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Judgment’s stair climbing animation will leave you breathless

A Twitter account highlights good stair climbing in games

Takayuki Yagami in sega’s game, judgement. he’s looking directly into the camera. Image: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio/Sega
Ana Diaz (she/her) is a culture writer at Polygon, covering internet culture, fandom, and video games. Her work has previously appeared at NPR, Wired, and The Verge.

The stairs in Sega’s Yakuza-spinoff, Judgment, are phenomenal. The game was released stateside over three years ago, but thanks to a special Twitter account that highlights stairs in video games, the game is now being recognized for how smoothly its characters walk up escalators. As a result, the developers are finally getting their due for making some of the best stairs we’ve ever seen in a video game.

The Twitter account, “climbing stairs in video gaming” allows you to peruse a catalogue of clips showing characters climbing stairs in dozens of video games. However, the clip from Judgment stands out purely because of how perfectly timed the animation looks. In the video, the main character Takayuki Yagami, walks up an escalator — each step lands perfectly as he strides up the moving stairs. You can view an embedded clip below.

Yakuza: Like a Dragon, which was also developed by Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, sports a similarly slick stair walking animation.

Why the hubbub over such a seemingly simple detail in a game? Stairs in video games are hard to nail. In many modern 3D games, we can take stairs from one place to another without loading a new room. Still, even then, the stairs feel more like a ramp and the difference between each individual step is often indistinguishable. These clips really show how to make stairs feel like actually stairs.

And this isn’t the only Twitter account dedicated to highlighting beloved game features. Another account, “Can You Pet the Dog?” shows clips of games where you can pet a pooch in-game. Another account, “Is Something Behind the Waterfall?” shows waterfalls in video games that have hidden secrets. Now we can add all these fancy stairs to the list.