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"Life isn't easy when you're a 12-pound ball of tar."
—Game description

Gish is a 2D platforming game released in 2004 for the PC. You control an amorphous tar ball character called Gish. Gish doesn't have limbs, so he has to navigate the environment in a different way.

Gish has four abilities: sticky, slick, heavy and expand. Becoming sticky allows Gish to stick onto most surfaces and grab objects, becoming slick helps him to squeeze through tight spaces and become frictionless, becoming heavy allows him to break things from above and fall down faster, and expanding helps him to jump and avoid falling damage. Gish can use those abilities as long as he wants, and he can use several abilities at once.

The game has 5 worlds. The first 4 have 5 normal levels followed by a boss level followed by a level where transportation is a key. The last world is a bit different. The game also features a level editor so people can make levels ranging from challenging to downright sadistic.

Gish also got a mobile phone port where the storyline continues from the ending of the PC game. It also features co-op mode.

Not to be confused with the D&D slang for a Magic Knight, or the first album by Smashing Pumpkins.

Gish contains examples of

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Although smaller than most of the sewers, it has large rooms, too. Canonically, Gish isn't a large creature though so sewers are quite cramped in some places. Partly justified for being an abandoned city.
  • Arc Number: 1300 which is the amount of points gotten from most of the secret areas in game.
  • Blackout Basement: World 2-6.
  • Blob Monster: Gish and Hera
  • Bonus Level of Hell: Death Island. A boss from world 2 is chasing you while you try to make your way through a long cave clogged with skull pillars and enemies. But the reward is worth it.
  • Crate Expectations: Although they're not breakable. Seen in World 2.
  • Development Hell: Gish 2. Designer of the game teamed up with Chroniclogic but he left there to join Cryptic Sea .Then the rights for Gish were aquired by Cryptic Sea but the designer of the game also eventually left there.
  • Distressed Damsel: Brea
  • Dual Boss: World 3 boss and one of the world 5 bosses. Stage 1 boss is a triple boss.
  • Flash of Pain: You when getting damaged.
  • Flunky Boss: World 1 boss, world 3 boss and first world 5 boss.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Gish himself.
  • Goddamned Boss: Hera who attempts to prevent you from throwing blocks where they need to be.
  • The Goomba: Nibblers which move around, occasionally jump and bite when being close to protagonist.
  • Goomba Stomp: Basic way to attack enemies. However, since it's a physics-based game, there are more creative ways of killing them like throwing them into the air, rolling over them, sometimes even making more obscure strategies.
  • The Grim Reaper: Although looking nothing like your usual personification of death. Seen in the teaser trailer of Gish 2.
  • "If I Can't Have You: no one can!" as said by final boss, Hera.
  • Indy Escape: World 3-7. Although you can abuse physics engine a bit and let the boulder roll over you.
  • Interspecies Romance: Gish and Brea. With the good ending, they Even get married and in the mobile phone port, their children also make appearances.
  • Lava Is Boiling Kool-Aid
  • Lava Pit: Starting from world 2-7. In the bad ending, they're Lampshaded by Gish joining a group about danger awareness of lava pits.
  • Lethal Lava Land: World 3.
  • Made of Plasticine: Big heads who have rather fragile necks. Sometimes they even die when jumping from moderate height or hit a sharper corner.
  • Minecart Madness: World 1-7. Although you can just skip riding on it.
  • Multiple Endings: Either you save Brea or not.
  • Nothing but Skulls: Death Island.
  • Off with His Head: Bigheads can be defeated that way which is rather simple considering their fragile necks.
  • One Up: Rare item.
  • Pressure Plate: Some of the small puzzles.
  • Puzzle Boss: All of them except the first boss.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Hera.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: Some of the switches since they tend to get stuck when pulled the wrong way.
  • Shout-Out: To many video games. There are also a secret Mario, Pitfall and Pac-Man levels.
  • Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom: They're here-there.
  • Some Dexterity Required: First few hours of gameplay until you get a hold of controls. Jumping feels very awkward, navigating environments feels difficult, and so on and so on. Some time later, though, when abilities and their combinations are put to good use, it's much easier to do so.
  • Spikes of Doom: These chip your health away constantly and it's hard to jump off them. Sometimes it's possible to glitch through them though. The damage caused by spikes is aqtually equivalent to number of spike tiles Gish touches.
  • Stationary Boss: World 1 boss.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: You play as a tarball after all.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: A secret Super Mario Bros. level has a theme similar to underground levels to original Super Mario Bros.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Gish likes to eat amber.
  • Temple of Doom: Egypt-themed World 4.
  • Underground Level: First 4 of them. Especially world 2 which has your average cave setting.
  • Unwinnable by Design: Fourth boss. Falls into tough category. When all the blocks fail to crush it, it's time to restart the level. Also, some of the normal levels with lava pits can cause that. Third boss would also be Unwinnable, but fortunately you can still use some brute force to defeat them should the original plan fail.
  • Vapourware: Gish 2
  • Visible Silence: Gish responds "..." to every boss. Only times when he says something else is when he says "Calm down ho" to Hera or when he manages to reach Satan. In mobile phone port, he is much more talkative though.
  • Warp Zone: The game has quite a few of them.
  • Weakened by the Light: Second boss.
  • Who Forgot the Lights?: Third area sometimes suffers from this when playing during daylight.
  • Wreaking Havok: One of the first 2D examples.
  • Yandere: Hera