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It'sa me, Kaizo Mario!

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Yo, congrats on third place, Mike! That's awesome. And great progress on Panga World, Snake! Five exits in two days is a whole lot for a hack from 2015. I'm glad you're enjoying it!
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Haven't played any Mario since finishing Quickie WaV but I was in the mood for something easier today, so I started Cornucopia of Kaizo. Going pretty well so far! In an hour and 20 minutes-ish, I'm at somewhere between 15-17 exits out of 27 total. The levels are all pretty short (I'm not sure if any of them have midways), but even though they're easy-ish some of the setups definitely have teeth. I even had a couple of one-shots, which I don't think I've experienced in any hack ever before. If anyone wants a nice quick snack break of a hack, I'd recommend this one.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Sounds good! I'm still working on Purgatory (I've completed something like 16 exits now?) and I would really like to get my Super World run down below 20 minutes before I put that one down. Unfortunately, it seems like I kind of lucked into my 21:40 PB, because I'm having a hell of a time recreating it. Last night I finally managed to get a run as far as logJAM on sub-20 pace, so at least the potential is there, but things fell apart in the endgame. Either way, I can't see myself going all-out on this game, as I don't like it as much as either Quickie 2 or Hark 2. I'd kind of like to get my sub-20, finish Purgatory and then maybe try something more challenging, either in terms of a harder hack or a more challenging speedrun.

So...I'm not 100% sure how I feel about this, but GrandPooBear is back making kaizo content and I've been watching some of it. The whole situation between him and Feen was super weird, and even after reading her entire post about it I kind of don't know what to think. Not looking for absolution here, just curious to see what takes you guys have on the situation and whether you're comfortable watching his stuff or not these days. I will say that he revealed a secret yump technique in one of his Purgatory videos that blew my mind - press both jump buttons when you land on the switch, it doubles your chances of getting one on the right frame! Definitely gonna have to start using that one.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Nice, you're down to the home stretch in Purgatory. I'm totally behind you if you're ready for a bigger challenge after your current projects! Any candidates standing out to you so far?

I haven't really gone back to any of GPB's content, but he still pops up in my Youtube recommendations. No judgment from me if you want to watch his stuff, I just haven't felt comfortable with it since there was never any real resolution in the situation between him and Feeney (that I'm aware of, anyway). Everything in her post aside from the groping allegation read simply to me like two people with very different personalities clashing, but the groping allegation is still there and I can't look past it. I really liked the guy before this happened, but I just can't ignore that.

As far as the secret yump technique, that one is true. I think I learned it from watching Panga's walkthrough of Kaizo Kindergarten (or it might've been Learn 2 Kaizo). He actually recommended hitting both jump buttons slightly off from each other, like a grace note, so that your inputs cover a wider range of potential frames. I've certainly had more luck when I remember to do this than if I just hit the regular jump button!
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Wrapped up Cornucopia of Kaizo in another sitting, whole hack probably took about 2.5 hours or so? It was good! Very much in the same vein as the Quickie Worlds, but a bit of a step up in difficulty. Sometimes the aesthetics make it a little tough to tell what you're doing -- the screen is usually pretty full -- but it's generally pretty readable and creative. It was a nice way to ease back into SMW after a few days off.

Also, Valdio has confirmed that his preferred abbreviation for Quickie World: With a Vengeance is QW.wav, which obviously as another audio engineer is what I'm gonna call it forever.
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
7 exits into Panga World now. That last one was a...difficult dolphin level. No, cursed is a better descriptor. We're talking a Toasty Coals-tier grind for both halves. Very woof.

I have to say that I'm noticing a lot of variance within the levels themselves, where the first half of a level will feel completely different to the second half, moreso than other hacks. A lot of times this will lead to me liking one half while hating the other. Just an observation. (Fuck the dolphin level though.)

Now I'm in the cape castle, so no rest for the wicked for me. Let's just say that when I said that I was starting Super Panga World, Amethyst replied "gl cape". So. Preview of what's in store for me.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Yeah, I have seen both of those levels and they seem like the two roughest spots in the game. The dolphin level made Juz quit on his original playthrough a few years back, so you're still crushing it as far as I can tell.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
That dolphin level looks terrifying but I’m pretty sure the real dark souls starts here. You can do it!
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
After a frustrating week of failures and a very discouraging night of runs yesterday, tonight I came back to Super World and finally managed to get 2nd place! Of course I did it while on a Discord call with Eric and Joe, who were talking about a bunch of horror game demos Eric was streaming, but WHATEVER, only one person is going to actually watch that video anyway. As tempting as it would be to have my very own world record, I’d have to shave another two minutes off the run to get it and I honestly don’t think I would enjoy that grind. I might try a few any% runs, or maybe I’ll just move on to something else. Pretty happy for now, at least, and glad I stuck it out long enough for my skill level to catch up with the PB run I had last weekend.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Well here's a little sneak preview for you, then:


Man, why is the video quality on my uploads so terrible on YouTube? It looks way better when I play stuff back from Twitch.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
As ever, I remain humbled in the face of your kaizo achievements. I think that hack is supposed to be all downhill from there, well done!
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
As luck would have it, the second half of Linkdead's Castle was much, much easier than the first. Now we get to see what's after this fucking level.Super Panga World v1.2-211006-171022.png
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
So here's an interesting development: Orka just released a new version of Comfort Zone (fittingly titled The New Comfort Zone) which started out as a few tweaks to make things more speedrun-friendly, but ended up being a complete rework of the game. Notably, a lot of the very long sections have been shortened, which means the overall difficulty has been reduced too.

This might be the version of Comfort Zone that I've been wanting, so I'll definitely give it a try and see if I get along with it better than the original. I also like that Orka wasn't afraid to take a critical look at his first hack and overhaul some things. I asked him if he considers the new version to be the definitive one, or if he feels like they're two separate hacks -- he says they're two separate hacks, but the new version is what Comfort Zone was intended to be in the first place. "What I learned is that if you want to make an intermediate hack, you have to make an intermediate hack." So yeah, looking forward to checking this out!

I started Arcane Mario World the other day, and I'm three exits in. I think this hack flew under the radar for a lot of people, but it's on Barb's recommended list (with the caveat that it's got a lot of tight tricks). And even playing the 1.1 update, which was supposed to address a lot of tightness, holy crap he wasn't kidding. It's tough! The levels I've played have been cool so far, but they're all extremely tight. I'm gonna stick with it for a bit because Barb's recommendations carry some weight for me, but I might ditch it for New Comfort Zone at some point if I stop enjoying things.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Speaking of Barb, I tuned into his stream last night and found him making levels in Lunar Magic...but not for GPW3. It seems like he just wants to make stuff without all the expectations that are attached to his big sequel, so he's starting on something tentatively called Super Boomer World. If he finishes it, it would be a vanilla+ hack that harkens back to stuff like Kaizo 1 and Super Dram World. He was looking around for the most clichéd ideas he could find to start his first level and (obviously) settled on a stack of Bullet Bill launchers, so yeah, you know what this is. I really hope that he has fun with the process and eventually releases something, it seems like working on GPW3 has been a pretty arduous process for him.

As for New Comfort Zone, that's a really intriguing development! I'm always in the market for intermediate hacks, and they seem to be maybe the rarest breed of kaizo. I wonder how this compares to Boogie 2.0, in terms of changes made to the game? I agree that it's cool to see creators revisit their hacks, especially if they think they missed the mark in a few places.

In other intermediate-level hack news, it seems like Sparkysie put out a compilation video for Peachy Moat World not that long ago. Maybe that'll be of interest to you, since you played that pretty recently? I love watching compilation videos for hacks I've played, it's pretty cathartic.

As for me, I'm limping my way to the finish line in Purgatory a little bit at a time. I got 98% of the way through the snowy steep slope level last night, which honestly wasn't too bad aside from the endings of each section. I had to put the game down before completing the back half of the level, but I don't think it'll be too hard to get that up-pipe next time I play. Must be pretty close to the end now, I think I'll have 19/21 exits once I'm done with this one.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I've heard Barb talk about how he wants to do more quick/smaller hacks, but I figured that would be a project after GPW3. If he wants to take a break and make some vanilla stuff, I'm all for it! I'll play this hack for sure, whenever it comes out.

I can't speak to Boogie 2.0, since I never saw any of the original, but I've seen a couple of people play through New Comfort Zone and it's still pretty recognizable as the same game. It's got the same exit count, but each level has been either shortened or made easier (or both). I think the only straight up new thing is that Orka added some sections from a race level he made into the final castle -- some rooms are new, some were kept from the original. I'm honestly pretty excited to get into this one, but I'm gonna keep working through Arcane Mario World first. I played through two more exits today, and the last one was awesome, so I'm hyped to keep going again. Once I'm done with this one, though, it's New Comfort Zone time.

I did see that Peachy Moat World video a couple of weeks ago, and it was pretty interesting since I barely knew any of the players in it. I guess there's a pretty big UK scene? Who knew.
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
Played through a couple more exits of Panga World, putting my exit count to 10. Panga Gardens was super easy coming off of Linkdead's Castle, and the secret exit of Kuso! Ghost House was clever, but had a low-flying Fishin' Boo so it gets a glare from me. Now I'm on Kokusho Dream Land, which is an odd duck of a level. Good though!
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Nice work on Panga World! I should watch the rest of Juz' series to see what you'll be up against, but it's hard to imagine anything coming close to that cape level.

I finished Purgatory! Man, what an incredible ending to the 100% route, that last section was something else. Overall, it's a super-impressive hack that I had fun with almost the whole time, bar 3 or 4 levels that were a bit irritating. But even in the sections that I didn't like, every part of the hack was memorable, creative and polished. I could definitely see this one being a big favorite for a lot of people, it has tons of heart.

Boy, what a year this has been for hacks. Of the ones I've played, Hark 2, Waterworld, El Dorado and Purgatory all struck me as being top-notch. And stuff like Riff 2, Titan and Odd Sands, while being a bit above my pay grade, all seem to be really appreciated by the people with the chops to play them. You guys have any other 2021 favorites you'd like to call out? I know there are a few months left in the year, but it already feels like we've been totally spoiled for choice.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Great progress on Panga World, Snake! Mike, I'm glad you stuck with Purgatory through the rough beginning, it really is a fantastic hack all in all. Especially impressive when you remember it's FYRE's first one, too!

I'm gonna throw Kibeth Takes a Walk onto the Best Of 2021 list too. And for me personally, I'd say Akogare 2 as well, but I know you didn't like that one as much.

I finally made the switch from SN30 Pro+ to the PS5 controller, and I'm never going back. It just feels so much better in my hands. The only downside I've noticed so far is that the D-pad seems to be more sensitive to unwanted diagonals, but that's something I can adjust to with a bit more playtime. I cleared four more exits in Arcane Mario World with it (bringing me up to 9 total, just over halfway!) and even over the course of that play session I could tell I was getting comfortable with it. Of the four levels I beat today, three were really fun and the other one had dolphins (so it was terrible). This hack didn't start out super strong, but the mid-game levels have been a blast so far. As long as the rest of the hack keeps the same level of quality, this'll probably be another recommendation from me too.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Kibeth was this year? OK, definitely add that one to the list, then. As for Arcane Mario, how hard does it seem to you? That’s not a hack I’ve heard very much about.

With Purgatory out of the picture and my Super World speedruns finished for now, I need to find something new to play. I had 20 minutes last night, so I fired up Learning to Fly and tore through a bunch of the early exits. That was fun, but I want to work on a more traditional, challenging hack right now. Maybe tonight we’ll finally revisit a certain hack that I put down a while ago?
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Kibeth was January, so it counts!

I'd say Arcane Mario World is somewhere around the level of Akogare 2, probably? But many of the setups are tighter, I think because it's Mithrillionaire's first hack and I suspect there's a bit of Creator Bias at play. The first three and a half exits have very little chill when it comes to setups, but after that things open up significantly and it gets way more fun. The longest a level has taken me was about an hour, the quickest about 20 minutes. Definitely easier than Invictus!

Here's the creator's playthrough if you want to take a peek. There's been a 1.1 patch since this video, but in the levels I've played so far I can't say I noticed any big changes. Maybe there are more in the late game.

 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
I'd add Crab Army and Goblin's Quest to the list of awesome 2021 hacks, but those might just be "me" hacks haha.

Got through the switch palace and now going through the normal exit of the ghost house, which just drives home how bad I am at bullet bill jumps. Also there's a tight timer at the end of this section I need to figure out. Getting there.

Edit: Oh! And Unintended Behavior 2! That shit is great.
 
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MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Hey, I saw that the Luigi’s Adventure relay was being streamed on the Romhack Races Twitch channel, but by the time I tuned in it was basically over. How did your segment go?
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
Oh god.


The VOD is up here if you want to take a look. I did World 8, and I was so nervous that I definitely started to spiral. But it could have gone worse I guess.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
You put yourself out there alongside some real top tier players and went head-to-head with Spudd, who's been around forever. Your fearlessness is admirable and all things considered I think you did a great job.

In other news, it's finally happening: Stew's begun sciencing out Invictus. No one is safe!
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Speaking of unsafe, I have officially returned to Grand Poo World 2. It’s actually going kind of well! Last night I set out to get both exits in Thalassophobia, and I managed to pull it off. I had been hoping to clear them both within 2 hours, but it took around 2:45, in large part because of the boat section. I kept zoning out during the autoscroller and forgetting about the walls of bullets early on, it was really weird how my brain wouldn’t internalize their existence. I spent a little over an hour on that part alone and I swear it would have taken half that time if I could have just remembered the bullet bills were coming. Not my favorite section, the constant pushing to the left was weird and there was too much waiting. The main exit was more fun, although I’ve played a few water levels that were clearly inspired by it, so it wasn’t as fresh. That’s hardly Barb’s fault, though.

Today, I started Yacht Club Castle and cleared it in around an hour. The low gravity water isn’t my favorite gimmick, but this level absolutely uses it better than the one in Super World with the same ASM. Still, I was awfully happy that I got the falling dolphin door on my first attempt.

Finally, I spent 40 minutes working on Mount Moon, but I couldn’t manage to get the checkpoint in that time. The farthest I’ve made it is the end of the third section, but I never managed to get there fast enough to beat the buzzy shell. It’s a little absurd that you have to do FOUR SECTIONS to get to the checkpoint. Whatever Barb does in the future, I hope he makes his sections a little shorter.

That’s it for now. I’m definitely enjoying this game more than I was when I first attempted it, and I’d like to make some headway in it while I’m feeling motivated. The last few levels have been easier, which definitely helps. But I’m going to try to take on Toasty Coals soon, and I hope to finish that level before taking another break. My head’s in the right space, I think, but it’s gonna be a griiiiiind.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Hell yeah, that's great progress! When I did my playthrough I set out to be satisfied just doing one section of any given level in a sitting, so as far as I'm concerned you're crushing it. The Thalassophobia secret exit took me an hour and a half, you're already doing better than I did!

The first half of Mount Moon is too long, but once you get the hang of the early rooms they're not awful. I also remember struggling to beat that shell in the third room, you really have to save every possible amount of time that you can. Fast fall out of the pipe from the very beginning, cut every jump that you can. You'll get there! The first half of Toasty Coals I remember being pretty fun, but the second half was rough. Still, you've got nearly 6 months more experience than I did when I played it, so maybe it'll be easier for you now. I hope so!
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Another hour got me to the end of Mount Moon, so I'm now officially 8 exits into GPW2. That's over a third of the way! By, uh, volume, anyway. I played an exploratory 30 minutes of Toasty Coals and made it as far as the baby yoshi, but I never managed to make it grow up. I decided to cut it off there, because I didn't want to stay up past midnight yet again trying to finish a section in this game.

Now that I've played a larger selection of levels from GPW2, I'm starting to get a feel for Barb's level design style. It's quite different from the majority of things that I've played so far, for better and worse. I still think that Invictus and Akogare set the trends for level design that still rule to this day: smooth platforming where each maneuver flows into the next. It's a really fun way to play, but Barb is out here doing stuff that doesn't fit into that mold at all. He has a knack for taking a small number of elements and making something really tricky out of them, like the double bat jump at the very start of Mount Moon. It's refreshing in a way, although I get a bit worn down by the way that you have to fight for every single bit of progress in these levels. The sections are also just astonishingly long at times, and often it seems like that inflates the difficulty in an artificial way. The ride on the fast raft at the end of Mount Moon isn't all that difficult, but the fact that you have to play through the previous section every time you want to attempt it makes it a lot harder to learn the patterns. I appreciate the fact that this game is challenging me and forcing me to deal with new kinds of setups, but I can't say I always enjoy the lessons in the moment.

Nonetheless, morale remains high. I'm going to throw myself at Toasty Coals for a while and hope I'm not too burned out after that to continue onward. Let's go!
 
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