Sunday, June 29, 2014

SGDQ 2014 Blog: Day 8 (The End Is Near)

The mood was still up, but you could tell some people were starting to get a little down that the marathon was so close to ending.  A lot of people would be heading home after the last part of the marathon, leaving about five hours between the time the marathon finished and checkout Sunday morning.  The parking lot thinned out quite a bit by Sunday afternoon.

On a lighter note though, I managed to catch the entire FF6 run, aside from a few minutes where I stepped out for a bathroom break.  MisterMV has the singing voice of an angel.  Essentia has the singing voice of a fallen angel, though I credit that more to the filter put over her voice.

Meanwhile, the bonus stream would get going later in the day Sunday with the most official of organization methods; paper and pen.  Bonus stream is a lot more laid back, so there's not a ton of pressure involved.  I volunteered a couple of games which might make it on at some point, though I'm trying to defer to anyone who signed up before me.

Until I get back, this will be the final entry in this series of blogs.  I had a great time at this year's SGDQ and hope that I can make it to future marathons as a runner, volunteer or otherwise.  I'm also not looking forward to the drive back because seriously, Kansas is terrible.  Thanks again to the folks at SpeedDemosArchive for organizing the event and letting me run a game during the marathon (with a donation incentive no less) and to LazerLong for letting me sit in on MadWorld.  Also thanks to |3ass|3oost for splitting a room for the duration of the marathon and then some.

And before I go, congratulations to JKB for winning that Mario Sunshine race.  Ohio was represented well this marathon.  Now to get back to putting together the next Five Dollar Gaming...

Saturday, June 28, 2014

SGDQ 2014 Blog: Day 7 (Viva Video Juegos)

Oh, of course.  Now that I don't actually need to be awake at some ungodly hour for my run, now I'm waking up at 5:00 in the afternoon.  Ah well, at least I'll get to see some of the Mario bloc and maybe get to the practice room when it's thinned out a bit.

I forgot to mention that at one point the previous night the stream window cut out for a bit, as in the computers used to run the stream were still going but the display was gone entirely.  Much to their credit, the guys running tech didn't panic and got the stream back to normal within a couple minutes.

I was stunned at how much money had been raised since I last checked the total: over $300,000.  When I went to sleep it was around $260,000.  It turns out they added some more donation incentives, including a race of Ocarina of Time between Cosmo and Skater.  Since then they added a couple other incentives and the donation total has been climbing at a rapid pace.  Someone donated saying they were going to snipe the Save/Kill the Animals bid war for Super Metroid, and to that guy all I can say is I hope you have very, very deep pockets.

Another event started at the convention center as SGDQ soldiered on.  I don't know what it is, but it seems to be some sort of Hispanic culture event.  I can hear lots of singing and music and people generally having a good time in the adjacent rooms.  At one point during the Mario World run a really loud air horn went off at that event, loud enough that it came through over the SGDQ stream.  I should mention that the microphones used for the marathon are generally good at not picking up background noise and people talking or moving around in the background, so having it come through on the stream gives you an idea of just how loud it was.

Meanwhile, my PB for Zombie Panic "Why the hell not try running it?" in Wonderland dropped again to 27:24.  Considering the first time I kept track of is almost 4 minutes slower, I'm quite happy with how things have gone so far.

And when I went to sleep, the marathon hit over $440,000.  I can't wait to see what the final rally of donations during FF6 looks like.

Friday, June 27, 2014

SGDQ 2014 Blog: Day 6 (Milestones)

Usually when I sit in the marathon room to watch I sit near the back, close to where the registration table is set up.  It's pretty cool to see and hear how excited some people, including and especially people who aren't necessarily runners themselves, are about being able to attend.

I ended up pulling an all-nighter because there was no way in hell I was going to miss Metal Wolf Chaos cutscene%.  If you aren't familiar with the game, it's a Japan-only XBox game which is by far the most American game ever made.  I know you might be rolling your eyes at that, but so was my girlfriend until she watched the run, then later called me to apologize for having her doubts.

At some point during the Castlevania III run the marathon hit the $250,000 mark.  Incredible.  That's about what they raised at last year's SGDQ and this year they still have a few more days to go.  Here's hoping the build-up for the end of the FF6 run is as dramatic as the Chrono Trigger run was at AGDQ 2014.

Again, I spent some time working on Battle Clash in the practice area.  I'm at the point where every single shot counts now, as I've lowered my personal best time by over a minute since being here.  Well, that and I'm at the mercy of how some of the bosses path around because my co-pilot likes to wobble drunkenly back and forth on some of them.  I'm definitely aiming for the bonus stream with this one.

And on a side note, FUCK YEAH USA!  I mean that for both the World Cup and Metal Wolf Chaos.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

SGDQ 2014 Blog: Day 5 (Smash and Singing in Denver)

I forgot to mention this before and it seems pretty minor, but a quick note about BlueGlass.  During the El Viento run there were a total of two people watching the projection of the stream, one of them being me.  BlueGlass came in from the other side of the room and was going to cross in front of the projector to get to another set of seats.  Rather than walk in front of the projection, he got down and sorta-crawled under the screen.  The guy went out of his way to not be a minor inconvenience to two random people for a quarter of a second, if that.

There was a Smash Bros. Melee tournament being held adjacent to the practice area, as well as a Project M tournament.  Against my better judgment I signed up for the Melee one, despite not playing Melee in years.  You can probably guess what happened next; I lost every single match, seeing as how several of the people who entered are hardcore competitive players of Smash.  I ended up driving the point home when I was asked about striking stages (or something like that, can't remember the exact term) and my response was 'What does that mean?'  The tournament was a $5 pay in, but it was all going to Doctors Without Borders and I just wanted to have a bit of fun so whatevs.

Despite being in the room to watch the entire thing, I'm still not sure what exactly happened during Cosmo's ZZT run.  I was just born early enough to have memories of playing some games similar to ZZT on my parents' IBM computer and always figured I didn't know what to do or what was going on because I was too young to get it.  Now I'm not so certain about that.

I was wondering why he was carrying around a guitar most of the week, but after hearing Striker's speedrunning song, I may have to ask if he'd want any royalties for doing a cover version.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

SGDQ 2014 Blog: Day 4 (It's Time)

I didn't wake up at 9:30 in the morning despite being awake until the sun came up.  Nope, I woke up at noon.  This whole "changing my body clock" thing isn't working very well.

I must say, I was happy to find that there was a Qdoba and a Subway nearby because having only burger places around (Wendy's, McDonalds, etc.) would have gotten old fast.  Even better though, today Qdoba catered lunch for SGDQ!  Burrito is love.  Burrito is life.

Somehow I managed to post improved times on almost every stage of Battle Clash as well as get a faster single-segment time that's below 14 minutes.  If I work up the nerve and find out how to do it, maybe I could try getting this on the bonus stream after the main marathon.

I also decided to start running Zombie Panic in Wonderland because... because.  I haven't gotten much planning done on it yet, but I did manage to figure out some ways to drop my time from a little over 40 minutes to a little over 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, I was still nervous as hell about the Ninjabread Man run.  I've played shows in a band and as a solo act before and done the YouTube thing for a while, but the audience for that was nothing like what the GDQ streams get.  I practiced until the game locked up trying to do the level skip and took that as a sign to stop.

Being on the couch for MadWorld did help calm my nerves a little bit, and for that I really owe LazerLong for letting me on it.  I was trying to keep track of the amount of swears in the game as part of the MadWorld Swear Jar, mostly relying on my knowledge of the game's music to count those so I could focus on the in-game commentary and goons.  In the end, over 250 swears were counted.  I hope that guy who said he'd match the swear jar has deep pockets!

For the Ninjabread Man run most people lost the fight against time and had to go to sleep.  Laz offered to stick around since he'd seen me practicing earlier and knew a bit about what I was trying to do.  Cool guy, even letting me use his Wii cables to make setup go faster.  Mike Uyama was also there, which made me even more nervous.  If the texts I got afterward from my friends were right, the twitch chat was on me for the fingerless gloves I was wearing.  To that all I can say is 'Twitch chat will be twitch chat.'  Well, that and 'My hands are really fucking cold, especially when the AC is cranked up to 11.'

The actual run went surprisingly well.  I missed the tutorial skip a few times and had to use the safe (read: slower) method of doing it, but the rest went rather well and I wound up with a time around 4 minutes 43 seconds, well under my "everything went wrong" estimate of 20:00.  Thanks again to everyone who donated for the one-handed incentive and the GDQ crew for deciding to take a chance on a rookie like me.

Also, I looked up the comments from the guys at RiverCityGamers who donated.  I swear, you likely won't see me streaming this game for a long, long time.  I have other terrible games to beat as fast as possible. :D

I stayed around for a couple more runs before my eyes were burning from being awake too long.  I did manage to catch Graviton destroying the first Bubsy game, though.  That takes me back to when I had the game as a kid, dying in nearly every conceivable way.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

SGDQ 2014 Blog: Day 3 (Is That a Super Scope?!)

I was trying to adjust my sleep schedule so that I'd be awake more late at night, but even after staying up until almost 6am I still woke up around 9:30 in the morning.  I wasn't even that tired most of the day, either.  What the hell, body?

Other runners use the practice room to play stuff other than what they run because, let's face it, you'd go stir crazy otherwise.  I brought my Super Scope and Battle Clash because it's a game I've been working on running and it's a nice break from something like Ninjabread Man.  It drew some looks and a few people asking if there was a Super Scope game on the schedule.  Heh, I wish.  After doing a little strategy testing I decided in a "Why the hell not?" moment to try taking the aiming scope off and playing the game while only having a general idea of where my shots would go.  Somehow I managed to complete the game, with only one game over no less!  Maybe I should think about pursing this further...

My favorite run of the day (that I saw at least) was easily Blasto.  The guy running it (Saint Connor) is a pretty cool guy and he certainly put on a show with the game, especially when his character model was tumbling ass over tea kettle through an underwater level that wasn't supposed to be underwater, trying to shoot an alien but only spraying random shots everywhere.  If you watch absolutely nothing else, watch what he did after the run finished.

I think I'm as prepared for the run as I'll ever be.  I've beaten Ninjabread Man at least 40 times since I got to Denver and I've found a consistent way to do the one-handed incentive without the Wiimote slipping entirely out of my right hand.

Monday, June 23, 2014

SGDQ 2014 Blog: Day 1 (It Begins)

Before the marathon started the head honcho held a quick meeting in the practice room with most of the runners to go over what not to do.  At one point he said just try to get along and be nice to each other, which prompted someone near me to hurl a half-hearted insult my way.  This somehow led to trading quotes from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, ending with us both saying "Happy Chanukah" at the same time.

Shortly after the marathon officially kicked off the crowd was a little stunned to hear that SGDQ had already raised $12,000.  Even considering it was possible to donate shortly before the marathon, There wasn't nearly that much money donated as recently as the day before and this was only about seven and a half minutes into Mario 3D World.

While not too surprising that there are other US soccer fans in attendance, it's nice to see a couple USA jerseys around.  There were a couple dozen people who stopped at the hotel bar to watch the match between the US and Portugal.  Half the people there wanted to strangle Bradley for giving up the ball that allowed Portugal to tie the game, and for his poor play in general.

I'm surprised at the amount of times someone has stopped and watched me practice Ninjabread Man, though I think it's mostly for the "Someone speedruns this shit?" factor.  To cool down from that I brought my Super Scope and Battle Clash, which also got a few looks.  I found out purely from a dumb idea I had that I can in fact beat the game without the aiming reticule attached to the scope.  Future run donation incentive maybe?

I'm trying to adjust my sleep schedule so that I'll be awake--not just conscious, awake--for MadWorld and my run after that.  I was watching runs in the marathon room to help with that, but considering that I was starting to nod off and there's a rule that anyone who falls asleep in there might have random shit put on them if someone donates for it, I thought it would be best to not stick around that area.  It's 5:30am and I still have a couple days to adjust.