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Sunday, April 30, 2017 by LotBlind

One Big, Tasty Oddysee Laced with Adventure and a Side Dish of Questing (Level-Ups Not Included)

Two years after the release of the groundbreaking survival horror adventure Alone in the Dark and one year after storming out of Infogrames' stuffy offices, Frederic Raynal – here refused pesky diacriticals – went two for two having formed, with old workmates, Adeline Software, still based in the same merry city of Lyon. Their new 1994 action-adventure was called Little Big Adventure, evocative of small beginnings evolving into something epic, which is appropriate enough. Still, Activision felt Relentless: Twinsen's Adventure was better for marketing the game outside of Europe. Some frustration aside, it was a delightful experience that succeeded brilliantly in framing a grand struggle against an omnipresent, hegemonic oppressor, Dr. FunFrock, whose admittedly quite droll name could well be derived from his favored outer garment and the thing he's good at killing. It's not, though, because he wears an evil labcoat instead, and the strange capitalization notwithstanding, Funfrock is an actual Germanic name. The French mind shelters no censors, squeezing every bit of juice out of la liberté d'expression as you can tell.

Of our two LBA runs neither can stand tall next to this newcomer's fresh 0:53:40. 'FreemanQC' avails of many novelties in tricks and routing. Of the four modes of action (similar to how Alone did it), "aggressive" is probably the most descriptive of the run that was recorded on the French floppy version in a single segment but ousts our segmented record as well, by well over 20 minutes. Bon travail!

I'm wondering if the advertised novelty of Oddworld Inhabitants' to-date latest product, Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty!, is starting to wear out already. Sounds like they improved the recipe (is it being conceded it didn't USE to be tasty?) but so long as it's still slave-flavored, Sam 'Samtastic' Locke will continue putting the stuff away like an amoral suction pipe. I see it is in the Oddworld company's plan to remake the second game next, release slated for this very year. What New and Tasty did to OddyseeSoulstorm surely will to Exoddus: difficulty settings (the original was felt too trial-and-errory, checkpoints too sparse), an augmented dialog system, and threefold multiplied mudokons to prattle with to boot. To prattle with and to boot. From existence. Leaderboards are another likely addition, but they did increase AI randomness for N 'n' T to work the runners some. Hard to tell if there's an impact on the 0:21:37 being played on the "old and bland" hard difficulty, rife with both deaths and resets: Sam likes to abuse anything and everything, including mudokon compatriots if he can as we've established by now. 39 real-time seconds off with a spatter of new strategies all around.

If you think that's looking nice in your downloads queue, here's that side dish now! Having not one, nor three, but two Oddworld runs in one update means it is all too convenient to see the differences with your own eyes. Yes, Sam's second submission around the same time was for the aforementioned Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee. However, you could really only side-by-side them for so long until this one, single-segment but no major skips, is the only one left rolling. 56:42 turns into 0:43:36 in Sam's able hands which have borrowed from TASes [for] this time.

For an extra $15, I'll tell you what game the last run is for. Thanks! It's DLC Quest. No, that doesn't include the run itself. Etc. etc. etc. This minute pastiche was built to mock, among other things, those bottomless corporate pockets behind all the season passes, pre-order exclusives*, and insinuated microtransactions... but perhaps we should counterweight that with a source like The Know illuminating the modern industry and why it's so prone to grinding out extra income through such villainous means. Not that you shouldn't scorn Capcom for selling a game's "true ending" as an afterthought, EA for what they did with Dungeon Keeper, or Squeenix for All the Bravest (a digital toy, not a game, so no italics). It's everyone's loss that games are chopped up in a way that makes even the narrative itself dependent on which DLC you got – this is why you have to appreciate the less cynical efforts at balancing economics with artistic intergrity. And why you shouldn't ignore the indie scene.

Aside from calculated routing, the 0:07:34 run is infused with a compulsive and exhaustive collection of coins. Reminds of the last time the TAXMAN CAME TO VISIT! Yes I live in the Middle Ages. 'StiWii Rage', the model consumer, dishes out the dough to unlock everything starting from leftwards motion, SFX, and the option to save. And do I need to mention the achievements? I want to see the low% for some game defined by getting the least count of them. Could it be yours? It could work if the game only came out on Steam or so... do bring it up first though.


*I'm not entirely sure what the difference between these and Kickstarting is except for who's doing it. Which is difference enough.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 by Worn_Traveler

PJ Wins and Loses (Part 2)

Welcome back my friends to the PJ update express! It's time to see what other games have received the PJ treatment.

First, let's take a look at Hyperzone. PJ gave us a run of this game a few years ago and his time has been improved by 'AggroSky'. The improvement in this run comes from manipulating the scoring system to skip certain ship upgrades throughout the game, which means that there are less cutscenes to watch. The time for this game has gone from 0:23:51 to 0:23:27. The PJ tradition of commentary continues as AggroSky provides a commentary track to help us better understand and enjoy the run even more.

Patrick 'PJ' DiCesare currently has the Solstice: The Quest for the Staff of Demnos page to himself. He has now added a low% run in 0:06:38 to go along with his any% and 100% runs. If you haven't seen the runs for the various categories, I suggest watching them all to get a good idea of just how much planning and execution have to go into runs for this game. Do not be fooled by the short lengths of the runs. Solstice is an isometric maze and it's easy to lose your bearings. PJ acts as a tour guide with a commentary track for this low% trek.

Sabrewulf has found his way here to SDA in his adventure Knight Lore. Like Solstice, Knight Lore is a tricky maze-like game which involves collecting specific items. PJ walks Sabrewulf through a werewolf-troubled adventure in 0:12:58 on the Rare Replay version of the game. Knight Lore contains some pretty neat features including a day/night cycle. Check this one out along with the commentary track.

Thursday, April 20, 2017 by LotBlind

Losing Track of Time and Cats Exhilarated

The most obvious of International Track and Field 2's differential characteristics is it's difficult to track it down, because it was fielded under five different names including one that's the same as the first one's, International Track and Field, but with its sponsor (network called ESPN) tacked on the front. A clever trick for when you've secured publishers for more ports than before was, until the turn of the millenium, to call it FooBar 2000, which still makes it sound like it might be the second entry without scaring away new customers either. You don't believe me? Try Dune 2000 (that was actually the 2½th entry) or SimCity 2000 (whose ports were less numerous than SimCity's)... Hey, it's just a theory! A lame theory! That's why I need your help in formulating one for why the breaststroke was an event better suited for the N64 while the charms of canoeing could only faithfully be transmitted by the PS1, the console on whose circuitry 'Chris-X''s inputs for these two games were being processed. Those inputs resulted in 0:08:21 for IT&F and 0:16:46 for IT&F2, both self-improvements on existing runs deleting 0:10 and 1:16 worth of footage respectively. I call anabolic steroids at minimum.

One of the most well-received Sonic re-leases itself received an itself well-received re-release that we can call Sonic the Hedgehog CD 2011. That sentence is too dope to change it even if it causes someone to trip up on it. Speaking of tripping, how about taking a trip through time? Most normative individuals choose to set the dials on their DeLorean, Tardis, Epoch, or umm... Chron-o-John to whenever rough shit was still manageable, weeding the Wilys and Wicked Witches of the West when they were still little and armed with nothing more imposing than a fresh Ph.D. in robotics or a small regiment of flying squirrels as each respective case. Speaking of doctors with a knack for assembling machines of evil, there's Doctor Robotnik... and if you wish him to be undone, you set those Chron-o-John dials to very much yesterday, when love was such an easy game to play. I see Nelson 'Sonikkustar' Martinez waving at me. He's asking if it should count against his final time even if he's dismantling the robo-replicators in the past, not the present. Well, dear Sonikkustar, according to SDA rules it still should! Ah, he's just handing me over an unsympathizing 0:11:46.75 screw-u% as Tails (which he still feels is "perhaps the single best speed run [he has] ever done"). Maybe that's his way of en-act-ing revenge over those score screens specially designed to punish speedrunners for being fast.

I think the way the top is the bottom in the world of Sonic – and the left side the right side – is a practical cosmological demonstration. Just imagine the size of the level canvas increasing as you abuse the idiosyncratic code so each wrap-around takes longer and longer, that's precisely how space expands into "nothing" and how it can have no bounds. Also, in the rerelease, some of the purple UFOs in the bonus stages got a fresh coat of blue on them. I'm pinning it on the Happy Happyists from Earthbound.

Speaking of Earthbound, you should know by the fact I didn't link that that the last run is not for it, sorry to say... but think about the cats in Earthbound. They only exist in a few places and none of them seem to have anything to say. This is the polar opposite of Cat Planet, and I'll be darned if I could do this game justice. I've introduced it once before (look for 2015-10-10) and so I should be able to get away without that today. 'liopoil' is playing the angel again. Obsoleting the obsoletee by 11 seconds who I presume to be a American Indian 100%'s the game page. They also rescue (?) 100% of the cats... from an eternity of mute social isolation maybe: they're just cat heads, you see, and were only granted very limited mobility in the form of stationary bouncing while gyrating. Which is a good kind of bouncing to be fair. Good bouncing seems indeed the bees knees here as collisions are perfectly elastic and walls all around. This gives the 0:04:14 run an extra dimension of precision compared to the likes of VVVVVV (which looks wrong in cursive), and gives you more than enough reason to make its acquaintance. I think we can safely say more planning went into the run than there is evidence for concerning the dadaistic game itself.

Monday, April 17, 2017 by ktwo

NES part 2

As hinted in my previous update, there would be a follow-up on the NES theme!

Let's kick things off with first-time submitter Steve '8-Bit Steve' Lynn. He's been on a bit of a frenzy lately and now adds speedruns for two new games to the archives. First out is Kung Fu Heroes, which is based around a generic "save the princess captured by the bad guys" theme. Luckily, the developers focused on the gameplay instead of the story and this has resulted in a fun and action packed beat-em' up well worth the attention of more NES-gamers.  Progress through the game is made by defeating 12 enemies in each room or by using warps. By careful item planning and solid execution, the 14 rooms are navigated in 0:07:47.

The other game plown through by 8bitSteve is Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom. It's a text adventure game for the NES revolving around a political plot in the vegetable kingdom. I assume the list of vegetables ran out when naming the characters, because there are also some scattered fruits to be found in the game. By a combination of a well-memorized route and good fortune in the rock-paper-scissor boss battles, 8bitSteve unfolds the political conspiracy and saves the princess in 0:40:33.

Next up is a 4 second improvement in the any% category of Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers over feasel's run from 2011. If you know your NES, this game hardly needs an introduction. For the rest of you, this is a classic 2D-platformer from the mold, but a damn good one. 'philosoraptor42' has set the new bar at 0:10:09, which also means he's now the author of both the available categories for this game.

Last out is a run done by myself, 'ktwo'. Solomon's Key is a game I started playing in 2009 and that has regularly drawn me back into it. It's a challenging puzzle-platformer with rich game mechanics that allow for many options on how to clear the rooms. In this latest iteration of the any% category (which involves warps and only achieving the normal ending), I've implemented a few new time savers and thereby managed to cut my old time by 7 seconds down to 0:12:50.

Friday, April 14, 2017 by LotBlind

Frame by Frame I'll Knock You Out!

We somehow always end up talking cinema here on Awesome Front Page Updates Written in a Moderately Timely Fashion don't we? I'm not even particularly fanatic about it, just the licence games keep packing in, or there's some obvious connection to draw between a game and its influences. The discerning may discern that "splatter" is a slightly different pigeonhole to that which most comfortably nestles the bones and sinew of the not-that-gorey* Virtual Console port of Splatterhouse, but it's difficult to tell whether we should be calling it a slasher (the mask and blade), supernatural horror (ghosts, possessed furniture), gothic horror (Baroque-style music sometimes echoing inside august, 19th century halls, including one track that tries oh-so-hard not to be the Air on the G-String) or whether we should follow the stage three boss' example of double-wielding chainsaws and tear indiscriminately through the cacophonous, grubby rack liberating the doves from their compartmentalized state altogether and having simply way more fun in the process. I'm sure bursting all those bubbles in stage six has some metaphorical overtone to it.

If you can't make out, Zack 'Zallard1' Allard isn't taking things all that seriously, seeming warming the protagonist up for a Cossack dance routine which is what the college boy, no doubt, hurries off to perform at the Homecoming halftime show after the credits are through. Although Zallard is best-known for doling out merciless coups de grâce inside whatever boxing rings he's still admitted to (audiences get jaded), on his off days he may be spotted excising a handful of not-strictly-vital tissues, roundabout 5 seconds' worth, off his other records and catgutting together a 0:13:46 that somehow still kicks and screams (signs of life!). Don't be fooled, though, because such Sunday efforts, while not completely unheard-of, really are the exceptions that prove the rule all the harder. Here's what he normally gets down to:

But wait! If you just so knew what the exact SDA Individual Levels time for the Wii game was, a bewildered cry may be about to escape your lips: "Where did another 0.94 seconds go? I want answers. goddammit!" Can you hear a mischievous chuckle from within the challengers' loge (shut up I know how boxing matches work okay?!) emanating from the exercised bellows of a defiant, lithe silhouette? "Those features... that voice... no, not a clue who it is." Well, it's someone whose name doubles as their preferred level of precision in planning and execution of fights: 'FrameByFrame'. That's who. Here's something to help you remember:

Things are heating up! How many more records are up for grabs until they're all indistinguishable from their TAS counterparts? Hmm... I should advertise our spiritually linked sister site for a change, in case someone's too gnu-bee to know about TASing yet.


*Apparently, censorship was applied when porting to home consoles.

Sunday, April 9, 2017 by LotBlind

The New World's All Razzle-Dazzle

After seeing the first game tonight seems to be about stories FROM it, or getting away FROM it, I had to suss out why stories about the trip TO the "New World" are not that pervasive in western/any culture: nothing happened! They just kinda went "Effit", hoisted a few sails and quickly found out I spy isn't a terribly enduring pastime at sea. That's whether you see "them" as Columbus et al or those good ole chip-shouldered Puritans. While the context of a fantasy JRPG leaves open the possibility of another new world altogether (the cover art suggests they've discovered either Heaven, an island beset by a billowy fog, or somewhere too avalanchey for safe downhill skiing), the mundane interpretation is ascertained soon after having sent the disc whirring into the PS2 "funcepticle". Or, more conveniently for most of us, by setting eyes on what Kenneth 'Tide' Cheung has graced us with here: Shadow Hearts: From the New World in a slightly less commonplace single-segmented 3:50:43.

Those who've felt traditional turn-based fighting in JRPGs can't comprise quite enough high-pressure execution are in for disillusionment. The "Judgment Ring", the "Stock" system, Sanity Points, Stellar Charts, and Fusioning are all part of a kaleidoscopic landscape of the routing and decision-making in this run. You'll believe Tide telling you this is a competed enough title when you watch him nailing an ungodly percentage of the narrowest margin attacks, even blind ones, and calling it a requirement! I'm not lying either to say I thought it was segmented at first... Anyway, I hope you'll appreciate this, the very first SDA run for a Shadow Hearts series game.

On the theme of discovery, here's the ostensible discovery of the joys of reading by Macaulay Culkin in a role that was one of three embarrassments that same year that somehow narrowly failed to win him a Razzle. Now if that hasn't made you skip ahead a few paragraphs, allow me to fill in some details: Do you remember a half-animated, half-live-action kids' movie from 1994 that united a cast suspiciously saturated with Star Trek, including Patrick Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg, Christopher Lloyd, and Leonard Nemoy, aside from the rugrat at the center of attention? Ironically enough, one of the critics perceived The Pagemaster's moral as "books can be almost as much fun as TV cartoons and video arcade games"... which is something our second runner Michael 'arglefumph' Gray must have taken to heart.

You couldn't mount flashy multimedia on humble home consoles, so they received plain platformers, whereas the PC bunch could relive Culkin's journey into three realms of juvenile interest - adventure, mythology, and horror - in a slender approximation of the "real thing". In the pointy and clicky, arglefumph's main enemy was a random quiz show and getting people to stop talking (we've been there). Viewers of the single-sitting 0:35:17 are adviced to wear professional grade pun-proof earmuffs: something like the +10 Sonic Nullifiers from Knights of the Old Republic should do.

Revolving around discovery more than ever, Starflight is a seminal epic describing the thrifty early renaissance of a secluded colony of disaster survivors (in the hip-shot year 4620) peering into a region of space rendered alien by generations of roaching underground... and by the aliens themselves, durr. As a budding starship captain, your adventures bring you across hundreds of unexplored worlds that you must visit in order to keep a supply of fuel, lifeforms for scientific study, and minerals for upgrades. Sometimes you might even run across a fully inhabitable world enabling humans to set up a boutique. If you cross ways with one of those other sentient races, you won't know what kinds of dealings they'll be open to having with you; if nothing else, a bit of a space spar can always be resorted to.

Starflight was absolutely astonishing for the time in 1986 - the technology (built on Assembly and a language called FORTH that's incidentally also been used for programming actual spacecrafts) made it as much a marvel of software engineering as it impressed as a game. It was really the boundless, procedurally generated universe and the seamless marriage of all these finely honed elements within its allotted 128KB of RAM that made even copies of Elite from two years prior start gathering some dust. You're given a tasklist that contains, but is not limited to, all the stuff I mentioned above and also just plain brazenly venturing where no peep's ventured to date, something the cast of The Pagemaster might be able to give you a little primer on. There are still those who find things Starflight did better than the equally epic and perhaps even more famous Star Control II - a game you'll mistake for a graphical overhaul at first glance.

Tony 'ZenicReverie' Foster does away with frittering time and space, going straight for the cosmic jugular - that's 0:04:29 of undermining my high anthem of a game you're supposed to get hopelessly lost in, completed on the Genesis version... from 1991! Think how popular the game must have been to warrant a five-years-later conversion like that.

Thursday, April 6, 2017 by LotBlind

moo-D Tourists Fighting For 64 Gran' Concept "Mos"

Just today I saw someone selling their Nintendo 64 (a semi-translucent "icy blue" edition) with a couple of games attached. I've got an old TV that has those yellow and white sockets and so the purchase of a good ol' console of some description - for research purposes that is! - is on the cards someday. However, I've felt that the N64 specifically has a pretty casual/for kids kind of aura. Looking at the relatively modest library, scanning names and drawing from a rather muddy pool, or puddle really, of information, I think most of the really gritty or mature titles were ports or new entries for series having established themselves on other platforms, and pressed developers to find external publishers (to do what Nintenwon't!). Just today I happened to pick up a copy of the psychological-horror-themed Shadow Man, which will serve as a counter-example having seen release on the N64 and multiple other platforms simultaneously.

In this exact bulgy pulsating vein, we kick off today's update with a heaping helping of Doom 64 guts and spillings. Try mapping the numpad to camera controls in a PC FPS: gives you an appreciation of why console FPS runs tend to have jagged edges in the area of movement. The same guy what done dem easy mode run last April now done done hard mode run in 0:48:40. Runner name is Phillip 'ZELLLOOO' Shanklin. Me and ktwo were both mighty impressed with the vastness of the runner's ken (not a muddy puddle) what regards out-of-the-way medkits and other forms of emergency munitions - you're Doom'd to need 64 of them during this run! See what I did there? No wait, I've got more runs!

Gran Turismo is insanely popular. Two releases, the first and third, finished top two in that order amongst realistic driving games on and number one with its five years in full-out hardcore heart-failure-inducing Japanese "Ganbatte kudasai!" development* has the most sales out of anything on the PS1. Maybe everyone else knew this?

Given this spectacular, roaring success of the series as a whole, despite its inferior scores, it is Gran Turismo Concept: 2001 Tokyo's unassailable birthright to be brought slippers to in the morning or early afternoon, whenever it feels like alighting off its sumptuous Hastens Lenoria king-sized bed; Slippers in which it can drift down the stately manor's elliptical foyer staircase and out the oaken double doors directly into its brand new state-of-the-art... pod car? I was expecting something like the "Castrol Tom's Supra" (who's Castrol Tom?) Toyota actually auctioned a real-life reproduction of once. This is the car speeding 'adeyblue' through most of the races and trials, barring those requiring good dirt handling, where he "slips" into something more suitable. Going about this pulls the tarp off each of the typically rather numerous extra automobiles and brings the game to 100% completion. Minimal mistakes, maximal speed, single-segment, 1:21:38. The best part is opting for the pace car so you can bump off it to optimize one turn before becoming ITS pace car instead, which might be considered swag by some...

Of the four characters selectable in Fighting Force, Mace is the most appropriately named. She doesn't wield a medieval wrecking ball though, nor does she flourish a caustic aerosol can. Furthermore, ain't no-one "shaving their face in the dark" with some either. That leaves us with only one logical conclusion: it's that she embodies either maces, the swingy kind, and/or Mace, the chemical compound, originally consisting of "CN", phenacyl chloride, in hydrocarbon solvents but more recently replaced in common usage by pepper spray, "OC", and often found in a three-part solution that also has the OC with some ultraviolet dye for easy spotting of the fended-off aggressor (LotBlind Trivia FlashTM). I'm willing to bet, seeing as the rest of the troupe bear names less inviting of dissection, that this incredibly appropriate nomination symbolizing female empowerment was fortuitous - that or taken from somewhere else.

All the enemy types keep to more run-of-the-mill appellations that someone hammered out on their keyboard between arriving at work and the first copy machine jam. How do we know them though when verbality is at an all-time low? Is there supposed to be a news crew behind the action cam with a reporter making sure to catch everyone's names? If you've been waiting for a chance to level accusations of "being too dog-dang clever for his own dog", here's where you'll notice getting furiously winked at. As for 'Soulless' (the Trilby guy), he likes to keep to a deft double high kicks and a low roundhouse kick most of the time (of 0:27:59) in this reportedly quite shoddy PC port, played on Easy.

*Producer Kazunori Yamauchi "I would wake up at work, go to sleep at work. It was getting cold, so I knew it must be winter. I estimate I was home only four days a year." And yes, [death by] overworking genuinely is one of Japan's social issues: this aspect of the culture is reflected in the dad in Earthbound never being at home even though they're in America.

Sunday, April 2, 2017 by ktwo

What does Lyon make you think of?

Well, if you've had the opportunity to go there or hear about the city, you might answer "many cultural highlights", "(a now defunct) silk industry", "l'OL, one of Europe's best soccer teams", "gastronomy" or "the Canut mural". Apparently it's also staked a claim in the gaming industry and that of course is what we'll focus on here.

One of the Lyon game developers was Infogrames. According to Wikipedia, one of the founders explained their choice of logo (an armadillo) like this: "This dinosaur [sic] is our symbol. The armadillo has always survived changes to its environment, from the melting of glaciers to the worst of heat waves." Little did he know that his company would suffer the same fate as the dinosaurs, instead of showing the armadillo's resilience. The history of Infogrames turned out to more resemble the logo's silhouette. After a period of growth from many acquisitions (among others, Atari), the success didn't last and Infogrames ceased to exist as a brand in 2009. In the 25 or so years it existed, it developed and published a wide range of video games for many different platforms. At least for the French-speaking audience, it has managed to earn a bit of a reputation through Joueur du Grenier for its many games based on francophone comic book characters. In short, they have been of shifting quality and for a time, Infogrames was a recurring bashing object for JdG.

Lucky Luke: On the Daltons' Trail (PC) follows in the footsteps of Infogrames' other comic book adaptations. However, this has not scared off 'wesen'. After having submitted one improvement after the other, he finally settled for this 0:44:28. Regardless of whether this is a quality game or not, the speedrun is of a high quality and at least makes the game look both good and fun.

Coincidence or not, the next game from 'wesen' also comes from a Lyon-based developer. Pink Panther Pinkadelic Pursuit (PC) was developed by Etranges Libellules. It's a neat and fast-paced platformer where you're trying to recover a hidden treasure in a mansion left behind by a deceased relative of the Pink Panther's. There was for a time period regular improvements submitted by 'wesen' in the any% category after continuously finding new routes and tricks. The end result is a tight 0:14:23 (self-improvement from 18:04), which includes a number of new shortcuts and sequence breaks. Before calling it a day, he also completed an IL table with a total time of 0:12:36. Both are well worth a watch!

Thursday, March 30, 2017 by LotBlind

I think my Hyde is just me in the mornings

Batman... no. Potter... no. MacGyver... yeah! Bond... no. Luke... no. Rambo..? very much so! Sorry? What I'm doing? I'm listing some of the best-recognized heroes of popular fiction and determining whose legacy includes a well-established phrasal construct. You can imagine one for each of them, but in TL;DR form I think only the really straightforward "one-trick ponies" (me and that expression are going to have words later on) can survive as verbal memes. Or is this just what those memes have reduced them into?

As interesting (just keep nodding) as this question is, I must now hurry to justify the tangent by revealing that which it is a tangent to. Any viewer of the attached will be able to attest that along the curve joining Rambo: The Video Game, 'GrassHopper' the runner, and the 1:31:09 run, one "goes Rambo" a lot. Now let me perhaps surprise you with a year of release: 2014. If you're from the part of Europe that for irrelevant reasons didn't air one called John Rambo (in parts just Rambo) in 2008, the last time you could have met his stony (or should I say... rocky) face in the dark of a multiplex was around when I was being touched off at the secret and awesome Master Race assembly plant a full twenty years previous.

Basically our "sounds like they're from Metal Gear Solid" companion GrassHopper makes Rambo: The Video Game look like Rambo: The Whatever You Please, playing on the lowest difficulty without making use of fancy-schmancy bonus items. Much more on the run itself in the gracefully provided second track audio commentary! It's honestly more nuanced than you'd expect of a rail shooter.

The original name for the Super Famicon game was Paneru de Pon (LotBlind BS Translations ltd. translation: 'Panel Bang'), but it had an original, generic story with mincy little fairies and wasn't selling too well, so Nintendo wanted to link the international release to an existing franchise. Hence Yoshi's Island lending a "cast" to Tetris Attack. The Tetris Company, gatekeeper of all things that resemble Alexey Pajitnov's derivative-of-existing-things-even-in-1984 concept in any shape (such as the shapes of the pieces or the play field, no kidding!), agreed to licence the name to Nintendo's new release only to ultimately regret it since it's too far-removed from Tetris as we know it.

Thus Tetris Attack isn't really the same discipline as those world-famous world championships are held in. It's still sufficiently involved to run though, as 'CardsOfTheHeart''s XXL power-fertilized comments will convey with some degree of adequacy. Your pattern-spotting faculties had better be keen! Despite the inevitable amounts of competition, 0:03:37 (42 seconds off previous SDA time) stands up high like a garish naïve art mosaic flag in Cards' back yard, still representing the only sub-4 within single-segment, very hard, versus mode runs.

Doshin, the Love Giant, and to a lesser degree his "Hyde" side Jashin, won over as many hearts amongst the younger audience at a game exhibition in Japan in 1999 as he garners in-game from the clinging populace when 'PvtCb' takes him for a spin (a tumble really). In what amounts to a slightly twisted god sim, Doshin the Giant, a player mixes and matches from one of two approaches: be very nice, or very VERY naughty, and watch the lil'uns substantialize their likes and dislikes as large monuments dedicated to whatever emotion the Giant has predominantly given rise to in them. Doshin/Jashin will also grow in size having been thumbed up or down enough, affecting the field of possibilities.

One half of a god sim is the "sim" - the tribesmen act on an untractable A.I. and the player can only try as best they can to facilitate the desired (positive) kind of monuments to be built without accidentally leveling a church with the equally untractable controls. It really is one of those games where no plans can be plotted, only high-level strategies. Throughout the single-segmented 1:34:12 on the more complicated GameCube version, PvtCb is seen terraforming, combining trees into flowers, introducing the villages to one another (to prevent inbreeding of course), and destroying finished monuments to stave off hubris. Yeah it's a bit weird but at least all that amounts, as you'd expect, to getting to launch a rocket into space.

Sunday, March 26, 2017 by Worn_Traveler

PJ Wins and Loses (Part 1)

Sometimes a runner ends up with a bunch of games on the queue. I noticed this recently as did some of the other updaters and it was decided to split the runner's runs into two updates. There are two reasons for doing this. First, the runner has fourruns ready plus one of his current runs has been beaten by someone else. Second, these game are speedruns from PJ and posting all of the runs at once could seriously cause damage to the internet and our brains due to PJ's selection of games. In order to get the "worst" out first, we've decided to go with the two longest runs in this batch of PJ runs.

I had heard of Lagoon prior to AGDQ 2011 but I had never seen the game in action before. While Lagoon made it's debut at AGDQ 2012 as part of "Awful Games Done Quick", Patrick 'PJ' DiCesare was kind enough to bring a copy of the game with him the previous year at AGDQ 2011 and I'd be very surprised if there was anyone at the event who did not see Lagoon in action at some point. I'll be honest: I liked what I saw and heard. When I returned home I sought out a copy of the game and bought a cartridge within a few days. I have yet to make it past the first boss. Thankfully, PJ is better at Lagoon than me and he has beaten his 1:28:52 deathless run and ends Lakeland's drinking problem in a Thor crushing 1:22:11. It's always bittersweet for me seeing an already improbable run improved but it has happened. PJ and friends provide commentary for this shorter edition of Lagoon. If you are interested in the AGDQ 2012 run then please go here.

ActRaiser is a hybrid game that has platforming and simulation segments interspersed throughout the game. For some reason, the simulation sequences are not in ActRaiser 2. Regardless, PJ has spent years on ActRaiser 2 and we finally get a run of this beautiful game. The gameplay may be punishing, the visuals somewhat disturbing, and the AI more than usually devious but PJ fights the good fight against the seven deadly sins and Satan in a blistering 0:41:54 on Hard Mode. Make sure to check out the commentary track on this one, even if you are familiar with the game.  

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