds simple. But almost every time you try to propel him forwards, he falls over, showing all the co-ordination of a marionette with entangled strings. Or a British sprint relay team.

Link: Play Qwop

After a lot of effort, I managed to complete Qwop. I got no sense of achievement out of it whatsoever. Instead, I just had a feeling that I’d wasted a little chunk of my precious time on Earth that could have been put to better use reading a book, or writing a poem, or learning Spanish, or telling someone special that I love them. (Don’t worry, it’s not you. Although I’m sure you’re very nice.)

And yet, despite this, Qwop has risen to become my second-favourite athletics-based computer game of all time. Not a bad achievement, because the first will always be the ZX Spectrum’s 1984 Olympics, which had perhaps the most basic game play in the entire history of computers. (You pressed the space bar to make your athlete run faster. That was it.)

As if that weren’t enough, Spectrum Olympics also started with a wonderful played-with-one-finger-on-a-Casio-keyboard version of the UK National Anthem, which made O Superman by Laurie Anderson sound like the 1812 Overture finale.

Qwop seems to revel in its own (and I mean this in the nicest possible way) crapness. The game’s creator, Bennett Foddy – who, in his day job, teaches bioethics at Oxford University (I’ve no idea what that means either) – was recently described by Wired magazine as a man who likes video games with realism. As Wired put it: “Soul-crushing, low-reward realism.”

As if to prove the point, Foddy recently came up with an even harder follow-up to Qwop called Girp, in which you have to get a man to climb a mountain via an extraordinarily complex series of rungs. In the unlikely event that he gets to the top, he wins a raw fish.

There are hundreds of these lo-fi Flash games all over the internet, and many of them are sport-related. Heck, there’s even one featuring Emmanuel Adebayor.

MOTD’s final match: Wolves 0 Tottenham 2
Commentator: Steve Bower

A couple of years ago, an online gaming company called Mousebreaker, which specialises in creating addictive sports games, came up with Bad Adebayor.

The game was released to mark Adebayor’s incendiary performance for Manchester City in a Premier League game against his former club Arsenal, and offered the opportunity to recreate it at the comfort of your own laptop.

All you had to do was stamp on Robin van Persie’s head (as Adebayor did during that game) and then celebrate a goal by sliding as far as possible in front of Arsenal’s fans (ditto). It wasn’t the best game Mousebreaker have ever come up with (Blast Billards and Darts Party remain my two favourites, while Jumpers For Goalposts is incredibly popular), but it did its job in earning the company a mountain of publicity.

It was also a fair reflection of just how fractious Adebayor’s relationship with Arsenal had become by the time he left for City in the summer of 2009. It’s hard to imagine Gunners fans being any fonder of him now that he’s joined Tottenham on loan. But Adebayor, on the other hand, seems to bear no ill feeling at all.

At least, he doesn’t judging by his interview on Saturday’s Match of the Day.

Adebayor has made a habit of scoring on his club debuts in England: he did it for Arsenal, he did it for Manchester City, and he did it for Spurs at Wolves on Saturday. Afterwards, he was asked if scoring for Tottenham might help their fans forget about his history with their neighbours. In response, he claimed an affection for Arsenal that was definitely missing on that afternoon in Manchester two years ago this week.

“I’m not here to please anybody, I’m here to play football,” he said. “I’m a professional. Whenever I can score, I will score. Whenever I have a chance to help the team win a game, that’s what I’m here for. That’s why they signed me.

“I don’t have to care about what people say or what people think. I had a chance to play for Arsenal. I had a great time at Arsenal. I love Arsenal. I still have a big, huge respect for Arsenal.

“Today, I’m a direct enemy to Arsenal. I just have to be professional.”

In that case, Manu, perhaps you’d best steer clear of Bad Adebayor and stick to Qwop.

Gubbometer 2011/12

1. Aston Villa: 2 (2L: 1, 3L: 1)
2: Wolves: 2 (2L: 0, 3L: 1)
3. Swansea: 1 (2L: 2, 3L: 0)
4. Wigan: 1 (2L: 1, 3L: 1)
5. Fulham: 1 (2L: 0, 3L: 0)
5. Tottenham: 1 (2L: 0, 3L: 0)
7. Blackburn: 0 (2L: 1, 3L: 1)
8. Arsenal: 0 (2L: 1, 3L: 0)
8. Norwich: 0 (2L: 1, 3L: 0)
8. Sunderland: 0 (2L: 1, 3L: 0)
11. Chelsea: 0 (2L: 0, 3L: 1)
11. Everton: 0 (2L: 0, 3L: 1)
11. QPR: 0 (2L: 0, 3L: 1)
11. West Brom: 0 (2L: 0, 3L: 1)
15. Bolton: 0 (2L: 0, 3L: 0)
15: Liverpool: 0 (2L: 0, 3L: 0)
15. Manchester City: 0 (2L: 0, 3L: 0)
15. Manchester United: 0 (2L: 0, 3L: 0)
15. Newcastle: 0 (2L: 0, 3L: 0)
15. Stoke: 0 (2L: 0, 3L: 0)

2L = On second last (Arsenal 1 Swansea 0)
3L = On third last (Everton 2 Aston Villa 2)

(Teams receive one point every time they are last on MOTD. Teams level are separated by the number of times they are on second last, then by the number of times they are on third last. MOTD2 not included.)

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