‘2020 Game’ crams all of last year’s misery into a bite-sized game


  • 2020 Game is a free side-scrolling browser game in which you have to make it through 2020 without being defeated by any of the obstacles that made the year so terrible.
  • Some of the challenges you’ll encounter in the game include the Austalia wildfires, COVID-19, the stock market crash, quarantine, the risk of TikTok, and the US election.
  • Max Garkavyy, the creator, is raising money to quit his job and make games full-time.

I’m not sure anyone could pay me any amount of money to relive 2020, and I say that having come out of it relatively unscathed. That said, if I were to live through the horrors of 2020 again, I’d certainly prefer to do so in bite-sized form, perhaps as a pixelated, side-scrolling video game that I could play on my lunch break.

Lucky for me, that’s exactly what game designer Max Garkavyy has created. Spotted by The Verge, 2020 Game is a side-scrolling platformer in the vein of the classic Super Mario Bros. that tasks you with making it through the year by literally jumping over and dodging obstacles as you sprint to the finish line. Of course, those obstacles appear in the form of wildfires, COVID-19, TikTok, the US presidential election, and the endless quarantines.

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It’s fairly simple and doesn’t exactly convey just how much of a nightmare the last 12 months have been for just about everyone on the planet, but it is a fun distraction, and just like 2020 itself, you can make it to the end in spite of all the hurdles. If only we had the option to do a speedrun of 2020. On the website for the game, Garkavyy says that this is his first game, and he’s asking for donations so that he can quit his job to pursue his dreams:

I currently work at a boring office job in a big corporation and every day I wonder if I should take the plunge and quit my job to pursue making games. Do you think I should? 2020 Game is the attempt to prove to myself that I can pay the bills with my games, so the fact that you want to support me means a world to me!

He’s already raised over $24,000, and at this rate, his 2021 is shaping up to be a much better year. If this really is his first game, it’s a very impressive production, with great pixel art and controls that put the Chrome browser’s Dinosaur Game to shame. You can finish it in less than 10 minutes, but I would have spent another hour running through this world that Garkavyy built… even if it meant living through 2020 for a little bit longer.

2020 Game is playable for free on PC and mobile devices using your browser of choice at 2020game.io.


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