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It'sa me, Kaizo Mario!

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Nice, I'll have to dig up some video and check it out myself.

I cleared the first secret exit and switch palace of Invictus today in just over an hour, combined! Granted, these two are both shorter than a normal full level (especially because you find the secret exit right at the start of the level it's in), but I'm gonna take that as a win. I looked at the main route of the level for a few minutes after that, but my hand/arm was telling me to stop because I'd already spent some time playing Hades today. Turns out I can't just hold a controller for an entire day anymore! Who knew. (me, I knew, I've known since 2018.)

The switch palace in particular was fun, but the beginning especially took some figuring out. It's the first part of the game I've run into where it's not immediately obvious what you're supposed to do, and I had to rely on Youtube for help. This is also how I learned that an obstacle in the secret exit must've been added in the 1.1 patch, because it definitely wasn't in the video I watched.
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
One thing I'll say about Bunbun World is that I'm legitimately learning new things from this game, like floor clips and wiggler regrabs. The cool part is I never needed to look anything up, the game just taught me how to do these things either naturally or through a well-placed speaker block. So it's cool that I feel like I'm progressing in my kaizo journey.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I meant to mention that I got a yump in that switch palace. I feel like that's worth mentioning. Do I get extra credit if I can get one in the other palace too?
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
No, I'd say I manage to get them around 40% of the time. I just usually forget to bring it up!
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Side note: does anyone actually know why they're called yumps?

While I'm asking the Deep Kaizo Questions, I've also been wondering: does anyone know what the first hack was that required you to do a shell jump? I'm talking the "bounce off a wall and jump" kind that we generally think of today when you say "shell jump", not the completely impossible midair version that vanilla SMW speedrunners use. I don't think the original Kaizo Mario had one. It's such a common move now, but it had to come from somewhere, right?
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Pretty sure that yump comes from the racing term, when a car briefly leaves the ground in rally racing. I don’t know when shell jumps became part of the kaizo moveset but I did hear someone saying that they used to be considered TAS-only, which is pretty funny in the context of the release of the Team Shell hack this year. I’ll have to ask Laser next time his chat is quiet.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Pretty sure that yump comes from the racing term, when a car briefly leaves the ground in rally racing.
Wait seriously? Because that's hilarious, and also leads to the obvious question of why is this a racing term.

I don’t know when shell jumps became part of the kaizo moveset but I did hear someone saying that they used to be considered TAS-only, which is pretty funny in the context of the release of the Team Shell hack this year. I’ll have to ask Laser next time his chat is quiet.
I know normal shell jumps have a viable window of about 5-6 frames, could they have meant that midairs were considered TAS-only? I believe those are frame perfect tricks, so that'd make more sense.

Anyway, I'm on vacation until the new year, so hopefully I'll be able to make some decent Invictus progress. I'd be pretty thrilled if I managed to beat it before 2021, but I'm not gonna hold my breath.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Just spent three hours clearing the main exit of the first level in world 2, two of which were spent on the second half of the level. It really felt like every jump in that section was tweaked within a pixel of its life; some of them legitimately only give you a handful of frames to succeed. I find that kind of design really frustrating.

Maybe I'm just not good at this, but I didn't think I was bad enough to warrant the amount of time almost every level has taken me so far. Doesn't really make me excited to keep going.
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
I'm sorry you're not having a good time with Invictus. :(

My playthrough of Bunbun World continues apace. I'm at 15 of 19 exits and still loving it. If this keeps up, it might be my favorite vanilla hack so far. I do want to call out how the difficulty is a nice little step up from Hyperion, with more complicated setups requiring you to divide your attention. One has you escorting a mechakoopa and a key to the end, while the one I'm on now has you alternating between a moving rope and a platform as they criss-cross each other. Fun stuff, and very educational. I really feel my skills increasing.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Linc, maybe you need to take a break from that game. Like I said yesterday, I only play it once or twice a week, which gives me a chance to restore my reserves of patience in between goes.

Snake, I didn't know Bunbun was more of an intermediate-level hack. If it's a step up from Hyperion then it must be kind of hard! I'm really starting to think you're ready for Take it Easy World if that's the kind of stuff you've been playing.

EDIT: I decided to consult Shovda's spreadsheet and see if there were any games that would fall in between Take it Easy and Invictus. She rates the former as a 3/10 and the latter as a 5/10, and I found a couple suggestions that were in the 3s and 4s that might be worth a look? Shell's Retriever (3), Super Sheffy World Deluxe (4), Friday Mario World (4), Terra (4) and The Sapphire (4.5). As for Bunbun, she also rates that a 3, same as Take it Easy.
 
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lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Yeah, probably. My plan was to beat one level per day, but I'm not sure if I can keep that up without giving myself an aneurism. Maybe I'll take a look at one of the Bunbun games next.

Also thanks for looking at the spreadsheet! I'm...a little skeptical of Shovda's difficulty ratings, not because I don't trust her, but because she's so damn good at kaizo that I don't think the same scale applies to the likes of us. Shell's Retriever and Sheffy World are both shell hacks, and I think Sheffy in particular has a reputation for being hard. Shell's Retriever might be a good entry level shell hack, though. I haven't heard of the others you mentioned, I'll have to check them out!
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
I've heard Sheffy 2 tossed around as one of the harder hacks, but maybe the first game isn't so bad? Only one way to find out! By which I mean you should play it and let me know.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Not to keep plugging Amethyst, but she also has a spreadsheet if that helps. She also has a section for non-kaizo hacks!
More spreadsheets are always welcome, thanks! I think it's great to be able to widen our collective pool of knowledge.

I've heard Sheffy 2 tossed around as one of the harder hacks, but maybe the first game isn't so bad? Only one way to find out! By which I mean you should play it and let me know.
I chose an alternative way of finding out and looked up Sheffy 1 on Youtube -- looks like it's on the level of some of the Team Shell stuff. Probably gonna pass on that, though I might give Shell's Retriever a try. That one looks a little easier.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Not to keep plugging Amethyst, but she also has a spreadsheet if that helps. She also has a section for non-kaizo hacks!
You know I'm always in the market for a good spreadsheet!

I chose an alternative way of finding out and looked up Sheffy 1 on Youtube -- looks like it's on the level of some of the Team Shell stuff. Probably gonna pass on that, though I might give Shell's Retriever a try. That one looks a little easier.
Sounds like it should have been called Super Shelly World, amirite?
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
So SMWC did their yearly Mosts 2020 awards, which amounts to kind of a big popularity contest, but there's some interesting results in there. The top kaizo hacks were:

1. YUMP 2
2. Casio Mario World
3. Ultraviolet
4. Unlit Candles

I didn't even have Ultraviolet on my radar, so that's one to keep an eye on potentially down the line. Also, shout out to Unlit Candles for snagging that fourth slot very sneakily.

Also, AmperSam of HYPERION fame tied for third in Best New Creator! HYPERION is my favorite hack of 2020 in my admittedly limited experience, so it's great to see them get recognized.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Hooray for AmperSam! You guys already know I'm pretty high on Hyperion as well, so I'm really happy for them.

I'm significantly less interested in Unlit Candles now; NaroGugul posted some really gross stuff in the SMWC forums after the staff announced their zero tolerance policy towards hate and discrimination. I certainly don't need to play any of his hacks after that. (I'm not a member there, I just looked at their announcement post to see what was up.)

Anyway, I looked up Ultraviolet and the very first thing on its SMWC page is a disclaimer: "Doing setups the wrong way or using unintended movement WILL kill you. It is, however, extremely indicated and flows well once you know the levels." In other words, exactly the kind of level design that's no fun for me. However, they also include a link to a Youtube playlist of full clears of all the levels (minus the boss fights), and they do look pretty cool. If you don't mind that kind of design, go for it! I'll cheer you on from the sidelines.

Sounds like it should have been called Super Shelly World, amirite?
Now I want a hack dedicated to Shelley Duval.
 
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SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
I'm significantly less interested in Unlit Candles now; NaroGugul posted some really gross stuff in the SMWC forums after the staff announced their zero tolerance policy towards hate and discrimination. I certainly don't need to play any of his hacks after that. (I'm not a member there, I just looked at their announcement post to see what was up.)
Ewwwww, yeah, I'm good. Fuck NaroGugul.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Coming back to say that some of these Ultraviolet levels are super creative. Even if none of us end up playing it, it's worth taking a look at the clear videos just for entertainment value.
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
And Bunbun World is done! That makes nine kaizo clears for me. I really loved this one, the setups were super creative even as they were more complicated than most of what I've already played. Plus it had good escort segments! I think this overtakes Hark as my favorite vanilla hack now.

As per what we were discussing before, I'm going to move on to Take It Easy World. I played a little of the first level, and it's pretty breezy so far.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Oh it gets harder, don't you worry. I wanna say it started taking me almost an hour per level by around the third stage? But you've played more hacks than I had at the time.

All I know about NaroGugul is that they gave GlitchCat a bunch of shit over Search for Salmon and I thought they were really tactless and needlessly abrasive. Can't say I'm surprised to hear they jumped on the D-train. Oh well, it's not like I'm good enough to play Unlit Candles anyway. But it's a shame when someone so creative thinks that gives them license to be a dick (narrator: it doesn't).

Been catching PurpleEagle in the mornings recently, as he often streams while I'm eating breakfast (everyone else in the house is on vacation, so I'm the first one up these days). You may recall that he's been learning to play on the keyboard, and after a little over a week of that he has made it up to Storks. I think this guy is damn good, from what I understand he's only been streaming kaizo for about a year at this point. Plus, he seems really nice and he has cool birds!
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Yeah, once you get to the ghost house in Take It Easy World, I feel like that's when the real Dark Souls begins.

The idea of playing kaizo on a Hitbox is still mindblowing to me. I just can't fathom using a joystick instead of a d-pad!

Edit: went to look at Purple Eagle's stream while I finished my own breakfast, he was in the RNG Castle and literally the first thing I heard him say was "My hands are sore...like, really sore." And then he wrapped it up for the day. Ha! Seems like he's happy with the keyboard decision, even so. I hope to get to see the birds someday!
 
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lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
After taking most of the week off from kaizo, I was feeling good about coming back to the next level in Invictus today, which turned out to be the famous "sideways Thwomps" level. This one was actually fun, and I managed to get through it in an hour and 20 minutes (including the boss). It's an Invict-mas miracle!

I took a look at the following level, which also looks pretty rad, but I'm gonna call it there for now. Better to stop while I'm still feeling good.
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
So I've been away from kaizo for the past few days, and I'm feeling like something a bit spicier to come back to. Wish me luck.Comfort Zone V1.1-201225-180130.png
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Oh, I caught the second half of that stream (where he plays Search for Salmon), but I didn't know that it started with a kaizo SMB2 hack that GlitchCat made. Neat stuff!

Good luck, Snake! Comfort Zone is a cool hack, I've been watching MightyMouse play it in preparation for his upcoming GDQ run. Doesn't look impossible, but it sure don't look easy...
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I actually watched that Mercy Kill video over the course of the evening tonight, and once they get into the Search for Salmon (and then Various Dragons) GlitchCat gets really insightful about a lot of things -- why you would play these games, why you would make these games, level design/gameplay as a form of art/self-expression, finding the beauty in it. I've never really heard anyone talk about kaizo that way, and I found it really refreshing. I enjoyed the discussion as much as the gameplay.

Good luck with Comfort Zone, SilentSnake! I think you'll be challenged for sure. I'm really excited to see it at GDQ.
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
Well, I got through the first level of Comfort Zone and have been grinding out the second one, and I'm already learning things. Did you know that you can turn a spin jump into a regular jump by hitting a P-switch in midair? I didn't! Gonna keep going with this, because it seems achievable for me.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Did you know that you can turn a spin jump into a regular jump by hitting a P-switch in midair?
You'll see this kind of move from time to time in levels that want you to change your jump in mid-air but don't have motor skills enabled. P-switch tricks were fairly common a couple of years ago (there's a late-game Akogare level that uses them a lot) but I feel like you don't see too many in recent hacks.
 
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