The Binding of Isaac

The Binding of Isaac

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Updated Jan 17, 2019 at 07:38PM EST by C_Mill24.

Added Jul 15, 2015 at 08:35AM EDT by Teh Urn.

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The Binding of Isaac is an indie action-adventure roguelike video game series created by Edmund McMillen and Florian Himsl. In the game, players initially control a naked crying child named Isaac to traverse various procedurally-generated levels.


The game revolves around the protagonist child Isaac, who lives alone with his religious mother. After she receives what she believes is a message from God, who tells her to murder her son because he has "become corrupted by sin," Isaac escapes death through a trap door in his bedroom leading to caverns underneath the house. The game is inspired by the biblical story of the same name, in which God asks Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice.[13]


With a similar playing style to the original Legend of Zelda games, each level consists of a floor with monsters that Isaac must kill by using his projectile tears. Throughout the game, Isaac can pick up items that either change his stats or give him special abilities. These levels, which are procedurally-generated, get exponentially harder, and the players must restart the entire game if they die.


On July 8th, 2011, developer Edmund McMillen published a blog post about developing The Binding of Isaac. McMillen and Florian Himsl worked on the game during the following months and released it on Steam on September 28th, 2011 as a Flash game.[1] Half a year after the original game release, the expansion Wrath of The Lamb was released for Steam, notable for its added content and more complex gameplay.[2]


At some point of 2014, McMillen announced the development of a remake, named The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. The game's main feature was the remake of the sprites in GBA-styled pixel art and additional content.[17] The game, developed and published by the company Nicalis, became available to the public on November 4th, 2014.[3]


On February 1st, 2015, a new expansion for Rebirth titled Afterbirth was announced by McMillen. On February 13th, McMillen published additional information about the expansion on his Tumblr blog,[8] revealing it would a variety of new content, including over 100 new items, a new game mode, and a new playable character.

On October 30th, the expansion was released on Steam. When released, players found that the game only had 70 new items rather than the promised 100. After McMillen was confronted about the discrepancy, a DLC was release containing additional items. On November 4th, McMillen published an explanation posted to the /r/bindingofisaac[24] subreddit, where it claims the missing items were due to a bug that wasn't discovered until after the game's launch.

Afterbirth Plus

A second expansion to Rebirth was announced during 2016, but the name of Afterbith Plus (stylized Afterbirth +. This expansion was released January 3rd, 2017. This expansion featured A new character, a new, alternate boss, and heavily focused on modding support for the game from players[25]. When the game was released, designer Edmund McMillen announced that monthly updates would be received, each containing "booster packs" with modded content from the community. He also stated that this game would be the final expansion on Rebirth[26]. The game cost $9.99 on Steam, and a trailer for the new expansion was also released.[27]


The games received multiple awards, including the PlayStation 2014 Best PS Vita Game of the Year Gold Award, which was awarded to Rebirth.[11] The game has also been well received by players, The Binding of Isaac has with 96% of the user reviews on Steam being positive for The Binding of Isaac and 97% for The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth as of October 9th, 2015.

Game Platform Metascore
The Binding of Isaac PC 84[18]
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth PC, PlayStation 4, XBox One, WiiU, 3DS 86[19]/88[20]/None[23]/None[22]/None[21]


The game has some gruesome elements, and was rejected by Nintendo because of "questionable religious content".[9] However, in 2015, the game became accepted onto the Nintendo 3ds, WiiU, and Xbox One consoles, albeit with some edits, announced by McMillen on May 2015, like using a fig leaf to cover Isaac's nudity or replacing "God" by "Dog" (shown below).[10]


However, on April 1st, Tyrone Rodriguez, founder of Nicalis, posted various videos of 3DS version gameplay, finally announcing the next day that the game would be uncensored (shown below).

Online Relevance

On October 2nd, 2011, a dedicated subreddit was created, gaining over 61,000 subscribers in the next four years.[7] On June 12th, 2013, a wiki about the game was created.[6] On the image macros creation page QuickMeme, a template named "First-World Problem Isaac" was created on October 22nd, 2011, with captions usually describing problems that players have experienced while playing the game. As of September 2015, there are over 350 instances of this advice animal on Quickmeme.[12]


The game has also inspired several animations. On July 7th, 2012, animator KawaiiPiranha uploaded an animated parody of the game, gaining over 850,000 in the following years. On July 25th, 2012, animator MyFuckinMess uploaded an animation titled "Eyesaac", gaining over 440,000 views in the following years. The game has been also played by several Let's Play channels, with some of them being dedicated to it, being Northernlion one of the most notable ones.

Since its release, the series has gained a sizeable following. As of October 9th, 2015 the artist community DeviantART leads to over 9,000 results under the keyword β€œthe binding of isaac".[14] Fandom presence can also be found in other communities like 4chan[16] or Tumblr.[15]



In December of 2016, a wholly fan-made expansion to The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth was released to the public. Commandeered by 4 Binding of Isaac enthusiasts, _Kilburn, NotYourSaggitarius, LeatherIceCream, and Mudeth, it had an extensive website[28] and acquired over 2100 downloads[29]. It currently features 4 new floors, 16 new bosses, 2 characters with unique play styles, and over 90 community-created items.

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