QWOP is a hilarious, online Flash game which uses ragdoll physics as the player's primary antagonistic force. The object of the game is to successfully bring the game's only character, a competitive runner, across the finish line of a 100 meter run. There are no other competitors; the runner (whose name is Qwop), controlled by the player, is the only figure in the game.

The challenge and humour in the game come from how the game's physics interacts with the runner, and how the user interface makes the runner exceedingly difficult to control. The only controls are the keyboard keys Q, W, O, and P. The Q and W control the runner's two thighs, while the O and P drive his calves and feet. Only by coordinating these four sections of his legs, maintaining a relatively upright position, and carefully inching forward, can the game progress. If the runner falls down backward or in a number of other awkward angles, the game resets to the beginning. Sometimes it is possible to get the runner into a crawl, scooting forward incrementally, but it is very easy to accidentally miss a keystroke and cause the game to reset, from this position, and there is not an effective way to get the runner back onto his feet once he is kneeling or crawling.

The current Guinness World Record for fastest completion of a 100 meter run through QWOP is 51 seconds, held by Roshan Ramachandra of Chintamani, India. This record was established on 10 April 2013.

Ways to further enhance the difficulty of the game include switching the keyboard for another control device, such as a Dance Dance Revolution dancepad, or a Garage Band drum kit, and some online game streamers have attempted QWOP using these tools, with varying degrees of success. Any stream of QWOP and games similar to it is commonly understood by viewers to be intended only for comedy purposes, due to the visibly comic, buffoonish nature of the runner's movements. The video game collaboration community Twitch has also banded together for games of QWOP, with the chaotic results that can be expected from such efforts.

QWOP was created in 2008 by Bennett Foddy, former bassist of the Australian Synthpop band, Cut Copy. QWOP was featured at the New York Museum of Modern Art in July 2011. Mobile and multiplayer versions of the game have been released; all such "sequels" and "updated" versions are considered by their players to be substantially more difficult than the original version of QWOP.

QWOP can be found at http://foddy.net/Athletics.html, and the two-player version can be found at http://foddy.net/2QWOP.html.

Iron Noder 2015, 01/30

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