I Wanna Be the Guy

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Probably the most straight-forward area in I Wanna Be The Guy.[1]

You are The Kid. You want to be The Guy. To do that, you have to kill The Guy.

And standing between you and The Guy are hordes of annoying, hard-to-kill monsters, downright sadistic traps, nigh-impossible obstacle courses, and everything else that represents the worst parts of 8- and 16-bit platform gaming.

All you have are a red cape, a small gun, and a Double Jump. You also have infinite lives, and you will need every single one of them.

Get the game here, and have fun dying!

Many, many fangames of this game have been made due to an easy to use engine containing the basics of the original game. A list of some more prominent ones can be found here.

There is a Spiritual Successor by the name of Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril, endorsed by Kayin himself. Also, The Kid is an unlockable character in Super Meat Boy.[2]

As of December 30, 2011, the game has been made open source, mainly to allow the community to try fixing its innumerable bugs.

Contrast with You Have to Burn The Rope and compare Jumper and N.

Tropes used in I Wanna Be the Guy include:
  • AI Roulette: Dracula takes this and turns it into something from the tenth circle of hell. His randomly picked attacks range from standard difficulty (i.e. hard) to beyond good and evil, and some combinations are pretty much unsurvivable. This makes him the potentially most difficult boss fight in the game (yes, he can be tougher than the final boss!).
  • Attack Reflector: How to defeat The Guy's first phase.
  • Background Boss: Mike Tyson.
  • Back Tracking: Can be kept to a minimum if you choose the right paths, but there's a few parts you have to go through twice.
  • Badass: Seems to be a requirement for The Guys. Just look at the Hall Of Former The Guys: Bowser, Lu Bu, Ryu Hayabusa, Mike Haggar, Big Boss, Scrooge McDuck, Kenshiro, etc. If despite all odds you manage to beat the game, you deserve this title.
    • Hell, some would say you deserve the title for not giving up. Nintendo Hard is a standard here.
  • Badass Boast: "I have bested fruit, spike and moon!" Admittedly, it would sound incredibly silly used in any other context. In this context though, its badass-level is somewhere between single-handedly crushing the universe into paste and ripping out someone's intestinal tract and using it as a belt. "I defeated The Guy" works well in real life, when you're among people who are familiar with the game. The higher the difficulty, the more badass the boast.
  • Badass Grandpa: The Kid's grandfather used to be The Guy. His name is Former Grandfather the Guy.
  • Bait and Switch Boss: Near the end, the Moon that has been plaguing you appears all huge, as if ready to engage in a final showdown, and then gets smacked aside in about two seconds by the dragon from Mega Man 2. Especially misleading in that the Moon was high in the sky for the entire minecart ride beforehand, and the minecart section had "The Moon" from Duck Tales playing as the background music.
    • In fact, the Moon does the same thing much, much earlier: throughout the Ghosts 'n Goblins area, the Moon appears bigger and bigger with each screen. On the screen with a Full Moon, you head under it and the Moon falls down onto you. Instead of killing you, of course, it just breaks the floor and drops you into the Mecha Birdo boss fight.
  • Based on a Great Big Lie: The FAQ calls it a romhack of Battletoads. The joke being, of course, that no-one ever finished Battletoads, so how could they disprove it? An Impossible Mode that at least five people have been recorded as having beaten, at least one of whom recorded their entire run.
  • BFG: The Kid claims one as a result of triumphing over The Guy.
  • Big No: The Guy, once he's well and truly dead.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The Japanese on the mock-Ikaruga warning before Mecha-birdo says "I hate Dorayaki". Incidentally, it's also misspelled with the character for "jealousy" where it should say "fried", perhaps to match the quality of the English text.
  • Black Bead Eyes: The Kid.
  • Bloodstained-Glass Windows: A saintly image of The Kid, complete with nimbus.
  • Brick Joke: In one screen you can clearly see the moon. Several later, it falls and tries to flatten you.
  • Bullet Hell: The game flirts with this a few times.
    • Dracula has an attack where he shoots a spiral pattern of flaming Delicious Fruit; it's no Touhou pattern though, as Kayin admits. Later on, the Vic Viper sequence shows Dracula how it's really done.
    • Also, the Tourian section plays with this in the boss room. Of course, it's really more like Rinka Hell.
  • Butt Monkey: The Kid.
  • Chain-Reaction Destruction: A few bosses die like this.
  • Check Point Starvation: Impossible mode has no Save Points.[3]
  • Chest Monster: At one point, a save point attacks you. Oddly enough, it's the only save point that appears on Impossible, which should clearly tell you it's a fake. However, killing it gives you a 1-frame window to save. You'd think the word "evil" on the save point would at least make people more wary.
  • Classic Video Game "Screw You"s: Practically a thesaurus[4] of them.
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: Dracula's final form. So much so that it's the only enemy that can't cause you any harm in any way. You can actually walk through it without anything happening.
  • Collision Damage
  • Colon Cancer: The full title is I Wanna Be The Guy: The Movie: The Game. There's no movie. Sadly.
  • Colony Drop:
    • The moon falls out of the sky multiple times during the game. Dracula shoots it at you, complete with voice-acted "Here is TRUE POWER!" and a trail of fire.
    • Surprisingly, the drops themselves aren't likely to kill you. Instead, the primary cause of death via moon is it chasing you. In fact, the one time it only falls directly down, it actually doesn't kill you. This happens because it crushes the ground beneath you, sending you to the Mecha-Birdo battle.
  • Cranium Ride: On 8-bit Link in one Zelda-themed room. Link attempts to swipe at you in the process.
  • Creepy Changing Painting: Lu Bu's portrait in the gallery of The Guys (played for laughs).
  • Deadly Dodging: The Guy's third attack pattern renders him Immune To Your Puny Pea-shooter Bullets. You gotta bounce his shots back at him. Which is not easy because instead of obeying rules of motion or bouncing at proper angles, the shots always aim at you when they hit a wall.
  • Death Course: The whole game, basically.
  • Death Is Cheap: Usually. It's so common that it feels a lot worse, especially since every part of every room is a death trap. Even the things that aren't dangerous at all catch you because you're expecting something awful to happen.
  • Death World: A game like this can only take place in one.
  • Deconstruction Game: In terms of difficulty.
  • Depth Perplexion: As in tradition to Platform Hell genre, it's intentional.
  • Destination Defenestration: The Guy is sent careerning through a window—only to return with a vengeance.
  • Easter Egg:
    • There are six hidden rooms with secret collectible items. One requires going through two screens full of small and completely invisible platforms in the wrong direction. And mind you, that one is the easiest one to get. Don't even ask about some of the others...
    • Wait long enough at the title screen. See what happens.
    • The secret items do, in fact, do something. They unlock Boss Rush mode.
  • Easy Mode Mockery: Few people wanted to play the game on Medium because the extra save points were marked "Wuss" and The Kid gains a cute red bow in his hair... The bow remains on the screen when you explode too.
  • Engrish: The scroll text near the end of the attract sequence, parodying the scroll text from the original The Legend of Zelda.
  • Establishing Series Moment:
    • The third story down on the first screen. After you've learned how to avoid the huge spiked boards that shoot out of nowhere, the third shoots out from the opposite direction.
    • The other obvious route on the first screen (upwards) leads to the iconic "falling apples" moment of the game, mentioned in the page quote.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: There are maybe a few things that do not kill you. They include the floor, some water, some walls, the background, Mario (who appears in his referee outfit to announce "TKO!" when you beat Mike Tyson), and the save points. Except one.
    • In the Kirby level, the floor does actively try to kill you. Freaking mobile spike pit!
    • Even the background scores a few kills in a way. Once when a star falls out of the sky and kills you, and again when the gravestones crush you.
    • Kayin's Let's Play Commentary has him and his friends wonder if it would be possible to make the cursor kill you. The unrelated but equally hard game named... well, Fangame does exactly that.
    • At the very end of the ending, you wind up under a tree with Delicious Fruit. Take a wild guess what happens if you don't move out the way. Yes, you can die in the ending.
    • Surprisingly, there is one case when something that falls directly down towards you but does not kill you. It's the moon, which breaks the ground below you sending you to the Mecha Birdo Battle.
    • In the Gaiden version, it's even possible to be killed on the overworld map, which is rigged with booby traps.
  • Excuse Plot
  • Eye Beams: The Guy's second phase.
  • Eye Scream: Considering that you have to shoot The Guy multiple times in the eyes in order to beat him.
  • Fake Difficulty: This is sort of the point of the game. You'll spend a lot of time with the trial and error twins. That being said, the examples of this trope are all spaced out by examples of very, very real difficulty, so that even returning players will have huge troubles.
  • Fake Platform
  • Fallen Hero: The Guy wears a tattered cape.
  • Fangame: Numerous fangames have been made, the most famous being I Wanna Be the Fangame... made by one of the few people who have beaten I Wanna Be the Guy on impossible.
  • Final Boss: The Guy.
  • Fission Mailed:
    • The fake Windows XP error message, which drops down and squashes The Kid if you don't move him out of the way in time immediately after regaining control. Especially ironic since the game crashes so much that there's a decent chance of getting a real error message instead.
    • The Kid falling onto a giant bed of spikes at the end. As he has defeated The Guy and claimed his title, he walks out unharmed.
  • Floating Platforms
  • Frickin' Laser Beams:
  • Fundamentally Funny Fruit: Eggplants. Of course, they're trying to kill you just like everything else in this game.
  • Gaiden Game: I Wanna Save The Kids, which combines the sadistic death-traps we all know and love with a Lemmings-style Escort Mission. It's pretty hard. Unfortunately, Kayin has canceled it and moved on to other things, like I Wanna Be the Guy: Gaiden.
  • Game Over: PRESS 'R' TO TRY AGAIN.
  • Goomba Springboard
  • Goomba Stomp: Only played straight with the Bullets Bill the Snifit fires at you, which are also...
  • Guide Dang It:
    • Mecha Birdo's third weakpoint shoot at its mouth as it's firing an egg is something you're probably not going to know about even after you do find it.
    • One of the lefthand walls in the starting screen is fake and you can pass through it, but the only in-game clue is that your bullets pass through it instead of disappearing. And considering this is your first experience with the game's many death traps, you're probably not going to notice the clue—you're more likely to stumble on it by complete accident, or know about it already from watching playthroughs.
  • Harder Than Hard: The difficulties start at "Medium" and go up through "Hard", "Very Hard", up to "Impossible". Note that the actual game itself is always the same no matter what level you're on. The only difference is the frequency of save points (and the Easy Mode Mockery on Medium). There are zero real save points on Impossible. You're expected to win the entire game with one life. In all literal seriousness, Impossible mode is possible, but requires quite a bit of memorization and a fair degree of benevolence from the more random luck-requiring bosses. When somebody eventually beat it, the creator's official response was "holy crap you're not serious are you".
  • Hard Levels Easy Bosses: "Brutally Hard" being the easy side of the equation.
  • Have a Nice Death
  • High-Pressure Blood: In both the trope and medical sense.
  • Homage: Pretty much everything in the game is a recreation of or reference to some old famous game, including Tetris, Kirby's Dream Land, Ghosts 'n Goblins, Mega Man, Metroid, Castlevania, The Legend of Zelda and more. Especially the harder parts. Most of the bosses are actually taken from other games, though made much harder.
  • Humongous Mecha: Mecha Birdo.
  • Improvised Platform: in the second screen, you need to shoot one of the spikes on the wall to knock it over and use it as a platform.
  • Invisible Block: Not as obnoxious as most Platform Hell examples, fortunately.
  • It's Personal: Leans towards this after The Guy admits to killing The Kid's grandfather to become The Guy. And he's The Kid's dad too.
  • Jump Physics: Including both the Double Jump and the Wall Jump.
  • Kaizo Trap: Everywhere, usually in the cruelest way possible.
  • Kid Hero: Literally. His name is The Kid.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Defied. The game is pretty blatant with its use of copyrighted material, and would likely be the target of numerous copyright infringement lawsuits if it weren't Freeware,
  • Leap of Faith
  • Lost Forever: If you don't grab the hidden item in the Metroid level the first time around, you can't get it on that play file, because the Metroid level is inaccessible after the Tourian System explodes.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Dracula.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: The Metroids are the only hazard in the game that do not reduce the Kid to this.

J-Man: "The Kid is like a fragile piece of tomato. HE EXPLOD every time you die."

  • Luke, I Am Your Father: The Guy is The Kid's father, complete with Star Wars dialogue.
  • Made of Explodium: The Kid. He explodes into Ludicrous Gibs every time you die, unless it's a Metroid.
  • Make My Monster Grow: The Guy starts out as the smallest boss in the game (but still notably bigger than The Kid). He does this to himself partway through the battle.
  • Malevolent Architecture: You will most likely find yourself getting killed more often by the environment than by an actual living enemy.
  • Masochist's Meal: People eat Delicious Fruit. According to Kayin, they have to get them out of trees with sticks, in order to keep from getting gibbed, and then they have to boil them three times to remove all the poison. The bouncing fruity engine of death seen in the Breakout section is what happens when you only boil them twice. Delicious!
  • Metroidvania: To a small extent.
  • Minecart Madness
  • Musical Spoiler: Subverted! The Minecart Madness segment has "The Moon" from the Duck Tales game playing as the background music. That, combined with the full moon high in the sky, makes you think that the boss guarding the Guy Fortress will be the Moon that has plagued you so much. When it does show up, however, it's swatted aside by the real boss, Devil Dragon.
  • Ninja Prop: Obvious parts of the background attack the Kid.
  • Nintendo Hard: Ironically, in order to make the game beatable, you have infinite lives and there are even save points. This is an almost unprecedented level of accommodation in the sidescrolling genre, but it's justified since, well, it really would be (almost) impossible without them (which is indeed exactly what Impossible mode does).
  • No Damage Run: Required for Impossible.
  • No Indoor Voice: The Kid.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Contact with most moving things (as well as several things that don't move) that are not platforms is instant death. If it doesn't outright kill you, it will likely bump you towards something that will.
  • One Bullet At a Time: In most parts, you can only have four bullets on the screen at a time, making it important to get as close to the bosses as possible.
  • Orphaned Series: It seems that I Wanna Save The Kids was canceled.
  • Painting the Fourth Wall: Like everything else in the game, used to create traps, like the Multimedia Fusion "error" in the Ryu Hayabusa room and the Evil Save Point.
  • Paranoia Fuel: After a while of dying to cleverly-hidden traps, you will not trust anything in the background. Of course, that's kinda the point.
  • Perpetual Smiler: For someone who's rarely more than a few seconds away from a bloody death, The Kid always seems remarkably happy.
  • Platform Hell: This isn't so much a game as it is a torture device.
  • Press X to Die: This is the safest room in the game. Only Q can kill you.
  • Press X to Not Die: No warnings, obviously, but there are a few apparent cutscenes that can kill you such as the start of the battle with Dracula when he throws the wineglass.
  • Rain of Blood: The Kid's death animation, with a little bouncing head, to add insult to injury.
  • Recurring Boss: The Moon.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Basically, this game is so unfair, so filled to the brim with Fake Difficulty, so freaking impossible, that it becomes fun.
  • Retreaux: This box art.
  • Running Gag:
    • The Moon.
    • The downward-, upward-, sideways-falling, targeted and homing Delicious Fruit.
  • Save Game Limits
  • Save Scumming: It's almost impossible to complete the game without ever saving. Especially not on your first try.
  • Selective Gravity: A rule of thumb is: if something can inconvenience you by falling upwards/sideways, it will do so.
  • Sequential Boss: The Koopa Clown Car. Unfortunately, the first two forms are so easy, it's basically just an unskippable two minute cutscene every time you want to fight the much harder final form.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • Smoking Is Cool: The Guy is chomping on an 8-bit cigarette.
  • Soft Glass: The glass The Guy dislodges doesn't kill you if it hits you. Fruit yes, pictures yes, the dull bits of spikes yes, but not sharp glass. Solid glass DOES seem fatal though, as Dracula can still kill you with his wine glass. That, or The Kid is trying too hard to stay sober.
  • Soft Water: At one point, you jump from a very high area, fall about three screens downwards, catch on fire like a meteor, and if you manage to land in the "conveniently" placed pool of water, you live.
  • Spikes of Doom: So many. So very, very many. Some of them LAUNCH SIDEWAYS. WHILE STILL POINTING DOWNWARDS.
  • The Spiny: Inverted: these are the only enemies you can Goomba Stomp.
  • Stalactite Spite: Most commonly done with fruits or spikes (see above), but there are some genuine stalactites in there too. Subverted at one point with ceiling spikes that tremble when you pass underneath them, but never fall.
  • Stand in Portrait: Inverted with the Vic Viper, which ends up being very useful to The Kid.
  • Stepford Smiler: Whether The Kid traverses through spike-covered corridors or tries to avoid gravity-defying fruit for the billionth time, he always does so with a smile.
  • Stylistic Suck: The magnified Nintendo sprites (Tyson, Mecha Birdo, Kraidgief and The Guy) look appropriately ridiculous.
  • The Tetris Effect: Don't get surprised if you start expecting traps and surprise deaths in every other game you play. Or hell, on your way back from school! Or in your lunch box, next to your sandwich!
  • Title Drop

The Kid: Former Grandfather The Guy! You killed him!
The Guy: Just as you will try to kill me, or be killed yourself!

  • To Be a Master
  • Trial and Error Gameplay: If you look hard you might be able to find a room that doesn't do this. It is worth noting that the room seen in the screenshot at the top of this article is one of only about four or so in the entire game that lack out-of-nowhere surprises and are Exactly What It Says on the Tin. It's anything but boring. In fact, the entire game is based on this trope.
  • Troll: In video game form.
  • Turns Red: Clown Copter and The Guy do this metaphorically. Mecha Birdo does it literally.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: The Breakout and Vic Viper sequences.
  • Unexpected Shmup Level
  • The Unfought: The Moon despite what you may think upon reaching the first boss of The Guy's castle.
  • Unique Enemy: Quite a few of them show up in their own particular places, usually to punish your perfectly logical course of action with a Non Sequitur Scene.
  • Unskippable Cutscenes:
    • Thankfully averted. If you don't want to go nuts from having to watch Mike Tyson rise up every time you die, remember, the "S" key is your friend. Perhaps just as well, considering Dracula can kill you with his goblet during the cutscene before the fight with him.
    • However, the lengthy intros to the Kraidgief and Bowser fights can't be skipped. For the former, this is actually good, as you can shoot his head for a bit once he roars, which wouldn't happen if you skipped it. For the latter, this is due to it being a three-part boss.
  • Unsound Effect: In the Clown Copter battle, when you beat the first two pilots, the Copter spins off with the cartoon explosion reading "Bomb!" from Super Mario Bros. 2.
  • Unwinnable: This can occur at many MANY parts of the game where if you fall down and can't back up or something of the similar sort, you can't progress. Luckily, the game has a suicide button... which does you no good on Impossible, which screws you over for trying to restart by wiping all your progress on the run. Also, the game makes no attempt to prevent you from saving in bad places, meaning that it is easy to unintentionally overwrite your save with an Unwinnable situation. Thanks Kayin for I Wanna Be The Fix.
  • Violation of Common Sense: The bit in the Ghosts 'n Goblins area where you have to jump into a cluster of three apples to make them fall sideways.
  • Wall Jump: Can only be done off of special walls. Two different kinds, actually, resulting in two different kinds of Wall Jump.
  • Wasted Song: There's a ton of great 8-bit music in this game. The problem is that, with death so frequent, you'll inevitably only hear the first few bars on each life.
  • Weird Moon: Which then falls on you. Repeatedly. And if it's not falling on you, Dracula is flinging it at you in lieu of those bigass black fireballs.
  • Would Hurt a Child: This has apparently become routine for The Guy. "One more to add to my score!"
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Several of the traps rely on the player being this, most (in)famously the "YOU JUMPED INTO A SWORD. YOU RETARD!" screen.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: If the distance signs are to be believed, the mine cart travels 10,000 kilometres in 78 seconds. That's 286,786 miles per hour, or 373 times the speed of sound.
  • Year X: 200X, parodying the Mega Man games (the game was released in 2007).
  • You!: The Kid finally unmasking The Guy.



  1. See the tiny thing on the right of the picture, on top of the brown platform? That's your character. Good luck...
  2. Naturally, he is the hardest character to unlock.
  3. Except for one that can be activated via a glitch.
  4. Why thesaurus? Because an encyclopedia is more in depth, and a dictionary is too short on each entry. And because it's funnier.