Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Awesome Games Done Quick

Sthenno posted yesterday about a speed gaming marathon being streamed this week. It looks like it's 24 hours a day for 6 straight days of people playing games absurdly fast. It seems like they've got all these people gathered in a convention hall of some kind to play games while raising money for a cancer charity.

I started watching this morning and caught the end of a Bucky O'Hare playthrough that blew my mind. I don't remember much about the game or the show but some of the things this guy was doing to win quickly were really amazing. Stop on a dime, crouch as an enemy falls out of the sky, leap jump over the enemy landing on a slim pixel and then jump over a pit. Over and over. You'd need to play the game a silly number of times to learn all of those placements. I'm sure training is done on an emulator so you could just reload tricky spots but I'm pretty sure all of the games being streamed are being played on the original consoles so they'd need to have a lot of live practice too in order to play games without failing.

On top of it, the guy doing it was holding conversations about what he was doing and why! Explaining how he was using Willy for a lot of the stages because he does double damage compared to the other characters and has a chance for double again if you hit a precise pixel on some enemies. Then he'd go and do a boss fight and demonstrate that pixel and how to know if you were hitting it based on the rate of screen flashes. Crazy!

Then there was a bunch of later Mega Man series games. X, X3, X4, Zero3. The X one had two people doing speed runs at the same time side by side in a race. It was great because they did it slightly differently and were talking about why they each do it slightly differently. One way is theoretically 7 seconds faster but requires you to pull off a much harder jump where you have 1.5 pixels to wall jump off of and then a 2 frame window to hit a second wall jump...

That they've done these runs so many times that they have times down to 7 seconds difference is insane. In this race the guy on the faster path failed his jump 3 times and ended up barely losing the race. They talked about a bunch of other stuff as they played as well, like how you want to jump off the screen as you kill one mini boss because if you can see him when he dies you get graphics lag which costs you a second and a half. Also there's a power up you can only get if you do the end of a stage 5 times and the fastest way to do that is to die at the end so you can respawn in the middle. But you don't have enough lives to do that so you need to pick up one extra life somewhere along the way. Obviously they worked out which extra life would require the least time to pick up and both commented on it when they did that stage.

Anyway, I've found it very interesting to watch and I definitely think it's worth checking out. There's still 4ish days of games to go and some real winners to come like a lot of Zelda games, the StarCraft 2 expansion campaign, and Portal among others.

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