By: Derek Yu

On: May 6th, 2009


Spewer is the latest release from Edmund McMillen, and in my opinion, his most mature… design-wise! Thematically, it’s a puzzle platform game about a lab animal that pukes and eats its own puke, which can easily serve as a metaphor for the way game designers are forced to consume and regurgitate each other’s ideas to get ahead, or how players are simply animals subjected to cruel experiments created by game developers. Or maybe it’s just gross and funny. Either way, the mechanic is fresh and is stretched very well across the game’s 50-odd levels. Big props to the game’s programmer, Eli Piilonen, who did some impressive work with the physics. It handles great.

The game runs in a browser and is also available as a standalone executable and Flash file.

TIGdb: Entry for Spewer

  • DeathOfRats

    I agree we need to support indie developers, but please tell me you don’t mean we aren’t suppose to point out when a game isn’t working or has flaws?

    I think if a game is good, genuinely good, then there just needs to be more people who will vocalize their opinion rather than keeping it to themselves.

  • Flamebait

    Okay, so I got to the level Recap, and found I didn’t like this at all. My issues:
    -To get killed, your center must cross the boundary of the left grinder, while only your bounds must cross the right one. That part of the level is symmetrical, so an unassisted jump on that side should be just as easy. The death point on the left one isn’t totally consistent either.
    -Failing jumps, as frequently do (they require particularly expert timing, and I don’t excel at platformers), is a major time-waster. Is it better to go down and eat some puke, or just restart the level? Why should that question even be relevant?
    -Prior to this, I got stuck on the level pictured here on TIGSource. I’m not often stumped by games, yet it really didn’t occur to me until after my first play that you can swim upwards through puke.

  • Edmund

    its simple. say what ever the hell you guys want.. just dont be dicks about it.

    its not any more complex then that. only say things youd say to people faces… and remember what i fucking look like in person!

  • Zixinus

    Not a bad game and I certainly wasted an afternoon playing it.

    A few minor ires:

    – The white spew is really annoying, as it really lacks precision in both making it and swimming in it. Levels where making a correct amount of white spew are quite annoying.
    – The slowdowns. Even when I set down the quality, it can get really slow.
    – The level “Pascal’s law” is really dickish, as the liquid physics are very iffy. That’s as far as I got and being a bonus chapter

    What I did like:
    – spewing and flooding everything.
    – some of the puzzles.
    Рthe story. Here I thought was another clich̩ story of evil scientists but I was pleasantly disappointed in the end.

  • Paul Eres

    Yeah, my point was more about the tone than the content. Examples:

    [being a jerk:] What’s up with all the hype about this game? It’s just horrible, every aspect of this game feels like it was designed by a retard.

    [not being a jerk:] I didn’t enjoy this game, guess it’s not for me, couldn’t get into it. Didn’t really find anything enjoyable about it, even though I tried, but it’s nice to see others at least are enjoying it.

  • Acid and Fire kill me

    You say not to be a dick.. but then you say “remember what I look like in person!”

    Well, you look like a dick, with that beard and your stupid gape-mouth smile.

    And we shouldn’t treat you like a dick? You’re talking in circles now.

  • leave url

    [being a jerk:] Wow this game is super good! Everything about it is perfect. Hell yeah!

    [not being a jerk:] I liked this game very much right from the beginning. Didn’t really find anything negative about it, even though I tried, but it’s nice to see other people aren’t enjoying it.

  • Paul Eres

    [being a jerk:] ^^^

  • Toby

    Tried it, and found it rather dull. It doesn’t seem to bring anything new to the table, and as a whole, I fail to see the point of shock art, no matter what form of media it falls under.

  • AmnEn

    Since my other comment got censored out, even though it basically said the same thing like a couple of other comments in here already, I’ll just rephrase it again and since most of my points have already been made by others, I’ll provide new content too. Woohoo.
    This time with a candy coating so no ones feelings might get hurt by the big bad keen words, uhhh. Well scratch that, if you feel hurt by these words, instead of throwing a Tantrum, think about why they hurt you. Or: If you think my words apply to you, congratulations, they do. If not, that’s cool, they weren’t meant for you anyways.

    There’s an increasing trend in Indiegaming, one quite reminiscent of the same movement in Indiemusic. And that’s a certain “holier than thou” attitude. Or perhaps the words “acting like a Rockstar” can more thoroughly describe it.
    Constant celebration and patting each other on the backs, as well as sugar coated opinions have led to a big overinflation of egos. These overinflated egos have tremendous trouble accepting that someone might in fact not like their game.

    I’m sure their skin is tough enough, the issue is that they’ve lost contact with the ground. They’ve been celebrated for a too long time.

    Every couple of weeks we get to read reports about how totally “awesome” this or that person acted, often making a one-man or one-woman show out of themselves.
    So here’s the question, when did Indiegaming and thus, Tigsource (as some kind of mirror) change from “making interesting games for gamers” into “being a celebrity”? When did the person and their feelings become more important than their creations? Indiegaming is on the road to falling into the pit, sharing antics with Derek Smart while being brandished with the reputation of a John Romero.

    If you guys want that, totally awesome. Go for it. Enjoy your own Downfall while it still glitters glory.

  • Jotaf

    @AmnEn: “Every couple of weeks” is about 1 in every 50 posts — the other 49 are about games. Derek even bashed a few guys (haha!) for acting like they’re total rock stars. I wouldn’t say that kind of attitude is becoming a problem.

    Concerning the other discussion: Compare comments #1 and #2 with #4 and #5. The last ones talked about the parts they didn’t like in the game, and they were pretty direct. The first ones just said “yawn it’s bad”. Kids these days; go back to your room and stop annoying grown ups, will ya?

  • Titties

    haha titties

  • Vince

    @AmnEn: So true, unfortunately.

    Some indie sites feel like a few individuals celebrating themselves. The most hilarious I remember was some guy playing a game and being filmed. There was a whole post about some guy playing a trivial game someplace. Not a review or game presentation, just one guy playing some game.

    Then there’s the constant celebration of boring games, just because made it or played it. There’s a whole series of:
    is thinking about a new game!
    is starting a new game!
    made a new game and I have no idea what it is and I’ve never player it but it ROOOOOOOOOCKS!

    This ego-cult is getting annoying.

  • Vince

    Yea apparently the comment function filtered out my “insert name here”s.

  • http://pqgames.wordpress.com mirosurabu

    Hmmm.. Okay, I’ll first comment to meta-conversation dialogue we have here.

    I think it’s clear that hate comments are hurting developers. They do because they are hard to comprehend and most often because developers are immune to positive comments. I think it’s also clear that there is distinction between hate comment and “don’t like” review. The first one is harsh negative criticism, while the second one is nice constructive negative criticism. They both cause developers to feel uneasy, but it’s the destructive one which is very troubling.

    That aside – it’s observable that most negative review comments come only after the community or developer hype over something or when we have a relatively well known face (like Edmund, for example). You’ll rarely see a negative review of unknown game with not many positive comments. Further, most of those “negative reviewers” don’t review all the games they don’t like. How many times people just didn’t bother to review those flash games they didn’t like?

    So another observable thing is that people normally don’t post “don’t like” comments.

    This poses an interesting question: why is there tendency to negatively review hyped game than unknown, neutral or randomly chosen one? Why negative review at all?


    You were not asked for review. So you can’t use that as excuse.


    The Internet may not be the main location where developers seek for improvement. Because there are positive comments only it does not mean they won’t improve. At the end, they probably didn’t ask you for help.


    I agree that positive reviews can be exaggerated. But to assume that developers are not aware of that without asking them directly is bad. Most developers I know are aware of this.


    That’s how it works. I don’t know how you can change that, though.


    Well, well, now we have a fair comment here. Learn and experiment with game design; be persistent; and you will eventually do something. But don’t be a jerk in Internet comments.


  • judgespear

    I still fail to see how not liking a game has anything to do with person who made said game.

  • judgespear

    I guess it’s sort of like this. You are posting games by people who you like, who are sort of like celebrities to you.

    But they only hold importance to whoever knows who they are. I mean, not everyone knows these people or will just like the game because it is made by (insert name here).

    There are people who will just play the game and be like, “I didn’t like the game and I don’t see why people hyped this so much.”

    And it looks like they’re flaming, because how the hell can they not like the game. It’s made by (insert name here)! Who doesn’t like (insert name here)?! S/he’s such a cool person!

    You know. Most people don’t care who the game is made by. I know when I play something, I hardly even know who made it half the time I ever play it. Any average player out there is not so savvy about who makes their stuff, they just play the game itself.

    These comments did not contain any personal attacks. They just remarked on how they felt about the game. I agree about the whole “rockstar” attitude. But please, don’t take it so personally because you’re making a big deal over something that really isn’t.

  • judgespear

    (Sorry for triple post.)

    Anyway, I finally got to sit down and play the game (the computers at work were too slow) and it’s pretty good.

    Nothing special or anything, but it’s a pretty nice little flash platform game. I can see how it feels like an “extended tutorial” but then again a lot of games are like that (i.e. Portal), so that didn’t really bother me.

    I still stand by the fact that the reactions to the comments were a bit disproportional and overblown though.

  • Anonymous

    Have the editors thought about turning comments off?

    At least it could make more people to sign up at the forums.

  • Anonymous

    Have the editors thought about turning comments off?

    At least it could make more people to sign up at the forums.

  • sinoth

    Turning off comments is a bad idea. I bet a significant amount of readers only casually visit the site and never touch the forums. Trying to force them to the forums won’t work.

  • miro


    Comments were related to overall negativity on TIGS, not just spewer comments.

  • Raiten

    I think comments about my games or me meant to denigrate me don’t hurt a tenth as the one’s who aren’t. I mean, they are REAL, you know they meant what they said not because out of personal spite or wanting to hurt you, but because they actually truly didn’t like (or even hated) your game. Isn’t that worse?

    Like this comment I found just randomly, Googling one of my games:

    “[The game in question] is by far the worst game I’ve ever played. I was lucky, for there was a baby nearby upon which I was able to exalt my anger on.

    Srsly, You Have to Burn The Rope is amazing, and Raiten’s piece of **** made me hurt so hard. I don’t know if I can ever look at [another game I made] the same way, considering he’s such a ****ing unfunny asshole.”

  • frst

    I really enjoyed the game, *love* the artwork. (but I love all physics sims, hell, used industry-level fluid solvers, finite element analysis tools as pastime.) But fluid as an important aspect in gameplay still gets me (as in bloody zombies).
    However I thought that there was going to be an underlying story (i.e. saw just the tentacle like hairs in first levels, then the professor, the experimental setup etc.), got very excited, but although I’m in mid-chapter 3, the lack of story so far was disappointing, although I suspect the story will become apparent towards the end.
    I think the game can be a little less tedious and more fun by changing the game mechanics somehow, spew runs out pretty fast without you being able to enjoy it, then you have to eat it again, and mostly make accurate jumps etc, becomes just your basic platformer which runs too slow.
    Edmund, you probably know, and probably used it, but if not, clavet et al., “Particle-based Viscoelastic Fluid Simulation” is relatively very fast for fluid sims (my prehistoric laptop can run 1500-1800 particles with my implementation of pvfs). THAT slow gameplay with just 20-100 particles means either the algorithm you are using is very slow, or that flash was a bad choice for this game. just trying to help, the game really has potential.

  • judgespear

    Raiten – Are you trying to pull a strawman?

  • judgespear

    If it’s not, and if you’re being serious. How is that worse? You can’t accept the fact that there might be some people don’t like or really care for your game?

    It’s pretty much a basic fact of life. With anything in the world, there is always bound to be people who like something and those that don’t.

    The mature thing would be to accept the fact that you can’t please everyone, not get worked up over something which you can’t really do anything about.

  • judgespear

    And besides, what you posted was a personal attack. It had nothing to do with whatever anyone on this comments page was talking about.

  • Jay

    great game! but flash just scks as a game platform performance-wise

  • http://metanetsoftware.com/blog raigan

    “It was fun, but sometimes just plain frustrating with the lag and the spike collisions. I got rather far but ended up quitting after getting to the level where you have to coax a pill out of the grates. If the game was speedier I think I might have kept at it.”

    THAT is a good example of criticism that’s useful, not spiteful.

    There is _totally_ a huge difference between disliking or not getting a game, and just ragging on a game. If you don’t have something *USEFUL* to say, i.e maybe a small change to something would have really improved the game for you, or mostly it was good but X ruined it, etc.., then what is the point of writing anything?

    Just posting your personal opinion of something, good or bad, is really useless. Although I’m guilty of this too.. I guess I just feel like if what’s written is meant to encourage the developer, then that’s useful. If what’s written is meant to provide helpful feedback/criticism, also useful. If you’re writing just to discourage the person, well.. that’s a dick move.

  • http://metanetsoftware.com/blog raigan

    And to all the people hating on cactus or whoever: just make a better game, and you’ll be more famous. It’s really that simple, seriously!

    The internet doesn’t discriminate. I guarantee that if someone dropped 20 amazing games (or even just decently interesting/weird games like ikiki’s) in derek’s lap, he would post about them.

    Now, if there exists someone who has made several games which are just as distinct and interesting as cactus’, but for some reason is languishing in obscurity and is frustrated with not having their efforts recognized, I could sympathize with that.

    But I doubt such a person exists. So it seems hard to justify the hate, which I guess is just a combination of jealousy and/or outrage at the patterns of behaviour in our society (wherein certain individuals tend to be lionized, perhaps beyond what is reasonable).

    The latter is understandable, but misguided since it’s hardly the individual’s fault that media/etc have chosen to focus on them. Also it seems like it would be better to start with the _big_ offenders like Hollywood, before worrying about people who are essentially internet-famous among a small subculture.

    Cactus is a bazillion times more worthy of attention than Cliffy B! If you need to rag on a celebrity game developer, why not talk shit on http://www.cliffyb.com/ ?

  • judgespear

    What does this have to do with Cactus?

  • judgespear

    Let’s just try to talk about things in a general sense, especially considering that this post has nothing to do with Cactus or people being jealous of how popular he is.

    I don’t know about you, but I judge games based on the games themselves and how they play. I don’t look at whoever makes the game and base my whole opinion on that. And neither did the first two comments on this page. They were just opinions on the game itself.

  • AmnEn

    Don’t feed the Troll (raigan).

  • rodnonymous

    is hating on WASD with no option to reconfigure a valid complaint? Because seriously, fuck WASD. I don’t used WASD to navigate any of the menus in any of my other programs. It’s almost as unappealing as forcing me to use vi bindings.

  • Edmund

    judgespear, please put a link to something you’ve made please.

  • Acid and Fire kill me

    Wow, this has got to be the most effective trolling I’ve ever done. Usually, TIGS comments start with “first lololol panda” or something so I figured I’d mix it up by posting something dismissive and goony, and boy did it work.

    I guess I’m one ‘full’ troll. Not that I usually troll, but I thought maybe it was better than just another memey first post.

    In-joke ire aside… this game wasn’t too terribly engaging. Flash is a really terrible way to make a game. Yes, I know, ad revenue is important, so let’s put all of our games in an environment that everyone can access, etc… but if 75% of people can’t run it properly, who cares if 95% of people can access it?

    The graphics are nice and original, as usual for this guy. The sound is fine. The concept is unique in one way: you have to eat your energy back up in order to jump again. That’s roughly the opposite of fun. (See: Super Mario Sunshine)

    And yeah, the celebrity attitude gets a little bit annoying, but it’s not really Edmund’s fault in this case. He’s not a douchenozzle like J.Blow in that way, I don’t think. It’s just the fanboyism of bloggers and some posters that gives people that impression. The only issue I take with him is his claims of altruism. You’re doing this because you’d rather not work, and it allows you to express yourself artistically, which is fun, and doesn’t really feel like work. You make some money, get some e-cred, etc. Don’t act like Mother Theresa here, really.


  • http://N/A Johnny B Goode

    I’m not seeing how 3 less than helpful comments (that are devoid of profanity or personal attacks much less) out of a grand total of 50+ is somehow “The site going downhill” and the end of constructive criticism.

    If anything both sides have a lack of constructive commentary. The negative ones just being more concise and blunt. Sorry but, I’m not a big fan of the “Hugbox” style of community. That’s how deviantart works after all. And it does nothing for the community, developer or fan included.

    I’m not saying everyone should be tearing everything apart to it’s basest componants or whatnot at all. But when you have to start a large strawman discussion irrelevent to the topic at hand because 3-4 people didn’t like it then that’s just silly and a little bit insecure.

    Imagine if an artist had to get into a talk with each person in a gallery who didn’t like a piece of his? Even if they were in the small minority it’d leave him no time whatsoever to showcase the positive or discuss anything with the people who are actually enjoying it.

    Or if you had to argue with each person in a crowd who booed you at a show. It just becomes a redundant circle of negativity on either side. Now being able to roll with that or take it in stride is an excellent trait to have. You let the criciism stick and make you think, and the “herp a derp” comments slide right off of you as you let them slip into obscurity.

    Sorry Ed, I love your games but I have to play devil’s advocate on this one.

  • Paul Eres

    re johnny b goode – we are talking about the comments in general, not just the ones in this particular post or even this particular blog.

    re “judgespear, please put a link to something you’ve made please.”

    that was exactly what i wondered. it’s very easy to say that insults about things you’ve created don’t matter when you haven’t experienced it.

  • MisterX

    To simply restate what others said before: I liked Spewer, although it does indeed not feel all that “fresh” anymore, still I played it all the way through to the last levels. The lag really is a problem (I have 2GB of RAM and am playing the stand-alone version) and I felt that while most levels were rather easy, some of those last ones were just too frustrating. It cost me some effort to try “Holy Tears” time and time again, as frustrating as it was, because I didn’t want to fail so close to the end, but “The Dive” ultimately made me stop. It was just too hard for me, seemed to be very much based on luck, and on top of that.. well, damn, it’s very hard! :)

    I always like it, though, when I get varied powers to toy around with, and Spewer certainly delivered there. I especially liked the fluffy foam, and seeing Gish again when Spewer already reminded me of him was a nice touch, as well :)
    Lastly, I’d say it was a bit too old-fashioned for me, but despite the main flaws (lag, difficulty towards the end) it was simply enjoyable :)

  • AmnEn

    > that was exactly what i wondered. it’s very easy to say that insults about things you’ve created don’t matter when you haven’t experienced it.

    And this is a fine example of the kind of attitude I’m talking about. There are two theories, which I call the big two.

    * It’s art/protest; And as such you’re not allowed to have an opinion.
    * Do something better; aka unless you’re one of the chosen ones or our fanbois, shut up.

    Both arguments are about as silly as they can get. Those are “dead horse” arguments, all around 360° kill them all arguments. All one has to do is use one of the two to invalidate someone elses opinion.
    That is if those two arguments weren’t so inherently silly and desperate to begin with.

    Art isn’t above criticism. And Art must not function as a shield for mediocre works. Its the same really with war movies, by simply attaching the word “Anti War Movie” they turn from mindless gorefest into educational works. They’re still a mindless gorefest at heart though. Same goes for games classified as Art, they’re still a game at heart. And it’s that game element that is vulnerable, despite being labeled as Art.

    And I’m willing to bet a months wage in saying that there is not a single person on earth that has not seen one of his/her creations being met with negative opinion. It’s a very natural process of growing up, and while I’m aware that one of the internets most famous insults is “grow up, kiddie”, I’m afraid I have to point out that this specific element of achieving maturity comes quite early in the human lifecycle. In fact, before humans even can read and write.

  • AmnEn

    Seeing as this has nothing to do with Spewer anymore and is about a completely different topic, it might not be a bad idea to move the discussion into the Forums.

  • DeathOfRats

    Please don’t start the whole ‘until you release a game you don’t have ground to criticize mine’ argument. Any gamer has the right to give his/her opinion about a game posted on a public forum. Whether you read it or accept it, is your choice.

  • Onymous

    Paul Eres:
    **I mean, they were bashing it even before they played the game.**

    Didn’t you just say in the Glum Busters thread that you don’t care about gameplay anyway? Why isn’t that valid when the comments are *bashing* a game instead of orgasming over it?

  • judgespear

    Why is this about me all of a sudden? I haven’t insulted anyone. You’re trying to pull an “ad hominem” argument on me. For what?

    I said that I enjoyed your game.

    However, I don’t like the fact that people are getting all up in arms over two or so comments, which people are putting all sorts of blame on for problems related to this site, and various other things that are completely unrelated to the topic at hand.

  • judgespear

    Furthermore, I don’t like the notion that if you dislike something (which keep in mind; I didn’t, I enjoyed this game) you shouldn’t say anything.

    It’s like the old saying (usually attributed to Voltaire) “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

    And also I take issue to the fact that many of you are making it seem like: liking a game = attacking the author. Which just isn’t true.

    It’s possible to dislike a game without it having anything to do with personal attacks or the like.

  • judgespear

    err… not liking a game, rather.

    damn, I triple posted again.

  • Edmund

    judgespear, please put a link to something you’ve made.

    ive been reading your comments on TIG for a while now and am genuinely interested in what you’ve made.

    please show us your hand.

  • DeathOfRats

    Edmund, stop. That’s like telling a film critic he can’t critique a film because he’s never made one.

  • judgespear

    And what if I were to tell you I don’t have any games?

    Would that make anything I just said any less valid?

    Because from what I understand, I haven’t said anything related to game making.

    All my comments so far have pretty much been something to the effect of me telling you to calm down, to stop overreacting and taking things personally, and that people should be allowed to say that they don’t dislike something.

  • judgespear

    Er, that they dislike something, rather.

    Damn it, I can’t do this anymore. This is so pointless that I am hardly even keeping track of what I’m saying anymore.