The Unauthorized Biography of Super Hexagon

Super Hexagon is a very simple game for iThings, Androids and PCs. Super Hexagon is about a triangle that mustn’t collide with shapes or it’s game over. Super Hexagon doesn’t have a narrative. Learning to control Super Hexagon takes two seconds, finishing Super Hexagon is possible in two minutes. But you won’t do that in two minutes. It’s an addictive, slickly designed game with a beat. This is what Super Hexagon is on the surface. Here’s what I’ve seen in my mind while playing the game:

It was during a cold winter of 1984 in USSR when Alexey Pajitnov was discussing geometry with tovarish Cavaghnov. They roughly harassed their mighty beards and drunk like mad. And they hadn’t had a civilized exchange of ideas either.  Alexey was opposed to the concept of existence of an object with more than four sides to it in their programming projects. He thought more would be too expensive, too lush, too complex, maybe even blasphemous. “Tetra’ is good enough,” he was repeating in angry voice, “it’s my key to immortality!” But Cavaghnov didn’t listen. He was already scheming pentagons and dreaming of hexagons. Five and six dancing at high speeds in an explosion of colors and beats. What beautiful ideas were born in Cavaghnov’s head!

But he was careless. In a drunken stupor, he let Alexey surprise him and throw him into their prototype time machine that stood just by the window and behind the table. No one knows what it was doing there, but it’s easy to understand why it was there. It was fate, a perfect design of fate. It was waiting for Cavaghnov to fall into it and transport him into the future. Far away from origins of computer gaming and their inherent simplicity and elegance. He quickly become lost in the digital land of high budget explosions and violent violence. Yes, the time machine has taken him to the 21st century.


And yet it wasn’t hate that struck his heart at the time, no, no, that came later. At first, our tovarish decided to acclimate – he changed his name to Terry Cavanagh, he acquired an impeccable command of English and journeyed into the lands of Internet to update his programming skills. There, he learned some Flash and some C#, and created his first digital child – VVVVVV – which he promptly released it upon an unsuspecting world and all was good.

6Vs is fantastic. Graphically it is a relic of the long forgotten past, but in terms of platforming gameplay and satisfaction that it can bring, it was something different. One might go so far as to say ‘better.’ Cavanagh was content for some time, but he knew this wasn’t it. He used a power of six but it wasn’t the six that he was destined to create. The advent of hexa this was not.

Thus, the process of designing begun anew. The memories of time travel – rapidly changing shapes and explosion of colors – have haunted him throughout. And a certain harshness of the whole process returned and invaded his mind. There was no fear or anger in Terry’s head. Instead, there was a godlike understanding. He finally understood what needs to be done. And then, then when he finished the thing, he saw it for what it it was – a computerized monster he brought in his brain from the void on the verge of time.


Though, I guess, a more appropriate term would be ‘a virus’. When other people see you play it, they will easily get interested and maybe even catch it too. But it’s dangerous – the visual transmission of Super Hexagon may lead to drastic results! Photosensitive seizure warning has never been more essential to a game’s spirit. If you are prone to dizziness, it will eat your eyes and liquidize your spine.

In this way, I believe Super Hexagon could easily be used in training of cosmonauts. As a matter of fact the game uses a lot of subliminal advertising of Pentagon. The word is often repeated during playthoughs, and one can imagine that Cavanagh struck this ad deal with the US Department of Defense after they failed to weaponize SH.

They failed because, despite what some individuals may think, Super Hexagon isn’t a crazed, difficult weapon of gaming hatred. I mean, in the beginning it is – when you lose a session after 2-3 seconds, it’s impossible to feel differently. But give it a couple more hours and you shall start to see things and understand things. Super Hexagon is like a palate cleanser of the mind. The further you get, the more you fly away, the less frustrated you feel. And your muscle memory does the rest. It’s strange and different even if in reality it’s such a simple simple thing.


[Here’s the trailer for the game, because you need to see it move and sing. Here’s the online demo, because you need to experience it. And here’s a link to the official site. The game seems to be on a $1 sale on various platforms.]

About tobecooper
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2 Responses to The Unauthorized Biography of Super Hexagon

  1. Jack Flacco says:

    When I saw that you had chosen to write about Hexagon, I was a little surprised. I didn’t think that game was available anymore. Then I realized it wasn’t the game I was thinking about. The one I was thinking about was the incredibly addictive shareware game from the early 90s. Strategy mostly, taking over a grid by moving jewels about the board (much like Othello). Great game anyway.

    Why is it these really cool games are developed by programmers in a drunken stupor? 😉 LOL

    • tobecooper says:

      I vaguely recall the old Hexagon – it looks very familiar visually but I’m not sure if I played it 😀

      And I believe the secret is that the poor devs are all drunk on soda. It’s like a chemistry factory in their bloodstream and that’s why the results are so unexpected!

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