Thursday, May 08, 2014

Speedrunning Game Selection

Four months ago Sthenno got me to watch a speedrunning marathon and the whole concept has been intriguing to me ever since. I went out and got the first item needed in order to get started myself (a capture card so I can connect up older consoles to my computer) but then I hit a few snags. Mostly that I'm a terrible lazy person. Anyway, I need a better internet connection, and I probably need a splitter, and I could use some better wires. Perhaps most importantly I need to actually pick a game to run!

This is a pretty big deal because there's a lot of difference between the different kinds of games that get run and getting started on something I can potentially have success is important to me. I like Super Metroid but to get really good at that game involves learning very precise timing for the different wall jumps. I haven't really played a platformer in an awfully long time and precise timing has never really been my thing. I still wouldn't mind giving it a try, but I don't know that I want to start there necessarily. Then there are games that even when optimized take 10+ hours. I love me some Final Fantasy X but I suspect starting out on something that long is not exactly a good idea. So many options, no way to make a decision...

What I ideally want is a game that's relatively short, low on the precise timing, and something I enjoy enough to want to play over and over again. It would be nice if other people played the game so that I'd have benchmarks and an easy way to steal strategies to get started, but it would also be nice if the game wasn't super optimized so I could have a shot at making things better. Actually understanding how the game is played well enough to know how to optimize it would be a plus as well. I'd really like it to be a game I already own on console, and preferably one that connects up via s-video or composite cables since those are what connector to my cheapo capture card.

While watching the Crystals for Life marathon last week a game came on that really caught my eye. The runner even talked about how they were currently looking into changing their path through one of the dungeons because it wasn't optimized at this point. And when talking a bit about how they were going to make the route better it was all stuff that made sense to me. The run was estimated to take around 3 hours total, which is a pretty reasonable time for starting out I think. And when I played the game last year I ended up commenting about how I wanted to play the game again with an eye to trying to beat the game at super low level and mentioned how that would probably mean figuring out what treasure was critical and which I could skip... It all just fits together!

The game? Final Fantasy Mystic Quest!

So now I need to watch some Mystic Quest videos, search out some maps, and maybe start running some tests. I need to find out which spells can be used against which enemies. (Apparently heal, life, and exit can all be used as instant kill spells.) I also need to figure out how my second character gets controlled by the AI in each fight. The guy running the game was toggling AI control on and off depending on the fight because if the AI would take the right action you might as well save the time inputting the command yourself! It'll take lots of practice to work that out enough to be able to do it on the fly but I can definitely start up a spreadsheet and start documenting.

And look up all the crazy bugs to see what can be abused... Hurray reading about games on the internet!


Sthenno said...

If you want to see what not to do, check out feasel on twitch who has recently been streaming his speedrun attempts of Dragon Warrior. It's a terrible spectacle.

Nick Page said...

He's opening the same treasure chest for more than 20 minutes!