Feb 07

Vote on the Post-Spider-Man/X-Men Suffering Saturday Game!

Today I beat Lagoon for the second time, in a single six-hour playthrough. I didn’t even need to be at the maximum level for it! So with that, it’s time for a new Suffering Saturday poll. All of these games have made previous appearances in the poll, but feel free to Youtube them if you need a refresher course. Anyway, once I beat Spider-Man and the X-Men in Arcade’s Revenge (Or give up out of frustrations), what should I play next? Help me decide!

-EE

What Suffering Saturday Game Should I Play After Spider-Man/X-Men?

View Results

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Feb 02

Vote on the Post-Lagoon Suffering Saturday Game!

Another week brings another poll for Suffering Saturday. I have to admit that I’m surprised Lagoon won the day, but regardless. Joining our three established competitors is another Genesis game. The Revenge of Shinobi is an early Genesis game featuring a Yuzo Koshiro soundtrack, and a door maze (Because every action game in the late 80s and early 90s needed one of those). It’s also pretty difficult–I got to the final boss when I was younger (On the easiest difficulty, with the unlimited shuriken code), but never actually beat it. Maybe I’ll do so!

Vote for my fate!

-EE

What Suffering Saturday Game Should I Play After Lagoon?

  • Spider Man and the X-Men in Arcade's Revenge (SNES) (37%, 13 Votes)
  • The Revenge of Shinobi (Genesis) (26%, 9 Votes)
  • Ecco: The Tides of Time (Genesis) (23%, 8 Votes)
  • Vectorman 2 (Genesis) (14%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 35

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Jan 25

Vote On the 2/7 Suffering Saturday!

So!

After some time off for the holidays and AGDQ, Suffering Saturday is making a comeback! In order to give people time to get pumped for it, instead of closing the poll the day of the stream, I’m going to close it the week before. That means I have a game planned for this upcoming Saturday. That game will be Iron Tank, which purports to take place during the invasion of Normandy in World War II. Gameplay-wise, it’s basically if you took the parts of Ikari Warriors that take place in a tank, made it not terrible, and then expanded it to a full game.

Replacing it in the poll for the 2/7 Suffering Saturday are three games we’ve seen before, plus a pesky newcomer. I’m bending the rules a bit for this entry, because I’ve actually beaten it before, and I also got a head start on any hypothetical playthrough of it yesterday. Lagoon is a SNES game that became a giant meme on SDA about four years back. While it has some amusing elements, I never agreed with the memetic assessment of the game as “So bad it’s hilarious”–it’s either not all that bad, or not all that good in an entirely generic and forgettable manner depending on my mood.

Either way, though, you may feel differently. Vote vote vote!

-EE

What Game Should I Play For Suffering Saturday #17? (2/7)

  • Lagoon (SNES) (46%, 13 Votes)
  • Ecco: The Tides of Time (Genesis) (29%, 8 Votes)
  • Spider Man and the X-Men in Arcade's Revenge (SNES) (21%, 6 Votes)
  • Vectorman 2 (Genesis) (4%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 28

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Jan 21

2015 Goals

I suppose it’s a bit late for a New Year’s Resolution type of post. Besides, these aren’t Resolutions per se as much as things I’d like to accomplish in 2015.

Over the past four-ish months, I fell off the wagon with my weight loss, and managed to gain most of said weight back. This is bad. While I won’t claim that I’ve had a lifelong struggle with my weight or anything like that, it is true that I knew it was going to suck when my hyperactive metabolism inevitably slowed down, which it did about ten years ago. Since then, I’ve kind of yo-yoed between anywhere from 140 to 165 pounds.

This time around, I’m trying a different tactic. I’m still going to go (back) to the gym a few times a week, and I’m going to focus on getting stronger and watching my calorie count…but I’m not going to worry about what I weigh. This is for a couple reasons. First, worrying about the number encourages me to slack off when I do finally hit it. Secondly, I can’t find the Fitocracy post about it now, but it’s possible to gain weight but get slimmer with exercise, because you’re putting on muscle and not fat. The way I see it, if I make sure to go to the gym, and watch my calorie count, the weight will take care of itself, and more importantly, it’ll be sustainable.

A secondary goal of mine this year is to get Twitch partnership. Don’t get me wrong, I have no plans to quit my job to stream full-time. Doing my 2500-follower special in December convinced me that streaming full-time would be too draining, even if I could make a living wage off of it. That said, I’ve pretty much always maintained that, if I like streaming (I do), and I’m good at it (Debatable), why shouldn’t I try to make some extra money from it? To that end, I’ve revised my streaming schedule to Sunday/Monday/Wednesday/Saturday. This should help me be more consistent, as well as allowing me to stream longer on Sunday as opposed to Tuesday or Thursday (Two days I was previously streaming).

On that note, I have some games I want to speedrun. Besides keeping up with Metroid II 100%, I want to improve my Super Mario Bros. Warpless run, and I’d like to see about the feasibility of speedrunning The Sword of Hope as well.

A couple other things I’d like to do this year is resume development of SETUP, as well as get back into music in some form. We’ll see what comes of those.

Lastly, I do want to ebookify (It’s a word now) the Games I Beat In 2014 series. I have a lot to learn about e-books if I’m to do that, and as I mentioned before, I do want to find some sort of value add if I were to do this, be it interviews with the developers of the indie games I played, Second Opinions of some of the games, or just talking about stuff I didn’t mention in some of the articles (For instance, how everyone in the world is an idiot in Golden Sun).

We’ll see which of these I can actually stick to!

-EE

Jan 01

Games I Beat In 2014: The Breakdown

So, 2014 is in the books, and with it, my writing about Games I Beat In That Year draws to a close. This is a look back at that year and the series. Part of it will be a simple statistical analysis. Other parts will delve into more subjective aspects–entries I liked, entries I didn’t, games that beat me even as I beat them, and so on.

Let’s begin!

Total Games Beaten in 2014: 76

Games Beaten For the First Time in 2014: 40

Total Words In the Series: 61788, which doesn’t count the hub pages.

Average Words Per Entry: 813

Shortest Entry: Lawn Mower is a svelte 420 (insert drug joke here) word entry. As an NES homebrew game that lasts about an hour your first time through it, there wasn’t much to say about it. It’s the shortest entry in the series by almost 100 words.

Longest Entry: Funnily enough, the shortest entry was immediately followed by the longest. Golden Sun is the 800-pound gorilla entry, clocking in at 1476 words, nearly two hundred more than the runner-up. This time, I had a lot to discuss, not all of it good. And I even left some stuff out of this entry, like how pretty much everyone in the world is a colossal idiot.

Games I Was Happy To Beat For The First Time: Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! is certainly on the list. Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse is a notoriously difficult game I was glad to finally put away. The Legend of the Mystical Ninja doesn’t have that reputation, but it did irritate me that I only got 2/3 of the way through it when I was younger, so I was happy to beat that one as well.

Games That Beat Me Even As I Beat Them: 3-D Worldrunner and Rad Racer were two games I needed to use a continue code, included in their respective manuals (And thus fair game to use), to beat. The runaway winner here, though, is Ecco the Dolphin. The Welcome to the Machine/The Last Fight gauntlet is legendary for being unfairly hard, and it didn’t disappoint. I actually had to save state using the Sega Genesis Collection before The Last Fight to finish the game for the first time, which was the closest I came to outright cheating. I will note that I did go back and do the Welcome to the Machine/The Last Fight sequence “legit”–which still took me an additional hour or two–before calling the game “beaten” for purposes of this series.

Developer With the Most Games Represented: Konami, with 10. Nintendo, with 9, was second (And depending on how far you extend the Nintendo umbrella, may actually have more games than Konami–Super Metroid was credited to “Intelligent Systems”, and an additional three games were done by HAL Laboratories.).

Publisher With the Most Games Represented: Reflecting the fact that I was a Nintendo kid, Nintendo were the runaway winner here, with 18 out of 76, nearly a full quarter of the games. Konami, with 9, were second, though their total increases to 12 if you include the games they released under the Ultra Games imprint. Shoutouts to independent developers as well–8 games had no published; I counted these as “Indie”.

Notable Omissions: Some big series were under-represented–Mario only got a single entry–or not in the list at all–there is zero Zelda or Sonic in the list. Other “modern day” series also struck out–Halo, Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, etc.–though that has more to do with my taste in gaming/inability to keep up with them.

Articles That Were Challenging To Write: Trio the Punch, as a game that defies logic, likewise resisted my attempt to write about it in a logical manner. Super Mario Bros. has pretty much no new ground to tread in terms of writing about it. Cat Planet was another “There just isn’t a lot of game to write about here” entry in the vein of Lawn Mower.

My Favorite Articles In the Series (Or “The Games I Beat In 2014 Sampler”): Metroid was the very first entry in the series, so it has a special place in my heart. This is true even though, like the game itself, it hasn’t aged well (It’s amazing how much my writing improved as a result of doing this exercise). Final Fantasy II was the first entry where my writing found its footing. B. O. B. was a fun attempt to write sarcasm into my opinion of the game, though it’s arguable how well I did. Dragon Ball Z: Buu’s Fury was a nice comeback after the Trio the Punch entry (And in riffing on the “Next time on Dragon Ball Z!” outros for its beginning, is probably the best intro in the entire series). Finally, Lesbian Spider-Queens of Mars was a ton of fun to write about. I’m not sure what it says about me that I pulled it off, but finding a 100% work-safe way to link the words “bondage lasers” in that entry is one of my crowning achievements in the series.

So what’s next? I may write about/review games in 2015, but I don’t think it’ll be a formal series like this was. As for the series itself, it seems like a shame to waste 60000+ word of writing. I’ll probably learn how to do e-books, polish up the writing a bit, and from there, try to release it on Amazon. If I do this, I’ll also try to make some kind of value-add for it, like interviews with some of the indie game developers, second opinions on some of the games from my speedrunning friends, pictures of handwritten first drafts of some of the entries, and so on.

Either way, though, the writing was a lot of fun, and I hope to do more of it this year.

-EE

Dec 16

A Funeral Dirge for Blocks Gone By

NOTE: Direct links to SDA Forum posts don’t work all that well. When linking to one of those, I’ll also note the post I intend to link to with “User X’s post that begins ‘blah blah blah…’”

So, it’s over. Minecraft is cut (Romscout’s post, beginning with “The major change made to the schedule…”) from AGDQ 2015. Now, I have no opinion on Minecraft as a game one way or the other; as a speedrun, I can say I watched the run done at AGDQ 2014 and enjoyed it well enough. I also have no opinion on GiantWaffle and Bacon_Donut as people outside of “They are very popular Let’s Players with no stated speedrunning experience”. Rather, these are some thoughts about how it ended up at this point, and why emotions ran so high (On both sides, though mainly the “anti-Minecraft”* side) about this run in particular.

I’ll preface this by saying that overall, the Games Done Quick events are amazing. The staff behind them do a far better job setting a schedule for them than I ever could (“Golgo-13-a-Thon” is a running joke regarding my game selection abilities), and the events themselves are a ton of fun to watch and to participate in. That said, there’s a balancing act that goes into putting one on, which has some unfortunate consequences.

Speedrun Event? Or Charity Event?
In the name of raising as much money as possible for the charity of choice, all games are not created equal. Certain games (Super Metroid is a literal automatic in, having been in every Games Done Quick so far) and certain runners (ZZT and Castlevania 64 probably don’t get in if Not-Cosmo submit them) have a leg up on others. From that perspective, if you think of a Games Done Quick event as “Charity event first, speedrunning event second”, then having two incredibly popular personalities do a run of a mega-popular game is a logical endpoint, even if they have no previous speedrunning experience (“They’re just Let’s Players” is a bit disingenuous here–a number of speedrunners started out as Let’s Players, and I had beaten Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles a grand total of one time when I volunteered it (My post, beginning with Uyama’s quote about “Battletoads (Emptyeye will be here)”) for CGDQ). Frankly, it’s surprising that this is the first instance of it, or at least the first one that caused such an uproar.

That said, a lot of the hostility started here. There were plenty of worthy speedruns that were rejected from AGDQ2015 (The hot-button run this year was Final Fantasy Tactics), in favor of a play purely designed to raise donations. Despite this, I think the anger over this would have subsided had the two put in at least a token good faith effort at practice. But…

We’re Talkin’ About Practice!
Time passed, and to put it charitably, GiantWaffle and Bacon_Donut did not make that good faith effort to practice. One of the forgotten aspects of the genesis of Games Done Quick was the aspect of “We can do better than The Artists Formerly Known As The Speed Gamers“; to that end, “PRACTICE YOUR GAME!!” has been a rule since Classic Games Done Quick. Despite that, while Minecraft was setting up to be a trainwreck, it wouldn’t have been the first time. The Halo run from AGDQ2011 is Legendary for its being awful, The Minish Cap from either SGDQ2011 or 2012 is the reason the “Practice your game” rule is now “No, really, practice your entire game”, and there’s still a part of me that thinks the co-op run of NSMBWii I did with Mrs. Emptyeye for AGDQ2013 is the worst run in GDQ history. The good news is that as streaming has become more, well, mainstream, and the GDQ events themselves have increased in popularity, Mike Uyama and Co. have gotten better at detecting and heading off a lack of practice before it infects the event itself. Except…

SDA:IDIDNTHEARTHAT
To recap: Two incredibly popular personalities submitted a run of a mega-popular game. Since they have no speedrunning experience, it stands to reason that they were only accepted due to their popularity. They did almost no practice after getting accepted, which upset (Bismuth’s post, starting with “I’d like to mention that…”) even people who had initially defended them (Bismuth’s post, starting with “I’d like to say, first…”). Several people pointed this out (A number of posts on that page, but starting with Naegleria’s post, beginning with “what about the Minecraft…”), albeit more sarcastically than they could have. Mike’s response?

“Minecraft: As Deuceler pointed out, they’re working on it” (Mikwuyma’s post, starting with “So I completely forgot…”).

Deuceler was actually pointing out (Deuceler’s post, starting with “Naegleria they have been getting after it”) the exact opposite in a sarcastic manner. This, from my perspective (And to me, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back), was confirmation of some people’s worst fears–Mike figured “But donations!” and was going out of his way to avoid the reality that the run was not going to be good. Which, if “donations” is the primary goal, then fine, although at that point, you’re drifting into the event becoming “Games Done Quick and/or By Famous Let’s Players”. If that isn’t the primary goal, though, then there was little logical reason to ignore the issues that were presented, at least publicly (One reason I could think of would be if Mike had spoken with them in private, and they had showed tangible progress in some kind of private session. There was no reason to believe this was the case).

Luckily, there were some extenuating circumstances–Mike has been sick of late, and when some of the GDQ tasks were publicly** delegated, it turned out the concerns were being taken seriously. While GiantWaffle and Bacon_Donut did get some practice in, it wasn’t enough, and the run was ultimately cut. It was the right choice, and no doubt made a lot of people happy, but I admit that I kind of wanted the run to work. Regardless, what’s done is done, and the replacement, Vanquish, is going to be a pretty amazing watch.

-EE

*- I’m using this as shorthand; more accurately, this would be the side that was “Anti This Particular Minecraft Speedrun Which Had a Bunch of Factors Intertwined With it”.

**- There are always people helping out behind the scenes, of course. Typically, though, Mike has been the “face” of any AGDQ communication. Romscout, Sumichu, and others posting in the last few weeks “On behalf” of AGDQ is the first time I can remember that happening.

Dec 01

Vote on the Next Suffering Saturday!

Suffering Saturday hasn’t gone away, I’ve just been doing my own thing with it while I prepare for the 2500 Follower Special/donation stream. Rad Racer is tough without the continue code.

Anyway, it’s time to bring back the poll. I’m going to be doing something a bit different this time–there will be a week lead time between the closing of the poll and my playing the game. I figure this will give me time to promote it/find fansites of the games/etc. (I managed to get an Ecco the Dolphin fansite interested when I played that without even trying) We’ll see if it works or not.

Speaking of Ecco, joining incumbents Iron Tank and Arcade’s Revenge is the sequel to Ecco, Ecco: The Tides of Time. I’ve heard this one is a bit easier than the original, namely due to the lack of a Welcome to the Machine type level. Our other new game is also a sequel, Vectorman 2, starring our favorite hero made entirely of balls.

One disclaimer is that it may be a bit before the next Suffering Saturday–next weekend (The 6th/7th) is the Follower Special, and the weekend after that, I’ll be helping my wife at a craft show early in the day, and may or may not move Suffering Saturday to later on that day.

In any event, vote vote vote!

-EE

What Game Should I Play For Suffering Saturday #16?

  • Iron Tank (NES) (55%, 6 Votes)
  • Spider Man and the X-Men in Arcade's Revenge (SNES) (36%, 4 Votes)
  • Ecco: The Tides of Time (Genesis) (9%, 1 Votes)
  • Vectorman 2 (Genesis) (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 11

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Nov 15

The 2500 Twitch Follower Special Poll

So yesterday, I reached 2500 Twitch followers. This is a pretty big milestone for me, as it’s probably the first set of 500 followers I managed to get without cheap follows on a team page, or as a result of being featured in a Games Done Quick marathon. As such, that means it’s special time!

First of all, the special will be a weekend-long event. The special will take place on the weekend of December 6th and 7th. The content on December 6th will be determined by a poll later on in this post. The Sunday portion of it will be a donation stream. You can click here to donate, and any $6 or more donation means I will play a game of your choice (Within reason) for a half hour. Any $10 or more donation, and I’ll play it for an hour. If I somehow get enough donations, I’ll go through the backlog on later streams.

A note about the donations: It will take roughly $1200 for Mrs. Emptyeye and I to get to AGDQ. If I fail to raise that much, I’ll use the money for paying other bills (Mortgage, etc).

For now, though, vote on what I do for that Saturday!

What Should I Play As Part 1 of the 2500 Follower Special?

  • The 2D Metroid-a-Thon (Metroid, Metroid II, Super Metroid, Metroid Fusion, Metroid: Zero Mission) (56%, 59 Votes)
  • SNES 1-in-5 (I go through my SNES games 5 at a time, you pick one, I play it for 15 minutes) (11%, 12 Votes)
  • NES 1 in 5 (I go through my NES games 5 at a time, you pick one, I play it for 15 minutes) (10%, 11 Votes)
  • Super Meat Boy (XBox 360) 106% (8%, 8 Votes)
  • Attempt I Wanna Be The Boshy and probably get nowhere (8%, 8 Votes)
  • The Suffering Sampler--a Selection of Previous Suffering Saturday Games (7%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 106

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-EE

Nov 01

Vote on the 11/8 Suffering Saturday!

Since I successfully conquered both Ironsword (Albeit with some password shenanigans) and Gradius (100% fairly!) today, that means two new games step in to fight for your Suffering Saturday love.

First up is Spider Man and the X-Men in Arcade’s Revenge for the SNES. This was in the Awful Games block of AGDQ2014. I’m not sure it deserved its placement there, but everyone agrees that it’s “balls hard”. I don’t think I’ve beaten even one of the Cyclops levels, for instance.

Our second new contender is Zombies Ate My Neighbors, also for the SNES. This is a top-down game where you try to, well, keep zombies from eating your neighbors. Like many other Suffering Saturday games, it’s quite difficult–I got about halfway through when I was younger.

Choose my destiny!

What Game Should I Play For Suffering Saturday #12?

  • Zombies Ate My Neighbors (SNES) (40%, 21 Votes)
  • Spider Man and the X-Men in Arcade's Revenge (SNES) (36%, 19 Votes)
  • Iron Tank (NES) (13%, 7 Votes)
  • Rad Racer (NES) (11%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 53

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-EE

Oct 27

Vote on the 11/1 Suffering Saturday!

Having successfully defeated The Legend of the Mystical Ninja (Yes, that first “the” is actually in the title), it’s time to resurrect the poll for this upcoming edition of Suffering Saturday. We have an all-NES edition this time, as joining poll mainstay Rad Racer are three new entrants:

Gradius is one of the original “Shmups”, and is also noteworthy for “Gradius Syndrome”, which amounts to “The game gives you lives, but no one is quite sure why, since you’ll use them all after your first death thanks to being incredibly underpowered.”

Ironsword: Wizards and Warriors II is the sequel to a pre-Battletoads Rare game. The music is great, and…not much else about it is that great, honestly. I’ve gotten to the final boss in the past, but could never seal the deal and beat it.

Iron Tank is by SNK, and you take control of a, well, Iron Tank during D-Day. I never got that far into this as a kid.

In any event, choose my fate!

-EE

What Game Should I Play For Suffering Saturday #11?

  • Ironsword: Wizards and Warriors II (NES) (40%, 12 Votes)
  • Gradius (NES) (37%, 11 Votes)
  • Rad Racer (NES) (13%, 4 Votes)
  • Iron Tank (NES) (10%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 30

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