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It'sa me, Kaizo Mario!

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
So, the Legends of the Hidden Thwimple SGDQ race happened last night, and it ruled. Just like the 2019 race, all the players had their own moments to shine, and all the creators definitely did too. Since Mike is away I don't want to spoil too much, but I will say that FerpyMcFrosting's level completely blew my mind. Amethyst, Kez, and MarkAlarm all did an amazing job on commentary as well. Donations were rolling in the entire time, and at risk of sounding corny, it really felt like a celebration of the best parts of the SMW community.

The hack itself is also available now, I played it earlier this afternoon and had a blast. It only took about an hour and 45 minutes, which felt pretty good given that the race itself took about an hour and 20. A few more detailed thoughts below, spoilered for Mike's benefit.

-sio and Bourgy's level kinda felt like an "easy mode" version of something that could've been part of Luminescent, and that's not a bad thing! I thought the twist in the final section of having the front of a pipe fall instead of a block was very clever.
-Gbreeze and MiracleWater's level was another clever sprite manipulation demo from the masters. A lot of this level felt very good to play where it otherwise could've felt awkward, with the exception of the disco shell setup. I couldn't figure out a really consistent way to do this, and the first time I actually got through I ended up beating the rest of the level. First try up-pipe.
-I will admit I skipped BeeKaay's level, because I don't know how to do Yoshi flight. For anyone who does this won't be too much trouble because it's so short, but I didn't feel like struggling through.
-Ferpy's level was so cool. Playing so much kaizo you kind of forget that Mode 7 was one of the major features of the SNES, but some of the ways he used it here are things I've never seen in any game. Rotating the level is one thing, but turning things at a 45 degree angle, or zooming in and out made the level feel so fresh and novel. I really hope this ASM shows up in future hacks, this level was a joy to play and super fun to watch too.
-Maddy's level was a much kinder version of her style. Even though it's a gravity flip level, it wasn't too bad once you learned the setups. It's got the usual amount of Maddy shitposting, but way more harmless than anything from Sonic Saves the World. The checkpoint troll before the end of the first section really gave the racers a chance to shine with both Shoujo and Barb nearly getting to the end on their first attempts.
-Idol and Margot's level was a blast. Seeing Idol's section for the first time felt a lot like how I felt watching kaizo before I started playing, when I'd see something and go "I don't know if I could ever beat that". In this particular case, it wasn't nearly as hard as some of the other things that made me feel that way, but what I'm really trying to get at is that it was an intricate and movement-focused section that felt great to get through. I know Idol's been working on her own hack for a long time now, I hope to see it soon. Margot's section was short and sweet, not much to say other than that it was fun!
-I was very curious to see what dtothefourth would come up with, and it turns out she came up with Crypt of the Necrodancer? Most of the level was super fun, but I found the final section kind of difficult to watch and play because of how the screen scrolled one block at a time. Luckily it was short enough that it didn't really ruin anything for me, but it was just tough on the eyes.

All in all, watching the race and then playing the hack myself both felt joyous. I hope you folks enjoy them as much as I did.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
I watched it this afternoon! Even made Matchstick and Shakewell watch it with me, since they were around. I’ll keep it brief for now, but overall I thought it was really great.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
The RHR folks did their own recap stream last night instead of the usual race. I thought it was really, really fascinating. They had organizers, playtesters, and creators all either on stream or in the chat talking about what it was like to put this thing together, build the levels, see the racers' reactions, etc. To me it felt like a community afterparty and I think it's definitely worth a watch.

 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
So to elaborate a bit: that was a hell of an event! The mode 7 level was obviously the highlight, but I must have guffawed at the audacity of the creators at least 4 separate times in other levels. The broken pipe in the first level was something really cool that I'd never seen before. The yoshi-juggling in Tungsten Shoes was magnificent, as was the endless line of bony beetles being propelled into the air at the end. Maddy's level was (allegedly) super fun to watch, with its collection of harmless trolls. The first half of the idol/Margot level was a little rough as a spectator, since it took the teams a while to figure it out, but the second half was great. And the finale was very impressive, although as a viewer it didn't look particularly fun to play. Hopefully I'll have a chance to actually run through these myself some time soon!

Also, if there's one key takeaway from this race, it's that I've been sleeping on Shoujo for too long. Holy shit, she was good. Carl didn't seem to contribute as much as her or Juz, but he did clutch out the cape level, which was only fitting. But of course, Barb basically wound up winning the event single-handedly, with his quick victory over the final boss. It was a little weird to see one team dominate the whole event and lose at the very end, but that's what happens when you use Quidditch rules. Anyway, great job by all the runners, level creators and commentators, it was a really wonderful showing for the kaizo community.

As for me, I'm aaaaaaaaalmost finished with Let's Give Up. I finished the final "real" level last week, and then I spent a short amount of time on the hidden boss in Yossy Chan's house. That's the one where you have to drop shells and then immediately regrab Y so you don't lose flight, which is tricky but manageable. I was away for the weekend, so I didn't get a chance to finish it off, but I expect I'll be able to do so next time I sit down with the game. I also have two levels left on my Invictus runback, so I'll probably clear those out this week too.
 

ThornGhost

lofi posts to relax/study to
(he/him)
Sat down with some folks and watched this race last night and we all had a hell of a time. We were kind of wrapping up a cookout and I presumed we'd just watch it a bit before folks got bored and drifted off home but we were glued the entire time. Damn good time, even if you're only vaguely aware of Kaizo Mario.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Honestly, it's a reflection of a community that is among the most creative, kind and tolerant that I've seen in gaming. The level creators spent 18 months working on the race, and among the runners, commentators and donators were a ton of the most prominent people in kaizo. I think the 2019 race did a great job encapsulating the smaller, more tightly-knit community of the time, but this year's event really showed off how much it has grown and matured since then. I'm glad your friends enjoyed it!
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Glad you and your friends enjoyed the race, ThornGhost!

Mike, I agree with pretty much all of your thoughts, and I can't recommend playing the hack enough. It was super fun.

I forgot to mention, but it's really worth repeating just how close most levels were. Even if the Dinos took most of the wins, there were so many levels where the Dolphins were literally just a few seconds behind them (or vice versa, for the last two). It's a real testament to the skill of everyone involved

The mode 7 level is still blowing my mind, three days later. On the RHR recap stream I posted above, Ferpy showed what it looks like in Lunar Magic, and it's basically incomprehensible. Love it. I also recommend going back and watching Carl's reactions specifically to that level, he basically loses his mind every time a shift happens.

Shoujo was definitely the MVP of the run (GlitchCat tweeted that she one-shot something like five sections, which is wild), but Carl pulled his weight too. Obviously he was a huge asset for BeeKaay's level, but let's not forget he was also the first one to figure out how to beat the troll at the end of Tungsten Shoes. I was talking to a friend who watches him yesterday, and he told me that Carl still plays a lot of SMW off-stream. Apparently he was casually speedrunning Celeste.smc for a while, and some of the skips they still use in the run were his discoveries.

If you look back at BeeKaay's boss fight, you can see ThirdWall explaining the Yoshi flight inputs to Barb while shovda is playing. I love that.

I'm kinda surprised ThirdWall didn't try for a midair in the final level's cursed shell jump room. It seems like they'd be easier there!
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
I have not! Will it be in his next hack?

I rewatched the Boo boss fight to see what you were talking about, it was pretty cool. I hadn't realized they were doing a special Yoshi flight glitch, because I was talking with people when I first saw the race and I couldn't hear the commentary at that point. I'll definitely have to try that out when I play the "fangame", it's one more piece of weird flight tech for my arsenal! One thing I didn't really understand was how the snake blocks worked during that fight. Sometimes they would go down the left and right walls, ending the player's attempt before it started - was that somehow triggered by failing to get yoshi flight?
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Oh, you are in for a treat here.


The snake blocks in that fight come down if you let go of Y at any point. So guess what, you're gonna get to claw grip! Yay!
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Harrowing! He said there was no special ASM, so I guess he just overloaded the game with sprites to get it to slow down like that?

I finished Let's Give Up! Overall, it was an extremely cool hack, if occasionally a bit obtuse and/or tricky for me. But I learned a ton of cool and weird cape tech, the music and aesthetics were on point and everything felt incredible to execute once I had it worked out. I won't promise any speedruns of this hack, but I will absolutely be replaying it just for the sheer joy of the movement. I imagine I will get to the DLC eventually, but I'll probably take a break first, since it's all I've been streaming for literally two months.

As a victory lap, I then fired up Invictus and ran through Koopa Road and most of the final castle - I got kaizo'd! I stopped there, because I knew that Kamek was a project for another day and I still don't have any way to save my progress in that level. No worries, though, all this practice might come in handy in the future...
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
No, there's nothing more than what you see on the screen* -- there's a particular combo of level settings (I think it's a certain level type + a certain kind of layer 2, but I could be wrong) that just makes the game lag that hard if you do use them together.

Congrats on Giving Up! All that cape tech is tough, and you really have to learn a lot of it to get through there. Now you're definitely equipped to handle any cape stuff you'll ever come across in the future.

*There's also a kaizo block one tile to the left of the door, I believe.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Invictus runback complete! The whole thing took 11-12 hours, down from 62 on my first run - most satisfying! Kamek still sucks, although he sucked a bit less once I realized that the disco shell section is easier if you keep away from the edges and minimize the quick shell bounces off the spike walls. It still took me nearly an hour, mostly because the last phase seems to be a bit more unpredictable than the others. I actually got to it after only 15 minutes, but I didn't manage to hit Kamek with the dang shell until my 5th or so attempt some 40 minutes later.

Speedruns when? Speedruns soon...maybe.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
That 50-hour PB feels pretty great, right? Nice job getting there. You probably won't be surprised to learn that my runback also took about 12 hours, because it's Invictus.

Don't ask me to start speedrunning it, though!
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
To cap off a week spent thinking about the SGDQ race, I finished the 2019 levels last night too. It's absolutely a fine collection of levels, but playing them back to back made me realize just how much more ambitious the 2022 race was. You can really see the progress the community has made in the intervening years, especially in terms of the aesthetics, which are a lot rougher in the older race. But the 2019 levels are breezy and fun, as well as being generally easier overall. D4's conveyor belt section was maybe the one I enjoyed playing the most, although the spinning room in the next section was a real head-scratcher. Funny that they wound up using the same concept in the mode-7 level, this one ends up looking like a very janky prototype of what would come later. I also enjoyed the on/off block level by NeXuS, that's an ASM that I've only ever experienced in Invictus and honestly wouldn't mind seeing more of (in moderation). Anyway, the whole thing took like 90 minutes and it's a fun slice of kaizo history, if you're in the mood to revisit it.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Yep, it went up on SMW Central (the main repository for these hacks) the day after the race. If you're interested at all, I played it and posted my own thoughts at the top of this page. Mike played it on stream last week, too!
 
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lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Inspired by Mike's reminding me that it was a thing, I went and played the 2019 race levels too. I hadn't seen them in three years, and that was over a year before I actually started playing kaizo, so I really remembered nothing at all. And it was a pretty fun time! Seconding what Mike said, it's incredible how far the community has come in just three years. These levels showcase some very cool and creative stuff as well, but it's generally nowhere near what people are doing in 2022 now. Although the level that led to Celeste.smc came pretty close! The walljump ASM is different, but I was still surprised at how close it felt to the final release. Anyway, the whole thing took about 90 minutes for me as well. Is Freakin_HA's level the only one he's made that has instant retry?

The first section of D4's level really impressed me, where you have to put items onto the line guide, but I have to admit I didn't really enjoy the two sections after that one. The puzzle room was technically impressive but it never felt good to actually play for me, and I couldn't quite figure out the gimmick in the final section. Do the crusher spawns track your positioning somehow? Or are they just random? I couldn't tell what was going on, and by the time it was over I didn't really care to go back and figure it out.

I thought IcyFruit's level was pretty neat, but I didn't recognize their name and they don't seem to have any hacks on SMW Central either. Have they done anything else?
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
I agree that the rotating room was super janky, especially considering you sometimes had to start moving before the tiles had finished drawing in. It's just funny to me that the same gimmick was used in 2022, but in a much more robust form. The crusher section is completely random, I believe, so there's definitely an element of luck involved.

I didn't really love the Freakin HA level, which is casting a bit of doubt on my plans to eventually play Riff 2. Which level was Icy Fruit's, the one with the moving platforms and the Airwolf theme? That was a good one, although I think the song was the highlight for me.

I was surprised to see that the Celeste level wasn't made by MarkAlarm. Did they change their user name in the intervening years?
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Which level was Icy Fruit's, the one with the moving platforms and the Airwolf theme?
I can't speak to Airwolf outside of Achewood references, but yeah, it was the level with the blocks that moved platforms around when you (or a shell) hit them.

I actually gave Riff 2 a brief second chance a week or two ago, but on my first death I remembered how awful the slow retry feels and I was done again.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
My dude, it is time to treat yourself


For the record, I've found a few different versions of the song with varying instrumentation and I'm not 100% sure which one aired with the TV show. This one seems to have actual horns, so it might be the real deal. It also seems to require a clickthrough, however.

 
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lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I was about to be like "Oh, I've heard that song before!" but then I realized that yes, it was in the race level I just played.

Anyway, the Airwolf theme slaps apparently, good job composer of the Airwolf theme!
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Decided to catch up on some hacks I missed the first time (and maybe forgot about, mumble mumble). Today I played through Full Bloom, the debut hack from Chondontore (creator of Love Yourself). It's mostly pretty breezy but it definitely feels like a first hack -- there's some awkward setups, and more munchers than is generally necessary. But, aside from one strangely long cape level, it's a cute hack that goes down pretty smoothly. I'd say I really liked about 75% of the levels, which is pretty good! Finished the whole thing in about an hour and 20.

I also decided to pick up Super Nothing World, which you don't hear a lot about these days, but I knew people really love it. And having spent some time with it today, I'm having a blast too. I cleared the Standard and Platforming paths in an hour and a half. I'm not really much of a standard hack guy, but NewPointless is a solid level designer and I felt pretty engaged all the way through the Standard path. Things really started to shine in the Platforming path for me, those levels feel like they could've been a standalone kaizo beginner hack. Since the only other NewPointless hack I've played is Mad with Kaizo Power, it was nice to see him stretch out a bit in longer levels. And I had a bunch of one-shots along both paths, which felt great! I genuinely have no idea what to expect for the kaizo path, and I'm looking forward to it. (slop_core was speedrunning this game when I first started watching him, but that was long enough ago that I've forgotten it all.) So far it's really been a great experience and I'm confident it'll stay that way through the end.
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
It's not kaizo, but NewPointless just released a hack of all ghost houses. I played through it the other day, it's worth checking out even if it's just via my VOD.

In actual kaizo news, I beat Legends of the Hidden Thwimple, and what can I say that hasn't already been said, this is a seismic event for the kaizo community and the levels rose to the moment. I spent the longest time on BeeKaay's level because I apparently never Yoshi flew before and I learned as I went.

I also beat two halves of levels in Sayonara Mario World 2, and I've gotta say, it does the rare thing for me where it's a joy to play the levels over and over until I beat them just because they're that much fun. I can only say that for a handful of hacks.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
The ghost house troll hack is extremely not for me, but I'm glad NewPointless is following his weird muse.

In the meantime, I blew through the kaizo path of Super Nothing World in about an hour, which means the hack is done. I really really enjoyed this one and I think you both would too. I'd love to see NP tackle another "normal" hack some day, but we're lucky to have him making stuff in general.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Thank you for reminding me of the existence of Super Nothing World, that might be a good one for me to play in the near future. I had been thinking about starting Invictus speedruns soon, but uh, it’s starting to look like that’s gonna be a lot of work. I tried firing up a new save last night, but an hour later, I still hadn’t finished the third level. I get the feeling it’ll take 5-6 clears before I can start grinding the time down to single-session runs, and I’m not sure I’m actually that motivated right now.
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
Yeah, I played Super Nothing World a few months ago. It's great!

Last night I played most of the hack Ambivalence, and was immediately struck by how much of a lincoln hack it was, just real good meat-and-potatoes hop-and-bop, though I will say the "drkrdnk must have really liked the second half of The Reeling" throughline is strong here. I finished 9.5 exits before my computer froze, so I'm excited to complete it tonight!
 
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