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Video Game: Meat Boy

Meat Boy is a flash game created by Team Meat (which includes Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes) and released on Newgrounds on October 10, 2008.

Meat Boy is a game about pain. It is a game about understanding pain in its purest, most unadulterated form, forcing you to go into a fit of madness. It's also an affectionate callback to all of the controller destroyingly difficult games of the late eighties and early nineties, and all of the clichés that go along with them, but at least here the levels are (usually) short and the lives (usually) infinite.

You play as Meat Boy, a skinless boy, trying to save his girlfriend made of gauze, Bandage Girl, from the clutches of Dr. Fetus, a nefarious fetus being in a jar that just so happens to have a PhD. It's not exactly the most original plot ever conceived, but the game's still very imaginative. And painful, as Meat Boy must traverse though worlds filled with buzzsaws, syringes, lava, buzzsaws, salt, homing missiles, and buzzsaws. Did we mention buzzsaws? Cause, yeah, there's a lot of them. We mentioned pain too, right?

A map pack was later released on December 8, 2008. A sequel, Super Meat Boy, was released on Xbox LIVE Arcade and PC in Fall and Winter of 2010. A WiiWare port was planned as well, but it was later cancelled as Nintendo's 40 MB limit for WiiWare games was much too small for the developers to work with.

Meat Boy also appears in the BIT.TRIP series as a member of Commander Video's Five-Man Band. In return, Commander Video appears in Super Meat Boy as an unlockable character. Meat Boy is also featured in The Binding of Isaac as an unlockable upgrade power.

Compare I Wanna Be the Guy, Syobon Action, and Kaizo Mario World, which are difficult through sheer unfairness, rather than Meat Boy's brutal, but fair design.


Both games contain examples of:

Super Meat Boy contains examples of:

  • After the End: Chapter 5.
  • Abandoned Hospital: Chapter 2.
  • Adorable Abomination: C.H.A.D.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: Lil' Slugger.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: At least a few times per world. They take the place of the autoscrolling levels in the original game. The "wall" may consist of saws, blood, salt, lava, maggots, or, in one of The Cotton Alley's stages, Pepto-Bismol. (It's a palette swap of the lava.)
    • C.H.A.D. and Brownie have a rising death floor as hazards in their stages.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: The new cover art for the PC release is a Shout-Out to over-the-top cover arts of video games from The Nineties.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature: Part of the core of the game:
    • The respawn after death literally take less than a second and is automatic.
    • The levels themselves are short, ranging from 15 seconds to 90 seconds, so in the quite likely event you die, you don't have to go through too much again.
    • Various little side-quests when you get too frustrated with the main game, like beating past levels in record time, collecting bandages to unlock new playable characters, or playing through retro-styled "warp zones".
    • When you finally do beat a level, the game then shows you a replay of all your past lives doing the level simultaneously, which is good for showing you where the hardest parts of the level were. It's also kinda hilarious to see a cloud of Meat Boys get shredded to half their number by a giant saw.
  • Ascended Extra: According to Word of God, this picture is Tofu Boy's first appearence. He doesn't really look that much weak in there though...
  • Alas, Poor Villain: In-Universe example. When Dr. Fetus is finally defeated, Meat Boy briefly feels sorry for him, but he quickly changes his mind.
  • Alternate Reality Game: The Steam version is one of the 13 indie games that form the bulk of the material of Valve's "PotatoFoolsDay" Portal 2 ARG.
  • And I Must Scream: Tofu Boy, all the time.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: The ground in the chapter select screens has a face that changes based on the chapter.
  • Art Shift: When going to the retro levels.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Steve and Meat Ninja, whom cannot be used to complete levels legitimately or earn achievements.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: Brownie, who was supposed to attack you first, but when Dr. Fetus starts flooding the room with salt, you both start racing to escape it.
  • "Before" and "After" Pictures: Credits has that one, although not in picture form.
  • Bifauxnen: Jill.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: The Hospital.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Grubs in Chapter 5. Some are crawling along the surfaces while others have gathered in large piles.
  • Black Comedy
  • Blob Monster: Some of the enemies. From unlockable characters, Gish.
  • Boss Subtitles: Commander Video, Jill, Ogmo, Flywrench, and The Kid all get these. (Flywrench does it a bit differently — instead of a freezeframe and displaying his name and the game he's from, it's simply a black screen saying "Launch Flywrench.exe?")
  • Bragging Rights Reward: The final Dark World level is appropriately named 'Brag Rights'.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: Some of the bonus levels.
    • The warp zone that unlocks The Kid being one of the most brutal set of levels ever put in a game. But what were you expecting from a Super Meat Boy / I Wanna Be the Guy crossover?
    • There is an extra, very hard chapter unlocked by beating the game.
  • Bullet Time: CommanderVideo in his introduction video.
  • The Cameo: Some non-playable characters make a cameo appearance too, like Darwinian from Darwinia or the boy from Limbo.
  • Chainsaw Good: The first boss has it, along with regular buzzsaws of doom.
  • Cheat Code: Required to play as Brownie, a Goo Ball (Steam version only), and Tofu Boy.
  • Chicken Walker: Lil' Slugger.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Jill.
  • Context-Sensitive Button : Dr. Fetus' single-buttoned Handy Remote Control is this, as it can to anything from summon a boss monster to turn on machinery to throw at Meat Boy to send him off a cliff.
  • Cranial Eruption: The 4th boss gets two of these during the fight. Since he's made out of dead meat, they're rather blocky.
  • Crapsack World / Crapsaccharine World: If you aren't dead, you're about to be, and everything kinda sucks while you're alive anyway. A squirrel can witness his whole family die, only to be killed by a random saw blade. He gets better, but only in time to be killed by a nuclear explosion to get a bit better again during the ending. Heck, even Dr. Fetus is only evil because everyone hates him! Also, most of the locations Meat Boy visits seem to be in ruins.
  • Creator Cameo: Complete one of the minus worlds and you see the creators of the game make an appearance.
  • Crutch Character: Commander Video, sort of. His float makes it easy to clear levels and get bandages in the first two chapters, but he's very slow and his jump is one of the lowest in the game. Many levels later on are impossible to clear with him due to his flaws. However, it's still somewhat possible to get some bandages easier in later levels.
  • Credits Medley
  • Cut Song: The Dark World of Chapter 5 has an unused theme. Same to second part of the boss level.
  • Dark World: Each of the main levels except the boss battles (not including Chapter 6's boss) has a dark world counterpart. You don't know why the other ones are called light worlds until you play these.
  • Deadly Dodging: A few times it has to be done. For an example, to allow turrets open up the passages. The fifth boss fight requires you to lure the boss to his death.
  • Deadly Rotary Fan: Several levels have giant fans that can propel you through the air. Get too close to the blades, though, and SPLORCH!
  • Death Course: Every. Single. Level.
  • Death Is Cheap: At the end of chapters 4 and 6, it is revealed that infinite lives aren't just a gameplay mechanic.
  • Debug Mode: Accessible by putting -devmode into the launch options. While in devmode, press F1 to access a primitive level editor.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Some of the levels (and the entire 6th chapter). Monochrome or dichrome levels are more frequent in Dark World.
  • Disney Villain Death: Subverted — Dr. Fetus appears to have died after being defeated Super Mario Bros.. style in the final boss level, but then he pulls off a Taking You with Me by activating a self-destruct. After Meat Boy and Bandage Girl escape, Dr. Fetus reappears and hits Bandage Girl over the head repeatedly.
    • Double Subverted — He actually accomplishes nothing by hitting her, which he soon realizes and falls to the ground. Then he's stomped on. A lot.
  • Distressed Dude: Eventually, Dr. Fetus decides that he has had enough of capturing the girl and captures Meat Boy instead.
  • Disturbed Doves: As an homage to Canabalt.
  • Ditto Fighter: Meat Boy clones in Chapter 5.
  • Doppelgänger: Meat Boy has four and counting. And that's just playable characters. There's Brownie, who's a traditional Dark Reflection type doppelganger, Tofu Boy, pretender to the throne turned pathetic Joke Character and star of PETA's ill advised parody game, Meat Ninja, Meat Boy as a Future Badass from the year 20XX, and most recently, Potato Boy, an April Fools joke and Portal 2 tie in who's afraid of girls. Not to mention the fact every time Meat Boy dies, his former body lives on as a Meat Boy zombie as seen in Hell and Rapture, of which there are doubtlessly thousands. Then if that weren't enough, the Meat Boy zombies can merge together to form a colossal Meat Boy golem called "Little Horn", which serves as the game's fourth boss. Despite all this, there is not yet a Robo-Meat Boy.
  • Double Jump: Some of the unlockable characters can do this, and one can even triple jump.
  • Downloadable Content: Super Meat World with 8 (!) new chapters. Available for free on Steam.
    • In the Xbox 360 version, there's an extra chapter called "Teh Internets" (unlocked by collecting 20 bandages) that has 5 sets of 20 levels.
  • Dummied Out: In the PC version, there's a primitive level editor, a complete character select, and a playable Dr. Fetus, complete with functioning rocket launcher.
  • The End... Or Is It?: The complete ending shows that Bandage Girl is pregnant with an evil fetus. Dun dun duuuuuun!
  • Everything's Better with Rainbows: If, for some reason, you don't like playing as Meat Boy and dripping a trail of blood everywhere, one of the first characters you can unlock is Commander Video from the BIT.TRIP series, who has an 8-bit rainbow trail.
  • Evil Knockoff: Brownie, who is designed to look like Meat Boy, but instead of meat is made of Dr. Fetus' poo.
  • Evil Overlooker: box art features Dr. Fetus as one.
  • Eye Beams: These are fired by...
  • Faceless Eye: ...that kind of turret.
  • Five-Man Band: Meat Boy, Bandage Girl, and the Warp Zone characters by default, due to being in all versions.
  • Floating Continent: 6th chapter.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams
  • From Bad to Worse: Chapter 5.
  • Fusion Dance: Little Horn is created from combined dead Meat Boy corpses.
  • Future Badass: Meat Ninja.
  • Game Breaker: Deliberately invoked - Steve? from Minecraft can dig through walls and place blocks in midair to stand on, allowing him to completely skip most hazards. As such, you cannot earn achievements while playing as him.
  • Game-Breaking Bug / Good Bad Bugs:
    • In one of the early levels, it's possible to get bandages over and over, resulting an incorrect percentage on the game completion. It also had a save file crash problem when it came out. The bugfix is still awaiting approval.
    • When the PC port came out, many players also had some serious bugs ranging from bosses not appearing to not being able to start the game at all. The development team started to fiercely fix the glitches so it got 9 batches of bug fixes within 9 days.
    • Unfortunately, the use of variable framerate physics makes the game so glitchy that it is unplayable on performance-challenged computers.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Little Horn.
  • Handy Remote Control: Dr. Fetus uses this quite frequently which does different things. Also parodied in one cutscene where Dr. Fetus pretends to be about to press it, only to throw it at Meat Boy.
  • A Hell of a Time: The Meat Boys in Hell during the credits.
  • Heh Heh, You Said X: If you Alt+Tab while playing, you will return to your computer's desktop with the game minimized. If you try to bring it back up again, you will sometimes get an error message stating that "The game has crashed. A mini-dump (heh heh) has been sent to the developers."
  • Homing Projectile: A few of the turrets fire these. Although their homing abilities aren't the best, they make up for it with projectile speed.
    • Also, Dr. Fetus' bazooka. While its projectiles are slower and smaller, their homing abilities are much better.
  • Inconveniently Placed Conveyor Belt
  • Interface Spoiler: Shows the number of chapters in the game. There is an extra chapter indeed after beating the first main 5 chapters + epilogue chapter.
  • In the End, You Are on Your Own: In the final chapter, named The End, only Meat Boy is playable.
  • Iris Out: Heart-shaped variation during the ending.
  • Joke Character: Tofu Boy, a Take That to a Meat Boy parody by PETA. He's the slowest character in the game, with no special abilities, and he can't jump to save his life.
    • He can just barely beat the first two levels.
  • Kick the Dog: Meat Boy in the ending scene of Chapter 2.
  • Large Ham / Large Ham Announcer: The announcer.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: see Crutch Character
  • Meaningless Lives: Averted in the warp zones but played straight in the Minus Levels; since you only play one long stage at a time (as opposed to three in a warp zone), lives seem to serve no purpose other than to annoy the player with loading screens.
  • Medium Blending: The creators wanted to give art shifts opposite of Ren and Stimpy (where characters and everything else get extremely detailed in closeups) so in-game graphics, where everything is distant, are drawn more realistically, but menus and cutscenes are drawn in cartoon style. In-game characters, however, are drawn in a very pixellated style.
  • Minus World: Deliberately used. Bandage Girl starts glitching sometimes when you replay levels in a chapter where you've beaten the boss. Reaching her when she's in this state unlocks that chapter's Minus World.
  • Mood Dissonance: Cotton Alley. The background is pink (very bright in Dark World), a rabbit disco plays in the background, and the chapter contains some of the hardest levels in the game.
  • Mood Whiplash: At the end of the first chapter.
  • Multiple Endings: Two of them. One for Light World, and one for Dark World that expands upon the previous.
  • No Indoor Voice: The announcer. Just put in a code to use a secret character and get ready to be told to PUSH THE BUTTONS!
    • WARRRRRRRRRP ZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONE!
  • Nonindicative Name:
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: At first, Dr. Fetus seems like a comical Jerkass villain whose worst crime is rather slapstick abuse of Bandage Girl. Then, at the end of the first world, he burns down the forest the earlier levels took place in For the Evulz and chases Meat Boy down in a giant saw robot powered by the blood of innocent woodland creatures, and it gets worse from there.
  • Oh Crap: Meat Boy's reaction when he has a bazooka in his face.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: The theme of Dr. Fetus, the final boss. Fittingly, it is named Carmeaty Burana.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Undead meat (which is the boss of Chapter 4) and regular ones in found in Chapter 5.
  • Parasol Parachute: Dr. Fetus uses one at the end of Chapter 2.
  • Precision F-Strike: The final Light World level is appropriately named 'Four Letter Word'.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Bandage Girl, and Cotton Alley, the bonus world you control her in.
  • Portal Network: There are momentum-based portals in Hell.
  • Red Ones Go Faster: Level 4x-3 is an all red version of its Light World counterpart, featuring a faster lava hazard and the level title 'Char'.
  • Rise to the Challenge: C.H.A.D., Brownie and several non-boss levels too.
  • Roar Before Beating: Some bosses. Parodied in the 5th boss where 3 caterpillars roar at the same time in choir.
    • The third "boss" roars at you in the cutscene, only for Dr Fetus to interrupt you before you can actually fight it.
  • Sand Worm: The 5th boss.
  • Schmuck Bait: Meta-example. McMullen deliberately tried to get PETA upset at the game, knowing PETA would get upset without knowing Meat Boy was not made of meat, just a boy without skin.
  • Screen Shake: Present in sequence after the final boss and also in a few other levels like 1-19X.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: At the end of Chapter 6.
  • Sensory Abuse: A patched glitch on the PC version caused the game to automatically crank up the volume far higher than you can turn it normally.
  • Sentry Gun: Rocket turrets and sawblade shooters being the most common.
  • Sequence Breaking: A few levels have designs which can be exploited (some intentional, some not.) Most of them can be found in the fifth world.
    • In 3-11X, one of the harder Salt Factory stages, it's possible to jump between or above the advancing buzzsaws so you don't have to go all the way to the right to jump over saws.
    • The Kid and Flywrench can become handy in some of the later chapter levels due to fact that in some levels, he can often skip the portions of the level entirely.
    • In the final boss level the sawblades advancing in front of you can be jumped over for additional speed. Oddly, if you get to your destination before the blades in that level, you become mysteriously immune to them.
  • Single Tear: Happens in the cutscene after beating the first boss.
  • Smash to Black: Right before Brownie appears in the ending.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The Cotton Alley has the brightest, cheeriest music in the game, even in the Dark World. It is also orders of magnitude harder than the rest of the game.
  • Spikes Of Doom: Although they're replaced by syringes, salt and so on in most of the levels, genuine ones appear in some of the warp zone levels. In the Hell and The End chapters, some very sharp spikes are encountered.
  • Stealth Pun: Our hero is a skinless boy, who looks like a block of beef. Who frequently dies. Dead meat.
    • The character select screen is a Shout-Out to Super Mario Bros. 2, complete with the spotlight and curtains. The curtains are made of flesh as well. Meat curtains.
  • Sting: Enter chapter: Dun! Dun! DUNNN! It also happens during the good ending.
    • It's also the sting used in the Dramatic Chipmunk video.
  • Stuck on Band-Aid Brand: Bandaid Girl is renamed Bandage Girl because of this.
  • Sugar Apocalypse
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: Fourth boss.
  • Take That: Super Tofu Boy is unlocked by typing 'petaphile' into the character select screen, to counter PETA's own Take That.
  • Teleport Spam: Meat Ninja's special ability, which is handy when dealing with projectiles and the like.
  • Title Scream
  • Toilet Humor: Brownie.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Bandage Girl after Dr. Fetus kidnaps Meat Boy.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Happens to a few of the characters.
  • Vent Physics: The double-edged blades of the game.
  • Video Game Lives: In some of the bonus stages.
  • Visual Pun: The Sabbath level is completely "Black".
  • WAAAAAAAAAAAARP ZOOOOOOOOOOOOONE!
  • Weakened by the Light: Second boss.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Salt, because Meat Boy has no skin.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: What Meat Boy does to Boss 2.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Dr. Fetus finally shoots Meat Boy three times with a rocket launcher in the last level. He respawns three times, just like he does whenever he get shot, cut, or otherwise killed.
  • When It Rains, It Pours: During one of the Dark World levels in the 5th chapter. The stage itself is even called "Downpour".
  • Wink Ding: Happens at the good ending. Although it's 8-bit.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Dr. Fetus. Over and over and over.... Shoryuken, Megaton Punch, Spam Attack, and Spinning Piledriver are all acceptable to him.
    • To drive this home even further, in Cotton Alley, where you play as Bandage Girl and you have to save Meat Boy, whenever Dr. Fetus shows up to disrupt your reunion, he never beats Meat Boy up before abducting him.

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alternative title(s): Super Meat Boy; Meat Boy; Super Meat Boy
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