|[Games Done Quick]
Saturday, December 30, 2023 by LotBlind
What do Good Poker Players Refer to Bad Poker Players as?
Quote of the Run: "I've studied the possible potion trajectories and now aim to take out the two art pieces to the left with a potion and then fight the right piece with the hammer."
— ktwo, a sworn misart-thrope
So normally I go ahead and do some laid-back research first before engaging my aggroed-cat kyphotic serious writing mode. Well, there HAVE certainly been rumors to that effect. It's like Mothman. Any case, today you've caught me on the day before the research day, and that's when I painstakingly formulate the most jaw-droppingly astute and sexy hypotheses to help the research get a good kick-off towards the right exact conclusions. It's the world we live in. For instance, I really think the character of Beetlejuice must be a personification of red dye. Think about it! Or read about it, directly below! Like move your eyes less than an inch.
Firstly, to pop the big pesky pimple here, what's the more obvious "essence of beetle" exactly? I think we're talking about carmine, a.k.a. cochineal (a word you can pronounce any way you like, so long as there's a voiceless postalveolar affricate in there somewhere). This is a dye, "natural red 4" or E120 in Europe, used historically and contemporarily in textiles, paints, foods and make-up, though luckily, synthetic alternatives are at least being looked into. The cochineal beetles are dried and crushed in very large quantities, not dissimilar to how Murex snails in the Mediterranean region were the long-time source of the color called royal purple.
Secondly, red dye certainly sounds appropriate for a horror movie set, and the original draft of the script is noted for far greater exuberance in the area of blood. Ketchup is neat and all but soon or late you'll get more actual creepy-crawlies "ketching up" with their respective recommended calory intakes (and each other) than you can afford the qualified animal handlers to handle. Unless you're the next Siegfried or Roy I guess, who, contrary to outwards impressions, did not in fact do all their cat cultivating by themselves.
Thirdly, red dye... sounds like red-eye. Think about how the main characters red-die! Swerved off the road huh? You say you were dodging a dog, eh? Well, I think you were DOWNING a DUBLIN Dog, you sneaky inebriate!
Finally... and perhaps you thought I was going to gloss over this... the homophonous star, Betelgeuse, is, and I quote Wikipedia: "a red supergiant star of spectral type M1-2 and one of the largest visible to the naked eye." A RED supergiant. Visible to the nakED EYE. Which rhymes with what? I rest my case.
The soundtrack to this game, revisited by the NES supergiant 'ktwo', is soooo beautiful and uplifting. The composers back then working with 7–8 channels (the last channel was used for SFX usually) really had to make the most out of each and every channel so it ended up sounding like classical 4-part composition and/or The Beatles. The same kind of minimalism benefits the graphical esthesis too. The negative space around Beetlejuice's head when he utters his lines is rather striking. The improved w/ deaths time is 0:10:52, with 37 seconds gulped by a passing sandworm. This run is definitely a fun watch, given that 90% of Beetlejuice's damage output comes through usage of a knick-knack akin to Xena the Warrior Princess' chakram or a Tron Identity Disk, living on a prayer about them magic bulleting all the meanies while you're off on your own, equally mean, errands.
What might also be a fun watch is an actual, living, breathing movie sequel coming next year. :o
Quote of the Run: "Most of the previous attempts had ended already on the 1st puff, so I didn't get into the fight with high expectations."
For those of you who don't like ktwo, there's 'ktwo'. And, I mean, I can't see someone continuing their OP unbreakable "NNNGGHHH NERF IT ALREADY!" air juggle combo this long without a condensation of jealous wannabes ramming down the gates of his save-stately* manor while he's just lounging in the pool room** minding his own NES. Haters gonna hate. I don't actually know if he has any dedicated anti-fans, I'm saying this just to cater for that very real possibility.
(*I'm not saying he cheats! Haha... he just also does TASes for the same games. XD)
(**This room has both pool tables and a swimming pool, with one of the tables inside the swimming pool so you can... well, you know.)
So ktwo's second hurrah today is Dragon's Lair for the you-guessed-it NES. This and related games were known for their extreme take on the eternal animation realism / control "feelalism" debate, and so the criticism is the same as that against Red Dead Redemption 2. The criticism, in fact, was so mouth-wateringly venomous that I would happily just quote Wiki here: "The game was panned by critics and gamers alike due to its poor controls, trudging movement, and immense difficulty level. Gamers especially criticized the game for the player dying from one hit by any object or enemy, DESPITE THE PLAYER HAVING A HEALTH BAR." (The all caps is mine but it shouldn't be!) In Dragon's Lair, you don't have to tame and ride any dragon... You just have to tame and ride the big ornery state machine that gets you to it!
As per usual, as per the other run above, ktwo has documented his knowledge in a laudable way. Warms my heart every time I see someone picking apart the game's steaming innards in memory addresses and/or variables. It's like catnip dip to a feline. Or bamboo salad to a panda. Or "32 seconds saved, down to 0:06:49" to the superparticular SDA speedrun "fastronomes". That's what you are, and what you are is why you're here!
Quote of the Run: "We wanted to compare which category is the fastest, the limits of Easy category and what kind of crazy strategies and optimizations we could find and employ in a segmented setting."
For those of you who don't like ktwo, OR ktwo, OR speedruns making appearances in pairs, there's 'Blacksecret', 'Tarakan3000' & 'Carbonehell'. This trio of true tradesmen of fast-tracking have traipsed the... you know what? Alliteration's ass. While we've seen speedrun relay sack races before, the elephant here, if any, is "why isn't the Easy difficulty necessarily the fastest in this case?". As explained in the run comments, it's just not masochistic enough! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ You can't hurt yourself with rockets, which as a rule adhered to by all serious FPS games equals "you can't boost yourself with rockets", which sorry condition both spacefarers and Nazi test aviators can confirm feels like nothing once you've had a taste of the good Stoff (look up "Messerschmitt Komet" nudge nudge wink wink). "More crazy experimental war machines" is one of the few good replies to "reasons to have delayed D-Day Führer... I mean further".
(The timestamps here are the IGT rolling by at the top of the screen)
In Serious Sam: The First Encounter, you are given to high vault over some of the lowlier (get it?) enemies like they're air to you. The bowling aspect of it I covered with the last submission. Of the other sporting activities that made the route cut, I'd like to highlight the let's-call-it-floor-surfing at 23:27. Some other excerpts: the textbook heedlessness towards the readie-thingies the game is insisting on to derail psyched-up players with at 0:25; the Kamikaze boosts like Eminem with his career after Revival (NB: Revival was just fine :| ); and the measured and necessary act of deforestation exacted by The Beeline Express at 4:36. The fact this run has the music on mute forefronts the ominous rumblings of all the skeletal Kleers and the booming cannon shots when these Three Musketeers square it off with the Gorossus of Rhodes in the finale. It's a soundscape like one of the Napoleonic wars; the complete no-bars-hold'd version of the 1812 Overture. Wait so maybe this game IS an allegory of the Russian campaign? And so the big bad is the cheese wiz himself? :o
I guess it would've been remiss to leave out the cannon from a game that has this much surplus in what they eat. There's no basic ammo concerns, any more than there are colorful ball concerns for children at most professionally maintained ball pits. Run time is 0:28:37, and as you may have pieced together, the run was, indeed, pieced together from segments, not run three abreast. That might have required another tree to be felled somewhere...
Availing himself of the "abandoned-ware rule" whereby an incomplete game is fair game for SDA submissions so long as it "represents the most complete version the game is likely to ever have", 'RockoSonicFan' gets another Flash-driven Sonic title out of the way. This time it's Sonic In Angel Island, wherein Sonic... is... in/on Angel Island. The dramatic term "act" is indeed a little dramatic in this context, but by the principle of reasonable economy of game assets, Sonic levels tend to be two-punch combos from the same piece of cloth, and so at least they'll always have each other to keep company. If the game only had one of the dual acts, it wouldn't be allowable anymore, it'd be a freak of nature requiring summary sanitation. Side note: it's rather strange seeing Sonic without camera scrolling, even for a duration of just 0:00:39!
Did you know? Nickelodeons were originally cheap movie theaters. The first one starting business in Pittsburgh, 1905. With a 5 cent admission fee. What's another name for 5 cents? It's "nickel" isn't it? As in "pumpernickel". As in 'farting Nick', one of the tentative attempts at swaddling that German expression in an etymology. Did you know nickels are mostly copper? Cupronickel, it's called, the alloy. The "odeon" of "nickelodeon" is from a big Parisian théâtre in neoclassical style, which was in turn derived from the name for ancient Greek theaters that (unlike Roman ones), came roofed for better acoustics. The first of the odeons dates back to roughly...
*Comes up for air and clicks away dozens of Wikipedia tabs before it's too late*
The Fairly OddParents: Fairly Odd Squad. You've all seen the Nickelodeon show Fairly OddParents, except for those of you that haven't. Like me. As a quick 'n' gritty summary, the show is the embodi-mation-ment of the phrase "Be careful what you wish for!" This run is for one of its little Flash accompaniments, terminates at the 0:01:52 mark, and now exists on this site. And yes, this is the other pair of the two pair, so it's also by 'RockoSonicFan'.
Tuesday, September 26, 2023 by LotBlind
Five Items or Less in the Kart... Express Lane a-Go! ... Kart
"'kazn' is like a box of chocolates" is a true statement. This isn't as evident if you didn't see the Tetris-like run that didn't quite make the cut (run for a Tetris-like game, not that the run was of its nature like that game, although I find it sufficiently easy to believe such runs exist). But if you DID see that run, you will be able to see ME, spotlit center stage, when I state that stately statement of mine. Honestly just going from Melty Blood (fighting game) to Mario Kart 64 (not a fighting game, but liable to stir up real-life fights like Black Friday sales) is quite a space-time warp in and of itself.
What kazn, specifically, made his mission to do with this game was to hop up a level in the taxonomic hierarchy, past the individual-lap runs and individual-race runs too, into the phylum of entire cups (phylum off, those extra seconds) and even the [Mushroom] Kingdom of the Whole Dang Ding! We didn't have those entries before but we didn't see any reason not to. So here's some very state-of-the-kart motor sports, dauntlessly incorporating every finicky trick (i.e. shortcuts) to make whatever shenanigans you and your feuding friends ever thought of to aggravate each other in this game seem kinda feeble. Very feeble in fact. Lamesauce!
Mushroom Cup: 0:05:45.76
Special Cup: 0:06:03.43
Star Cup: 0:06:12.73
The Whole Dang Ding: 0:23:16.53
But wait, there's [Dennis] Moore! Another runner to have made an imprint on the same game page is 'yat1', stealing time from the rich/poor and giving it to the poor/rich! My eyes just couldn't focus on what I was seeing in this more recent submission of the Rainbow Road w/ shortcuts Individual Level, and specifically the one-lap version of it. That lap time was 1:05.16 before. That lap time is 0:13:33 now. I thought I was looking at the wrong category or something! You do the maths how much the physical, virtual corner-cutting has snipped off the elapsing time. I can imagine dozens of runners' bloody bodies heroically frozen around the mountainside creating footholds so that The Chosen One was finally able to reach these heights. But maybe not? Maybe it was easy, work smarter, not harder -like? Full table time is now 0:05:29.27.
yat1's comments double as a reminder of what even count as shortcuts / large-skip glitches in this and kazn's four runs.
Tuesday, September 12, 2023 by LotBlind
Reports of my Lotsa Stuff are Greatly Exagge-not-the-Case-at-All now that I Think About It
The precious statuette side (Jade Falcon campaign) of MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat has been subject to further chiseling. We catch 'PROX' green-handed adding extra engravings in the little shack behind the local fake ancient relic parlor by the ruins of the mysterious city of... Incabamba. With 23 seconds of felonious flakes all over his person, there's no doubt he's the guy forging ahead with these forgeries!
Arkham Bridge down 7 to 0:01:41.
Bone Machine down 5 to 0:01:30.
Plum Wine down 1 to 0:00:39.
Rust Heart down 3 to 0:01:12.
Iron Piston down 7 to 0:01:38.
Wait, there's more suspicious sand pouring out his pant legs like Leslie Nielsen's prison baseball! It just keeps coming... enough to turn home base into an expedition target for mountaineers at 41 more seconds for 1:04 total savings. Woot woot!
Trial 1 down 9 to 0:00:43.
Trial 2 down 9 to 0:00:39.
Trial 3 down 12 to 0:00:42.
Trial 4 down 11 to 0:00:41.
The complete table is accessible through the following link, doubling as information on what it would put you back seeing all of them: 0:26:42
Quote of the Run: "Better mashing on both tanks can save 0.3, a more aggressive duck can save 0.2, and a slightly better UFO kill can save 0.1."
Someone's not pleased with the overly agreeable waterfowl but must surely be satisfied overall with a second WR ownership in some old run & gun called Contra. That's quite the underachievement! And yes, I mean under-achievement considering what we're dealing with here. 'K1ngK0opa' has limbered up limbs for the evening limbo jamboree, cause that low% is all about bending but not breaking: bending the limits of rapid, well-timed bursts of inputs on the B button, as well as something a bit more elaborate and recondite on the others. Recondite meaning "hard to understand". Why can't I just say "hard to understand"? "Cause I get bored", she said and snored (( _ _ ))..zzzZZ
Despite the bar being set increasingly low, the One True King impresses the convivial crowd with a 0:10:57, 18 seconds off the previous SDA-submitted time... and did I mention the WR thing? That's WR by 15 seconds ahead of any competition ever. In Contra. The way the bases blow up wholesale after you've punched through to enough of their provocatively positioned funny bones reminds me of those toys designed to come apart at the joints when taking a critical hit in the abdomen (which, let's face it, is just a physical euphemism for the groin and whatever they've got going down there). This expediting contrivance only somewhat subdues the manliness inherent in refusing to augment your armaments in case you get cooties – which, by the by, is what low% means in this game: no weapon upgrades – and the manliness inherent in your badge of honor count incrementing mid-mission. I'm guessing those icons up top left are more like your continual self-evaluation for the performance review.
"I sure dun well, cap'n!"
- "No good, I wurn't watchin'."
"Well darn diddly doo, railroad tracks."
Sunday, May 14, 2023 by LotBlind
360° into Darkslide into Butt Slap into Darkslide into Spaz Gas into Darkslide into Brass Jazz into Darkslide into Darkslide
Quote of the Run: "Buttslaps have been a powerful tool for speedrunners since Tony Hawk's Underground 1, and they are at their most powerful in Project 8."
When you launch a modern console, the home screen is referred to as the dashboard. I've never launched a console newer than a PS2 so how would I know? It evokes a joyride in your pimpmobile compared to the dreary old PC "desktop", which in turn sounds like you're about to get behind the mule, spreading some sheets or editing a dumb news post. Things that happen at an alarming frequency! What took me by storm is the apparent fact updates to the dashboard software implemented between production runs can have a dramatic impact on the handling and acceleration of your joyride ride. I always thought consoles gave the same cookie-cutter experience to every Tom, Dick AND Harry unless you do something funky with 3rd-party peripherals like an SSD, but turns out that's far from the case with XBOX 360s at least.
Yes, the 360. Sounds like the optimum choice for games where going for one is never a bad idea or not conducive to your goals. I suppose the dashboard should just have been called "Skates", not "Blades", for Tony Hawk's Project 8 to nestle in perfectly. "Getting their skate[s] on" we have 'ThePackle' who uses the journaling method (read: "has written awesome commentary filling a void on the gamepage") to guarantee this "joe" skater a Chris Rea upwardly mobile freeway through the ranks of wailin' jazz artist wannabes. And I mean it is like free jazz a lot of the time isn't it? But as with at least the most recent epoch in the history of music, more notes in less time is seen hereabouts as virtuous and virtuosic. And thus ThePackle causes a daring debacle on the gamepage by yanking out over 10 minutes of largo parts from the last record (yowza, that's more than 20%!), letting the tumultuous trombone tootings shred your reservations about what is and isn't musical in just 0:37:24 – like a spiny desert succulent to a wedding gown. Like try this bad boy on for size, Ariel-with-legs!
Now how do you write "There isn't much to talk about that isn't already self-explanatory" in your comments, ThePackle? How?! Is this a "if you have to ask, you'll never know" kind of situation that we're in? Really?
Quote of the Run: "The game, at least to my knowledge, only has one checkpoint, the start/finish line."
Imagine you've been tasked by your agency with headhunting for future speedrunning talent. In keeping with the times, you're sent to try out 4–6-year-olds that haven't yet had their entire lives programmed for them. Now how do you go about that? Simple! Walk into your nearest kindergarten (Waldorf ones are good), make sure everyone's got crayons and an age-appropriate picture to color in with like a princess or a castle or a hobo or something. You're looking for someone that colors in EXACTLY NOTHING within the lines... and EXACTLY EVERYTHING outside of them. If it's in a Waldorf 'garten, there's less chance they'll step in to interfere with das Experiment.
So yeah, if you want your speedrun to look like one, you'll have to have at least one of those kids in your team. And I think that might have been the case with 'arielus05' and his cohorts making short work (literally) of Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity's Heroes Story fork with, if you squint and turn your head, some subtle large-skip glitches included. It's about 0:08:04 in the chronometer and the run is indeed very... meta, which isn't me saying it, it's the game itself breaking the fourth wall like it's from the Silent Hill continuum. :P I couldn't have thought of a better word for it though. Not much help from your master's thesis in formal logic in trying to pin down any sound arguments about the game from this headless chicken dash alone. I think there must have been a leak from a secret military warehouse of some wacky gas that makes you go temporarily guano. Batshit, that is... and that shit somehow ended up in the Heroes team locker room right before the starting gun went "bingo-BANGo-bongo!" I think Knuckles was dozing right by a vent, the poor devil. Echidnat've been any worse for him. If you insist there's any method to the madness here, you may turn to arielus' run comments for confirmation biasing that to your satisfaction. I'm keeping a safe distance!
BTW: I definitely didn't plan out the Ariel-arielus connection but this run's most certainly also got legs, legs for days. Don't think anyone's come close to challenging it so far. And talking of bats, would you believe there's a genus of bats called Arielulus? HAHAHAA! I'm very close to rewriting this to make it look like I did plan it out like one brachiosaur of a brainiac. My god!
Given only a few measly letters separate the last two titles appearing in today's update, and both are 'RockoSonicFan' to thank for, I thought they'd be happy sharing a room without a privacy screen. There's something of a... RUNNING THEME... to this update as we pile on more Sonic Sonic Sonic. The two games in question are both simple Flash miniatures without the luxury to partition off any collateral categories either: there's Sonica finished in 0:01:41 and Sonic Xs in 0:00:08.26. That's two more Flash games down, and like a gazillion to go, but while the front page fanfare might not be as resounding for short 'n' simple... fan fare like these two, that doesn't mean they're not worth speedrunning. Gotta go fast and all that.
Sunday, April 9, 2023 by LotBlind
Frags [High-]Strung[-Out?] Together at the Payne Factory: Yourene for One Hell/Heckuva Treat (1/3 Sugar, Kuz You Only Rive Once)
There's a special category of 2D games where you're looking at the finished product but you can't unsee the editor! Like you can tell exactly how the levels were built, like seeing the individual tiles of the mosaic but not the picture they're supposed to congeal to. I know I've had that feeling when playing Jazz Jackrabbit 2 at least – but not the first one – and also not e.g. when watching Abe's Oddysee runs. I don't know what causes that but I suspect the lack of legitimizing lighting effects may be a tributary. It's a bit tough to make a game like that immersive. Many of these Game Maker type of games are like that.
The premise in Honeycomb Factory Frenzy is you're in the factory where they make the Honeycomb cereal... and you get a little frenzied because ADHD is your God and ADHD demands things of you! And you hurtle into a meshuga sugar rush down the long abstraction of a production line and you win when you... reach the... other... end. It's like one of those childhood "race to the X" kinda affairs except this kid is self-ADHD-motivated in his extracurricular excursion into where his cornholio-o's come from. And that's all fine! We love everyone equally here. But did you not see Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, my little pumpkin pie? I'm pretty sure it took less than 0:06:59 for the first little angel to get... urm... angel'd in that one. There's gotta be a dope Wonka game out there for you to run later, 'RockoSonicFan'. Wonder what kinda skip you'll find in the creepy boat ride. Maybe you just set it on fire like ancient Roman naval warfare. Bitch, I seen Ben-Hur!
While I do not and never have endorsed drug usage of any sort (mmmkay?), I just can't help but think this silly game offers the perfect experience for the stoners even more so than us no-ners.
Quote of the Run: "A few months ago, the runner 'pirohiko' posted a speedrun of this game showing "alternative exits" of some doors. These are reached by pressing down (instead of the standard method of pressing up to enter a door)."
So you hear about that time* when scientists (yes, scientists!) drilled a hole through the earth to a depth of kilometers (yes, kilometers! They work in SI units.) and ran into a surprising cavity down there. Then they lowered a thermometer and a microphone (yes, microphone!) into the hole and found out it was really extra death pepper hot (you know, infernally so) and it sounded really really bad, hellish almost (yes, hell-ish, hellish screams, probably from something burning, e.g. eternally, as if, say, human souls in some hell-like location, which is a location known (known!) to be found somewhere within the bowels of the planet, which is exactly the sort of locale they (those scientists!) had been scouting out at the time... That's quite the coincidence!). Well while all of that (all of it!) really happened of course, they did get some of the data (data!) corrupt and it was only quite recently that they went back and cleaned (cleaned!) the tape properly before playing it back again and whaddya know, it turns out it was actually identical to whatever the heck (yes, "heck"! that's another word for "hell") Nebulus, if you have the wrong sounds setting, emanates at the unsuspecting young players with all the unreasonable rancor of the sun from Super Mario Bros. 3.
Doesn't sound familiar? Well, maybe cause you know this cosmopolitan of a game by one of its other titles, such as "Kyoro-chan Rando", which is the version run here again by 'ktwo'. I have tremendous difficulties myself deciding if the game is ultimately more "nebulus" or more "rando". The wrong sounds setting in question is the RIGHT sounds setting for speedrunning and thus you're all severally invited to tweak the volume in your individually chosen media player to moderate the levels of pain to match your personal "UNGH" threshold and any recent underruns in self-flagellation. This time dip of 47 seconds down to 0:13:19 is largely off the back of the incorporation of one of the stranger sorts of shortcuts I've seen. You just hit a different key at certain doors and... shortcut! It feels like step 2 is missing like gnomes and underpants but hey, the profit is demonstrably there!
* Source, of course.
The last run for this next one was in the Friday, June 25th, 2021 update, and that's one you will want to get revised up on to prep for this one, because it definitely feels like one of those "standing on the shoulders of giants" moments. Only the giant was You, Yourself and Yourene. You can strike that paradoxical pose in Portal you know! Yourene, AKA 'fearZZz' amasses the winning scoreline, increasing brawl-by-brawl, in a spellbinding Tchaikovsky-esque ballet of death across all the 26 pit-like enclosures. It's such a rapturous synthesis of knowledge, stategy and skill to slay the stochastic leviathan that is Quake III Arena! The irony here is you end up seeing maybe 25% of said arena in the average case... This is the kind of game you must be fully warmed-up, brain and body, to play on the kind of level you get with the 0:21:49.46 continuation claim.
So to clarify, these ILs are for the hardest difficulty. The run comments complement those from the easy difficulty from before and introduce you to some of the subtleties of the Nightmare grind. Especially the very last level is one that holds your face down to the pavement and grinds it until it bleeds... until the pavement does, that is. On this difficulty, the bots have superhuman hitscan aim the kind you can only really counter by moving like electricity moves along greased copper wires (but not in a straight line towards or away from them!), or hoping for "if I can't see you, you can't see me" to hold more true today than it did the last 9999 days. Also they're more resilient, the damned vermin, spawning with more "stack", i.e. health and/or armor, meaning the days are long gone when you could erase one with a single rocket or rail. So watching these runs for all of us who remember strapping ourselves into the passion play that is this game's highest difficulty (feeling precisely like an out-of-shape crash test dummy... about to be more out-of-shape than ever) is to take vicarious revenge at it – the best medicine, let's not forget – and coming from the easiest difficulty is to "increase the dose from least to most" to quote some Eminem lyrics here as we often don't. But ought to.
High high up on the list of my personal first-world peeves is the misfortunate gaping hole in my game-sume between Max Payne and Sam & Max Hit the Road (it's organized thematically). The omission is that of the second in the Remedy series, which is probably sufficient so you can understand which game I'm referring to but I'm legally obligated to include these three given links per game in these updates so, here we are! Link numero uno: Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne. Links numeros dos & tres: 'Koci' & 0:17:05.80. The former slightly compressed the New York Minute ILs table time down to the latter, with the poeLEES Station level being traitorously stuck up for 3.03 seconds' worth of Dunkin' donuts. This inside job – and the next link is BECAUSE I LOVE YOU – would therefore clock in at 1:26.90 roundabouts.
Tuesday, March 21, 2023 by LotBlind
Trundle through the Jungle; ya Hear it Rumble? My Storm is Frontal, your Base will Crumble, I'll make you Humble, I'm Contrapunt
Quote of the Run: "Fall damage kicks in at 3.5 blocks and will gradually reduce your health as you fall, making it possible to die before you even hit the ground."
It was a dark and stormy night (in some part of the world) in 1985 when this thing came out on an old desktop data-doodling machine that British school kids of that era will remember more or less fondly, the BBC Micro. Back then you had about ten bytes of RAM and enough CPU to redraw maybe seven pixels out of the 24-ish your monitor could even keep tabs on without crashing and burning. That's why it was fashionable in those days to limit the play area and incorporate static or mostly static elements in your graphics. You can tell Night World is assuming nothing about the player's rig when the collision checks are as primitive as they are, although I have an alternative theory as to why everything seems so infirm. It's also assuming nothing about the player's holding any interest in seeing the majority of it, as evidenced by the decades-long wild goose chase it led its nocturnal suitors on until the first report was finally filed of puncturing that wall of darkness. More on the fascinating details of this daring endeavour in the links provided here by someone who was amongst those who kept their eyes on the glinting prize long enough to allow them to adjust to the lower 'Lum'inosity. Yeah, girl, that's only the first of a potentially endless number of puns on your name! Didn't think this through, did ya?
What's my theory? Well, you all may have seen that scene where in one of the more recent Star Wars debacles a bunch of half-fledged torsos sink into quicksand... and then out of quicksand. :/ There's a cave / macguffin showroom in there having the compact convenience of a Swiss army knife with attached surgically fine-motoric neuro-interfacing robot arms. I put forth THIS game was the necessary predecessor of that location. And I put forth that all the walls are embedded with electromagnetic generators. And I put forth that the sandy material of this subterfuginous subterrane is magnetic. Could be made of something along the lines of... you know... some lunar basalt, some kinda titanomagnetite like, obviously ulvöspinel springs to mind... or just like some honest-to-goodness franklinite. What's wrong with franklinite? AND I put forth that this is how the world of Night World can remain so paradoxically unsound and sound all at once. For good measure, I'll throw in that's how they built all the pyramids, too. Those ancient aliens did.
The amount of tenebrific this game is, it's difficult to shine any light on what constitutes a brilliant speedrun of it in any other sense than the visually verifiable perpetuity of progress inside this network of undiscernible chambers the likes of which served to inspire Sanctum. You just have to accept THIS 0:05:35 is a Banksy. THIS ONE's a van Gogh (The Starry Night perhaps?), an Edward Hopper (Nighthawks maybz??), a Nat Jones (okay, hear me out... there's an American artist by that name who drew the cover art for both some Dark Souls comic book, a Dark Ark one AND the same name appeared in my search for who the Night of the Living Dead poster from '68 was by even though there's no basic chance he's connected with it cause he probably wasn't born yet. Thank you for listening! And also you'll thank yourself for listening to the runner's dulcet and finely calculated audio commentary track.)
'PROX' has kept whittling away at mission completed time stamps and we're keeping pace with him (well, we're doing our best!) on the MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat gamepage. Here's all of the latest and greatest improvements:
Jade Falcon campaign:
Quote of the Run: "boss that is random and sometimes gives you an impossible pattern"
So this next game was last brough up on Thursday, May 28, 2020 (by LotBlind). In that update, I lured you in with something about Contra, then sucker punched your boxing shorts off with Contra III like you're King Hippo from Punch-Out!!. A different king in the ring today, though, and 'K1ngK0opa' to be specific, and I guess you could define this brave 0:09:47 spectacle as "boxing" in a fairly loose sense. Just-attended-four-different-advanced-yoga-classes-while-toked-outta-mah-mind kind of loose. There's not a lot of loose time to shake the any% 1-p category down for (in case there is for any of them) so just 6 seconds are given the boot (punt-all, remember?) and WR it is! In case you didn't know Contra, it's not exactly like yoga. It's not exactly boxing either. It's more like the game equivalent of a 500 kg (1100 lb) deadlift. It's the only passable excuse to pass by gym day. Supposin' something like army service makes you a man... Contra will scale you right up into Overman! Yeah, that Nietzsche Übermensch thing, with no ties to the Nazis preferrably.
It's sort of customary around here to pun around this game's name (and I wrote this part before the title and I've committed enough deletions already) so... I think I'll just quote the English nursery rhyme "Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary". AHEM!
"Mary, Mary, Quite CONTRAry..."
etc. etc. cause it has "contra" in it. Inside the word "contrary". The first six letters. I could easily have written that into the text organically but I'm DONE with being judged on the basis of how neatly I can knit things together like a... like a damned old maid. Punster not a spinster I tells ye. Punt-ster. Done with knotting things together like a scout or a sailor or something. And I'll have you know I'm burning this bra too. Burn baby burn! Gee, that would have been even more fun with a flamethrower.
*proceeds with disgruntled dark web searches and keyed-up hardware store visits for the rest of the day* <3
Monday, February 6, 2023 by LotBlind
The Most Maniacal Manhunt for Morticia in the Mansion of Macabre Millionaires
Quote of the Run: "The biggest mistake in the run happened in the kitchen... This cost ~0.7s."
In their hit single Black no. 1, parody of youthful identity-seekers of a specific hair-dyeing strain, the late great Type o Negative sap the anthem's sincerity with mocking interspersals of materials from BOTH the 60's main gothic goof-ons, the one being The Addams Family, the other The Munsters. This includes not only the verbal pointer to the matron Lily, but musical mimings of both their merry theme songs as well. The two shows aired alongside each other between '64 and '66, but with The Munsters achieving a higher so-called Nielsen rating (i.e. more views I guess) which must have had to do with factors other than the show's quality. (At this point I'm going to crank the "contrast" setting of my opinions to a setting one higher, but only one). The Addamses had the freakier freaks and odder oddities. AND its satire was more pointed. AND it had actually funny lines and gags like in the first episode when the truant officer is trying to convince Gomez they ought to send their children to school, saying "I was referring to more formal learning... Reading...", and Gomez replies with "What is there for a 6-year-old to read?"*. AND it doesn't repeat itself as much. And can we even begin to measure the stark luster-lack of Lily Munster against the unearthly pulchritude of Carolyn Jones' Morticia Adams? Can we? We... no, we can't. We just can't.
* Try this exchange from episode 3, 16 minutes in, if you're in the mood of doubting the Addamses could pack a comedic whollop. Honestly the comedy of errors that follows that scene is A-tier as well!
While any convictions you had that this was all segueing – with all the grace of a freerunner through the market district of Agrabah – towards Apogee's '93 DOS title Munster Bash (if you see what I did there) would have been justified to the degree of having to award the same points as for what it said on my cue card, there is in fact a different horrorfest setting up stalls in this metaphorical town's metaphorical market district today! Aside from all of the above, there's one last decicive cause as to why the speedrun-planney-outy lobe in runner 'ktwo''s brain, barring a concussive head injury, could not, between the two shows, ever have quantum collapsed into running a Munsters-themed video game. The Munsters video games suck. Let me try that again. The one The Munsters video game sucks. The Addams Family for the NES does not suck. As much. Maybe it does? What money-grubbin' mountain-of-a-man Mr. "K2" does in his 0:11:16 is to Dennis Moore the family's own mansion for virtually every last lupin (this is just required, it's not a 100% run), then reclaim "Tish" from the clutches of a few bozos that didn't know about the clandestine canoe conduit. The sampan circumvent if you will. The gondola go-around if you won't. By this fancy footwork, ktwo not only obsoletes his old PAL w/ deaths run (by about 20 seconds effectively) but also overshadows another w/o deaths effort also by His Truly. So for now, this is the king of the hill. Of the K2 mountain.
BTW: Do check out the Knowledge Base guide linked in ktwo's comments. Up top of the guide, you'll see a very neat diagram showing how open-ended the game is!
Wednesday, October 26, 2022 by LotBlind
Career Enemy Harrier, Lay on the Fear from the Rear of the Area, Tappin' the Apnea to Cap Deer that Hap Near Something Something
Quote of the Run: "Make a mockery out of it. This is fun."
We've been there, done that (low attention span) with MechWarrior 2 but we haven't been anywhere or done anything with the third big Mech power fantasy since 2008, a year most inductive to escaping reality. MechWarrior 3 has the player, his can-tank-erous task group and supplies make slapstick landfall after their tentative dropships come under fire from clan Smoke Jaguar's friendly automated greeting system. A system hailing their frequency from planetside with special futuristic communication lasers that encode friendly messages into super-concentrated packages completely unambiguous to any receiving entity including hiveminds and races from QuasiSpace. Thinking of the topology here, is that more like "coming over fire" then? You can't tell which way is up on planet Exegol! Oh wait, this planet's called "Tranquil", which ends up being like if Venus was called "Chilblains". From there on out, aside from ganging up with the surviving allies for a stadia-packing comeback tour, the player is expected to stop making excuses and start making lemonade with the unaltered general orders. There are Places of Interest in the vicinity in spirit not unalike where Arthur Dent holds residence at the start of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (primed for demolition, that is). Along the way, whenever the player makes contact with the clan that designed the greeting system, new friendships are forged for life. Only they're not a long-lived type of people, or one resistant to skull-boring. (Am I describing a friendship here, I have basically zero experience?)
Whatever parts are spared in each destined mech disassembly become spare parts for the player's mean menagerie to avail themselves of instead. Even completely serviceable vehicles are recoverable, which seems to be a standard in warfare these days. In the 0:30:44 run, also wisely disassembled into parts (part-wise you might call it), this fact is never lost sight of by Cmdr. 'Falconer Gray', nor are other avenues of avid exploitation. But what exploitation could you possibly be referring to, LotBlind?
There's really a similar knotty optimization problem here as something like Megaman Network Transmission, with the fastest mechs being far from always the breadwinners. The many interweaving systems leave those aching for realism and immersion – and exciting speedrunning applications – sitting neck-deep in a balmy 19th century Parisian hydrotherapeutic bath. It... just... makes... sense! There WOULD be bits and pieces left over to repa[r]triate. There WOULD be concerns about the heat produced by the mech's components and that heat WOULD rapidly dissipate when entering a body of water, take said hydrotherapeutic bath. The player WOULD be able to delete targets from the next mission early if the missions play out in the same neighborhood. Oh, and the enemy WOULD blindly attack arbitrary points in the terrain in the present because you've suggested to some squad mates to go hang out there and have a cold one sometime in the future. Wait, what?
So yeah, while this run on the whole doubles as a demonstration of what our recent MechWarrior 2 runs might have looked like in the developers' minds, there are still quirks left over to quip about. More quipping I'll leave to Falconer now and his objective multi-angled coverage he's broadcasting in his comments like the one-man band of independent news crews. Like this is really one of those times I could hardly even think of anything the runner could add to what their commentary had already intimated. And good job redoing the whole run after a watermark first got in the way! Remember Aalyah's immortal words: "Cause if at first you don't succeed... dustoff and try again!" Did I mention this run dusts off the gamepage in a big ol' way? As in beats the crap outta it and shakes it down for over 12 minutes of loose changeS in strategies. 28% of the old segmented run time winnowed off. Winn[ow]ing!
I lied some about being done with MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat. 'PROX' brought another IL down a second, making it dangle unesthetically just below the round 1:10 mark. We still prefer it that way! Here's mission 11 of the Wolf campaign, Aquiline Fire (meaning "eagle-like"), in 0:01:09, total down to 0:30:41.
Quote of the Run: "I guess the developers never ever foresaw that people would try shooting him immediately."
You know mountain bike racing? The nerve! The thrill! The verve! The... hill. A careening precision sport so adrenaline-injected and holistically engaging as to wipe all memories of bothersome physical ailments. The ones you got mountain bike racing. Next, do you know hobby horsing? No, not hubby nursing. No, not Habbo Hotel either despite being the brainchild of the same evil / misunderstood geniuses of the north. As this article has it, "the sport is still largely a grassroots, DIY activity in its native Finland. There’s no official rulebook or governing body[.]" It's the great equine equilizer; anyone can afford a stick with a horse head stuck to it like that weird stables-and-quidditch-related nightmare I've been having since that ill-fated Harry-Potter-but-also-The-Godfather movie marathon...
Okay, so that's your comedic setup and heeeeeere's your payoff: You combine the flawless ache-relieving drift of the one with the lawless make-believing thrift of the other and whaddya get? Why, you get speedruns of Sniper: Ghost Warrior of course. I mean, look at it! Isn't it kinda like mountain bikes but your budget ran out before the mountain bikes? There's traverses like show jumping if you watch closely – at one point you can see the hobby horse hobbyist 'ImEliteGlitches' vaulting a live crocodile. That and countless fences, crates, barrels... nothing's off limits here and even the objectives are willing to flex. And like the bikers shoot through the dirt of the race track, so does the sniper shoot bullets through the dirt BAGS of the... race track. I mean, that's what it amounts to. A-mountain-bikes to.
Don't believe me? The sniper dude's called "Razer" but also "Raser" depending on how they felt like spelling it in each cutscene and briefing. That's clearly a subconscious pointer towards the word "racer". "Change your position! Change your position!" barks the overwatching officer at the pro racer person in one of the missions. This is doubly insulting as the game is telling both the sniper and the speedrunner their jobs. To be honest, only one can save their face here and it ain't the bush wookie! There's always a fearsome paradox when speedrunning a game that's politely asked you to "enjoy your STEALTH action I said, Sir or Madam". After blowing through an enemy military camp in what can only be described as Thomas the Engine's clickety-clack approach to a 90-yard touchdown run if Thomas the Engine was also asked to channel Mr. Bean from that Snickers commercial, it doesn't escape you the hilarity of the stone-faced "Fuck! I've been compromised" at the sound of the clickety klaxon. More or less all of the stealth left standing in the single-segment 0:36:43 trumping even the old ILs table by a whole 1:42 is solely a merit of solitary principled scripts, like in school when there was just one guy busting their ass on the assignment and hard-carrying everyone else's. And if you think that's perversion of tacit rules a-plenty, think again! Mr. Glitches scores a second six-pointer with a complete overhaul of said ILs table (down to 0:33:38) – aside from one asinine mission that, like the future when you lose at Chrono Trigger, refused to change. Your immutable future is to consume both runs and tell your friends / neighbors / complete strangers about them and tell us how that affected the net number of friends. I'm taking notes.
Something I can't say I noticed at all was apparently they re-used the same areas multiple times by making consecutive missions show the same events from varying points of view. Try and catch what I couldn't.
Saturday, July 2, 2022 by LotBlind
"Spies Spilling into the Speakeasy! Split those Sparsely Spaced Spurious Spelunking Speciesists into Splattery Spareribs!"
Wednesday, March 30, 2022 by LotBlind
Sniff 'em out, Snuff 'em out, Stuff 'em Stiff (and hang them on your wall)
In case you hadn't beheld it yet, Earnest Evans is one of those sights apt to being done that with. My ten-word summary of the protagonist might come to something like "profane crossbreed of Indiana Jones and the reptile he despises". Whatever the inspiration for the eldritch sinusoidal motions, that inspiration needed to be reserved for things like Contra bosses. Even the whip is better clutched by Terrence, the Underworld Lord from Area 8 in Blaster Master. What, you didn't know he was called Terrence? Evans should have all his limbs amputated and be repurposed as a bowling ball and/or pin. Or just one of those boulders he's getting harassed by. That's kind of rough but... no I'll give you that's rough. Poor Evans.