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 My Favourite Games #12: ix
Posted by hbix on November 5th, 2017 @10:02PM

‘My Favourite Games’ is a regular MossRanking feature which gives us a chance to get to know our fellow Spelunkers a little better. In each edition, we put the spotlight on one member of the community, as they pick three of their most treasured video games ever and give their reasons why. Featured members are allowed to pick whatever games they want... except for Spelunky.

 

The 12th entry goes to ix, a terrific all-around Spelunky speedrunner and meme trendsetter. Here are his three games...

 

 

Chrono Trigger (SNES, 1995)

For ix, the best role-playing game of all time is Chrono Trigger. When asked about what makes Chrono Trigger a cut above the rest, ix talks passionately about the game and lists several reasons why it is special for him.

 

One of the things that stands out is the fact that decisions have consequences, ranging from altered fates of significant NPCs to the story’s numerous endings. “There’s a scene about two hours into the game where Crono is on trial for kidnapping Marle,” he recalls. “What blew my mind is that choices and actions I made in the first five minutes of the game were being brought up as evidence for and against my guilt. The game is full of far more consequential decisions, but this is the moment it becomes clear Chrono Trigger is a very different type of game.”

 

You can even decide to stop certain characters from joining your party, if that’s what you want.

 

The decisions, especially when combined with the game’s nonlinear aspects such as side-quests, create a truly immersive experience.

 

“The most poignant side-quest is the story of Lucca, who devoted her life to science and inventions only after her failure to understand these as a child contributed to her mother's permanent disability,” ix shares. “The side-quest lets her go back in time and avert the lab accident. If successful, the mother appears in the present without the disability.”

 

It’s one thing for the game to engross a player. But Chrono Trigger also succeeds in being a joy to actually play. In particular, ix compliments the double and triple techs, which are dictated by your party line-up. The party members you select alters the dynamic of the combat. One of the most memorable triple techs for ix is Dark Eternal, which is used by Lucca, Marle, and Magus. “Dark Eternal is probably the flashiest of the triple techs: it combines ice, fire, and dark matter to inflict some form of galactic damage to all enemies,” he explains.

 

Chrono Trigger tells a good story and plays a good game. So it is not surprising that ix has completed numerous times.

 

Bonus: Final Fantasy IV and VI are also very highly-regarded by ix.

 

 

Dota 2 (PC, 2013)

Valve’s Dota 2 has become a phenomenon since the beta launched in 2011, and ix believes it is for good reason.

 

The multiplayer online battle area (MOBA) game has 115 heroes, which are constantly reworked and rebalanced. It is not uncommon for players to spend hundreds -- thousands, even -- of hours on, and a large part of that is that the gameplay remains fresh through regular updates and new additions to the core game. As ix explains: “[Lead designer] IceFrog continues to think up new heroes, items, and gameplay changes, and rebalances everything every couple of months. So it's an endless cycle of learning, re-learning, perfecting.”

 

ix’s favourite hero, for instance, used to be support Gyrocopter until he was “reworked and nerfed back to his old carry self” in April 2015. Nowadays? “For the offlane, my preferred position, I would pick Tidehunter against a greedy line-up, but Batrider, Magnus, and Dark Seer are very stable and enjoyable back-ups.” As ix explains, with so many characters available to take control of free of charge, there is plenty of incentive for players to branch out and not slavishly stick with just one hero.

 

Of course, Dota 2 also took off in a major way from a spectator point of view. The competitive scene is incredibly active, with teams from around the world coming together to participate in tournaments for big money.

 

ix is a huge fan of watching Dota 2 as an eSport. “From very early on, the game has been designed with the highest-skilled, most addicted players,” he comments. “Nowadays, it's balanced around the competitive, professional scene. The major negative for this approach is it makes the learning curve for the game insanely steep.”

 

ix even went to TI6 (The International 2016). “My favorite team, Alliance, was knocked out early, but it was hype to watch a couple of NADota teams -- Digital Chaos, Evil Geniuses -- and also another team lead by an NADota legend, Demon on TNC, go very deep into the tournament,” he says, of his time in Seattle, before adding that he would totally be up for going to another TI event again if he can find someone to go with.

 

 

Super Metroid (SNES, 1994)

Nintendo has released plenty of genuine classics over the years, but for ix, the one that stands out the most is Super Metroid.

 

According to ix, Samus’ SNES outing is “simply the best exploration platformer of all time, with exactly the right amount of handholding”. Super Metroid guides players along, communicating that certain items opens certain doors which open up new areas. An intuitive grid-based map also nudges players along the right path, while also motivating them to seek out secrets.

 

In particular, the speed booster item blew ix’s mind as a kid. “When you first acquire the speed booster, the room you are in starts to shake and lava begins to rise,” he explains. “The only way to escape without damage is to run. A second or so into running, Samus turns blue and increases in speed dramatically, running through and killing a gauntlet of enemies you would normally have to defeat with beams. Very satisfying!”

 

The speed booster is also essential to execute the shinespark technique, which allows Samus to store energy from the speed booster and release it to launch herself horizontally or vertically. It is an important technique for speedrunning.

 

In fact, ix calls Super Metroid the “best speedrunning game to watch”. “The game has gone through a seemingly endless cycle of routing and optimisation, with new mechanics continuing to be incorporated into the game,” he comments. “It's to the point where every time you see a runner like Zoast, Oats, or Behemoth make a mistake that looks like an error, it's really a set up for a damage boost that increases the risk of the run to save 0.3 seconds.”

 

ix says it is a “tragedy” that Super Metroid never got a “proper console sequel”.

 

Honourable mentions: Counter-Strike (PC, 2000); Portal/Portal 2 (PC, 2007/2011); Super Mario Galaxy (Wii, 2007); The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (Wii U, 2016); Mega Man 2 (NES, 1989)

 

Previous 'My Favourite Games' entries

 

Season 2:

TNF (#11)

 

Season 1:

saturnin55 (#10)

SAIBOT (#9)

MrEikono (#8)

Kazzy (#7)

Konato_K (#6)

ShinGraywords (#5)

Meowmixmix (#4)

MikeIsMyIke (#3)

Twiggle (#2)

Kinnijup (#1)

 

 
 
 My Favourite Games #11: TNF
Posted by hbix on October 15th, 2017 @07:51PM

‘My Favourite Games’ is a regular MossRanking feature which gives us a chance to get to know our fellow Spelunkers a little better. In each edition, we put the spotlight on one member of the community, as they pick three of their most treasured video games ever and give their reasons why. Featured members are allowed to pick whatever games they want... except for Spelunky.

 

The 11th entry goes to TNF, a familiar speedrunner of the community and who recently participated in the All Shortcuts + Olmec Tournament. Here are his three games...

 

 

Ice Breaker (Browser, 2009)

It may not surprise anyone that TNF -- or, TheNitromeFan -- has selected a game from Nitrome Limited as one of his picks. TNF has gone for Ice Breaker, which first launched on Miniclip in 2009. "In a nutshell, Ice Breaker is a 2D physics-puzzle game where your goal is to rescue stranded Vikings trapped in or by ice," TNF explains. "You are tasked with cutting ice within the level in such a way that the Vikings safely land in the Viking ship, while avoiding dangers such as monsters and rune stones that kill your Vikings on touch."

 

Ice Breaker naturally starts off easy before ramping up in difficulty, but the way it keeps the levels fresh while letting you restart any level at any point made the campaign a consistently engaging and satisfying experience. "There are some levels that require elaborate setups and cutting ice in just the right way in a specific order for everything to work out," TNF says. "There are some levels that require fast reflexes and precise timing to complete. There are levels that require you to juggle several events at once. Then there are levels that combine all of these skills."

 

TNF adds: "It's a surprisingly layered game considering that your only control is using your mouse to cut ice in a straight line. And there's the satisfaction of completing a level after hours of toiling on it with no success… I had finished all of the levels dozens of times, and it somehow never got boring. The game as a whole really made me appreciate the art in video games, and it led me to love video games and play lots of them for years to come."

 

 

Portal (PC, 2007)

Valve's first-person puzzler blew a lot of people away when it first launched, TNF included. The game revolves around solving puzzles largely using the portal gun, which can be used to create two distinct portals for teleportation. "The storyline was top-notch, the gameplay was simple enough to be fun while complex enough to be challenging, and I couldn't have asked for a better ending," shares TNF.

 

"What drew me in was the subtle-yet-not-subtle way of showing that while everything about Aperture Science looked fine, there were deeper nuances that hinted that something was horribly, horribly wrong. The fact that GLaDOS would casually introduce testing elements that could literally kill you was disturbing."

 

TNF has spent "hundreds of hours" into the game. In fact, it was his first step into the speedrunning scene. "What I enjoyed about speedrunning Portal was a combination of its short length, the sheer number of unique glitches to the game, and the appealing movement of the Source engine used for this game," he shares. "There’s a trick called ABH (Accelerated Back Hopping), unique to the physics engine used for Portal, that increases your speed exponentially with each backwards jump. There’s a 'save glitch' that allows you to unload wall triggers and lets you shoot portals out of bounds. There are many other different tricks and glitches that are finicky to perform, but look quite impressive when executed properly."

 

Put simply, not only is Portal a fantastic single-player experience but it is also very suited as a speedrunning game.

 

 

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (Game Boy Advance, 2001)

TNF wasn't a big fan of visual novels, so it came to a surprise to him that he found the courtroom adventure game Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney immensely enjoyable. Following rookie attorney Phoenix Wright across a series of five cases, the player must try to get their clients found 'not guilty' through investigation and picking up clues, as well as cross-examining witnesses and finding contradictions in court. "It taught me that a game could be enjoyable even without very realistic elements or innovative gameplay," TNF says.

 

One thing's for sure: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney oozes an incredible amount of charm. "I liked how relatable and likeable the protagonist was in the game," TNF shares. "Through his eyes, we see a whole cast of colourful and bouncy characters that bring so much life into the game."

 

But it's also the twists and turns that make each case so absorbing. The way the narrative unfolds, and the way you're called upon to advance the case with logic and analysing the evidence, keeps the player on edge. "I enjoyed the courtroom sections," TNF comments. "Even though I knew in the back of my mind that this was not representative of an actual court, I liked reading through the courtroom drama, and getting to cross-examine witnesses and reading their dialogues. It was just a fun experience all around."

 

TNF says that he replays the game every year, "just to enjoy it all over again".

 

Previous 'My Favourite Games' entries:

saturnin55 (#10)

SAIBOT (#9)

MrEikono (#8)

Kazzy (#7)

Konato_K (#6)

ShinGraywords (#5)

Meowmixmix (#4)

MikeIsMyIke (#3)

Twiggle (#2)

Kinnijup (#1)

 

 
 
 All Shortcuts + Olmec Tournament 2017: Round of 16 qualifiers
Posted by hbix on September 17th, 2017 @07:15AM

Below are the list of qualifiers for the Round of 16 stage.

 

For the first round of the single-elimination bracket, a seeded player will face a randomly-drawn non-seeded player. Two players who were in the same group cannot be drawn against each other in the Round of 16 set of matches.

 

Seeded players comprise of the top eight (out of ten) group winners, and are sorted by number of wins and then by best race time.

 

Non-seeded players comprise of the remaining two group winners and then the top six (out of ten) runners-up, determined by number of wins and then by best race time.

 

Seeded Players

[1] krille71

[2] Spef

[3] Mazerak

[4] twiggle

[5] Buddy7heElf

[6] dtea

[7] hbix

[8] Moliman

 

Unseeded Players

Vlad

Stuoid

Grooomp

curticus

GreatStriker

patchesfaces

ShinGraywords

Linkruler

 

Round of 16 Draw

The draw for the bracket stage was made on Monday, September 18.

 

The Round of 16 stage will take place on Friday, September 22 and Saturday, September 23.

 

krille71 vs. Vlad

curticus vs. Moliman

Buddy7heElf vs. ShinGraywords

patchesfaces vs. twiggle

Mazerak vs. Linkruler

Stuoid vs. dtea

hbix vs. GreatStriker

Grooomp vs. Spef

 

Related Link: All Shortcuts + Olmec Tournament group stage results

 

 
 
 All Shortcuts + Olmec Tournament 2017: Group stage round-up
Posted by hbix on September 17th, 2017 @06:35AM

40 runners. 10 groups. 60 matches.

 

Only 16 could make it to the knockout stage.

 

 

Here's how it all went down.

 

Group A

Group A was dictated by two key races. ix (Pot B) had an incredible race against krille71 (Pot A), on pace for sub-19, but an untimely death meant that Krille fought back to win -- with a 19:20.88, the best in the entire group stage. If krille71 was rusty, he did not show it as he emerged from the group stage undefeated and as a favourite to win the whole tournament.

 

patchesfaces (Pot C) then managed a shock win over ix, producing a brilliant personal best time of 21:19.36. patchesfaces sealed runner-up status and qualified for the Round of 16 with victory over BisleyT (Pot D).

 

 

1. krille71 (3 wins)

2. patchesfaces (2 wins)

3. ix (1 win)

4. BisleyT (0 wins)

 

Group B

Many tipped Group B to be competitive, and indeed it was. Buddy7heElf came out of a tough group undefeated, which included solid wins against JakeYoshimitsu (Pot B) and Linkruler (Pot C) and a time of 21:12.62 against Eddiesaurus87 (Pot D).

 

Linkruler finished runner-up with victory over JakeYoshimitsu, a time of 22:32.99 enough to qualify for the next stage.

 

1. Buddy7heElf (3 wins)

2. Linkruler (2 wins)

3. Eddiesaurus87 (1 win)

4. JakeYoshimitsu (0 wins)

 

Group C

The return of dtea (Pot A) got many people excited, and the anticipation was justified as he rattled off three wins to top the group. His best time was 22:19.21 against TicTacFoe (Pot D), a late replacement for The Mad Murf who pulled out at the last minute.

 

The rest of the group turned out to be relatively even-matched, with a three-way tie for second. TNF (Pot B) took the runner-up spot by virtue of superior time after beating TicTacFoe. TicTacFoe bested LF (Pot C) in a solid performance, but LF’s win over TNF meant that TNF could not progress to the next round.

 

 

1. dtea (3 wins)

2. TNF (1 win)

3. TicTacFoe (1 win)

4. LF (1 win)

 

Group D

Out of the ten groups, Group D turned out to be the most brutally fought. Stuoid (Pot B) produced an upset against Curticus (Pot A), and appeared to be on his way to topping the group. Pot D runner Kirby703, however, pulled off an even bigger shock against Stuoid, with an excellent five-minute personal best.

 

At one stage, with two races remaining, Stuoid, Curticus, and Kirby703 all had a chance to become group winner. In the end, Kirby703’s defeats to Twyn (Pot C) and then Curticus (who smashed it with a stunning 19:38.47) ensured that Stuoid and Curticus finished with two wins each, Stuoid ahead due to their head-to-head record. They both qualify but will be unseeded in the knockouts.

 

1. Stuoid (2 wins)

2. Curticus (2 wins)

3. Twyn (1 win)

4. Kirby703 (1 win)

 

Group E

Moliman (Pot C) showed he was no pushover, causing two upsets against the powerhouses Grooomp (Pot A) and Saibot (Pot B) on his way to topping the group. He managed a 24:01.78 time against Saibot, which proved just enough to nab seeding status for the Round of 16 draw.

 

Grooomp beat Saibot and then achieved an insanely fast 19:31.40 against Elad Difficult (Pot D), the second-fastest time in the entire group stage, to confirm a runner-up spot and a place in the knockout stage.

 

 

1. Moliman (3 wins)

2. Grooomp (2 wins)

3. Saibot (1 win)

4. Elad Difficult (0 wins)

 

Group F

Mazerak (Pot A) comfortably won the group with three impressive runs, his best one coming against Deviltifa (Pot C) -- a time of 19:39.27.

 

Berumondo (Pot B) finished second, beating Deviltifa and Cloiss (Pot D), but his best time of 24:42.89 (against Mazerak) was not fast enough to rank him as one of the top six runners-up. 

 

1. Mazerak (3 wins)

2. Berumondo (2 wins)

3. Deviltifa (1 win)

4. Cloiss (0 wins)

 

Group G

Group G turned out to be unpredictable, but hbix (Pot B) topped the standings, firstly upsetting meowmixmix (Pot A) and then winning their remaining matches. hbix’s best time was 23:07.07 against Zigouigoui (Pot D).

 

It was rock-papers-scissors with the other three runners: meowmeowmix beat the much-fancied Khold (Pot C), Khold beat Zigouigoui, and Zigouigoui beat meowmixmix. Khold had the best time of the three, and so finished second in the group -- but his record wasn’t good enough to qualify.

 

 

1. hbix (3 wins)

2. Khold (1 win)

3. meowmixmix (1 win)

4. Zigouigoui (1 win)

 

Group H

falafel_raptor (Pot A), a fair few people’s pick to win the tournament, surprisingly failed to qualify, finishing third after defeats to Vlad (Pot B) and GreatStriker (Pot C). GreatStriker summoned an impressive 20:05.50 personal best to beat the group favourite before winning against AlphaChannel (Pot D) to secure passage to the Round of 16 via a runner-up place.

 

There was no stopping Vlad, who won three out of three races. Against AlphaChannel, he achieved a 24:19.04.

 

1. Vlad (3 wins)

2. GreatStriker (2 wins)

3. falafel_raptor (1 win)

4. Alpha Channel (0 wins)

 

Group I

The ‘Group of Death’ lived up to its name, with a number of unpredictable results. denis1080 (Pot D) became the underdog nearly everybody was rooting for. He beat MikeIsMyIke (Pot B) and put himself in contention to qualify, almost pulling off the impossible. Alas, a defeat against the reliable ShinGraywords (Pot C) ended his tournament.

 

twiggle showed his class and weaved his way through the intense group with three comfortable wins (including a 21:09.71 against denis1080), while ShinGraywords’ time of 21:51.53 against denis1080 was enough to qualify.

 

 

1. twiggle (3 wins)

2. ShinGraywords (2 wins)

3. denis1080 (1 win)

4. MikeIsMyIke (0 wins)

 

Group J

Spef (Pot A) stormed ahead without looking back to take the group with three convincing wins, and will no doubt be one of the favourites going into the bracket stage. The highlight? A 19:37.14 over saturnin55 (Pot B).

 

With both winning over armantis (Group D), saturnin55 and Pojopoopoohead (Pot C) ended up in a winner-takes-all match to determine who would finish runner-up. saturnin55 emerged victorious but his best race time of 23:39.07 meant that he just missed out on a place in the Round of 16. Heartbreaking.

 

1. Spef (3 wins)

2. saturnin55 (2 wins)

3. Pojopoopoohead (1 win)

4. armantis (0 wins)

 

 

Related Links

Challonge Tournament Page

Results Page

Confirmation of Qualifiers

 

 
 
 My Favourite Games #10: saturnin55
Posted by hbix on September 6th, 2017 @12:40AM

‘My Favourite Games’ is a regular MossRanking feature which gives us a chance to get to know our fellow Spelunkers a little better. In each edition, we put the spotlight on one member of the community, as they pick three of their most treasured video games ever and give their reasons why. Featured members are allowed to pick whatever games they want... except for Spelunky.

 

The tenth entry is also the season one finale, and who more fitting to speak to than MossRanking boss saturnin55. A vital member of the community, Saturnin's contributions over the years cannot be understated -- and he is an excellent Spelunker to boot. Here are his three games...

 

 

“As a young 5- or 6-year-old, I wanted to fight dragons, solve puzzles, and save the world. When I discovered that I could do all of that in Adventure, I was hooked!”

 

Adventure (Atari 2600, 1980)

For Saturnin’s first game, we have to travel back to 1980. Roguelikes may be commonplace nowadays, but nearly 40 years ago, this Atari 2600 game had randomised elements which encouraged repeated playthroughs.

 

Adventure sees the player tasked with going out into an open-ended environment and bringing a chalice back to the castle. “There are three dragons -- green, yellow, and red -- each more and more ‘intelligent’ and difficult to kill,” Saturnin explains. “You also can’t move more than one object at a time, so being without your sword is risky -- but it is often needed because you have to juggle a bunch of items.”

 

Speaking about the game’s replayability, Saturnin describes: “The items are coloured keys for each of the three castles: sword, magnet, bridge, and chalice. When playing on the hardest difficulty, the starting locations of the items are randomised throughout the four mazes, three castles, and the many paths. Also, a bat roams around and shuffles the items, and can steal whatever you are holding. So each game is different.

 

“It even had a fog of war effect in some mazes!”

 

Most impressive for its time, for sure.

 

“I can say without a doubt that playing this game opened up a world that fueled my imagination and got me in fantasy. It got me interested in everything Dungeons & Dragons-related for the rest of my life,” Saturnin adds. “Playing Adventure today, knowing what we all know today, would probably be quite boring. But if you place yourself back in the early ‘80s, it wasn’t. At least for me!”

 

 

“One of the first games I bought with my own money, and it is still today the game I have the best memories of.”

 

Crystalis (NES, 1990)

While many NES owners were enjoying The Legend of Zelda, Saturnin was charmed by SNK’s action RPG named Crystalis -- and it all started with the packaging.

 

“I basically bought the game blindly, looking at the box and thinking it looked cool,” he says. “I bought this game knowing next to nothing, and I was blown away by the amount of content the game had. So many quests, and everything about it felt right and kept me captivated. It was an all-around surprise to discover I had such a game to play.”

 

In the game, the amnesiac protagonist sets out to combine the four elemental swords into the legendary Crystalis -- and defeat the main villain.

 

One of Crystalis’ greatest strengths lies in its mechanics and how well it plays. “The controls are so smooth compared to most similar games of the time,” Saturnin explains. “You can move in any direction and change direction quickly, unlike in The Legend of Zelda which had more rigid (and painful) controls. The character in Crystalis moves quite fast, too. I remember spending a long time playing this game, exploring dungeons, figuring the puzzles out, and leveling up.

 

“There were a lot of items, puzzles, magics, bosses -- and the music is great, too! There is a lot to explore.”

 

 

“Since playing this, I’ve been interested in Ancient China history. The movie Red Cliff -- in which you see many of the main characters -- is one of my favourites of all time because of the connection I have with this game.”

 

Destiny of an Emperor (NES, 1990)

Saturnin’s final pick is the strategy game Destiny of an Emperor. “I fell in love with this game because of the unique combat mechanics and the deep historical plot which is based on Romance of the Three Kingdoms with Liu Bei, Zhang Fei, and Guan Yu,” he shares. “The game is quite long, has a rich map to explore, and has many caves and fortified cities.”

 

Destiny of an Emperor is a title that was ahead of its time in 1990.

 

Although the player starts off with only a few units, they can recruit unique generals -- often through bribery of money or horses -- after defeating them and their armies in battle. This adds to 150 playable characters. “You can have up to seven generals in your active army, but up to 70 in total in reserve,” Saturnin says. “Some generals are more into magic, others are more melee type. Boss battles are quite tactical and require a lot of micromanagement each turn. I just loved that I could do different styles of combat, and it was very rewarding.”

 

Much care was given to ensure that the 150 generals actually felt like individuals, as Saturnin explains. “They all had their own specific artwork and abilities, which made the game even cooler. And that they could betray you or you could have notorious bad guys join your party made it really unique.”

 

Honourable Mentions: Uncharted Waters (NES, 1991), Romance of the Three Kingdoms II (SNES, 1991), The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES, 1992), Tecmo Super Bowl (NES, 1991), Baseball Stars (NES, 1989), Final Fantasy II (SNES, 1991), The Faery Tale Adventure (Amiga 500, 1987).

 

 

'My Favourite Games' goes on hiatus as the All Shortcuts + Olmec Tournament kicks off on Friday, September 8. Season two will start later this year.

 

'My Favourite Games' season 1 in full:

saturnin55 (#10)

SAIBOT (#9)

MrEikono (#8)

Kazzy (#7)

Konato_K (#6)

ShinGraywords (#5)

Meowmixmix (#4)

MikeIsMyIke (#3)

Twiggle (#2)

Kinnijup (#1)

 

 
 
 My Favourite Games #9: SAIBOT
Posted by hbix on August 28th, 2017 @04:08AM

‘My Favourite Games’ is a regular MossRanking feature which gives us a chance to get to know our fellow Spelunkers a little better. In each edition, we put the spotlight on one member of the community, as they pick three of their most treasured video games ever and give their reasons why. Featured members are allowed to pick whatever games they want... except for Spelunky.

 

In the ninth entry, we go to SAIBOT, an experienced and incredibly fast speedrunner who has, among other impressive runs, a 4:14 Max Low% and a 2:12 Any%. Below are his three games...

 

 

Dark Souls (PC, 2012)

Saibot’s first pick is the notoriously tough Dark Souls. Saibot has finished the game three times now, and his love for it stems largely from its unforgiving but fair difficulty. “The unforgiving difficulty is important, because it forces you to learn the optimal way to play the game,” he explains. “The difficulty is fair because it never makes you lose without giving you ample opportunity to escape the situation or overcome the challenge.”

 

Among other things, Saibot appreciates the “detailed areas and nuanced enemies”, and praises the world of Dark Souls and how meticulously it was put together. “The world itself feels truly natural, which makes the setting seem more believable,” he says. “The areas are often interconnected in very clever ways, which both contribute to the natural feeling and also eliminates the tedious running from one area to another that one might expect in such a game. Possibly more significant, though, is the sheer detail and the intricacy that each area has.”

 

It sounds like he’s not done with the game, either. “I find myself going back to play the game in new ways that provide extra challenge and fun,” Saibot comments. “For example, my second run of the game was Soul Level 1, which prohibits you to level up your character throughout the whole game.”

 

 

Super Meat Boy (PC, 2010)

Next is indie platformer Super Meat Boy, another game which is noted for its difficulty. When asked about what he loves about being challenged, Saibot answers: “I think difficult games provide a much more intense feeling of pride and accomplishment when you conquer them."

 

Super Meat Boy, which features 300 levels and puts a huge emphasis on split-second timing, made Saibot's list because of its “tight controls and masterful level design”, and he explains that the way these two elements combined contributed towards a truly memorable experience for him. “This game fulfilled my platforming needs before I played Spelunky,” he comments. “It forces you to execute moves that you didn’t think were possible before. The precise controls were crucial, because without them, the game wouldn’t feel fair as having adequate control of your character is needed in a tough platforming game.”

 

The other notable aspect of the game Saibot loves is the impressive variety of playable characters, many of which have unique attributes. “The unlockable characters help provide an extra incentive to collect the bandages in each level, which add extra challenge,” he says. “Also, their varying playstyles expand the ways and routes to beat each level.”

 

 

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (PC, 2012)

For his final game, Saibot chooses Valve’s multiplayer shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Saibot has spent around 500 hours on the game, and a large part of it is because of its “focus on teamwork” and “economic decisions”.

 

The money system is particularly interesting. Earned through winning rounds and completing various objectives, cash can be spent on better weapons during matches to give you the upper hand against your opponents. Explaining the allure and the depth of this system, Saibot says: “A good example of a thoughtful economic decision would be to not buy weaponry and other equipment at the start of the round when your team’s funds aren’t fully adequate, such that the next round you can fully buy everything you need to have a good chance of winning that round.

 

“This feature makes the experience compelling because, while in theory I like the concept of the first-person shooter, most games in that genre are unfortunately mindless and don’t involve much strategy or thought. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s emphasis on mindful play and strategy makes it far more interesting, and a more interesting game than most other shooters I’ve played.”

 

And on the teamwork component of Global Offensive, Saibot adds: “The focus on teamwork makes the game much more enjoyable for me, because it forces me to coordinate strategies with either friends or random teammates. This coordination increases the depth and makes the strategy of the game more complex.”

 

--

What's ahead... 'My Favourite Games' season one wraps up this coming week with entry #10, which centres on saturnin55. Very exciting. The series will then go on hiatus as the All Shortcuts + Olmec Tournament launches on Friday, September 8. Season two will start later this year.

 

Previous 'My Favourite Games' entries:

MrEikono (#8)

Kazzy (#7)

Konato_K (#6)

ShinGraywords (#5)

Meowmixmix (#4)

MikeIsMyIke (#3)

Twiggle (#2)

Kinnijup (#1)

 

 
 
 My Favourite Games #8: MrEikono
Posted by hbix on August 21st, 2017 @10:22PM

‘My Favourite Games’ is a regular MossRanking feature which gives us a chance to get to know our fellow Spelunkers a little better. In each edition, we put the spotlight on one member of the community, as they pick three of their most treasured video games ever and give their reasons why. Featured members are allowed to pick whatever games they want... except for Spelunky.

 

In the eighth entry, we go to MrEikono, a regular member and occasional streamer. You can find him on Twitter and Twitch. Below are his three games...

 

 

Crash Bandicoot: Warped (PlayStation 1, 1998)

For some people, their first video game they can remember playing is special. That is the case with MrEikono and Crash Bandicoot: Warped, the third game in the popular platforming series. “When I was a small child, we used to have a PlayStation 2 and a motley assortment of games, one of which was this one,” MrEikono shares. “Though I never did beat it, it was my favourite PS2 game as a child and actually the first real game I think I’ve ever played.”

 

The game sees the player control both Crash and Coco, as they travel through time. MrEikono never finished the game, but years later, Warped remains inspiring and meaningful to him.

 

“Even though the furthest level I beat was level six, it all still made me think, ‘Wow! Actual video games are really cool!’, and in that regard was the very first thing that pushed me in the direction I hope to go in the future, working as an indie game developer,” he says. “I loved how the controller would rumble in my hands as certain things happened, and I generally just enjoyed the whole aesthetic of going through lots of different time periods, running away from dinosaurs and stuff.”

 

And one of his favourite memories with Warped lies with the first boss -- a large beast named Tiny Tiger. “In particular, I remember sitting there trying to beat it for ages, accompanied by the undying encouragement (and sometimes attempts to help) from the rest of my family, before I finally won the fight. I’ll never forget that,” he recalls.

 

 

Fantasy Online (Browser, 2010)

MrEikono’s second game is this browser-based MMORPG. Heavily inspired by role-playing games of the Super Nintendo era, Fantasy Online took over MrEikono’s life until it shut down on New Year’s Day in 2014. “I loved it to death,” he says. “I would play it all the time. It had an incredible amount of depth, the pixel art was gorgeous, and it’s the Flash game I have the fondest memory of.”

 

MrEikono did it all -- including being part of a guild and making friends during his time with the game. He even went through ‘rebirth’, a new game plus feature of sorts. “In Fantasy Online, reaching level 60 allowed you to rebirth, which put a skull next to your level number and made you start from the beginning again but with perks,” he explains.

 

So it felt like the end of a significant era when Fantasy Online closed. “I had put a lot of time into the game, and then I found out that it was being shut down because [developer Pixelated Games] wasn’t willing to be in charge of the game anymore and didn’t want to put anyone else in charge of it. Absolutely ridiculous,” he says. “I kept playing up until its end, though.”

 

 

Terraria (PC, 2011)

MrEikono’s favourite game of all time is none other than Terraria. This 2D sandbox game blew MrEikono away. It was the first game he bought on Steam, and to this day he has spent 700 hours on it. "As soon as I saw it, I had to get it. I knew," he says.

 

“The thing about Terraria that made me spend so much time with it was the amount of depth it had. Going from being a useless nublet to an overpowered monster took a long time, but you had a lot of things to do along the way. A lot.”

 

MrEikono calls Terraria “timeless”, and does not hesitate to call the game -- at least for him -- perfection. It has an incredible amount of replayability, and for MrEikono, it will probably never get old. “When you finish everything by yourself, that’s the point where that world and that character pretty much transitions into creative mode, because you’re able to gather anything you need to build anything you want, no risk,” he says. “And you can go through everything with a friend or multiple friends, bringing more experiences you just can’t get alone!

 

“I just about died of laughter when one friend helped me figure out -- after almost 600 solid hours -- that planting acorns make new trees! Such a stupid, trivial thing that I figured out so, so late.

 

“Terraria is a game that, to me, really can be played forever. Terraria has just got something about it that makes it absolutely perfect.”

 

--

What's ahead... 'My Favourite Games' season one will be wrapping up, with entries #9 and #10 coming over the next two weeks. The series will then go on hiatus until (at least) after the end of the upcoming All Shortcuts + Olmec Tournament. If you would like to express interest in being featured for 'My Favourite Games' season two, contact me on the Spelunky Discord.

 

Allow me to also say a big thank you for everyone's support. It's been amazing to see the positive response this feature has received.

 

-- hbix

 

Previous 'My Favourite Games' entries:

Kazzy (#7)

Konato_K (#6)

ShinGraywords (#5)

Meowmixmix (#4)

MikeIsMyIke (#3)

Twiggle (#2)

Kinnijup (#1)

 

 
 
 All Shortcuts + Olmec Tournament in September and October!
Posted by saturnin55 on August 17th, 2017 @07:12PM

Hey Spelunkers,

 

You may have read the post about the interest form for the AS+O tournament sent out a few weeks ago.

 

Thanks to all the input we got, we are proud to announce that the format is finalized and the schedule for the All Shortcuts + Olmec Tournament of 2017 has been decided! The tournament will have two stages: a round-robin format followed by a 16-player bracket.

 

To sign up, please read this document carefully so you don't miss any important details.

 

Then fill out this form.

 

If you filled out the previous interest form, all you have to do is confirm that you are still participating in the #aso-2017 channel on our discord. Thanks!

 

Again, if you have any questions feel free to comment on this thread or message any of the names below. We also would like to encourage everyone to join our discord server as we have a super helpful community there that can help you learn the category, give you useful resources, and are just a blast to hang out with!

 

Hope to see you there,

 

saturnin55, twiggle, hbix, meowmixmix, kinnijup, kazzy

 
 
 All Shortcuts + Olmec Tournament IN September and October!
Posted by saturnin55 on August 17th, 2017 @07:12PM

Hey Spelunkers,

You may have read the post about the interest form for the AS+O tournament sent out a few weeks ago.

Thanks to all the input we got, we are proud to announce that the format is finalized and the schedule for the All Shortcuts + Olmec Tournament of 2017 has been decided! The tournament will have two stages: a round-robin format followed by a 16-player bracket.

To sign up, please read this document carefully so you don't miss any important details.

Then fill out this form.

If you filled out the previous interest form, all you have to do is confirm that you are still participating in the #aso-2017 channel on our discord. Thanks!

Again, if you have any questions feel free to comment on this thread or message any of the names below. We also would like to encourage everyone to join our discord server as we have a super helpful community there that can help you learn the category, give you useful resources, and are just a blast to hang out with!

Hope to see you there,

saturnin55, twiggle, hbix, meowmixmix, kinnijup, kazzy

 
 
 My Favourite Games #7: Kazzy
Posted by hbix on August 12th, 2017 @04:52PM

‘My Favourite Games’ is a regular MossRanking feature which gives us a chance to get to know our fellow Spelunkers a little better. In each edition, we put the spotlight on one member of the community, as they pick three of their most treasured video games ever and give their reasons why. Featured members are allowed to pick whatever games they want... except for Spelunky.

 

In the seventh entry, we go to Kazzy, Twitch global moderator and familiar face to the Spelunky community. Below are her three games...

 

 

The Binding of Isaac (PC, 2011)

Kazzy’s first pick is a game often compared to Spelunky. The Binding of Isaac is a roguelike title which features procedurally generated dungeons and permadeath. Since its release in 2011, the game has undergone several evolutions and iterations. “I learnt everything about the game inside out and inevitably played hundreds of hours of it,” Kazzy says, adding that The Binding of Isaac was also the first Twitch community she properly got involved in and the first game she attempted to speedrun. “It was only natural to progress from vanilla to Wrath of Lamb to Rebirth -- which was a complete remake of the game -- and then Afterbirth.”

 

For Kazzy, one of the more appealing parts of releases like The Binding of Isaac is that runs aren’t particularly long, affording her flexibility. “I like games I can play without needing to commit a lot of time to in one sitting. I like being able to pause pretty much anywhere, and a game short enough that I didn’t mind quitting midway.” She has logged more than 2,000 hours on the base game and a further 900 hours on the Rebirth remake, which was released in 2014.

 

 

Dofus (Browser, 2004)

Browser-based MMORPG Dofus became a huge part of Kazzy’s life for a long while. Although Dofus is more well-known in France than the rest of the world, it hooked Kazzy in, firstly as a casual player and then to the point where she became obsessed. “It is a tactical and turn-based game,” she explains. “It’s unique in the sense that one had the freedom to build one’s character in any way, dress them in any equipment to allow any sort of stats, and play it the way one wanted to.”

 

While in combat, players take in turns to use Action Points and Movement Points. Such is the depth of Dofus that there are numerous different character classes, which led to Kazzy having 22 paying accounts. “I wanted different characters of different builds for different purposes,” she says. “When I was playing it, it had twelve classes with four basic elementals. You could even combine elementals for different combinations. Each had their own strengths and weaknesses. Ideally, one would find other players to do stuff with, but I wanted to be able to provide them with whichever class and element a group needed.”

 

Kazzy ended up being part of a major guild, and she made plenty of good friends as a result. “I was second-in-command of one of the biggest, most prestigious English guilds on my server,” she shares. “We frequently had hang-out sessions with guild members where we’d run around and do silly things together. It made for great times and lots of laughs.” You can check out a couple screenshots of Kazzy's time with The Reapers (her guild) below:

 

 

 

"Epiphany and I have been partners in the game since 2010, and we share everything -- accounts, in-game money equipment, houses, everything," Kazzy adds. "During my first visit to the US in 2015, I went to visit him."

 

 

Don't Starve (PC, 2013)

Lastly, we have Don’t Starve, an indie survival game with plenty of roguelike elements. In Don't Starve, the player is thrown into a randomly-generated open world and must survive as long as possible, managing health, sanity, and hunger. Permadeath is also a significant feature -- if your character dies, it’s game over for good. “I love everything about Don’t Starve,” Kazzy comments. “The art, the music, the gameplay. It’s the only game I truly love every aspect of. I love how they’ve spaced out their expansions (Reign of Giants and Shipwrecked), I love all the characters in the game, and I love the difficulty of it.”

 

Kazzy praises the player-created mods for adding extra value to what is already an impressive game. “They’re very easy to install and range from making the HUD neater to adding completely new characters with their own stats to play with in-game,” she says. “I particularly enjoy having new characters and challenges when one has exhausted the native ones.”

 

But Don’t Starve wouldn’t be as good as it is without its implementation of permadeath. Unlike Spelunky and The Binding of Isaac, where runs often last mere minutes and regular resets are expected, Don’t Starve is all about exploration, the gathering of food and resources, and ultimately survival. Games last hours, not minutes. “It has a steep learning curve, and is completely punishing and unforgiving,” Kazzy explains. “But the sense of achievement one gets after surviving a couple of seasons is satisfying. Without permadeath, the game would become monotonous. One becomes more careful in order to progress and discover new areas.”

 

--

Want to be featured? Contact me on the Spelunky Discord.

 

Previous 'My Favourite Games' entries:

Konato_K (#6)

ShinGraywords (#5)

Meowmixmix (#4)

MikeIsMyIke (#3)

Twiggle (#2)

Kinnijup (#1)