Jan 14

Album Review- Yes

Album: Yes
Year: 1969
The Lineup:
“John” Anderson- Vocals
Peter Banks- Guitar
Bill Bruford- Drums
Tony Kaye- Keyboards
Chris Squire- Bass

Have I Heard It Before: No

Ask a more “casual” Yes fan where to start with their catalog chronologically, and most will point you to 1971’s The Yes Album, their third. Reviewers tend to agree–Pitchfork Media isn’t a Yes-friendly outfit in the best of times, but they wrote “Feel free to forgo the band’s first two albums with guitarist Peter Banks (we did) […]” when reviewing the 2004 Rhino Remasters of their catalog. That sentiment seems to extend, somewhat, to even the band themselves. Tellingly, the US edition of The Ultimate Yes 35th Anniversary Collection has the title track to their second album, “Time and a Word”, as the sole representative of their pre-Yes Album output.

This hindsight look at the band’s earliest days–a sentiment that tends to be common among any long-running band (Rush’s Neil Peart once remarked that if you wanted to consider 1981’s Moving Pictures–Rush’s eighth studio album–to be their first, he’d be fine with it. Def Leppard and the Red Hot Chili Peppers also disown their respective first albums)–makes the liner notes of their debut, 1969’s self-titled album (Not to be confused with The Yes Album that I mentioned above), funny to read nowadays. Those notes are essentially a hype job by Tony Wilson, then a writer for the British magazine Melody Maker. In them,he discusses how Yes were one of his two picks (The other being Led Zeppelin) for bands that would “make it” in 1969. He notes how they put on superior live shows, and states that “it all shows on this, their first album”. But does it really?

With the benefit of hindsight, the answer is “Kind of.”

Unlike some other bands’ debuts (Rush’s first album is essentially Led Zeppelin-Lite, and gives very little indication that they would become what they did), the signs of where Yes would end up a few years later are there. The vocal harmonies are there from the start, although they sound a bit different than what I was used to. This is probably due to the presence of guitarist Peter Banks; the backing vocals of Chris Squire and Steve Howe (Who would join the band between Time and a Word and The Yes Album) are a vastly underrated component of “Yes vocals” as a whole. Similarly, some songs, notably “Harold Land” and “Survival”, show hints of where the band would travel musically, with intros that have little to do with the meat of the songs themselves. And a line like “Survival’s “An egg too proud to rape the beginning of a shape of things to come That start the run, life has begun, fly fast the gun” is so obviously a Jon Anderson lyric (Credited in the liner notes as “John” Anderson, as he hadn’t yet adopted the “Jon” spelling) even at this early stage that it’s funny.

At the same time, though, this is a band still finding its footing and figuring it out. The album features two covers of songs from Yes contemporaries–“I See You” by The Byrds, and “Every Little Thing” by the Beatles. It’s telling that, for my money, these are also the two best songs on the album. “I See You” becomes a more jazz-rock number, while “Every Little Thing” is transformed into something altogether different from the Beatles original. It also features the band trying too hard to be clever, as they insert a few measures of “Day Tripper” before getting into the lyrics of “Every Little Thing” (Trying too hard to be clever is something I can appreciate). The album as a whole is also covered in that 1960s organ sound that I most strongly associate with The Doors. In short, it’s an album of its time, moreso than some later Yes releases.

Of the original tracks, “Harold Land” is probably my favorite. It starts out upbeat, in stark contrast to when the main portion of the song, which is about a man who goes off to war and is forever changed by it, kicks in. “Looking Around” is another fun track that shows off Yes’s burgeoning vocal harmonies.

In all, the first Yes album isn’t bad, by any means. But unless you’re a Yes completionist, it’s also not essential on its own (Though I will note that the price of the box set works out to about $4 an album, which is a steal). If you like 60s organ, or bands with obvious potential that haven’t yet realized said potential, then go ahead and grab it, but otherwise, you aren’t missing out.

Dec 29

Yes! Yes!

One of the items I received for Christmas was the Yes Studio Albums 1969-1987 Box Set. While I would say my musical taste was more-or-less fully-formed by the time I really “discovered” Yes in college, I do like a lot of the Yes that I’ve heard, and they were an important, if indirect, influence on my bass playing via Rush’s Geddy Lee being heavily influenced by Chris Squire of Yes.

So I figure this will be a great way to A. Get into the Yes albums I haven’t heard, and B. Find some time to sneak in some writing as well. Periodically, I’ll be writing up a kind of album review of each of the albums. I haven’t decided the schedule for this yet, but I figure with twelve albums, one for each month of 2016 seems like a good target to aim for.

First though, a little bit about the set itself. The set contains 13 CDs spanning 12 albums (Tales From Topographic Oceans is a double album), from 1969’s self-titled debut through 1987’s Big Generator. These are included in sleeves that contain miniature versions of the original album artwork. Also included are the bonus tracks included on the remasters of the albums Rhino Records did in the early 2000s–this actually marks the first time the Big Generator bonus tracks are available in the US. Unfortunately, the cool expanded retrospective liner notes from those remasters didn’t make the jump to this set. The box artwork is by Roger Dean, the artist most associated with Yes, and there’s also a small poster included with the set with art by Roger.

Given that I already have about half the albums in the set (The ones I owned prior to this: Fragile, Close to the Edge, Tales From Topographic Oceans, Going For the One, and Drama), I think noting whether or not I’m listening to the album for the first time would be a good idea. I’ll also note if there are any particular bonus tracks that catch my ear (I’m a sucker for behind-the-scenes anything, and a lot of the bonus tracks fall into that early version/studio walkthrough/rehearsal kind of space), but I won’t factor them into the reviews of the albums themselves.

So this should be fun!

-EE

Aug 16

On Super Meat Boy as a Get Yourself Speedrunning Game

This past Saturday was the second SGDQ Get Yourself Speedrunning race. The game was Super Meat Boy, and this was only the second GYS race I’ve entered overall (The first was the post-AGDQ Link to the Past Master Sword race, which was also the largest Speed Runs Live race ever).

I finished pretty solidly in the middle of the pack in this race, which was actually an improvement, percentage-wise, over my ALttP finish. This was probably due to the fact that I actually practiced Super Meat Boy before the race, as opposed to the ALttP race, where I opted to play Streets of Rage instead. I even ended up on the featured stream for a time!

After I finished, I headed over to the featured stream, where SpikeVegeta mentioned that some people had questioned the wisdom of having Super Meat Boy as a GYS game.

I would just like to say that I loved Super Meat Boy as a choice.

First off, I just really like Super Meat Boy in general. It’s incredibly difficult, but it never feels unfair or cheap in the way that, say, I Wanna Be the Guy and its ilk are. You can see everything that’s going to kill you before it does so, and you’ll die a bunch anyway (In my first 106% [The maximum percentage in the game] playthrough, I died over 9000 times according to the Statistics screen). The levels are punishing, especially later on, but they’re also short, which is a perfect combination for addictive, “just gotta beat one more level” type marathon sessions.

That isn’t the reason I loved the game as a GYS choice, though. I love it because speedrunning can seem intimidating to the outside world. Indeed, it’s essentially an entirely different way of playing a lot of games (I’ve mentioned that I don’t think I could ever speedrun Earthbound, because in doing so, I’d skip right over a lot of the charm and thought the developers obviously put into it). The purpose of Get Yourself Speedrunning is to remove this intimidation factor as much as possible, and to show people that you’re invited to speedrun/race regardless of your skill level (Part of the fun of GYS races is, as Spike said sometime during the featured stream, that it humanizes some well-known speedrunners and shows that they didn’t just instantly acquire world-record level skill). Indeed, in the race results, you can see the progression from the absolute top-tier runners, to the people who clearly ran the game, down to the people who obviously had previous experience with it even if they had never done “speedruns” of it before (I did a couple runs the night before the race, and had beaten the game 106%, though not quickly, before that), and finally to the people who were playing the game for the first time. Of the 85 racers, 79 completed the game.

And that, to me, is why Super Meat Boy was an excellent GYS choice. Super Meat Boy has a reputation as being incredibly difficult (One that is earned, I’d say). But including it as part of a series designed to get more people into speedrunning is a genius move precisely because of it’s reputation. Effectively, what’s being said with the choice is “Look! Speedrunning is fun! Even games you would think would be way too hard to speedrun are totally doable!” The game has been featured at numerous Games Done Quick events, and the fact that the PC version (The faster version) is incredibly finicky to get working is a part of why it hasn’t been featured even more. But there was a time when people would have laughed if you had suggested it for an GDQ, because it was thought to be too marathon unsafe. Only six forfeits in this race shows that even difficult games are very runable.

-EE

Jul 04

Why Do Speedrunners Say RNG Instead Of Luck? A Theory

On the speedrun subreddit, someone began constructing an “SGDQ Bingo” website, and asked for suggestions. There were two in particular I found amusing:

  1. A speedrunner says “RNG” instead of “luck”.
  2. That speedrunner then has to explain what “RNG” is, because they couldn’t just say “luck”.

I’ll admit to being as guilty of this as any speedrunner. Indeed, I’m aware of the absurdity of it–my spiel when I say “RNG” while running Metroid II is along the lines of “If you don’t know, ‘RNG’ stands for ‘Random Number Generator’, it’s basically what determines luck in your speedrun. But we’re speedrunners, so we can’t just say ‘luck’.” And yet I still say RNG.

Why is this? Why do speedrunners insist on using an alternate term when “luck” is perfectly adequate and gets the point across? I think there are two main reasons for this:

  • One reason is that there are numerous cases, especially in RPGs, where the RNG can be manipulated. There’s an obnoxious, but technically correct, copypasta that sometimes floats around that can be summarized as “RNG should really be called PRNG (Pseudo-Random Number Generator), since nothing in computers is truly random.”. Disregarding semantics, if you can manipulate the RNG (Luck), you can eliminate it as a factor. One non-speedrunning example of this is the North American version of Final Fantasy V Advance; by saving and reloading, you reset the list of encounters, which you can use to guarantee the encounter you want.

    But Note that even TASVideos, which can manipulate the RNG of a game to literally inhuman degrees, calls this Luck Manipulation. I think there’s another reason speedrunners don’t just say “luck”, and it relates to a phenomenon that can be applied to sports in general:

  • Speedrunners don’t want to admit how little they’re really in control.

Indeed, in any competitive endeavor, even all-time greats need some luck to achieve their ultimate goal. Most recently in the NBA, the Golden State Warriors, by advanced metrics a historically great team, nonetheless got lucky that A. They didn’t have to play either the Los Angeles Clippers or the San Antonio Spurs, and B. That the Cleveland Cavaliers were reduced to “LeBron James and Eleven Replacement Level Players” after game 1 of the Finals (And the LeBron Show still took two games from the Warriors before he ran out of gas). Moving to American Football, the 2007 New England Patriots were an absurd helmet catch away from completing the greatest season in NFL history; before that, though, they got lucky to remain in a position to make the attempt. If not for a terribly-timed timeout from their opponents in their 12th game, they would have entered the Super Bowl with a 17-1 record instead of an 18-0 one. Going back a ways, the 1985 Chicago Bears, one of the greatest teams in NFL history, were fortunate to avoid the Miami Dolphins (The one team that beat them that year, and did so decisively) in the Super Bowl when the Patriots beat the Dolphins in the AFC title game. They were further lucky that the Patriots coaching staff decided to run the same game plan as the Dolphins did, but neglected the part where the Dolphins had an all-time great quarterback (Dan Marino) with a skillset uniquely suited to taking advantage of the relatively less-awesome parts of the Bears defense.

It’s the same with most speedruns. For better or worse, “World Records” are currency in the speedrun world today. And for many of the most popular/well-optimized games, just being the best at your game in terms of skill isn’t enough (The role of “skill” in a speedrun could be a whole other topic)–if the game doesn’t want to cooperate with you, you’re probably not getting that coveted “WR” (For one example, if Phantoon doesn’t cooperate in Super Metroid, it basically doesn’t matter what happens before or after it–say goodbye to that record run.).

So my thoughts on why speedrunners can’t just say “luck” is that it’s a coping mechanism, a way to deny its power and influence on “the run”. By calling it “RNG”, speedrunners can avoid confronting how big a role luck actually plays in getting a good time.

-EE

Jun 14

The Future of Speedrunning and Streaming

Following up a bit on my previous post.

One thing that’s important to clarify that informs a lot of where people fall in the debate on “What comes next” is “What constitutes ‘Square One’?” I define it as “Those streamers have absolutely no skills that are useful in a non-streaming(1) context”. As such, I obviously disagreed with the position that that’s where big-time streamers would be five to ten years from now, which I mentioned in the previous post. Others define it as simply “The streaming money train has pulled away from the station and it’s not coming back”. I’ll admit that’s a possibility in the next several years, although I think it’s far from a certainty.

I will also note that I intentionally didn’t draw a distinction between speedrunners and other streamers in the previous post–besides the fact that people go fluidly back and forth between speedrunning and not ([nosrl] is a tag for a reason), if a large scale streaming crash happens, everyone, speedrunner or not, is going to feel the effects.

A conversation about the future of speedrunning specifically is a conversation worth having (Maybe an “SDA Roundtable” or something like you’d sometimes see leading into GDQs). So let’s go there.

First, I think that speedrunning is probably, if not at its peak in terms of viewership, approaching it–while part of it was a broken tracker not listing all the donations (Those things tend to snowball), AGDQ2015 “only” raised ~55% more than AGDQ2014, the slowest year-on-year growth to date from a percentage standpoint. I also think that certain pillars of speedrunning–Mario 64, Ocarina of Time, etc.–are nearing their theoretical limit. New discoveries are always possible if not inevitable, of course, but that can only last for so long. Plus, the improvement in popular categories in Mario 64 will be limited by that pesky “Having to grab the stars” thing. For the GDQs, I don’t think that will matter too much–it amuses me how the “outside” attitude of Mario 64 in GDQs has gone from “We are going to rain hatred on anyone Not-Siglemic for playing Mario 64 regardless of the actual quality of their run” to “But how can you possibly not have Mario 64 in a GDQ it’s an institution by now!!”–but it will definitely have implications for the larger speedrunning streaming community and its popularity.

So where does speedrunning go in the next several years? I see one of two paths:

The first is what would be the result of the inevitable passage of time–a new generation of runners emerges, with different “nostalgia” reference points than those of the current big-name runners. Instead of Nintendo systems, their love is for the Sony/Microsoft consoles, and the next Narcissa/Siglemic/AdamAK/(Insert Other Mega-Popular Speedrunner Here) in terms of celebrity isn’t known for Mario or Zelda, but for, say, Little Big Planet, Ratchet & Clank, Uncharted, Mass Effect, or another franchise from those systems.

The second possibility is that the community(2) begins to move away from its obsession with World Records and toward a more competitive/race-centered mindset. Those iconic speedrunning games retain their status, but the “best” runners are determined by who consistently gets low times in race/no-reset situations, as opposed to who has the “World Record” (To the extent that these are different). I honestly don’t think this would automatically be a bad thing, though I bet that’s a minority opinion. “Playing through games […] skillfully […]” is part of SDA’s slogan, but adapting to non-optimal RNG and recovering from mistakes to still post a good time is, to my mind, a better indication of skill than resetting a million times waiting for the stars to line up for “THE RUN!”, even if “THE RUN!”‘s time is lower. To some degree, with the increase in races at GDQs, we may be seeing this already, although that’s countered by the fact that Speed Runs Live activity, while still plenty healthy, is down compared to last year.

Regardless, I think that popularity-wise, speedrunning is here to stay, but as a bunch of sub-communities focused around specific games–there won’t be a “monoculture” based around SDA, or even SRL. Whether this stays in the streaming/Youtube realm, or moves on to another medium, I can’t say.

I’m curious as to what everyone else thinks about this, though. Feel free to tweet at me or leave a comment here with your thoughts.

-EE

(1)- I say “non-streaming” instead of “non-Twitch” because, while Twitch are currently the dominant player in the video game streaming world, that could change.

(2)- To the extent that “the community” even still exists today in a cohesive form, and not as a bunch of smaller communities that occasionally get together under one banner.

Jun 09

On Life After Streaming Big

First, a disclaimer: I am someone who has tried and failed to Stream Big. This probably colors my thoughts on this issue.

In any event, last night on Twitter, speedrunner Vorpal made a series of Twitter posts expressing concern for people trying to make a living off of streaming. It ended with this tweet. Being me, I have some thoughts on this.

First off, the bigger issue to me is that sites like Stream Big (Which I’m a fan of, despite some of the things I’ll be mentioning here) downplay some aspects of streaming. First off, as I mentioned in reply to Vorpal, streaming is like any other “creative” pursuit (And yes, I’m aware I’m stretching the definition of “creative” here) in that you can do everything “right”, but you still won’t make it to a point where you can make any money at all out of it (Let alone enough to make a living) without a healthy dose of luck. Stream Big and related sites are great, and give a lot of sound advice, but just following them blindly won’t be the automatic path to streaming superstardom that some seem to think.

Another frustrating aspect of streaming is this: Essentially, a person streams so that they can be noticed by other people. While not all streamers want the kind of relative popularity that comes with, say, MAN vs. GAME, a streamer, in the back of their mind (If not the front), wants people to see their stream. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t stream–it’s a lot easier not to buy the equipment, take the time to set up, and so on, if you’re only going to be playing for yourself. Yet admitting this, for a long time, wasn’t allowed in the streaming world–even now, asking “How do I get more viewers?” is likely to get you called a sellout (At worst), or told something to the effect of “Don’t stream for more viewers, stream for the fun of it!” (At best) That’s all well and good…except that “more viewers” is inherently part of the fun of streaming. If nothing else, I’m grateful to Stream Big and its ilk for showing A. a path to get more viewers (Even if it’s far from guaranteed–see the previous paragraph), but also by implication B. the fact that wanting more viewers and/or to make a living off of streaming doesn’t automatically make you the worst streamer ever.

This is all ancillary to my point though, which is as follows:
First, while Vorpal is correct that the Internet is a giant boom-bust cycle–though I think it’s more accurate to say that time moves much faster in the Internet Age in the sense of “What’s hot now is old hat six months from now”–there’s just as much evidence that streaming is here to say as there is that it’s going to die out anytime soon. Recall that video games themselves were thought of as a fad ~30 years ago. Now, they’re healthier than ever, and despite concerns about the age of Twitch’s audience, the average video game player is 34 years old according to ~2010 data from the ESRB. It stands to reason that streaming’s audience age will follow that of the larger game-playing population.

The second aspect of this is that I disagree that, should the streaming wave crest and break, that bigger streamers are “Back at square one.” If they’re entrepreneurial enough, they can leverage the things they learned in streaming into other careers. As some examples, working with mixing/streaming software gives people audio-visual skills they can use elsewhere, and the very act of streaming shows an ability to multitask (A skill basically any workplace would want). There are probably other things I’m missing, but the point is that streamers can leverage what they learn to fit into either the more “traditional” marketplace or whatever video-based technology succeeds streaming.

In short, those people will be fine.

-EE

Mar 29

Thought Exercise/Discussion Question: The Inaugural Speedrunning Hall of Fame

Recently, a discussion started in Sinister1’s Twitch chat that spread to Twitter. The question was, “Which five people would you put into the inaugural class of a Speedrunning Hall of Fame?” Other than that real-time speedrunners and TASers were both allowed, no other criteria were provided–people were free to use what they saw fit to pick their five people.

Given this, I came up with a top-of-my-head list. I decided to make this post because it’s a better option than spamming my (And Sinister’s) Twitter feed with a bunch of tweets elaborating on my position. I’m going to cheat a little bit here and name six people, because five is just not enough. After the first name, the rest are in no particular order.

With that:

Honorable Mention: Tom ‘rdrunner’ Votava
Pre-SDA*, and during its early days, rdrunner was almost single-handedly responsible for giving the NES section of the site a respectable amount of content. Some of it, like his Ironsword run, is still on SDA to this day (Read his comments to find out just how different the SDA of today is to the SDA of all those years ago). But it’s a long-obsoleted run that I think of when I think of rdrunner. His 34:04 run of the original Legend of Zelda is, in my mind, one of the greatest runs in history when you consider the time and environment he did it in. Imagine if, say, Feasel (A well known speedrunner, with zero stated interest in Ocarina of Time) all of a sudden showed a video of a 17:30 Ocarina of Time Any% time, with no warning. That’s what Votava’s 34:04 run was–a time that no one, including the elite LoZ runners of the day (One of whom was later found to be a cheater, it should be noted), thought was possible. And he did this in an environment that wasn’t nearly as open as it is now–the Zelda competitors of the day only agreed to start really sharing what they knew with one another when it was clear Votava, a relative outsider to the Zelda community, was going to destroy them anyway; The previous best time in the category was 35:50. This isn’t his only notable contribution–PJ mentioned his Castlevania 3 runs, and getting through Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels without dying is an awesome achievement regardless of the speed–but The Legend of Zelda is the first thing I think of when I think of rdrunner.

*By this, I mean “Pre-SDA as we know it today”. SDA existed as an archive of Quake demos (Hence its name) for about 6 years before it expanded to other games and began to turn into what is now the popular conception of SDA.

And now, my five names:
Nolan “Radix” Pflug
There are two main reasons Radix is on this list. The first is that he was the founder of Speed Demos Archive, and ran it from 1998, when it opened as a repository of Quake demo files, to about 2006 or 2007, as it transitioned into hosting runs of all video games. The second is his Metroid Prime speedrun, which wound up on Slashdot and was probably a lot of people’s introduction to speedrunning as a concept. In a general sense, his being the founder of SDA is hugely influential; in a specific sense, the 1:37 100%, which has long been surpassed, was the first exposure to the Internet at large of speedrunning.

Morimoto
One of my criteria–probably the main one–for inclusion in this list was influence on the community in some fashion, a fact which Sinister pointed out. If Radix’s Metroid Prime run was a lot of people’s introduction speedrunning, Morimoto’s Tool-Assisted Run of Super Mario Bros. 3 was the introduction to the concept of emulated runs designed to well, emulate human perfection. This is especially true in the west, where the run blew up the gaming corner of the Internet for a time. This was due, in part, to a language barrier–Morimoto, a Japanese TASser, put the run up on a Japanese webspace with an explanation of what TASsing was and his goal with the run. The run made it to the English speaking internet, but minus the explanation, causing all sorts of debate as to whether the run was “faked” or not. Personal note: I remember, circa 2003, trying to make a similar emulated movie with Rygar, ignorant of the TASsing aspect. Suffice to say it did not go well, although I did later do an honest-to-goodness console speedrun of Rygar that I called “the finest of my […] speedrunning career” at the time.

Mike “mikwuyma” Uyama”
Mike is probably best known nowadays as the main organizer of Awesome Games Done Quick and the owner of Games Done Quick LLC. Given that the last AGDQ raised over $1.5 million for cancer prevention research, this by itself would probably be enough to get him into the inaugural class.
That’s just the latest act in a long involvement in speedrunning, though. Uyama was one of the first people to openly acknowledge using TASes in improving his real-time speedruns. This, as much as anything else, helped ease tensions between the two communities (Metroid 2002 would rather you forget their forums once auto-filtered “TAS” into “emu-rape”, such was their hatred of tool-assisted runs). He was also one of the first speedrunners to adopt the “I lost a tiny amount of time, so I’m going to reset” mentality prevalent in the community today. Finally, after Radix stepped down as the main runner of SDA, Mike stepped up and, I would argue, helped the site mature into what it is today–a repository for high-quality speedruns (There’s a very early Radix update where he says of a Yoshi’s Island speedrun “Just fast-forward five minutes past the death near the end of the long autoscroller”. Stuff like this stopped passing muster when Mike took over) beyond Quake.

Narcissa Wright
As with Radix, Narcissa is here for two main reasons. First, she’s one of the founders of Speedruns Live, a site that’s probably the main place to go for watching, well, live speedruns. With the rise of streaming, SRL has, whether I want to admit it or not, probably replaced SDA as the first site people think of when they think of “speedrunning websites”. Secondly, in part because of her absurdly informative commentary, Narcissa is one of the most popular speedrunners in history. There’s a reason that Ocarina of Time and Wind Waker (I argue that Narcissa single-handedly made Wind Waker cool on the Internet again) are two of the most popular speedrunning games, and Narcissa is that reason, especially in the latter case.

Mike “Siglemic” Sigler
If you search hard enough, you can find a hilarious-in-hindsight log from the #speedrunslive IRC where another speedrunner berates Siglemic for “wasting [his] time” with Super Mario 64, essentially saying “You’ll never beat the Japanese runners, and I’ll get good at a whole bunch of games in the meantime”. Suffice to say that that other runner was not correct on the first point. Siglemic was one of the first speedrunners to have a Twitch.tv Subscription button, when it was an additional “tier” above and beyond merely being partnered. More importantly, though, Siglemic is an example of what happens when you don’t believe “Oh, that time is untouchable and it’s a waste to even try”–you end up becoming, even if temporarily, the person whose times that applies to.

So there you go, my five selections for a hypothetical inaugural Speedrunning Hall of Fame (Plus an Honorable Mention). This was a lot of fun to think about, so if you have an opinion on this, feel free to post in the comments or Tweet at me.

-EE

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?

  • Ecco: The Tides of Time (Genesis) (38%, 36 Votes)
  • The Revenge of Shinobi (Genesis) (26%, 25 Votes)
  • Vectorman 2 (Genesis) (21%, 20 Votes)
  • Cosmo Tank (Game Boy) (16%, 15 Votes)

Total Voters: 96

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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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