AGDQ 2018 – Last Day! (Closing Thoughts)

Yume here from the last day of AGDQ 2018.

Let’s talk about what I think about AGDQ 2018 a bit.

Honestly speaking, after the big batch of tournaments was over, I got a bit “hungover” of the event. The tournaments kind of kept me personally going, entertained, and got me to meet new people of the different communities, especially with the puzzle game tournaments.

It was nonetheless a nice experience and a lot of fun meeting all these people. But in fact, I also kind of felt out of place if I wasn’t around my puzzle community as the not well-known streamer I am right now.

There are a lot of real big fishes around, which was a thing I liked a lot more about the European Speedrunner Assembly 2017. ESA was packed with a lot of smaller streamers. You talked to each other just casually, whereas AGDQ felt like a sales market where big streamers meet big streamers and small streamers meet small streamers to hang out with each other.

Of course, I’m exaggerating here a bit. I also saw people that are well known around the likes of puzzle streamers like me. But, that was a hand full and they knew each other from former GDQ events where people participated and had friends with them. I think it’s also because I’m a first timer at a GDQ that didn’t know how things are at such a big event.

To get to the point: In the end, I have very mixed feelings about how things are at GDQ compared to smaller events, where you have a good time with whoever you are in the same room with at any given moment. Communities kind of do their thing. There are some strays that hop from community to community. But yeah, if you don’t know people and if you are not part of a community, you’re in a bad spot to actually get to know new people. I’m sure it also has a bit to do with my own personality and such things, but mainly it seems like it is a much more introverted event compared to others where people are outgoing, watch you play games, sit next to you, and just start a conversation with you out of the blue.

So from a personal view, I’d recommend going for smaller events like NASA or ESA if you want to have a more easy-going atmosphere around an event or if you just want to meet streamers you know and hang out with them, be it if you are a streamer yourself or just a big fan of them.

Even though this might sound very negative, I’m really happy I got to go to AGDQ and see some of my friends in the communities I’m apart of that I most likely won’t get to see at other events.

Also, I promised some more badges at the start of the week, here they are.

Here’s the badge of the Wario’s Woods runner Peteyboo.

RunerBadge.jpg

And here’s the badge of a PuzzleGeneral member that volunteered.

VolunteerBadge.jpg

I think that’s it for this AGDQ. I don’t know which event I’ll cover for a next blog, but you’ll get an update for that in hindsight.

Thanks for reading my blog and I hope you enjoyed the journey!

Have a good day!

AGDQ 2018 – Day Six!

Yume here with some more things that go on behind the scenes of AGDQ 2018.

Sadly, the big batch of tournaments and races are over, not much is left on the plate in that regard.

We still had a Puyo Puyo Tetris, Tetris only, tournament going on, but sadly only 8 people signed up for it. And I did awful there for sure.

I also promised an interview with a participant of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past randomizer race that took place today, but well… There are some complications with that as it is.

Not sure what A Link to the Past randomizer is? Check out our in-depth explanations and previous tournament coverage here.

As the race was not finished properly, I skipped out on this, but here some info I got from friends:

The race started about 30 minutes late, which doesn’t really surprise me for big ALttP randomizer races in the first place. The weekly races with over 100 participants follow usually the same pattern of never getting started earlier than 15 minutes after schedule.

This time around it wasn’t their fault, however. The people that had the room assigned to them before were 25 minutes late in giving the room up, so there was no helping it.

The seed itself was relatively friendly, giving them bigger batches of useful items in one location. That means that they had a lot to work with. That being said, it was a fast seed where you didn’t have to search for clues to progress all the time.

Unfortunately, the ALttP randomizer people were kicked out of the room because they were going over their assigned time, so there were only 2 finishes. ChristosOwen, one of the 2 racers for the ALttP randomizer showcase for the AGDQ stream, was one of them. The other person was Kohrek.

My friend couldn’t finish the seed, but was already in Ganons Tower and would have had a very good placing, which is unfortunate for him.

There is still the story for the Puyo Puyo Tetris Swap mode tournament that went viral, following the picture.

The story behind this is awkward and hilarious.

DevolitionDerby on the left side, one of the PuzzleGeneral community, forgot their batch at his house on that day and during the final someone from security checked the room. As he wasn’t allowed in the room anymore, they just changed the setup so they could play outside of the door and finish their match.

To the right is PiePusher11, the winner of the finals.

But that is all I have for today, tomorrow with a bit of a resume about the whole event.

Have a nice day.

 

AGDQ 2018 – Day Five!

Yume here, and we already got to day 5 of this years AGDQ.

As I had a non-existent amount of sleep, the coverage on tournaments will cut a bit short for once, but we’ll still talk puzzles for a bit.

But yeah, there’s a reason why the night was short and I had to sleep into the day. It was time for Awful Games Done Quick.

It is a kind of tradition where games with controls that are close to unplayable, or just really silly games, are shown in this block. It’s been a standing tradition over the last few GDQ events.

This year, the Awful GDQ could also be called “Animal Games Done Quick”, except for some games like Superman 64. Yeah, there are people that speedrun Superman 64.

Let’s go over some of the games though. And if you want to have a really silly and fun time with bad games, you should certainly watch and even play them at some point. The crowd is a big part of this as well. If you want to go over and watch the videos, the block started with Superman 64.

The first game I witnessed in the streaming room was the end portion of Arabian Nights. All I can say about this title is that it’s not really Rated-E and the dialogues are really silly.

After that, was the first game I saw entirely, Enviro-Bear 2000. Five speedrunners were chosen by the people that donate to the cause. The game’s graphics were made in MS Paint, and I’m not talking about the good version of it. You’re a bear that drives a car and has to eat fish and berries in a given amount of time to survive through the winter and enter your cave. “Eat the fish” and “To the cave” chants went through the crowd at appropriate times and made it a spectacle for everybody in the room. The atmosphere was awesome.

Following that, Dog’s Life was on stream. Standard setup: you’re a dog and your girlfriend was kidnapped by a cat lady to be processed into cat food. To be fair, this happens to me at least once a week. The game is rated E (3 years and older) but the dialogues and some cutscenes in the game are, well, questionable (for that rating to say the least). And as the first skip didn’t work as fast as expected, the dog we played was washed enough times so that fur and hide would have been gone. Also a great time and the runner made it a real blast to watch.

The last run I saw at the venue was Animorphs: Shattered Reality. It is a platformer with some kind of battle interaction that mainly consists of running into your enemy to deal damage and trying to not run into their attacks. The controls of the platforming sections were described by the runner Keizaron as this: “Take a Crash Bandicoot game and strip it off everything Crash Bandicoot does well and you have this game”. As a viewer, I have to say it couldn’t be more precise by what I saw. I also had a great time with watching this run, and it certainly deserved to be in this blog.

Next up, we head to the tournaments. Sadly, I slept in for the Puyo Puyo Tetris Swap tourney, where I saw a chance to be somewhat decent in. I caught some of the final rounds and the competition wasn’t really bad. But as a more or less all-rounder, this would have been my best shot at scoring a good placement today. For the ones who don’t know much about Puyo Puyo Tetris, Swap mode is where you play both games, Tetris and Puyo, in the same game. You have specific playing fields for each game and you play for 25 seconds on one game and change to the other until a winner is decided. The finals had some twist to it, PiePusher11 won the tournament. I’ll cover the twist in tomorrow’s article.

Right after that, the dedicated Puyo Puyo tourney took place where we played only Puyo from PPT. I kinda had bad luck with the bracket and got to play FFRPro21 right off the bat, and gave him a run for the money, but still couldn’t defeat him. In the losers bracket, I played against the organiser of the Puyo only tournament, HarpoonCanon, and tried to get around him with good tactics as I don’t hold a candle to him skill-wise. I can say I won 1 out of 5 games against him and gave him some problems, but I never stood a chance to win.

Also shoutouts to the Puyo Puyo Tetris community as a whole. They are a really nice and welcoming people. Be it speedrunners or online players of the game. Mainly, the respectful attitude towards others like me that are likely not the best players, but still give some top players a hard time.

And then I made the worst decision of this AGDQ, tournament-wise. I skipped the Rocket League tourney and instead tried out the Yoshi’s Cookie for SNES one. NEVER…EVER…AGAIN. I want to say I’m decent at the stage clear mode, but versus is not something up my alley. Heck, I tend to be a loud person and curse sometimes, and I could keep it together even in the Pokémon Puzzle League tournament, but this game has the potential to make me lose myself within 5 minutes of Versus mode. I have to admit that the players I lost against had more skill and more knowledge about the versus mode than I had, so there’s simply no need to go further into specifics or hate the game at all.

Well, that’s it for the tournaments that I had an eye on for today.

As for closing words. some communities hold workshops to teach other people some games or techniques to help them get better at designated games. And even I got some private lessons from a person I look up to:

Blinzer, the winner of the Pokemon Puzzle League versus tournament, taught me some techniques and it fried my brain and thumbs. His playstyle and the marathon mode (High score game) were too much for me. The training was a really nice treat from him though and is very much appreciated. In a mere hour, I learned a lot about the basic skills that I still lack as a player that’s only been playing for a year. I could double my speed for inputs in this short time to get it consistently, over what I’m used to. Hence, my thumbs didn’t appreciate it as much as I did.

This is also one of the reasons why these meetups are a very nice event to attend. People help each other understand the games better and show them skills they don’t have right now. It is good to see that people inside a community care for each other and try to help them in person when they finally meet.

Guess I’m signing off for today to get some decent amount of sleep again. A Link to the Past randomizer race coming up tomorrow with a short interview with one of the participants, as I won’t take part in it myself.

Have a great day!

Heres Day Six with some closing costs!

AGDQ 2018 – Day Four!

Yume here from AGDQ 2018 with more tournament and arcade action.

Let’s start with the daily report on the tournaments that took place: Today we have two more tournaments covered.

Let’s dive straight into the first tournament to take place, Evil Zone for the PlayStation 1. I sadly didn’t see that much of that tournament, as I was preparing myself for my own matches, which began at the end of this event. It was fun to watch this kind of silly fighting game. From the mouth of a friend that participated, the game is fairly simple: You press one button to attack and one button to not attack. Just from the gameplay I caught, I can’t verify it easily, but it looked super simple.

The character and box-art design are very anime-esque. The graphics are kind of a serene simple, though. The soundtrack of the Japanese version seemed to have one J-Pop track that felt very out of place, which threw me off and made the whole scenario so much funnier. That said, this tourney is one of the traditions of the GDQ events, and from what I was told, had quite a few participants. It was a fun time to watch some of the games and the community around it that participated.

Sadly, I can’t say much more based on what I witnessed, as the tourney that started to take place afterwards was Pokemon Puzzle League, one of my main speedrunning games, in a versus format with a group stage, following a double elimination.

The PPL tournament had a pretty high skill ceiling as only 5 out of 7 players that actually achieved a sub-20 minute time in the S-Hard speedrunning category participated. I was a bit intimidated as I never got to play against very good players in versus mode, and the training sessions right before the event were not very encouraging.

For the people that don’t know much about the Puzzle League series, here’s a short resume of what the game is like: It is a simple three-match game with a playfield in which the player moves a cursor to swap panels. With combos, which are groups of more than three panels, and chains, which are matches of three or more that fall from previously cleared panels, you can send so-called garbage blocks to your opponent and clear said blocks with making a match that touches these garbage blocks. The target is to fill the opponent’s screen all the way to the top with the garbage blocks.

With that in mind, the tournament went way better than I expected. I got a tied 5th place with one of the people that had a sub-20 minute S-Hard time, only being defeated by Blinzer, the only top player that doesn’t play S-Hard, and FFRPro21 who scored the 3rd place in this tournament.

The finals were between BBForky and Blinzer. Blinzer got sent into the losers bracket by BBForky in the winner’s finals, but came back strong and swept BBForky in both matches with a 3-0 game, claiming a victory. Two matches because there is bracket reset if the winner of the losers’ bracket wins the first match against the winner of the winners’ bracket. Footage will be streamed on PuzzleGeneral after AGDQ as the other tourneys.

I know, it’s confusing for me too sometimes.

That covers the tournaments that I took place in or viewed.

Let’s go over to the daily arcade action with one of my favourites.

InitialDArcadeStage.jpg

For those who understood the deja vu reference from yesterday’s blog, it was clear that there will be Initial D arcade coverage today.

Initial D is an anime and manga series that started in the late 90’s. The focus of the game was drifting and speeding downhill, mostly with cars. There’s also the spin-off Densha de D where you actually drift with trains. No joke, a game where you drift dowhill in trains exists.

As a fan of racing games and the anime series, I had to cover this as one of the arcade highlights. Personally, I’m more of a simulation racing enthusiast and I’m really bad at arcade racers, which this game verified after over more than a dozen attempts. Nonetheless, it’s a ton of fun to drift down some of the racetracks you know from the series.

There are a few flaws with the machines though: You need an actual arcade card (that I don’t own) to save your progress and the gear-shifter is on the left-hand side. Sadly, I’m used to mainly having my left hand on the steering wheel, while shifting gears with my right. I still drove like that in that arcade machine, but it looked silly and was definitely not comfortable. There’s also the possibility to drive 1-on-1 races or team 2-versus-2 races against the AI. This was possible thanks to the multiple machines that were linked together.

InitialDArcadeStageMulti.jpg

I have a lot of fun playing it and I’ll do a few more rounds before I leave AGDQ for sure.

I guess that covers Day 4 of the event! I’ll have to get ready for the Awful Games Done Quick block of AGDQ, where mostly weird and nearly unplayable games are showcased.

Have a good day and tune in tomorrow for some Puyo Puyo tourney action!

Click here for yesterday’s post!

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Here’s Day Five’s Post!

AGDQ 2018 – Day Three!

Yume here, and it’s Day 3 of AGDQ. Today the many tournaments held in the back rooms of AGDQ start to take place, and I already participated in 2 of them. More to come over the next few days.

The first tourney of the event was a classic. No, let me call it THE classic in gaming, especially for home consoles. We are talking about NEStris or more known as the NES version of Tetris. Yeah, I’m sorry again, puzzle games will certainly be part of this and well…There is a reason, other than me being a puzzle lover, behind this. Out of the about 20 tournaments I’ve seen posted in the tourney room, 1/3 of them are for puzzle games.

Let’s cut to the tournament itself: The target was getting the highest score, which is not really up my alley. I usually do 100 line attempts where you don’t really bother about your points, but about how fast you get 100 lines together. Which means I didn’t really have high hopes for my matches.

But honestly, I winged it in a really good manner. Averaging at about 300k points was way better than what I expected myself to do and I caused trouble for some participants that I didn’t expect. All in all, it was a fun experience for all the people that participated. I met some people in person that I fought in previous tournaments online and I saw some pretty sweet Tetris action all around, especially from the top 3 players. If you want to see some of the footage that was recorded, the puzzle community twitch channel PuzzleGeneral will stream some of the matches after AGDQ is done and they had the time to cut the videos for streaming purpose.

The winner was a very experienced NEStris runner that also won the “One Night Only Tournament” in december for the 100 lines tourney, rcdrone.

But what mainly made this event a blast was the overall performance of the participants. We had a so-called kill screen which means reaching level 29, which is humanly impossible to play on anymore, big scores, and close matches. Also, a thing to mention was the aura inside the tournament room. During some of the breath-taking matches, there was no other noise to hear other than the clicking of controllers and the Tetris music. Not only that, people that joined the room while talking immediatly went quiet and let themselves be taken in by the atmosphere, up to the point where about 50 people were watching the finals. It doesn’t sound like much in the first place, but the tourney room is not that big and Tetris itself is rather unpopular with speedrunners and streamers (except the newly released Puyo Puyo Tetris and for hardcore fans of the block stacking game, of course). Thursday will be Puyo Puyo Tetris tournament day, more about this game then.

The tournament lasted for around 5 hours in total and was a great success for the tournament organizer.

Basically right after this we had a kind of Wario’s Woods afterparty with a tournament of the game that was featured on AGDQ the day before. I can’t play this game, seriously, but I joined for fun. And it was also a great experience doing this tourney with some friends of PuzzleGeneral and other people that joined in and knew about as much as myself. The format for this was versus, so you play against a real player for the matches, unlike the speedrun shown yesterday.

The atmosphere shifted 180°. We had a lot of fun and were loud as heck. Even the usually noisy Super Smash Bros. dedicated room close by wasn’t nearly as loud as we were during that tournament, where fun was the main target for a lot of the runners and audience.

The winner of this tournament was our one and only peteyboo, which did the Warios Woods run the day before. It was a blast in many ways, but I generally enjoyed the Tetris tourney more from the level of gameplay that was showcased. Not to talk Wario’s Woods and the participants down or anything, but Tetris was seriously phenominal.

For the rest of the week, there are some other tourneys planned I want to take place in, like Pokémon Puzzle League, Puyo Puyo Tetris, and Rocket League. I also try to cover other tournaments I don’t take part in myself as much as possible, I might not be able to do everything because of overlapping times though. Granted, I will write about the A Link to the Past race that will take on Friday with a short interview with a friend that takes part in it.

But for today, let’s go over to the arcade again, as I spotted a gem of the Japanese arcade machines, which I enjoy watching a lot. A friend of mine is insanely good at it from my amateur point of view.

I’m talking about Sound Voltex, which most likely is not that well known outside of Japan. Who doesn’t remember enjoying Audio Surf in the old days of Steam and Osu? It basically is the same, a rhythm game, but it’s also on a whole other level of difficulty.

There is an actual PC version available for free that is called K-Shoot Mania and it requires a lot of skill, good reflexes, and coordination. And of course knowledge of the board, you play. The game is playable with a keyboard alone. Dedicated controllers are available on the net though, and it is a lot of fun playing these games if you enjoy the rhythm genre (or just want to watch people that are really good with it). If you are interested in such games, you should certainly check it out!

It uses three different inputs that are four smaller white buttons, two bigger yellow/orange buttons and two knobs you have to rotate, which makes up a lot of the complexity. I’m happy that I had the chance to see such a machine up close for once, as it makes for a ton of fun.

I guess that covers today for the big part, I’ll get back to you with a little bit of DEJA-VU tomorrow.

Check out yesterday’s post here.

You can check out how to support us here!

Have a nice day!

AGDQ 2018 – Day Two!

Yume here with some more AGDQ behind the scenes things going on. Not as sleepy anymore, which is why there was no daily blog entry yesterday. But here it is:

Let’s talk a bit about the speedrunning marathon for a bit here, because I’ll have a short interview with one of the runners of the marathon right here for you. As part of the puzzle community, I could tell that hype was big for the Wario’s Woods run on the morning of Monday. The interview will be with our very own Peteyboo, who did that run at AGDQ.

It was a big highlight for all of the puzzle community members attending the marathon, as it is our only showcase for this AGDQ. But, the two runs afterwards were my personal favourites, and I couldn’t wait for them. There was a Donkey Kong Country 2 No Warps run and Donkey Kong Country 1 Reverse Boss Order. The first run was pretty high on my priority list as DKC2 has a lot of interesting tech and mechanics, as well as the two runners that raced it are very good at the game. Of course, KC1 was even more interesting as it showed a lot of Wrong Warps that are possible inside the game, which means you can skip levels, kind of at will, if you manipulate the game in the right ways. If you are a fan of the DKC series you should check out the videos on Youtube for sure.

But let’s cut to the short interview peteyboo (@peteybooLP on twitter) gave me for his run of Wario’s Woods.

[Start Interview]

What was your reaction when your run of Wario’s Woods was accepted for AGDQ ?

I was really surprised as I tried to get the run into AGDQ for years and it finally worked out. After the game appeared at last year’s NASA (North American Speedunner Assembly, an event held in Canada last year) it was much easier to get the game into an event like AGDQ. And of course I was really happy about it.

How did you prepare for your run?

For the most part I did no reset runs (Means that you don’t reset training runs when you get bad time and just wing it with how it is going), doing some practice with a fellow speedrunner, Montucky (AKA montySR), which also showed me some fast and easy solutions to certain patterns here at AGDQ to make the run even more consistent.

How did you feel before the run ? (As we checked the stream before his run there were about 88k viewers, just as a note)

I felt fine and just as usual. I wasn’t nervous after already doing the run at NASA last year, and with having a good coach by my side that would go over the games mechanics as me, I could focus on the run.

And how did you feel during the run?

I was very focused on the run and didn’t feel different than before the run.

How satisfied were you with our performance on the run?

I was pretty satisfied with the run. Getting a time that is just half a minute shy of the sub 20 minutes was pretty solid for a marathon run.

Any other things you want to say?

Not really much except a big thanks to the whole Wario’s Woods community and the crew I had in my back, as they helped to make it a great showcase of this game.

[End Interview]

That’s it with the interview folks and mostly with the blog post for Day 2.

And…Oh shoot, I forgot something about the general stuff in the Day 1 Blog post. Of course, besides all the “attractions” I covered there is one more thing I didn’t have on the plate that is pretty usual for a speedrunner meetup. Board games, and a lot of them. There is a whole floor of the openly accessible part of the hotel designated to board games of all sorts. There are even people that take care of you when you enter the room and can’t decide on a game to play. Which is good, as the pile of board games the attendees brought is huge. Oh, and like 30 different Rubic’s Cubes, of course.

But yeah, that’s it for real now with the Day 2 Blog post. Sorry again for being late with this, Day 3 will be up soon as well.

Have a good day.

Day 3, here.

AGDQ 2018 – Day One!

Well, that was a blast. Yume here and I’m gonna talk a bit about my experiences behind the scenes of Awesome Games Done Quick 2018, the winter edition of the biggest speedrunning event nowadays, over the course of this week.

Honestly, this day had a real slow start and there were not much “attractions” around yet, so I’ll cut to the general picture that I saw about the event today. Over this week, there will be a lot of events of different speedrunning groups that make a big part of these kinds of events in and of itself.

Being stationed in close distance to the international airport of Washington, the Hilton Washington is the location for this year’s event. The massive hotel offered space and everything needed to pull off this big event.

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The whole hotel is full of “Welcome to GDQ” posters. There’s a desk located in front of the streaming room where your badges are ready to get grabbed. For today, I’ll only have my attendee badge. I’ll organise a picture for a runner badge as well over the week, just because they are well made and look awesome in my opinion.

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Getting a bit of a look behind the scenes is a lot of fun, especially when you’re early on the first day. You see the organisers and crew getting ready for the first take before the speedruns start. Making jokes and refining their choreography to give out the best possible performance to the audience.

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As we are located in a big hotel, there are a lot of rooms this event can call their own for (these few days), like preparation rooms for the runners where they can practice for their runs that will take part in the event a few hours later. Casual gaming rooms, where people meet up to just play games with each other and talk, can also be found. This was kind of was where I got stuck for a long time. On day one I met a ton of people from communities I am part of for the first time.

There are also designated rooms where the community tournaments will take place and an arcade room with older and newer arcade machines. Sadly, it opened relatively late on this first day, but more will certainly be covered on one of the blog posts of this week, so stay tuned for that as well.

One event already took place on the first day though, the so-called Quiz-Bowl. Teams play against each other and answer questions to different gaming-related questions; a very interesting idea and sub-event of AGDQ.

As most of the stuff wasn’t accessible today or just didn’t take place on the first day, I’ll leave it at this. More stuff coming over the next few days while this amazing event continues!

Have a great day and stay tuned for more AGDQ 2018 blog posts!

Day Two, here!