Spelunky News!


 My Favourite Games #15: JakeYoshimitsu
Posted by hbix on December 4th, 2017 @06:56PM

‘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 15th entry goes to JakeYoshimitsu, a long-time member of the Spelunky community with a range of impressive runs including a 2:15 Any%. Here are his three games...

 

 

Super Smash Bros. Melee (GameCube, 2001)

Given that he plays competitively, it is no surprise that Jake lists this popular Nintendo brawler among his top picks. “Smash is like any other eSport but smaller -- there is a real community feeling,” Jake shares. “I have met several friends through Smash, and watching the pros is like a drama. I also play Melee with other Spelunky community members including Fusuy321 and Curticus.”

 

Jake, who describes Melee as his favourite game of all time, primarily plays as Peach. He says the fact that she isn’t often used as a main by the wider community can give him a slight and enjoyable edge. “It is fun to play with people who do not know how to fight against my character,” he says. “I also have a pretty mix-up heavy style. I will be defensive and put out walls for a long time, then go in mercilessly at the drop of a hat.”

 

The way that Melee took off competitively must have surprised Nintendo. What usually draws new players in at first is the concept of pitting beloved Nintendo characters against each other in an arena. But mechanically, Melee delivers. There are layers upon layers to the gameplay that makes the title a good fit for competitive play.

 

“The game is extremely complicated,” Jake says. “There are always new techniques to learn and new ways to adapt your playstyle to beat unique opponents. The concept of having so much technical skill that you can rely on it to play jazz while competing against another person is appealing. There is constant improvisation. The mechanics and engine feel really good, and it lets you move around quickly with precision.”

 

 

Yu-Gi-Oh! Dark Duel Stories (Game Boy Color, 2002)

Jake’s nostalgic pick is Yu-Gi-Oh! Dark Duel Stories. A fan of the Yu-Gi-Oh! series when he was younger, Jake soon found himself immersed in the card battle game to the point where he dabbled in playing competitively. “I started off watching the anime and eventually I played competitively in local tournaments,” he says. “I was never amazing at the game, but I would always have a unique deck type and run a unique deck list within that deck type.”

 

In particular, Jake loved the novelty of facing off against the various anime characters in the game: “The reason why I love Dark Duel Stories is because you get to play your deck against the anime characters. I loved the anime growing up. I watched nearly all of the TwitchPresents Yu-Gi-Oh! marathons. I just liked taking my deck and my cards and playing against the strategies I saw on TV. It made the game nostalgic and epic at the same time.”

 

Dark Duel Stories had a neat feature that allowed you to bring your real, physical cards into the game, a system which “was always fun and made it feel more interactive”. Not only that, but Dark Duel Stories included a Type mechanic which expanded the game’s depth in cool ways.

 

“Every card has a type, with a weakness and a strength,” Jake explains. “For example, any Aqua type monster will immediately defeat any Pyro type monster regardless of attack strength. A 300 attack point Aqua monster will destroy a 2000 attack point Pyro monster without affecting either player's life points. This mechanic brought unexpected turnarounds to every duel. At some points, this can become annoying when clear wins are taken away, but most of the time it was fun to clutch victory from the jaws of defeat.”

 

 

Mario Tennis (Nintendo 64, 2000)

For Jake, Mario Tennis is responsible for countless hours of fun with his best friends. “This is the only game that I play with them,” he says. “Nobody in my friend group enjoys video games nearly as much as I do, but this game is one that we always play.”

 

One of the most appealing aspects of this sports title is its simplicity. As Jake explains: “There are no items, no special power-ups, no mega-special slam attacks. It is pure tennis with serving and volleying. This game might as well not be Mario Tennis, since there are no Mushroom Kingdom flourishes outside of the characters. The pureness of this game is what makes it so fun. People can play competitively without feeling that they lost because of a dumb mechanic.”

 

The simplicity of Mario Tennis makes mind games a major part of matches. Jake calls this “mentally exhausting” -- in a good way. “The stress of retrieving a ball on the other end of the court is exhilarating,” he says. “If I had not randomly bought Mario Tennis at a yard sale in high school, I would not have my current friend group.”

 

Previous 'My Favourite Games' entries

 

Season 2:

Stuoid (#14)

GreatStriker (#13)

ix (#12)

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)

 

 
 
 Spelunky Discord Community Awards 2017: Nominations Announcement
Posted by hbix on December 2nd, 2017 @02:48AM

The nominations have been counted. Now, we can reveal the final nominees for all ten categories of the 2017 Spelunky Discord Community Awards.

 

The three members-focused categories (Streamer, Newcomer, MVP) have seven nominees. The rest have six nominees. For the All Shortcuts + Olmec Tournament Race category, we have provided links to full YouTube videos of each nominee in case you wish you refresh your memory.

 

All nominees are listed in alphabetical order in this article.

 

The final round of voting has now opened -- you can vote here.

 

Favourite Spelunky Streamer

Abob71

falafel_raptor

ix

Kinnijup

Spef

Twiggle

Vlad

 

Newcomer of the Year

amourietta

chocolatecake5000

DaftLunk

DieDai

GreatStriker

Pojo

Spef

 

Spelunky Community MVP

hbix

ix

Kazzy

Kinnijup

meowmixmix

saturnin55

Twiggle

 

Best Moss Points Category

All Shortcuts + Olmec

Hell%

Low%

Low Hell%

No Teleporter Any%

Score

 

Best Meme Category

Action Hero Any%

All Achievements

Draining Olmec

Key to Yama

Temple Shortcut%

Tutorial High Score

 

Best Miscellaneous Category

All Characters

All Journal Entries

Jumbo Money

Max Low No Gold Hell%

Shield Run

Tutorial%

 

Best All Shortcuts + Olmec Tournament Race

GreatStriker vs. Spef (Quarterfinals)

Krille vs. d_tea (Finals)

Krille vs. ix (Group A)

Linkruler vs. Mazerak (Round of 16)

patchesfaces vs. ix (Group A)

Stuoid vs. Curticus (Group D)

 

Indie Game of the Year

Cuphead

Dead Cells (Early Access)

The End Is Nigh

Hollow Knight

Japanese Breakquest

Night in the Woods

 

Overall Game of the Year

Cuphead

Divinity: Original Sin 2

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (Early Access)

Sonic Mania

Super Mario Odyssey

 

Most Anticipated Game That Isn't Spelunky 2

Dunk Lords

Industries of Titan

La-Mulana 2

Monster Hunter: World

Red Dead Redemption 2

UFO 50

 

There is one bonus awards category: The 'Wait, This Isn't Spelunky' Award celebrates the games aside from Spelunky which have had a noticeable impact on the community over the past year. The below nominees were agreed upon by a panel.

 

The 'Wait, This Isn't Spelunky' Award

Kerbal Space Program

Marble Madness

Momodora III

Rocket League

 

To vote, click here and fill out this form.

 

 
 
 My Favourite Games #14: Stuoid
Posted by hbix on December 2nd, 2017 @01:36AM

‘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 14th entry goes to Stuoid, a friendly name in the Spelunky community and a top 40 player on MossRanking. Stuoid has a 3:08 Low% to his name, but his heart belongs to a game starring a very different Indiana Jones-inspired whip-wielding explorer. Here are his three games...

 

 

Lethal League (PC, 2014)

Stuoid’s first game is Lethal League, a 2D arena game, where players hit a ball back and forth. This ball increases in speed with every wallop, and players are eliminated if the ball hits them. “It's very fast-paced,” explains Stuoid, who has put in around 70 hours into the title. “There's never a moment where you're not doing something, and it's very skill-based.”

 

The mechanics are fairly simple, so a large part of Lethal League comes with mind games against the opponent. “You constantly have to outsmart and outplay your opponent, and usually you're trying to change how you play during the match so you don't become too predictable,” Stuoid adds.

 

“For example, if you use your special ability as soon as you get it every time for a little while, and suddenly you just don't use it, chances are your opponent isn't going to expect it and lose as a result. There are a lot of ways to do this kind of stuff, and that adds a lot of replay value in my opinion. The gameplay is insanely fun."

 

 

Terraria (PC, 2011)

Stuoid’s 70 hours spent on Lethal League is completely dwarfed by the 1,500-plus hours spent on the popular sandbox release Terraria.

 

One of the most appealing things about Terraria, at least where Stuoid is concerned, is the sheer breadth and variety of tasks you can do in the game. “The reason I keep coming back to it is because there are so many ways to play through the game and so many challenges you can make to spice up the gameplay,” he shares. “Feeling bored of the regular kiting playstyle? Try out melee no yo-yos. Want to try something different that's a bit more focused on dodging? Do a summoner playthrough. Want to try a low% style run? Fight only the required bosses (which are the Wall of Flesh, three Mechanical Bosses, Plantera, Golem, and Moon Lord).”

 

Stuoid adds: “There are a lot of ways to play through aside from these, and that just gives a lot of variety on top of a game that's changing quite frequently.”

 

Indeed, Terraria regularly receives updates and play a large part in keeping the title fresh. As Stuoid explains: “They add a lot of content and replay value because they allow for entirely new ways to play through the game, or provide some kind of new endgame content. That sort of stuff is really cool.

 

“That's not even mentioning the big updates such as 1.2 or 1.3, which added a ton of content and completely new ways to play the game or side content. The game is probably four or even five times the size of the first version, and that's only counting an average playthrough. The amount of items is 3,968, which is absolutely insane, even if a lot are reskins. The smaller updates updates also usually add some decently big event or a new boss or something similar that gives new loot and, again, more replayability.”

 

 

La-Mulana (PC, 2012)

Anyone who knows Stuoid will know that his favourite game of all time is none other than La-Mulana (specifically, the remake version). “First of all, I need to make it very clear that this game IS NOT PRIMARILY A METROIDVANIA,” he stresses. “It's a puzzle game with the exploration and combat of a Metroidvania. This game is focused on the puzzles first and foremost. Do not expect a regular Metroidvania experience from it.”

 

La-Mulana follows an adventurer named Lemeza Kosugi. Although the player picks up new items which allows them to reach new areas of the titular ruins, a large portion of the experience involves cracking puzzles and taking in the lore.

 

La-Mulana knocks everything out of the park -- from the combat to the non-linear exploration. The game is difficult, to the point where people often use guides during their first playthrough to get past some puzzles, but rewards those who stick with it by providing a unique and memorable experience.

 

“I have so much fun with it,” Stuoid comments. “It does everything it wants to do almost flawlessly. The puzzles are designed with small clues and hints in mind, rather than a generic puzzle where you have to figure out where to put a block or something with no real hint… There's direction for the puzzles, but they're still very hard due to being so cryptic. Solving the puzzles even with prior knowledge is still fun because they're so creative.

 

“The Metroidvania gameplay is absolutely fantastic as well, because you're always getting new items and upgrades. There's a ton of variety in the areas too, and the soundtrack really helps the atmosphere for these areas. That and the soundtrack’s amazing.”

 

 

Breathing even more life into La-Mulana is the randomiser, which takes advantage of the non-linear gameplay and mixes up item locations, shops, and more -- deliciously placing players out of their comfort zone. “While speedrunning is a great way to keep it fresh, the randomiser really trips you up and forces you to do some weird things you might never think of,” Stuoid says.

 

“It really makes you think about what's available and when. I would have never realised, for example, that I could beat almost every boss before the fourth, but that's what I had to do in my most recent completed playthrough. That's why I love the game so much; just playing it at all is enjoyable, even without the puzzles or anything.”

 

Previous 'My Favourite Games' entries

 

Season 2:

GreatStriker (#13)

ix (#12)

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 #13: GreatStriker
Posted by hbix on November 30th, 2017 @07:22PM

‘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.

 

The 13th entry goes to GreatStriker, who had a memorable run in the recent All Shortcuts + Olmec Tournament. GreatStriker pulled off upsets against pre-tournament favourites falafel_raptor and Spef to make the semifinals. Here are his three games...

 

 

Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves (PlayStation 2, 2005)

GreatStriker’s first pick is a game he didn’t actually own -- but he has so many fond memories of playing it at his friend’s place when he was younger.

 

Stealth platformer Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves wasn’t just the first PlayStation 2 game he experienced, but also the first console game. “Me and my group of friends would play almost every day, be it either free-roaming around the area of the story we were in, the story missions, or the two-player multiplayer,” he said.

 

So what makes the game so enjoyable? According to GreatStriker, one factor is the superb mesh of stealth, platforming, and action. “The stealth combined with the game’s use of elevation to let you travel through the roofs make it really feel like you're a thief trying to dodge the guards patrolling the streets,” he explained. “The game also lets you climb onto pipes, walk on ropes conveniently placed across roofs, and jump on different points such as poles, antennas, and flags. Since the guards are armed with guns and take a few hits to die, dodging them is always the best option. Alternatively, you can sneak behind them to pickpocket them and steal their money.”

 

The multiplayer was awesome too, coming with modes such as Cops and Robbers, Bi-Plane Duel, and Galleon Duel.

 

“In Cops and Robbers, the goal for Sly is to collect loot found across the map and deliver it, while the other player as Inspector Carmelita Fox is trying to take Sly out with her shock pistol,” GreatStriker recalls. This asymmetric multiplayer mode proved to be a hit. “While the combat is greatly favoured towards Carmelita, Sly’s ability to run away from her makes it all-around balanced.”

 

 

League of Legends (PC, 2009)

Next up is League of Legends, an insanely popular multiplayer online battle area (MOBA) game which was also GreatStriker’s first proper online multiplayer experience. “I started playing in 2013, and it was so different than any other game I had played before it,” he says. “Improving in every match and having so many playable characters made it really addictive. It also happens to be the game that got me into eSports.”

 

GreatStriker explains that with matches being five vs. five and there being more than 130 champions to choose from, League of Legends stays fresh due to the “tonne of variance” in the game. “Rarely do you see the same exact line-up on either side,” he says. “You have to adapt to your opponent in order to beat them.”

 

Although GreatStriker doesn’t have a ‘favourite’ champion to play as, he admits to having a soft spot for Zyra, because she was his first champion. “She’s a mage whose kit revolves around putting down seeds and hitting them with her abilities to produce damage-dealing plants,” he adds.


As a spectator sport, GreatStriker praises how “professional” League of Legends is presented. “It felt really weird watching it at first, but it quickly became standard,” he shares. “Watching League of Legend has always been a learning experience of me. Seeing how good the players are at the game really blows me away.”

 

 

ARMA 2: DayZ (PC, 2013)

GreatStriker’s final game is actually as a mod. Though it would eventually branch off into its own standalone title, the ARMA 2 DayZ mod stands as one of GreatStriker’s favourite gaming experiences ever.

 

The DayZ mod is a post-apocalyptic shooter which challenges players to survive against not only zombies but also fellow survivors on a large 120km2 map, while managing thirst, hunger, and body temperature.

 

“The options are there for being a friendly survivor, fierce bandit, honourable hero, or everything in between,” GreatStriker says. “Every player interaction feels unique. You never know if they are friendly or if they will unload a magazine into you as soon as they see you. I really like the fragility of your survival, no matter how long you have survived or how many you have killed. A heli might just show up and turn you into Swiss cheese. It makes you feel that you can’t let your guard down for a single moment.”

 

The mod is smartly designed, down to the finer details which affect gameplay in a positive way. A humanity mechanic influences your character’s base skin -- so if you’re a cold-blooded murderer, other players will soon be able to identify you as a bandit. Meanwhile, thirst and hunger quite often forces you to scavenge at towns -- where survivors are more likely to be. “You need to carry food and drinks with you,” GreatStriker explains. “With inventory space limited, you can’t just wander for ages in the wilderness avoiding all contact.”

 

Body temperature, too, is cleverly implemented. GreatStriker comments: “Staying still makes you colder, and if you get too cold, you will start shaking and eventually get infected. This makes camping impossible and leads to interesting gameplay. It’s one of the things that makes DayZ unique.”

 

 

Bonus: Here is one of GreatStriker’s favourite DayZ memories…

 

“The first time finding and repairing a vehicle [is a fond memory of mine]. Having just started playing it, I went as you would expect -- so, we found a spawned bus near one the biggest cities. It was missing few wheels, so my friend and I started looking for them. We went looking through industrial buildings trying to find wheels. We couldn’t find any, and to make things worse, we kept dying to other players. After about two hours, we both found ourselves back in the same city and finally found two wheels. Now, we just needed to get to the bus and fix it and leave. Since we were running through the city, we attracted a lot of zombies -- and when we got to the bus, we had to fight them.

 

“We managed to survive, but we were injured and constantly passing out due to having low blood. Blood is basically hit points -- 12,000 is max, under 3,000 and you start randomly passing out. Our journey along the coastline was slow, since passing out in a vehicle makes you fall out. We managed to get to next village until my friend passed out and fell out in the middle of the village. He got quickly killed by zombies.

 

“I had to continue further, since stopping next to zombies wasn't an option. I managed to get to a big city before passing out -- and shortly afterwards, I got shot by someone.”

 

Honourable mentions: FTL: Faster Than Light (2012); Gran Turismo 4 (2005); Civilization V (2010); Hearthstone (2014)

 

Previous 'My Favourite Games' entries

 

Season 2:

ix (#12)

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 #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)