You Have to Win the Game is a free exploration platformer with a retro 1980s PC aesthetic.
User reviews:
Recent:
Very Positive (108 reviews) - 92% of the 108 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Very Positive (4,434 reviews) - 93% of the 4,434 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: May 6, 2012

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About This Game

Originally released in May 2012, You Have to Win the Game has now arrived on Steam with a more difficult remixed campaign and Playable Cat DLC*!!

You Have to Win the Game is a free exploration platformer with a retro 1980s PC aesthetic.

Run, jump, and avoid deadly pitfalls as you explore the ruins of a lost world in search of hidden treasures and rare artifacts!

Experience the thrill of four-color CGA graphics and monotonic PC speaker sounds! Or take a peek at the future of home entertainment with the SIXTEEN-COLOR EGA GRAPHICS option!

Want a tougher challenge? Try YOLO mode! You only live once -- one wrong move and it's back to the start of the game!

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP SP2
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 20 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: 32-bit executable
    Minimum:
    • OS: OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard
    • Storage: 20 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: 64-bit executable
    Minimum:
    • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS or similar
    • Storage: 20 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: 64-bit executable
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Recent:
Very Positive (108 reviews)
Overall:
Very Positive (4,434 reviews)
Recently Posted
GAABBE
( 0.9 hrs on record )
Posted: May 3
Product received for free
Mario + Zelda + Impossible Game.
So simple. So awesome.
Get it, play it, love it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
cS | undercoverDG
( 21.4 hrs on record )
Posted: May 3
Great vibe and level design! a definite recommendation!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
TheFailMaster
( 0.5 hrs on record )
Posted: May 3
Where to start?
When I saw this on steam store, I kinda died a little inside. I saw the retro graphics, that classic gameplay, but over all I was kinda like "Is it even worth it?" So I trieed it out.
OMyGosh
This game is one of the games that have shown me the magnificence of non-linear gaming. This game reminded me the most of Legend Of Zelda, the very first one. I've played these two games, and they are so similar. The amazing thing is, the game is free. It should have to be bought. This game is amazing, Please, Try it out.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Lizard Wizard
( 0.3 hrs on record )
Posted: May 1
HOLY CHRIST THE DIFFICULTY
Helpful? Yes No Funny
mystic_man95
( 12.4 hrs on record )
Posted: May 1
Pretty good game considering it was free. Beating it with 0 deaths was rage inducing, so watch out if you like to 100% everything like myself.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Nik
( 0.2 hrs on record )
Posted: April 30
Found on thewheelhaus.
Pretty nice for a free game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
RλGE_MACHINE
( 0.2 hrs on record )
Posted: April 30
Great game! Really brings you back to the 80s! Awesome retro game!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Taxy the Taxy Tax
( 2.0 hrs on record )
Posted: April 30
don't get this game all the game is, is dying, and raging
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Pepe The Frog 420
( 36.1 hrs on record )
Posted: April 27
What have i done
Helpful? Yes No Funny
claire182mon
( 1.6 hrs on record )
Posted: April 26
This game has such a sweet charm to it. I haven't completed it yet (What is the magic word?!) but I know I'll be buying the next one atsome point. Thanks for making it free to play.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Frigid159
( 3.2 hrs on record )
Posted: April 26
7.75/10 - Overall, a good game! It has a really cool throwback feel, whilst throwing in some new mechanics, and a great story, to boot. The level design is challenging, and can be frustrating at times, but is ingenious and very well done, and makes you want to Win the Game! (Oh, and best of all, it's free, so you have no excuse not to at least try it ;D)
Helpful? Yes No Funny
As Seen on TV
( 0.8 hrs on record )
Posted: April 25
Even with many indie releases made in the retro style, it's still quite interesting to me how far devs will go to mimic the exact style of retro games. For me, this is best shown in You Have to Win the Game.

Cons:
-No music whatsoever. I understand that it's going for the style of a Commodore game, but many games for that computer had good music. This is my biggest problem with the game.
-It seems to me as though the developer (who refers to himself as Kyle in the "support the developer" section) tried too hard to exactly mimic the C64. I would love to see this game made more expansive.
Pros
-Metroid-style gameplay. Of course, there are fewer items, you're not a badass Power Suit-wearing bounty hunter like Samus (in fact, as far as I know, there is no weapon) but the combination of player-driven exploration and strong platforming bears a resemblance to Super Metroid or Metroid II.
-Amazing conveyance. Here is how the developer designed the game: You start the game and immediately encounter branching paths. Since the player just started, they want to keep going. They choose a direction and go. As they go along, they find outlines of platforms. They realize that there must be something to create platforms. This gives them the patience to keep going. They eventually find a boss. Having no weapon, they instead figure out the most effective way to dodge the barrage of projectiles. They then will find either the Crimson or Cerulean Aura. Et cetera, et cetera. Short version: the game is good at keeping the player going and teaching them.
-The player is always, always in control.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Usoa
( 2.4 hrs on record )
Posted: April 25
You have to win the game on #Yolorektswag mode
Otherwise, you will never win the game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
BiznisCow
( 0.3 hrs on record )
Posted: April 25
Awsome retro atari exploration game. very fun and hard. i say this game deserves 10/10
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Three-eyed triangle <3 scrap.tf
( 12.6 hrs on record )
Posted: April 24
This game is perfect. EXACTLY the type I like.
Retro grahics, possible backgoing, complicated map, a lot of secrets, FREE.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Eiggy
( 0.4 hrs on record )
Posted: April 24
Good game, short, but a fun expirence.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Piazano
( 2.4 hrs on record )
Posted: April 21
It's like an old game, but new. The map design is amazing. The graphics, since they are aiming for a lower time period, Awesome. It's all played on a digital computer screen! Awesome! Original! BOOYAAAAAA!!!!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
SlyCooper319
( 2.0 hrs on record )
Posted: April 21
I think I just wasted an hour of my life. But I have to win the game. One more minute, maybe another, GOD DARNIT I CAN'T BEAT IT!... Well, just one more try.... one more won't hurt....


What has my life become?
Helpful? Yes No Funny
dlwarren
( 1.3 hrs on record )
Posted: April 21
Fun little Kaizo-ish game, strongly reminds me of the original Kid Icarus.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Fidel Castro
( 17.8 hrs on record )
Posted: April 20
This game is so agrivating, but once you win, best feeling in the world.


I'm not sure the achievements are even humanely possible. I mean I died 367 times. Good luck doing it without dying once
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
1.7 hrs on record
Posted: April 17
Cats, cats, cats, cats, cats, cats...
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: April 25
Even with many indie releases made in the retro style, it's still quite interesting to me how far devs will go to mimic the exact style of retro games. For me, this is best shown in You Have to Win the Game.

Cons:
-No music whatsoever. I understand that it's going for the style of a Commodore game, but many games for that computer had good music. This is my biggest problem with the game.
-It seems to me as though the developer (who refers to himself as Kyle in the "support the developer" section) tried too hard to exactly mimic the C64. I would love to see this game made more expansive.
Pros
-Metroid-style gameplay. Of course, there are fewer items, you're not a badass Power Suit-wearing bounty hunter like Samus (in fact, as far as I know, there is no weapon) but the combination of player-driven exploration and strong platforming bears a resemblance to Super Metroid or Metroid II.
-Amazing conveyance. Here is how the developer designed the game: You start the game and immediately encounter branching paths. Since the player just started, they want to keep going. They choose a direction and go. As they go along, they find outlines of platforms. They realize that there must be something to create platforms. This gives them the patience to keep going. They eventually find a boss. Having no weapon, they instead figure out the most effective way to dodge the barrage of projectiles. They then will find either the Crimson or Cerulean Aura. Et cetera, et cetera. Short version: the game is good at keeping the player going and teaching them.
-The player is always, always in control.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: May 3
Product received for free
Mario + Zelda + Impossible Game.
So simple. So awesome.
Get it, play it, love it.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 90 days
11 of 16 people (69%) found this review helpful
9 people found this review funny
Recommended
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: February 11
Insanity!

Would lose my mind again, If I ever find it.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: March 24
Great game, reminder of the day i used to play nes, spectrum.. the good days when you could pick up a game and just play it

Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
9.1 hrs on record
Posted: February 4
This game took me straight back to my childhood spent endlessly playing Dizzy, Manic miner and jet set willy on my ZX spectrum.

Then it suddenly pulled a gun on me held it against my balls and said in no uncertain terms " You HAVE to win the game. "

4 and a half hours and 2667 deaths later. It kissed me on both cheeks, looked me in the eye and told me I could marry its daughter.

The satisfaction of that 100% is inexplicable to those who simply have never experienced that feeling of triumph and exhilliration.

Worth it? Yes.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.7 hrs on record
Posted: February 18
he's cute, and i don't want to kill him but he keeps touching the...arrggghhhh...come on
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.9 hrs on record
Posted: February 26
Best free game I've played on Steam

It's amazing, man.

It's worth your time, and if you liked it as much as I did, the sequel's worth it too
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.3 hrs on record
Posted: February 5
YHTWTG is a GREAT free to play retro style game. Reminds me so much of playing on the SNES. It has a really cool feel to it with the old style TV border. The controls are very simple and easy. I can even hook my PS3 controller up with it. I for sure reccommend this game to anyone who love a retro feel.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
Recommended
4.6 hrs on record
Posted: March 2
Short and fun metroidvania. It's 8-bit and made by one person... and oh ya, it's free.
What have you got to loose?
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: March 10
This simple platformer is pretty great. I loved the retro look and overall feel. The game is pretty short, but that is to be expected with a singleplayer free to play game. The actual game can be pretty difficult. I personally got lost really easily. If you are looking for a short game to play through, this is a great one.

Pros:
Retro feel
Quality platforming game design
Challenging

Cons:
Easy to get lost and run in circles
Short

Overall, I would give this game a 7/10. It is fun and simple. No reason not to download it.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 180 days
15 of 19 people (79%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
26.1 hrs on record
Posted: January 20
I don't normally play old-school platformers, but i stumbled across this one and had to give it a go. It was detemined to destroy ego, but it makes you feel like a god passing hard rooms. Completly free, worth a go if your up for it.

Two thumbs up!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
7 of 8 people (88%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
7.4 hrs on record
Posted: February 4
We played the Super Mario Bros to save Princess Peach from Bowser.
We played the Mega Man series to save the world from Dr.Wily's notoriety.
We played Castlevania to kill Dracula.
We played Metroid to retrieve the parasitic Metroid organism from the space pirates.

But in this nostalgia-emitting platforming game, we play this game because we have to win it. You have to win the game!

The game starts of in a room where the player are given chances to learn the simple controls, walk and jump. From there on, as you collects more equipment, your walk and jump won't be the same as before. The game will challenge your platforming skill and your patience as you explore numerous rooms each with a different obstacles to overcome. As some room features a nerve-wracking obstacles, players get to hone their platforming skills as they jump over spikes and enemies. Unlike some of your usual platforming, you can't kill the enemies. This contributes the game to only make it more challenging.

I find it quite disappointing somehow that the game doesn't contain any background music during my gameplay. The music in the trailer sounded really good. Chiptunes aside, the graphics are just beautiful. When was the last time you played a game that has a calming graphics where it doesn't burn your eyes to look at? The simple colors used in this game really pleases me, and especially that hard mode. The first normal play you're underground of some sort, managed to complete it, challenge yourself for a harder run as you witness an outstanding retro forest.

I'm not going to talk more about it since the game itself is free. You can download this game, and experience the retro feeling by yourself. Its not unfairly hard, its just challenging.

7.5/10

Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
9 of 12 people (75%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: January 3
Fun little platformer with the die and repeat style of gameplay. You can hit savepoints almost every screen change since it does have some difficult spots to get through. You can find powerups as you traverse the map that will unlock colored tiles that were invisible before, dumble jump, and sticky hands which lets you climb the walls. You can also try and collect 100% of the money that is laying around.

I didn't complete the game myself since I decided to check out the cat DLC that it has and it saved over my first game. After that I didn't feel like playing it anymore. It is fun though and worth a play. Won't hurt either since it's free.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
7 of 10 people (70%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 8
This is the most fun and frustrating experience i've ever had with a videogame.
10/10
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: January 28
It's going to be one of THOSE games. The near-impossible to beat ones. Oh boy.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
Recommended
18.4 hrs on record
Posted: January 26
Damn you, you Skinner torture box of blips, blops and progress counter! I wish you died, but only I do that... Play this if you are a masochist.

I rate this game 9 dominatrixes and 1 operant conditioning torture chamber out of 10.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: December 8, 2015
*reads title* YOU DON'T SAY, in all seriousness it's a fun game and i reccomend it to others especially sense i'm trying to find good games on Steam
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 21, 2015
rly good game, Fun for a one off. I have not played much but from what ive seen, `I am really impressed
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
Recommended
20.7 hrs on record
Posted: December 21, 2015
As someone who loves games like this, this one is one of the best I've come across so far.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny