QWOP (//) is a 2008 ragdoll-based browser video game created by Bennett Foddy, formerly bassist of Cut Copy. Players control an athlete named "Qwop" using only the Q, W, O, and P keys. A couple of years after the game was released on the internet, the game became an internet meme after its outbreak in December 2010. The game helped Foddy's site (Foddy.net) reach 30 million hits.
QWOP was originally created in November 2008 by Bennett Foddy for his site Foddy.net, when Foddy was a Deputy Director and Senior Research Fellow of the Programme on the Ethics of the New Biosciences, The Oxford Martin School, part of the University of Oxford. He taught himself to make games while he was procrastinating from finishing his dissertation in philosophy. Foddy had been playing games ever since he got his first computer (a 48k Sinclair Spectrum) at age 5. Foddy stated:
|“||“One of the things I found with QWOP is that people like to set their own goals in a game. Some people would feel like winners if they ran 5 meters, and others would feel like winners if they inched all the way along the track over the course of an hour. If I had put a social leaderboard or par system in, those people would probably have all quit out of frustration, leaving only the most determined or masochistic players behind."||”|
Gameplay and reception
Players play as an athlete named "Qwop", who is participating in a 100-meter event at the Olympic Games. Using only the Q, W, O and P keys, players must control the movement of the athlete's legs to make the character move forward while trying to avoid falling over. The Q and W keys each drive one of the runner's thighs, while the O and P keys work the runner's calves. The Q key drives the runner's right thigh forward and left thigh backward, and the W key also affects the thighs and does the opposite. The O and P keys work in the same way as the Q and W keys, but with the runner's calves. The actual amount of movement of a joint is affected by the resistance due to forces from gravity and inertia placed upon it.
Though the objective of QWOP is simple, the game, ever since it was released, has been notorious for being difficult to master due to its controls with the Q, W, O and P keys. Foddy says that he gets a lot of hate mail for making QWOP. Despite the criticism for the game's difficulty due to the controls, the game helped Foddy's site reach 30 million hits, according to Wired Magazine, and, also ever since the game was released, has been played by millions of people, although numbers have declined.
Breakthrough and popular culture
An iPhone app of the game was released in 2011. The App version follows the same gameplay as with the original version, but the controls differ. The player controls QWOP's legs and arms by moving their thumbs around in the diamonds on the screen. Kotaku called the iPhone version "4000 Percent More Impossible" than the original game and "An Olympic Challenge For Thumbs".
A 2-player multiplayer version of QWOP named 2QWOP was also released in February 2012, after being featured at an event in Austin named "The Foddy Winter Olympics" displaying a selection of Bennett Foddy’s games. This version places the game in vertical splitscreen, automatically assigning one player's thighs and calves to the Q, W, E, and R keys, while the other player uses the U, I, O, and P keys.
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