In the weeks since Super Meat Boy has been on PS4 and Vita, only four people have picked up the platinum trophy. That list might not get much longer, given how difficult it is. Why? You have to beat every world in the game without dying. Only 0.8% did this on Steam, a world where it's easy to cheat at achievements.
greenzsaber, aka Fat Prinny, was the second person to pull it off. It took him more than 35 hours and 3,500 deaths to be among the platforming elite.
"I believe willpower and determination are one of the key aspects that separates the great gamers from the good," he told me, "and that game [Super Meat Boy] really tests those two qualities unlike no other game I've done before."
If you haven't played Super Meat Boy, you might not understand the magnitude of the challenge here. Even if you have experienced Team Meat's platformer, it's possible you didn't spend time in the game's tortuous dark world sections, a space where nightmares live. Specifically, the hell that is Dark Cotten Alley.
Dark Cotten Alley, which flips the script and has Bandage Girl rescuing Meat Boy while bouncing between super hard levels, has ridiculous shit like this:
That GIF comes from srakaaaaaa's run for the Impossible Boy trophy on Steam.
PSN user SanaitoDecemNoc was actually the first person to grab the trophy, but they didn't didn't get back to me.
Fat Prinny claims he wasn't aiming to be first, though, on account of having to work full-time. That used to be one of his goals, but work changed that. (He does have bragging rights, however, on Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited, Kick and Fennick 100% Club, and Sorcery Saga: Curse of the Great Curry God 100% Club.)
One reason Super Meat Boy was released on PS4 and Vita was to expose the game to people who somehow missed it on other platforms. Fat Prinny was one of those people, and when it was announced for Sony's machines, he actually picked up on PC to get some practice time in. This was only a warm up for the PS4 release, as getting the trophies there what he's really concerned with.
"I live to challenge myself every single day," he said. "If you check out my trophy list, you'll see that's for the most part, true. Even before I started with the whole trophy thing, I've been attempting things like no-damage runs, perfectionist runs, and speedruns. I do it because I like getting the most out of the games I own, even if the experience isn't always the most pleasant."
Trophies and achievements are a way for people to publicly brag about their accomplishments, but as suggested above, this isn't new to him. As a kid, for his own amusement, he got dangerously close with no-damage runs on the Mega Man X, finished Super Metroid in under two hours without glitches, and hit 102% completion of Donkey Kong Country 2 in under 100 minutes without a guide.
Yet sometimes, the trophies themselves aren't even enough — he needs another layer. Fat Prinny recently started speedrunning trophy unlocks, trying to burn through them as fast as possible. He's applied this method to 20 games already.
"It certainly adds a new dimension and a new perspective to my gaming experience," he said, "where I find even easy games now become more interesting to play through."
As one might expect, getting through Dark Cotten Alley was the choke point even for Fat Prinny. He was forced to set the controller down after one night of frustrating runs, but after sleeping on it, he was able to buzz through the end.
As challenging as this was, he doesn't count this as the most difficult trophy. That honour lies with the platinum trophy for the 2012 PS3 RPG Mugen Souls.
"It's a soul-crushingly difficult trophy to obtain because it requires at least 400 hours of pure, boring, repetitive grinding," he said.
400 hours? Holy moly.
"Progressing through the final trophies is incredibly luck-based and requires a lot of resets that take up at least 2-3 minutes per reset just to get back to the game," he said. "The terrible game features didn't help either — realllllyyyyy long loading times, about 10-30 seconds. Also, nobody at the time knew what to do to get the trophy, so I had to do most of the planning, researching, and documenting on the game myself in order to acquire it."
Trophy hunting has, so far, been a solo endeavour for Fat Prinny, but he wants to help others, too. Starting with Super Meat Boy, he's starting to write trophy guides at his website, and he's already mapping out a guide for Disgaea 5.
This isn't just about a notch on your PSN account, either. Fat Prinny believes unlocking trophies and challenging yourself can bleed over into your real-life.
"Whenever I look at forums where people discuss the game [Super Meat Boy]," he said, "everyone's always intimidated by it, and most give up before really putting in the time or effort on the game. Having that kind of mentality is usually pretty self-fulfilling, so I do encourage people to try looking at difficult games in a different manner. It can really make a difference on your performance, as well as other aspects in your life."