What is Pianotoads? Well, I’ll just re-print the description I gave for the MAGFest program:
“Speedrunner + Piano Player + Ridiculously Hard Game = Incredible Experience for All Involved. Marc J. “Emptyeye” Dziezynski (The disheveled one) speeds through the NES game Battletoads, making you wonder how you ever thought the game was so hard, while pianist Daniel “Kareshi” Brown (The elegant one), of Nintendo on Piano and Final Phantom fame, lends his musical skill in providing his live interpretation of the game’s soundtrack on piano.”
The thumbnail is the picture I sent for the program (Which is where “elegant” vs. “disheveled” comes from–note how Kareshi looks like he’s ready to go to a wedding, whereas I look like I’m ready for..a video game and music convention), which you can click to see the full-size picture. I’m pretty sure it’s the only picture of us together, so it went by default.
Battletoads is regarded as one of the hardest games on the NES (If not of all-time). I’m not quite sure why; harder NES games, off the top of my head:
- Life Force
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- The Silver Surfer
- Ghosts N’ Goblins (Despite Kareshi‘s protests to the contrary)
Regardless, the game’s reputation is what it is, and my reputation, particularly amongst The Shizz (Where I’m known more or less as “That guy who can beat Battletoads”), is likewise what it is. Not that I’m arguing with this, or wishing it wasn’t so–as someone once said, “One hit is one more than a lot of other people have”–as I’ve obviously used it to my advantage here. I’m actually pretty nervous about this, and I’m not sure why–I’ve beaten the game many many times before, and I’m pretty sure I honestly haven’t done that in a non-speedrunning sort of context since late 2004 or so. Indeed, I’ve played the game in front of a small audience before; it is, for some reason, a highly anticipated unofficial event for the past two MAGFests, being as MAGFest is, or at least was (Long, dramatic story), essentially the Mecca of The Shizz. So why the nerves? I think it’s essentially because this is now an official MAGFest event, presumably attended by actual non-Shizzies, so I’ll have to bring my A-game now more than ever. Still, I think I can even use this to my advantage presentation-wise…
If you’re in the Virginia area from January 3rd-6th 2008, check out the whole of MAGFest; Pianotoads itself happens at 11AM on Friday, January 4th. All things told, it’s actually a pretty good time slot, with only early afternoon slots being more preferable–more people tend to attend the festival on Saturday, but that’s counterbalanced by the fact that people won’t be recovering from Friday night’s concerts. Prime-time slots go head-to-head with the concerts, My other options were basically Sunday (AKA “shut down/check out day”), 10AM Saturday (Not the best, for already mentioned reasons), or really late at night. So, for an event that amounts to “Emptyeye plays a game”, I’m happy with the time.
It should be great fun either way, whether I live up the hype or crash and burn, which is always a possibility.
EDIT 4/6/08: As mentioned here, Sam was kind enough to upload his recording of Pianotoads onto Google Video. Check it out here!