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It'sa me, Kaizo Mario!

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
It's hard to pick up a thread again after a real loss like the community had last week, but here's something good and praiseworthy: flips_bad has RTA cleared Hackers Dreams. They've got a Youtube playlist of all the clears, and if you've never seen the 1f9 (the final level), it really needs to be seen to be believed.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Just fired up the 1f9 clear video and, uh, wow. I've played hundreds of hours of kaizo now, and there were a few bits in there that I still didn't really understand. Using the yoshi growth and text box opening frames to bypass walls of death blocks like whaaaaaaat??? I will say, though, that the level is a bit of an assault on the eyes.

ETA: Ok I wrote that post before I got to the part of 1f9 where you suddenly start TELEPORTING THROUGH DIFFERENT ROOMS WHAT THE FUCK

It's been a little while, but I finally finished Shellax! That game was, uh, a bit harder than I was expecting? The weirdest part was the two back-to-back clears that took me the longest and shortest times of the hack. First was the red switch palace, which took me over an hour, but that was followed by the regular exit on the only red level in the game, which I literally finished in under a minute? To be fair, a lot of that level is the same both times you go through it, but the first time I made it to the place where the path splits, I went on to one-shot the rest of the level. Astouding!

Hoping to get back to Mostly Harmless tonight, at long last! It's been pretty hard to stream lately, between being away on vacation, the return, and then starting up the school year (for both kid and girlfriend).

Did you ever decide what your 100th hack is going to be?
 
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lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I will say, though, that the level is a bit of an assault on the eyes.
I know what you mean, and in a lot of ways it's kind of the apotheosis of Hackers Dreams: heavy on the gameplay, not a single fuck given about visuals.

Still not sure what my 100th hack will be, I just wrapped up the last of the race levels I'd downloaded last night (with a fun one from Chris G___, "Now You See It"). None of my times were particularly noteworthy, and I noped out of a few of the levels that relied heavily on gimmicks, but I had a good time. I'll need to remember to get some more race levels from creators I like.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Fuck it, we're playing Super Dram World for my 100th hack. Will I regret this when I get to the rope level? Maybe! But for now, the first two exits took about 15-20 minutes (total, not each) and it's just fine. Will get deeper into the hack tomorrow.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Six exits in now, four more cleared in about two hours today. Nearly an hour of that was spent in the third level, Jeita Grotto. The second half is basically free, but the first half is full of aggravatingly precise tricks that I didn't enjoy.

Outside of that, I'm having a good time! The hack really hasn't been too bad so far. Obviously a lot has changed since 2015, but it's kinda interesting to see what used to be the hardest hack in the world, you know? The retry patch even breaks the second room in the first castle, but you can still beat it with a slightly harder jump. I wonder if Panga knew you could do that room with just one fireball.

I'm up to the rope level now, which I'm not looking forward to -- it's got an infamously absurd number of kaizo blocks, and a Chuck who sometimes just refuses to spawn. Hopefully I won't get stuck for too long there. With a bit of luck, I'll be able to clear that and the autoscroller that follows tomorrow.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Alright, rope level and autoscroller down. My pace is definitely slowing down a bit now, the rope level took an hour and the autoscroller 50 minutes. The funny thing is that in both of those levels, the lion's share of my time was spent in just one section. The parts of the rope level I was worried about were in the second half, but I spent at least 45 minutes in the first half. I got through the first half of the autoscroller in 10 minutes, but I spent way too long trying to work out how to avoid a nasty kaizo block in the second half.

Still having fun! (Except for that one kaizo block I just mentioned.) At 8 exits, I'm over halfway to any% completion (which I believe is 14 exits). I'd like to keep pushing through some more levels tomorrow, but I got my updated covid booster today and that might put me out of commission for the next day or so. Whenever I'm up for more I'm looking forward to it.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Ghost house is done. Outside of the boss, this is the first level in the hack that I really didn't find any fun in. You spend half the level waiting for various cycles of things to align, and the other half doing fairly tight Fishing Boo stuff. And you don't even get a checkpoint in between! It wouldn't have been so bad if you weren't forced to spend half the level just waiting on stuff, but man. That one doesn't hold up in 2022. The level itself took me an hour and 45 minutes, the boss took...five. Glad to be done with that.

I'm on the final overworld now! Not counting the special world, anyway. Hoping to pick up the pace again and make some better progress next time.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Only got to play for about an hour and 10 minutes today, but I'm two exits closer to any%. The vertical level was pretty fun, and barring a ton of jumps where you can't see what you're doing in the second half, honestly feels like it could fit into a more modern hack. 40 minutes here. I didn't care for the red switch palace as much, but it's short and it was done in half an hour. All I've got left now before special world is the second water level, the Ultra Star, and the any% castle.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
How many exits are there in Dram, like 20? I’m not super familiar with it, even though I’ve definitely seen the whole game before.

Haven’t played any kaizo recently because, you know, Elden Ring. But I only have 90 hours to go before I’m done!
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
SMW Central says 18. I know any% is 14 exits, but I'm not sure if there are 4 or 5 levels in the special world.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Alright, up to the any% castle! I put in a bit over 2 hours today (+10 minutes) to get through the other two exits. It's funny, both of them had first halves that took maybe 10 minutes and second halves that took nearly an hour. The second half of the water level has you trying to dodge a Fishing Boo the entire time while swimming. It's not even a particularly long section, you just spend a lot of time learning to manipulate it. Surprising no one, I did not like it! The Ultra Star was fun, but the second half was just really tough. It's full of kaizo blocks, and while none of them individually are that hard to avoid, there are so many that just remembering where they all are is its own challenge. I really thought I was going to get through that level quicker (especially after the first half went so smoothly), but what're you gonna do.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Ah yes, "I thought I would be done with this by now", a feeling I am intimately familiar with. All that really matters is that you get there in the end!
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
And I did get there! Any% is done, as are the first two exits of special world. The any% castle took about 50 minutes, Bowser took 15-20. I thought that fight would've been faster since it's just vanilla Bowser, but it turns out the Eeries add a surprising amount of challenge! The castle was pretty fun too. With some tweaking, I could honestly see it fitting into a modern hack. My Any% time comes out to roughly 10 hours and 20-30 minutes, which I think is pretty decent for 14 exits.

I didn't stop there though, because I knew the first two levels of special world are very short. The first one is free and it sets you up to cheese a mushroom into Frame Perfect Land (which I did every time, I didn't want to do the required yump). Brave New World really helped get my consistency up on all the tricks in that level, even going back through the preceding level every time I was done in 15-20 minutes. Most of that time was spent running through the other level to get the mushroom, if I'm being honest!

Anyway, I've got three levels left: long layer 2 ice level, RNG dolphins, and...you know.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Ice level down. I did not like this one. There are a couple of cool setups, but you spend a lot of time just waiting for layer 2 cycles to align. Just felt kinda tedious, took an hour, now it's done.

All that's standing between me and the credits are the two most infamous levels in the game. I'm not sure if I can get there tomorrow, but I'm gonna try.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
After an hour and a half of banging my head against the RNG dolphin wall, I went to see if drkrdnk had come up with a good strategy for that section. And it turns out he'd come up with the best strategy: absolutely cheesing the hell out of the level. I don't know how he figured this out, but if you're patient and willing to make some tricky jumps, you can get a Yoshi out of the mushroom escort level. Then you bring Yoshi back to the dolphin level, hit the message box to remove the water, and voila: the water disappears (taking all of the non-generated dolphins with it), and you can just ride Yoshi across the muncher floor at your leisure. You still have to do a couple of tight jumps at the end, but it's absolutely nothing compared to trying to fight the RNG.

So I spent half an hour learning to do that, and now I never have to play that level again. Good riddance.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Between today and yesterday, I've spent a total of 3 hours in (sigh) the Butthole. Turns out it really is as brutally hard as everyone says. I've made it to the double shell jump at the end...three times, I think? But that's as far as I've gone. I know what I need to do for all the obstacles leading up to that point, it's just so tough to get through them all. I feel like I'm close to breaking out, but who knows. The consistency isn't quite there yet.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
The Butthole definitely falls in the boomer tradition of being obscenely hard without really looking all that difficult. But if you've made it to the end a few times, that's great! I'm sure you'll be out of that butt in no time.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
I got curious, so I decided to look up a run of Volpey's Senpai to see what the fuss was about. And I guess I didn't realize that it's (obviously) a very challenging cape hack that (less obvious to me) doesn't have the turnaround patch. I watched some of tjb's WR run and he has a whole host of vanilla cape tricks for managing height and speed when you can't reliably turn around. It looks exhausting to do, if I'm being honest. I wonder if anyone has ever tried patching the turnaround fix in?
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I'm free! It took another hour and 15 minutes of attempts, but I made it through! And Mike, you're absolutely correct, it's so much harder than it looks. Everything is as tight as it can possibly be and there's zero wiggle room: you either Do The Exact Thing, or you're dead. I think I spent the most time figuring out how to consistently dismount the ball and chain halfway through. There's an absurd kaizo block there which means you only have one safe tile of space to move through. It's rough. I'm willing to say it's probably one of the hardest levels I've ever played. Feels great to be done. Had to spend a bit of time figuring out the boss pattern as well, so that fight took about 35 minutes.

Special world ran about 8 hours and 10 minutes (at most), combined with my 10.5 hour any% that puts the whole hack around 18 hours and 40 minutes. Possibly a little less. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with Super Dram World! There are a few spots that feel mean just for the sake of being mean, but outside of those it was generally pretty fun (and not just as a period piece). Is any% worth playing in 2022? Yeah, I'd say it is. Is special world worth playing? Eh...probably not, if we're being honest. Frame Perfect Land was fun and the Butthole is legendary for a reason, but the dolphin level probably epitomizes some of the worst tendencies of boomer kaizo and the others are kinda forgettable. (Sorry Panga. Any% is rad.) Maybe the move for anyone who isn't a completionist is to download a clear file once they get to the special world and just play the good levels there. Still, I did appreciate the experience of cheesing the shit out of the dolphin level, so that counts for something. And it's pretty incredible that Panga was only 15 when he made this hack and laid the foundation for hundreds of hacks that followed. I can't overstate how much of an achievement that is.

And with that, I've reached 100 hacks! You could also argue that it's technically 99 hacks since I put the Baby Kaizo World special world as its own entry, but when you factor in the race levels and the hacks I played and didn't put on the list (because I didn't finish them), I'm gonna call it close enough. And just in time for my two year kaizoversary, which is on Thursday! I can't believe it's been two years already. At this point I think I'm gonna sit back for a bit and just play whatever new hacks look fun rather than keep combing the archives, but I might consider Takumi V (46 exit, anyway) at some point.

Oh, and I know you guys want to see the list, so here it is.

1. Learn 2 Kaizo
2. Quickie World 2
3. Baby Kaizo World (Any%)
4. Quickie World
5. Super Ryu World (since deleted)
6. Take It Easy World
7. Akogare Mario World
8. Little Mario World
9. Hyperion
10. Super Hark Bros
11. Quest for Corgi Butts (minus the final shell hell level)
12. Invictus
13. Super Hark Bros 2
14. Akogare 2
15. Bunbun World
16. Bunbun World 2
17. Sayonara Mario World (unfinished)
18. El Dorado
19. Cute Kaizo World
20. Dancer to a Discordant System (originally unfinished, finished 8/27/22)
21. Mahogen
22. Kibeth Takes a Walk
23. Sweet 'n Sour (unfinished)
24. Grand Poo World 2
25. Nightmare Cafe
26. Orcus
27. Nightmare Cafe II
28. Nightmare Cafe III
29. Super World
30. Nightmare Cafe IV
31. Nightmare Cafe V
32. Purgatory
33. Nightmare Cafe VI
34. Nightmare Cafe VII
35. Mad with Kaizo Power
36. Nightmare Cafe VIII
37. Peachy Moat World
38. Nightmare Cafe IX
39. Nightmare Cafe X
40. Mostly Harmless
41. Baby Kaizo World (100%)
42. Quickie World: With a Vengeance 1.0
43. Cornucopia of Kaizo
44. Arcane Mario World
45. New Comfort Zone
46. Mario and Luigi Go to White Castle
47. Memory Lane
48. Super Amethyst Rocks
49. Memento Mori
50. Gaia
51. Boogie Wonderland 2.0
52. Groovy
53. Luminescent
54. Day in the Life
55. Quickie World: With a Vengeance 2.0
56. Celeste.smc
57. Autumn
58. Hyperion 2.0
59. Tebeo
60. Super Husky World
61. Joe Bros. 2
62. Joe Bros. 3
63. Sif World
64. Don't Panic
65. Briefly12 World
66. Chi
67. Titan Mario
68. Cuter Kaizo World
69. Love Yourself
70. Flip the Switch
71. Nightmares
72. Super Foo World Lite
73. Super Husky World 2
74. Tortured Souls
75. Ambivalence
76. The Getaway
77. Shell’s Retriever
78. Legends of the Hidden Thwimple
79. 2019 Blind Kaizo Relay Collaboration
80. Full Bloom
81. Super Nothing World
82. Mario Quits
83. Hangin with Mr. Koopa 2
84. Super Flash World
85. Brave New World
86. The Unknown
87. Ides of March
88. O’Ghim!
89. The Power Beneath
90. Kaizo Crisis
91. Misty Out There
92. Baby Kaizo World 2
93. Separate Ways
94. French Fries & French Toast
95. Super Gracie World
96. Ninja World 2
97. Ninja World 3
98. Sure Shot
99. No Biggie World
100. Super Dram World
 
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lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Bonus post: my girlfriend was endlessly amused by the fact that I spent several hours in a level called Dram's Butthole, and it gave us a good excuse to break out this jam (slightly NSFW). Figured I should share in case either of you weren't familiar.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Ha ha, we’re big fans of Tom Cardy in this house. Fruit Salad is probably my favorite song of his and my girlfriend loves the one about all the Jurassic Park movies.

Anyway, huge congrats on thoroughly checking that butthole! And also for playing 100 hacks, which is almost twice as many as I have in the same amount of time. Man, there is some stuff on your list that I have NEVER heard of. You should update your list of favorites too, now that you’ve hit the big milestone.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
The Jurassic Park one is my girlfriend's favorite too! (We also listened to that yesterday, because every time I see something related to Jurassic Park I quote some part of it or another). Fruit Salad is also an absolute banger.

Anyway, that's an entirely reasonable request, so I've gone back through the list and put my particular favorites in bold.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Saela and Lightaligns just put out another hack called *checks notes* Halo 14 Side A. Barb has been playing it and it honestly looks pretty cool!
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Yeah, I saw that and it looks infinitely less cursed than their last hack. Some good creative performing ideas in there. I'll probably play it soon-ish, but I'm taking a Mario break for a little bit; I kinda overdid it beating Dram World and my thumb needs a rest.
 
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MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
JezJitsu's first hack, Gambol, just came out. Looks like it would be right up your alley, classic kaizo platforming paired with some very nice aesthetics. Apparently it's all vanilla, though with the usual quality of life patches applied.
 
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