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It'sa me, Kaizo Mario!

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I think Snake has earned a lifetime pass to be excused from all future Bumpty levels.

As far as the fire flower level in New Comfy, yeah, that one's really input-heavy. It's also the level that took me the longest. I think I ended up having to claw grip for some of the disco shell parts. But if you've made it to the Chuck, you're nearly done! I don't think there's much left past that point.

I hope I can run Celeste.smc on my Super NT, that's super exciting news. If I can, that'll probably be the next hack I try. I haven't played any kaizo since Day in the Life!
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Does Celeste.smc use any custom chips? If so, you might be in trouble. The Super Nt with jailbreak can handle a few of the more basic ones, but if it uses SA-1 you'd need to get an FX Pak Pro or equivalent.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Well I had a look at the post about the demo on the SMWC forums and it didn't mention anything about custom chips. Unless you've heard otherwise, I would assume it'll be fine? Not many people dip into SA-1 for kaizo hacks, since it ends up excluding a lot of people.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Finished New Comfy! The editing really did that game wonders, the 2nd edition is a super tight hop-and-bop that's extremely generous with its good ideas. When I watch runs of the original Comfort Zone, it seems like everything memorable was kept in and all the filler was cut. That also keeps the difficulty pretty reasonable, even if some of the stuff you're doing can be quite technical. In that way, it really reminds me of El Dorado, whose sections were short but dense. It's a good way to make a kaizo! I'm not quite sure this one will make it into my pantheon of favorite hacks - it might not be weird enough for that - but as usual, I'm already considering doing some runs of it in the future. I may have to replay Waterworld, Luminescent and New Comfy back-to-back to decide which one will be my next speedrun.

In other hacks, this morning I caught Purple Eagle playing a ridiculous hack called Illusionary Blossom of Cranium Prayer. It seems to be a Touhou-themed bullet-hell standard hack? Mario's hitbox has been modified to make it smaller, and you can take multiple hits before dying. Every enemy is capable of firing off a swarm of bullets, so there's probably some SA-1 trickery happening. It looks ridiculous and fun and it makes me very happy that people are doing this to SMW.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I'd like to see some New Comfy runs! Looks like Stew has reclaimed GPW1 and moved on to Luminescent today, so you could also steal some strats from him if you wanted to dig into that one.

Juz just posted a video of his Illusionary Blossom playthrough yesterday, it's pretty wild. Definitely not a hack for me, but I'm glad people are still finding new things to do like that.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Oh yeah, meant to add this since Mike and I were talking about Rock 'n Roll Mario Show Set 2 the other night -- also not a hack for me, I think. I've seen a couple of people playing it (including some of GlitchCat's moderation) and it looks like I'd just get very frustrated very quickly. Judging from how long it's taking people like Glitch and Laser to beat levels, any given level would be an hours-long grind for me. Not really into that idea right now.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Oof, I think I overdid it playing New Comfy last weekend and now my hand is sore. Specifically my right hand, which I blame in part on orka's level creation style. The tricks in NC are very densely packed, and many of them involve item manipulation - heck, it's like 50% of the way to being a shell hack at times. Something about platforming with items causes me to tense up my right hand, since I end up mashing down Y and B as if my life depended on it. Anyway, it's nothing major, but it sort of feels like I should take a day or two off to recover.

Thing is, though, I don't really want to do that...because I just started a runback of Waterworld! (itshappening.gif) It's been at the back of my mind for the last 8 months, and since I wasn't quite sure what to play, I decided to finally go back to it to see if it lived up to my memories. I got through 6 exits last night and, honestly, it kind of does! Not every section is a winner, and the frequent tight timers you often have to deal with can be a bit much, but it's still a creative, fun and absolutely gorgeous hack. It also exercises a whole lot of (metaphorical) muscles that most kaizo doesn't, which is kind of cool. And when it comes to literal muscles, any extra stress the swimming causes is mitigated by the fact that you can LET GO OF Y ANY TIME YOU'RE IN THE WATER. Seriously, 90% of my kaizo hand pain comes from holding down Y or B too forcefully, and in the water you rarely do either!

Anyway, I'm not fully committed to speedrunning it yet, but I'm getting closer and closer. I'm on track to finish the runback in less than 4 hours, which means a third attempt could potentially fit in a single stream. The leaderboard for Waterworld is pretty bare, too, and I'm sure that I can beat at least one of the times on it - free 2nd place! I'm not as confident about beating the 1st place run, however. Not_Vinicius currently holds the record in the category that interests me (100%/fast retry) with a time of 26:19. That doesn't seem all that quick for a run with only 14 exits, but that last level is a doozy, and the difficulty will be a step up from anything I've run before. Anyway, I've pretty much talked myself into doing it while writing this post, and I'm also a little scared of actually starting Super Sonic Saves the World World, so I think maybe this is the plan? We'll see if anything in the remaining 8 exits changes my mind.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
I completed my first Waterworld single-sitting run in 2 hours and 14 minutes. Weirdly, the level that took me the longest was the first? Anyway, that’s pretty far from a good time, but I’m happy that I can at least finish it in one go. More runs to come!

I also spent some quality time with Mario Goes to White Castle. It’s not incredible, but there’s something addictive about endless sections lined up one after another with no break between them. Most of them weren’t too hard, and I think I even got a few one-shots, but there were a handful that I actually had to work for. I made it to the castle before stopping, and the weird checkpoint system is definitely going to make the endgame a lot harder than what came before. I expect I’ll play some more when I just want a kaizo to dabble with, the sections have mostly been fun and a few were even quite clever.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I would've loved Mario Goes to White Castle if it wasn't for the actual castle. It's just so long and the stupid checkpoints are so frustrating. Ah well.

I haven't played any kaizo since Day in the Life and I very much want to get back into things, but there aren't really any hacks I'm interested in right now. January 2022 is kind of a desert compared to January 2021, huh? Maybe I'll finally run back Invictus while I'm waiting for something new to catch my interest.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Did you ever play Moon? That's one that everyone seemed to love who actually played it. It's pretty hard, but I don't see why you couldn't hack it (ha ha hack).
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I haven't played Moon, but that's a good suggestion! Definitely a hack I mean to check out whenever I want a tough grind. I also feel like I should at least look at Titan Mario at some point.

What I ended up doing, though, was following through on my idle threat and starting a fresh play of Invictus. With just over a year in between my first playthrough and today, I can safely say two things: turns out the game actually is pretty tough, but I'm also a much better player (which is a relief). I think I put about three hours in tonight, and I got through the first six levels (five exits + red switch palace). In contrast, my first playthrough took nearly 2.5 hours to get out of Piranha Pipeway. If I can keep up that kind of pace, I'll be pretty happy!

A few random notes/thoughts:
-The first half of Piranha Pipeway still feels very, very tough. Juz comes at you hard right out of the gate with some super tight tricks. It's definitely a "you must be this tall to ride" section, and I didn't find it very fun this time either. The second half was way easier (and more fun).
-I don't think I ever realized how short the second half of Scorched Earth is. Only took a handful of tries to get out of there.
-I wanted to see if I could pull off the Arisendead key jump strat in the first room of One By One, and I actually could! I got it a handful of times (twice in a row, at one point) and it seems like something I could learn to do consistently without too much trouble. It looks super smooth and feels great to pull off, but as a casual player I don't really need to learn a speed strat like that.
-The second half of One By One is also way easier than the first, jeez.
-The red switch palace is a lot shorter than I remembered. In particular, I thought the part with the red blocks rapidly turning on/off was going to be much longer, but it was basically three jumps.
-Sewer Smashing only took something like 15 minutes, the autoscroller took about 10 of those. Get fucked, autoscroller. That jump towards the end when you have to bounce off the falling saw before getting back into the water still sucks.
-It feels pretty awesome to blow through a level that took me three hours to clear the first time.

I'm not sure if I'm gonna see this all the way through to Kamek, but at the moment I'm pretty excited to keep going. Built to Fall and Plumber's Nightmare were both levels I really enjoyed, so I'm looking forward to playing through them again. We'll see if I'm still excited after Lake Bodom and Cemetary Bloom...
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
That's what I find really interesting about revisiting hacks: you can see how far you've come, but at the same time you realize that past you wasn't a total chump after all. I had the same reflection while doing my first runback of Waterworld - the levels still felt pretty tough, despite going down a lot faster than on my first play. Turns out, these games are hard! I do find it interesting to examine which parts go faster and which parts don't on a runback. For example, the second half of Sewer Smashing was brutal when we first played it, but it's a section that is all about managing jump heights and fall speed. Those are fundamental parts of kaizo, so we've been practicing them non-stop in everything that we've played since. It doesn't surprise me to hear that you tore through that part way faster this time around! On the other hand, sometimes deciphering a confusion section requires a lot of trial-and-error, and in those cases it can take you almost as long the second time around, since you've forgotten how you did it in the first place. Anyway, congrats on your runback progress so far! Some day I would like to learn Invictus properly, with the goal of getting a sub-one-hour clear. Even a year later, I still think it's one of the best hacks I've played, and it has a really special place in my heart that few hacks can match.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I came here to post the very same thing. Barb is playing it right now and he's having a blast! Definitely going to play this, but I think I might try to finish Invictus first...or maybe I'll just dive in, because it looks so cool.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
Yeah, I'm not touching that thing, but it looks incredible. Please tell me, when a video of this is uploaded, somewhere.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
I streamed it yesterday! You can see me struggle through the first two stages over at twitch.tv/mcbanjomike.


It’s a hell of a thing, super impressive and also just extremely hard to wrap your head around. I was having a lot more fun with it by the end of the stream, as I started to grok the interaction of the dash and walljump with the standard SMW mechanics. Haven’t gone back to it yet, but I think it’ll be more fun next time I pick it up. As I was saying on the stream, this is such a huge departure that it almost feels destined to create a new genre of SMW hacks with these specific mechanics. I’d definitely play more…as long as they aren’t much harder than this.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Well SOMEONE here needs to stream it because I can't right now.

Yeah, I'm not touching that thing, but it looks incredible. Please tell me, when a video of this is uploaded, somewhere.
When I saw this was out, I thought to myself "Maybe this is the hack that gets Troa to play kaizo with us!"

If you folks want to see beyond where Mike got last night, here's a link to the stream I mentioned watching in my last post -- he gets through the entire hack over the course of 6-ish hours. (In case it doesn't embed with the timestamp, Celeste.smc starts around 1 hour 38 minutes.)


Anyway, I continued my Invictus runback today, getting from Built to Fall through Lake Bodom in about two hours. Built to Fall through Claustrophobia took the first hour...Lake Bodom by itself took the second. Turns out, that level is slightly easier than I remembered, but all the difficulty is focused in specific spots. The first half genuinely isn't too bad, but it's so long and slow that it just takes a while to learn everything. The beginning of the second half (where you're being chased by the wall of fish) was the toughest part for me, but eventually I figured out a consistent method for getting out of there. For the sake of my sanity, I stole Stew's strat for the room after that (the one with the fast looping Morsel-type fish), which was really helpful. And everything after that was more or less free.

Now I'm up to Cemetary Bloom, and...yeah, I think this one's gonna take a little while too. I spent a few minutes getting familiar with the first half again, which still feels pretty tough. This is probably the section of the hack I've been looking forward to the least, if I'm being honest. But overall, I'm very pleased with the amount of progress I've made so far -- nearly halfway through the hack in about 4.5 hours! I'm pretty sure that 4.5 hours into my first play, I was just out of the second level (if not still stuck there). I even one-shot the final room in Claustrophobia today, which is a pretty minor victory, but it still felt good. Once I get through Cemetary Bloom, I'm looking forward to a lot of what's left! Mike and Snake can probably guess which levels I'm not looking forward to.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Let me guess, does one of them rhyme with Grab Some Root Flower?

I tuned into BradBrains’ stream while doing the dishes and saw that he was playing Hark 2, so then I played Hark 2, too! I had been meaning to go back to it before we do our year-in-review show just to make sure it’s still number 1. I turned on instant retry, which felt very decadent, and bungled my way through any% in about an hour (including 2 extra exits that I did just because). It’s still a really good hack! Something about the level design and palette choices gives a really distinct feel to the game that I enjoy a lot. Most of the color palettes hew a bit darker, it’s actually fairly moody. The any% run is a real greatest hits of the game, since it cuts out most of the weaker levels. I spent five minutes on ChrisG’s take on Lake Bodom before deciding I didn’t actually want the 100% completion that badly…
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Let me guess, does one of them rhyme with Grab Some Root Flower?
Yeah, right alongside Prize Peahen.

I totally agree that the any% route of Hark 2 features the most solid levels in the hack, though I kinda wish it had Closing Time too. I remember that one being pretty fun.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Yeah, Closing Time is a banger, and I like both of the secret exits that involve ghosts: the phanto key chase/double boo fight in Lie of the Land and the yoshi puzzle/boo chase in Back and Forth. Unfortunately, to get to Closing Time you need to hit the switches, which means playing the (frustrating) water level and the (fairly forgettable) cave levels. I kind of enjoy the switch palaces themselves, at least. But I don't think I'll be learning the 100% route any time soon, since it's far easier just to load up a clear file once in a while to replay Closing Time. Harkadia is actually a pretty fun level, too, but there's never any reason to actually complete it. Well, outside of personal enjoyment, I guess.

Hey, maybe when you get to Rise Again you can try to force the glitch that lets you skip the first half! I can't quite remember how I did it, but I think you start the level, then save the game and reset the console. It should put you at the halfway point next time you load it up.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Hey, maybe when you get to Rise Again you can try to force the glitch that lets you skip the first half! I can't quite remember how I did it, but I think you start the level, then save the game and reset the console. It should put you at the halfway point next time you load it up.
Whoa, what? I've never heard about this glitch. It must be very hard to pull off, otherwise it would be part of every speedrun, right?

That new porting tool sounds like a legitimate game-changer (no pun intended). I just watched a bit of com_poser's showcase VOD and I think it's going to break open porting for a lot of people who otherwise felt overwhelmed by getting into it before. Hell, if the plugin works for the Mac version of MuseScore, I may even try my hand at something. Sounds like they're a little bit away from an official release, but they want alpha testers. I can't see a world where this doesn't revolutionize porting, frankly.

QW.wav 2.0 yeeeeessssss
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Whoa, what? I've never heard about this glitch. It must be very hard to pull off, otherwise it would be part of every speedrun, right?
I believe it has been banned from the speedrun, but I don't think it's actually that hard to do. I did it by accident!
 
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lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I went to Juz's Discord to see if there'd been any discussion about the glitch, and UghRochester posted steps to reproduce it. Apparently it's somehow related to the instant retry patch.

Turns out Juz was pretty bummed that the glitch exists since it lets people skip something he spent many hours to build, which is why people don't do it in the speedrun. I totally get respecting the creator's wishes that people play the thing they worked hard on, but...I've already cleared it once and I didn't love the ASM, so I'm gonna try the skip this time around. Sorry Juz.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
I think that's fair, and the second half of that level is better anyway. When I first played the game, the glitch caused me to end up playing the second half first, but then I went back and did the part that I skipped. It's kind of an annoying section!

Speaking of Juz' Discord, did we ever learn why Invictus 1.1 wasn't posted to SMWC? I've heard some people complaining about the way they manage hacks there, but considering 1.0 is already on SMWC it doesn't make a lot of sense for the patched version not to be.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
At the time, you couldn't update a hack there without losing the download count and comments on the original. I'm not sure if it's still like that, but Juz didn't want to give those numbers/comments up, so he never resubmitted.

Speaking of Invictus, my playthrough today continued with Cemetary Bloom and...just Cemetary Bloom. Whole level took me an hour and a half, which is a lot worse than I expected for this runback. To be honest, I think I was just getting in my own head about it. For some reason, that last jump through the fast boo rings in the first half makes me anxious in a way that few things I've played in kaizo have. That whole section took me an hour, but I think I finally learned how to do the last jump in the process.

Then, I died in the checkpoint room because I missed the Eerie you have to spin onto. (It only took me 5 minutes to get back there, but holy shit did that feel bad.)

Anyway, that level's done now. Hopefully I can pick up the pace again in my next session.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
For some reason, that last jump through the fast boo rings in the first half makes me anxious in a way that few things I've played in kaizo have.
Man, that jump is extremely stressful. It's such a tense, precise section, and then you get to the end and you have to make a split-second jump on to and off a vine? Yikes. The fact that it's followed by a fishing boo and then by a troll checkpoint is pretty over the top. It reminds me of GPW2, which is a game that often saves its nastiest tricks for the ends of each section. But even then, I have a hard time coming up with an example that scarred me the way the vine jump did in Cemetery Bloom.

Don't forget the secret strat for the thrid turnblock in Die Tree!
 
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