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Why Is This Incredibly Simple Game So Hard?

Arrow Hero, by French developer Jérémy Graziani, distills the mechanics at the heart of games like Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution down to their most basic form. It’s minimalist—and infuriating.

The game asks you to correctly match the icons of a constant flow of arrow with keystrokes. The arrows float counterclockwise, and are color coded based on their direction. The more successful you are at matching the arrow icons with key presses, the faster they whirl.


Arrow Hero is difficult despite its simplicity. The last arrow you’ve pressed stays in the box on the top until you press a different key, prompting visual-tactile dissonance: you’re trying to push the down arrow key while looking at a left-facing arrow. Sure, you can just look to the right, but as the arrows come faster and faster, it becomes harder to keep both directions in your mind simultaneously.

No matter how good you get, there’s no winning Arrow Hero. “You win when you manage to make a score you are proud of,” Graziani writes on the site.

After trying and failing to get more than a few points in this maddening game, not punching the screen felt like a win of its own.

[via Look At Me]

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