The Mezunian

Die Positivität ist das Opium des Volkes, aber der Spott ist das Opium der Verrückten

I Can’t Believe It’s Not The Onion

Sorry this is late: WordPress for some reason decided to keep this as a draft ‘stead o’ being scheduled & has such a crappy interface that I didn’t find out till I happened to stumble onto it now.


Honest-to-god Huffington Post article:

To The Racist Guy Who Picked Up My Pencil During Class

Read this article & tell me it doesn’t sound like some wacky parody from The Onion.

I can only imagine the response article: “To The Rich Company That Exploits The Work O’ Desperate Journalists Without Paying Them Who Criticized Racism”1.

Also, if we’re actually trying to make an intellectual argument to actually change the mind o’ a racist ( a futile endeavor ), I don’t think just asserting to them that racism’s bad is going to do anything. If anything, the racist, if they actually read this post ( ’cause I’m sure a racist Hairpiece-supporter would read Huffington Post ) would probably just convince themselves that you’re being all hostile — ¡& when they did you the great privilege o’ picking up your hefty pencil! — & convince themselves that this further backs up their view that the nonwhite-socialist-Starbucks-drinker Borg or whatever are crazy extreme pushy people or whatever & continue posting trite racist jokes ’cause they have no creativity.

Thanks for that, by the way. I mean, yeah, I’m sure your family getting deported is a problem & all; but I think we need to look @ the dire problems here, such as me having to see dumb racist jokes online & roll my eyes.

Huffington Post, I truly wish you’d learn that when you write articles arguing gainst legitimately bad things, you should try to not be stupid while doing so, so you don’t unintentionally hurt the cause you’re fighting for. Maybe if you actually paid your writers, you could get some who actually give a shit ’nough to try.

Posted in Politics, Yuppy Tripe

Let’s Code a Crappy 2D Platformer Like Millions o’ Other People on the Internet & Lose Interest & Give Up Only a Few Months In, Part XVII

I already did this months ago, only I just found out it for some reason didn’t publish when I wanted it to.

Value Valhalla

You can probably guess that this is a parody o’ Super Mario Bros. coin heavens.

You’d be surprised what a pain ’twas to not just loop repeatedly, but to add that extra part after the 3rd loop with the diamond.

But fans o’ Pannekoek2012 will be excited ’bout one way it’s implemented — yes, that’s right: it involved parallel universes. No, this wasn’t as an intentional joke or reference; I actually experimented with having your character’s & the cloud’s positions revert back to the other edge, but couldn’t get it to work smoothly.

Thus, the way the loop actually works is that while you & the cloud you’re on keeps gaining X position, the Map class manipulates the rest o’ the level to give the illusion that it’s looping. The camera is changed so that it no longer stops @ the width o’ the map, but goes on fore’er, & the map code for giving block indexes to the block system changes so that it gives one relative to how it calculates what the left edge o’ the particular “current loop”, which is calculated based on the player’s position, rather than outputting invalid indices past the edge o’ the level. ( As a note, recall that I mentioned in the last post how the cart level required the horizontal edges o’ the screen to be even to making the cart not bump into blocks from 1 edge while on the other edge. I fixed that now. )

The sprites also had to be repositioned ( ‘cept for the main cloud platform sprite: it does loop back round if you let it go past the edge o’ the screen; but due to nuances for how it works, it has its own separate code for looping ). Said repositioning code only works if the sprites reset to their original position, for some reason. Luckily, the bees automatically do that, anyway, & the cloud block sprites can do so without any problem. ( Note: not only are the bouncy blocks sprites; so are the flat ones, to make it so their eyes follow you. Yes, I created extra work for myself just so I could make blocks watch your character. )

I should point out that this level theoretically works fine looping in the other direction, too ( though the diamond part’s only programmed to appear on the 3rd loop going rightward, e’en if going leftward from the 4th loop ). In the original version o’ this level, there was a 2nd cloud up top that went leftward. However, I felt it ruined the gimmick o’ this level, since it made looping horizontally unnecessary, since one could just go back & forth. Plus, it wasn’t all the useful, since you can reach close to the top already. Lastly, changing it to work with the extra diamond area made it impossible to keep the cloud platforms in sync. This impressive feat was the only reason I cared ’bout keeping the other cloud, & since it’s now gone, I see no reason to still want the cloud platform. I think the level works much better now.

Levels to come: a sewer level influenced by “Wet-Dry World” & a sky level where you’re a flying owl.

Download source code.

Believe it or not, I’m still working on this — just not doing anything productive or worthy showing.

Posted in Boskeopolis Land, Programming

But You Can’t Feel Your Own

’Twas a bad time to stumble on economics articles.

I just have to mention the words “Less Wrong” & you’ll probably already smack your forehead. From what I’ve seen, “Less Wrong” are like most people, in that they try to not be idiots; but unlike most people, they make the idiotic decision to constantly brag ’bout how much better @ not being idiots they are than other people without any evidence while simultaneously pretending that they don’t do so.

To be fair, these “rationalists” should be praised for brilliantly figuring out something that benefits us all: they can assuage their shriveled egos while we can get hours o’ hilarity making fun o’ how shriveled their egos are.

If I were an actor in an improv show, and my prompt was “annoying person who’s never read any economics, criticizing economists”, I think I could nail it. I’d say something like:

Economists think that they can figure out everything by sitting in their armchairs and coming up with ‘models’ based on ideas like ‘the only motivation is greed’ or ‘everyone behaves perfectly rationally’. But they didn’t predict the housing bubble, they didn’t predict the subprime mortgage crisis, and they didn’t predict Lehman Brothers. All they ever do is talk about how capitalism is perfect and government regulation never works, then act shocked when the real world doesn’t conform to their theories.

Fun tip to economists: making childish strawmen arguments is a great way to confirm others’ judgments that, yes, economists are much mo’ mentally mediocre than they like to pretend they are.

This criticism’s very clichedness should make it suspect.

No, I think the fact that you pulled it out o’ your dick hole makes it mo’ suspect.

It would be very strange if there were a standard set of criticisms of economists, which practically everyone knew about and agreed with, and the only people who hadn’t gotten the message yet were economists themselves.

“¿What’s ‘hive mind’ mean? ¿What’s bias? ¡I don’t understand these elusive terms!”

If any moron on a street corner could correctly point out the errors being made by bigshot PhDs, why would the PhDs never consider changing?

So this superrationalist relies on appeal to authority — the idea that PhDs must be smart, ’cause that’s what PhDs are. Meanwhile, average people must be dumb, ’cause o’ “appeal to obscurity”. This hyperrationalist post sure is a great way to win Logical Fallacy Bingo.

A few of these are completely made up…

No, don’t underrate yourself, man: I’m quite sure you made all o’ them up.

[M]y impression is that economists not only know about these criticisms, but invented them.

Too bad your “impression” has the validity o’ what I heard ’bout in my fever dreams ( but are much less entertaining, sadly ).

For the next quote, I made sure to highlight all the fun regurgitated buzzwords that show that, no, this person didn’t put any thought into what they were saying.

During the last few paradigm shifts in economics, the new guard levied these complaints against the old guard, mostly won, and their arguments percolated down into the culture as The Correct Arguments To Use Against Economics.

Also, apparently German-style nouns are the rational way to do scare quotes.

As a psychiatrist, I constantly get told that my field is about “blaming everything on your mother” or thinks “everything is serotonin deficiency“.

Truly the most hurtful slur anyone has e’er punted @ someone.

Maybe people would be less ignorant ’bout the things you know so much ’bout if you actually provided scientific evidence that they’re wrong, rather than just telling them they’re wrong & tut-tutting them. Or e’en providing real evidence o’ these defamations rather than just saying some nebulous mass o’ people told you these things, “just take me @ my promise”.

If I were an actor in an improv show, and my prompt was “annoying person who’s never read anything about rationality, criticizing rationalists”, it would go something like…

No, stop. Nobody’s going to buy your shitty Ayn Rand plays. Stick to constantly asking people, “¿How does that make you feel?” till their hour is up. ( ¡Ha! ¡You missed a cliché! )

I didn’t bother reading his “play”, since he himself already warned me that ’twas stupid, & I’m not sure why he thought I’d want to read something stupid. Which makes me wonder why he wrote this post in itself… or why I’m reading it if I don’t like reading stupid things… Hmm…

Like the economics example, these combine basic mistakes with legitimate criticisms levied by rationalists themselves against previous rationalist paradigms or flaws in the movement.

’Cept, unlike economists, who have true PhDs & actual academic standards, there’s no rule regarding who can & can’t describe themselves as “rationalists” — well, ’cept a minimum level o’ narcissism. I can put underwear on my head & run round traffic calling myself a “rationalist” all I want, & you can’t prove me wrong, or e’en “mo’ wrong”.

Like the electroconvulsive therapy example, they’re necessarily the opposite…

O fucking God, this diction. ¿“Necessarily the opposite”?

There have been past paradigms for which some of these criticisms are pretty fair. I think especially of the late-19th/early-20th century Progressive movement.

“I think” is my favorite mathematical proof.

But notice how many of those names are blue. Each of those links goes to book reviews, by me, of books studying those people and how they went wrong.

“¿See? You’re wrong. The fact that I wrote some shitty blog review on these classics proves that I’m right. Obviously it’s physically impossible to write a stupid or wrong review”.

So consider the possibility that the rationalist community has a plan somewhat more interesting than just “remain blissfully unaware of past failures and continue to repeat them again and again”.

How ’bout I consider the possibility that the “rationalist community” is just a made-up name for your adult-child clubhouse & that though they “plan” something different from sitting round regurgitating thoughts that’ve already been made, they do something e’en less interesting than that.

Hey, if you can prove something with “I think”, so can I.

Modern rationalists don’t think they’ve achieved perfect rationality.

“¡Look @ how humble I am for thinking I’m not an intellectual god in fleshy form! ¡Please lay ’pon my feet all your adulation for my magnificent humility!”

[T]hey keep trying to get people to call them “aspiring rationalists” only to be frustrated by the phrase being too long[.]

You should replace “by the phrase being too long” with “by everyone ’stead calling us ‘narcissistic shitbrains’”.

( my compromise proposal to shorten it to “aspies” was inexplicably rejected ).

“For some reason, e’en my fellow narcissistic twats didn’t buy my attempt to appropriate a true social condition with my need for pity @ the weakest o’ criticisms”.

I can back him up on 1 thing, though: from my experience with psychiatrists ( who told me I shouldn’t publish these — ¡But they can’t stop me now! ), I oft see them throw round slurs for medical conditions for the people they’re s’posed to be helping. I know my psychiatrist was all, “Man, those fucking retards. ¿Am I right? Let me disclose all the stories ’bout this 1 loser named Becky Brown who was too pussy to leave their house”. So we can see that this psychiatrist is showing the utmost professionalism here.

They try to focus on doubting themselves instead of criticizing others.

¡Which he’s done so well here! ¡Look @ how oft he criticized his poor self, & didn’t e’en say a single bad word gainst any o’ the people who criticized him! ¡How noble!

They don’t pooh-pooh academia and domain expertise – in the last survey, about 20% of people above age 30 had PhDs.

“We don’t pee-pee academia; we just cite irrelevant statistics”.

They don’t reject criticism and self-correction…

Well, ’cept for all those “annoying” people who have “never read any economics” or have “never read anything about rationality”…

Tip: focus less on appropriating Aspergers & mo’ on trying to get pity for your obvious bout o’ Alzheimers.

They don’t want to blithely destroy all existing institutions[.]

¿What the hell does that have to do with anything?

O, great. So they’re not fun. I see.

[T]his is the only community I know where interjecting with “Chesterton’s fence!” is a universally understood counterargument which shifts the burden of proof back on the proponent.

“This is the only community out o’ the few I actually know that pretends that using obscure slang terms is the road to rationality”.

Sadly, wrong there, too.

They have said approximately one zillion times that they don’t like Spock and think he’s a bad role model.

OK, I tolerated all your other inanities — but being mean ’nough to hate Spock goes too far. He died in 1 o’ the movies… ¿I think? ¿Didn’t his actor die, too?

Fuck it: just pretend I made some shitty joke ’bout some dumb show I obviously ne’er watched.

They include painters, poets, dancers, photographers, and novelists.

Apparently his idea o’ propaganda is listing irrelevant “facts” he made up in a second. “They don’t eat @ Burger King; they eat @ Panda express. They include people who own mice, cats, armadillos, & iguanas”.

They…well… “they never have romantic relationships” seems like maybe the opposite of the criticism that somebody familiar with the community might apply.

His totally rational argument is “Man, we totally get lots o’ tail, unlike you losers”.

[…]encourage each other to give various percents of their income to charity, and founded or lead various charitable organizations.

“We are the only people to e’er do so, ’course”.

Look.

( Swings head all round, turns back to the screen & shrugs. )

I’m the last person who’s going to deny that the road we’re on is littered with the skulls of the people who tried to do this before us.

“This’ll be ensured when I finalize my robotic space pod, which’ll keep me ’live while the rest o’ you suckers drown in the seas o’ death”.

We’ve looked at the creepy skull pyramids and thought “huh, better try to do the opposite of what those guys did”.

“I’ll just assure you that we won’t be fuck-ups & you’ll just unconditionally believe me, ¿right?”

If you have this sort of concern, and you want to accuse us of it, please do a quick Google search to make sure that everybody hasn’t been condemning it and promising not to do it since the beginning.

Google is, after all, the most rigorous source o’ scientific knowledge.

We’re almost certainly still making horrendous mistakes that people thirty years from now will rightly criticize us for. But they’re new mistakes.

No: inane, arrogant douchebaggery’s as ol’ as fire.

And I hope that maybe having a community dedicated to carefully checking its own thought processes and trying to minimize error in every way possible will make us have slightly fewer horrendous mistakes than people who don’t do that.

Considering the utter lack o’ self-awareness present in this post, that’s guaranteed to fail.

If this is what passes as “rationalist” in the western world, I’m not surprised that it’s filling its leadership roles with the most pompous buffoons in the world. Welcome to Hairpiece America: where e’en the left is stupid, & the right has to become e’en stupider to keep ’head.

Posted in Yuppy Tripe

Web Designers Shitting Themselves

I think the average citizen would make a better web designer than a lot o’ so-called professional web designers simply ’cause they don’t try the excessive nonsense that web designers do & nobody else would e’en think to do ’cause it’s so insane. It’s the equivalent o’ someone bragging ’bout how amazing they look & then suddenly shitting all o’er their pants; they expect users to marvel @ their prowess, but ’stead we turn up our noses & cringe. Ugh. It’s the power glove o’ web design: ’stead o playing a perfectly good but “drab” controller, you fuck round with a glove like a jackass.

Take login forms. A novice who just learned HTML from 1 o’ the millions o’ O’Reilly books out there would create a basic form that would load to a basic “¡You’ve logged in, Jim!” page. Boring & less than 1% accurate in regards to the user’s name, but operable.

Now, let me tell you ’bout the login page o’ some website that shall go unnamed, like Voldemort. ’Stead o’ using a basic page, it uses a custom window made with a div & CSS magic.1 & since this is a div, it has no scroll bar; if you use the actual window’s scroll bar, the div will simply stay in place while the website you can faintly see ’hind it scrolls ’cause the div uses a fixed position. Now, ¿what happens when a vital element — say, the confirmation button — is off-screen? The answer is that you’re fucked; you can’t use the form. I e’en tried pressing Enter or highlighting with my mouse downward. Nothing worked. I’ll tell you what I did do: give up with disgust @ the scent o’ the designer’s feces-filled drawers.

I could try to give mo’ examples, but thankfully my mind’s blocked them out like traumatizing moments. I do remember 1 website long ago that was s’posed to help teach me web design & had the brilliant idea to have the navigation bar’s text rotated 90° so that you had to crane your neck just to see it. I still don’t e’en know how they did that, much less what made them think ’twas a good idea.

Here’s a common example from others who have seen this problem themselves, albeit 1 that’s rarer & a bit hyperbolic: magic JavaScript links. ¿Who needs boring ol’ anchor tags with their lame-ass semantics & SEO advantages when we can waste memory & bandwidth to load some JavaShit that does the same thing?

To be fair, many designers in general do this. It’s why my laptop mouse randomly clicks things when I move it ’cause the genius designers wanted to show off their awesome ability to click when you lightly tap the mouse pad ’stead o’ using the click button just below it — you know, what you do every time to put your finger on the pad so you can move it @ all. They were wrong: they didn’t prove themselves to be awesome; they simply shit their pants in front o’ everyone. It’s the same reason many DS games, including the otherwise awesome Wario: Master of Disguise & the always not-awesome Diddy Kong Racing DS2, were made mo’ frustrating by the MIC, whose mood swings determine whether your heavy blowing for minutes straight into it does anything or not. ’Gain, the designers thought they were being brilliant making something that easily could’ve been controlled by a simple button use some new control; ’stead they made the Power Glove 2.0. & they shit their pants in front o’ us all & made us all look ’way in shame.

¿Is that what you want, designers? ¿To watch so many people look @ you in disgust while feces slides down your pant legs all o’er your shoes? Then don’t do all this fancy shit. Just make the shit work intuitively & call it a day. As Vincent Flanders said, “Nobody e’er complained that a site worked too well”.

& for god’s sake, ’nough with the arbitrary rules for filling out forms. I must’ve wasted half an hour waiting for a page to load so it could tell me there was an error ’cause some jackass web designer arbitrarily decided that commas weren’t valid characters for a superfluous catch phrase they forced me to create or that it must be within some narrow range o’ characters. Said designer probably thought they were clever figuring out all o’ the code to create these limits & this wacky new security measure. They weren’t. They only wasted my time having to clean up all o’ the excrement they sprayed all o’er my walls.

I also loved the government site that had a quite low ( my 1st name barely fit, & it’s not that long ) character limit for names. Presumably this is purely to satisfy the nostalgia in fans o’ ol’ NES RPGs, since I can’t imagine their servers being so weak that they can’t handle strings with mo’ than a dozen characters — ¡you might as well ask them to host your MP4s, man! ¿What happens if you’re real name is too long? You’re fucked, that’s what. Better shell out the money to legally change your name just so you can pay your debts. You don’t want creditors calling you & having to respond with, “Sorry I couldn’t pay today; my name doesn’t fit in your website. I tried to pretend my name was ’Sebast,’ as I always named Cecil back in 1992, but then I was put in prison for not mo’ than 5 years”.

Posted in Web Design

The Legend o’ Legend of the Four Switches: Part 1

( Note: went back & added music notes to each level analysis. )

It’s hard to divide Legend of the Four Switches into “worlds”, since, as I mentioned in the intro, they sometimes blend into each other. Mo’ importantly, the main path I’ll be going through will leave & return to worlds. However, I’ll try to divide the levels into bunches & describe them as I introduce them.

World A: Valley o’ Bowser’s

In a strike o’ irony, the 1st world is Bowser’s land. You start with 2 levels unlocked: “King Koopa Kastle” & “Sea of Sangre”.

King Koopa Kastle ( 1st visit )

Music: “Bowser’s Castle ( Second Time )”, Super Mario RPG

( Yes, this is some frankenstein o’ classic & modern ¡Let’s Play!™s wherein I embed uncommentated videos accompanied by text below. Technological advancements are slow in my village. )

However, the 1st level is blocked off from completion till you hit all 4 switches, leaving you with just a taunting info box & a pipe that shoots you out o’ the level.

Having the exit be due to a pipe shooting you offscreen was a way to fix an earlier glitch: having the castle itself make you exit the level by touching the screens makes the functionality carry into all the following sublevels. It turns out that a sublevel later in the level actually requires you to touch the edge o’ the screen, making the level impossible. However, I didn’t want to force the player to kill themselves to leave the level. Luckily, I thought o’ this solution. I’m actually glad, since I find the shooting out o’ the pipe — specially with its solemn ghost house music — quite amusing.

Sea of Sangre

Music: “Decisive Battle”, Final Fantasy VI

Despite how ridiculously edgy the use o’ blood for water is ( though, to be fair, it’s ne’er explicitly stated, save for the use o’ a Latin term in the title; it could just be metaphorical ), I do like the aesthetic o’ having the 1st level be dark, with the dramatic “Decisive Battle” music from Final Fantasy VI. Not so fond o’ the sound glitches that happen when you do things, though. Didn’t remember that.

The level itself, though, is… ehhh. Interestingly ’nough, it’s linear, though there is a nice pointless use o’ a P-switch right @ the end, just so you can reach the exit.

Most o’ the level is rudimentary, & much o’ it feels empty. There’s also a random pattern o’ blocks just thrown ’bout @ the end o’ the water section.

Ghosts ’n Goblins

Music: “Fortress”, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island ( ¿Same? )

In addition to nonlinear levels, I was big on just weird levels that make you think, ¿What’s the point o’ this? This level starts you in the middle o’ a long empty hall with the only door on the far left side. It’s dumb.

The next room is a li’l better: it’s a li’l puzzle wherein you have to grab a Koopa shell @ the end & bring it back to the middle to throw it @ a vertical column o’ blocks helpfully pointed out by an arrow o’ coins to make a vine grow upward, allowing you to climb up & grab the P-switch.

Granted, as a few o’ the SMW Central people pointed out, despite the holes in the floor, one could still spin jump off Boos to reach to the top early. But I don’t mind that so much, since that’s probably harder to do than the main way to complete the level. Unlike some SMW hackers, I was less obsessed with ensuring people played my levels the “right” way & was quite fine with alternate ways to beat levels, which was why I allow the player to take cape feathers into any level they want, which most SMW hack designers recommend gainst, since it allows one to fly o’er entire levels. To me, if ’twas fine for one to do so in the original SMW, ’twas fine to do it in my hack.

As an aside, I’m now going to keep a counter for levels with P-switches. So far we’re @ 2 out o’ 2. ( “King Koopa Kastle” doesn’t count, since we haven’t gone through it all yet. Also, spoiler alert: it has P-switches, too. )

Then take the P-Switch to the pipe @ the end o’ the level, which leads back to the empty hallway. Hitting the P-Switch creates a door @ the far right side o’ the room, which leads to the goal.

I’m not sure how to feel ’bout this last part. It’s not exactly spelled out; but I’m not sure if it’s particularly hard to figure out, either. It’s not as if the game punishes you deeply if you hit the P-Switch too early; you’ll just have to redo the level, essentially, without needing to kill yourself.

Still, this trial-&-error puzzle could easily get tedious. If I were to remake this level, I’d cut out that whole empty hallway, make you start in the grayscale room, & just put the goal where the P-Switch is. Cuts out the fat. Sure, it makes spin-jumping on boos skip the entire level; but it’s the 2nd level, for god’s sake. Diddy’s Kong Quest had warp barrels that let you skip whole levels in every level in the 1st 2 worlds. Plus, I like the dynamic o’ having the 1st level be a relatively long but simple level & the 2nd level be a short puzzle.

World B: Mushroom Island

After you beat “Ghosts ’n Goblins”, you unlock a pipe on the o’erworld. Go into that pipe, & you’ll be taken to the 1st level spot o’ “Mushroom Island”.

I want to emphasize that last part: there’s no pipe back to “Valley o’ Bowser”. It’s a 1-way trip. Don’t worry: unlike certain hacks ( [cough] Super Demo World [cough] ), it’s impossible to screw yourself out o’ 100% in this game. There’s an alternate entrance back into “Valley o’ Bowser” later.

I’m still proud o’ this design choice. I feel it makes the o’erworld feel mo’ mysterious.

Island of Ergot

Music: “Flower Garden”, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island

While the true 1st level was a twist on 1st levels, being a dark & red level with ominous music, the 1st level o’ “Mushroom Island” is what a typical game would have as a 1st level: a green grassland. Granted, the sky’s still a nighly dark blue.

Though it’s not particularly brilliant, I like this level. It’s a simple romp with a few choice enemies, broken by 2 simple “puzzles”, if you could call them that. I like the use o’ the P-Switch as to build the coin bridge & the level ends @ a dead-end with power-ups & expects you to enter 1 o’ the many piranha-plant pipes just before the dead-end to find the goal. As I mentioned, these early levels were made when I still had some creativity & wasn’t just copying the same ideas.

O yeah, & an STD joke. ¿What? ¿Was this programmed in C++? ( Ho, ho, ho… O… ).

P-Switch level count: 3 / 3.

Fungi Forest

Music: “Forest Area”, Kirby’s Adventure

Here’s probably the best P-Switch puzzle I created. It’s a twist on the usual puzzle: collect the coins in front o’ the wall o’ brown blocks so that when you inevitably find the P-Switch, you can reach the brown blocks, which will then be coins. ’Cept, ’hind the brown blocks is just a pipe that leads back to the start o’ the level. Careful-eyed players will notice that the tip o’ the wall o’ coins is under a pipe that otherwise looks like it’s just a part o’ the o’erall pipe construction. You’re s’posed to hit the P-Switch so you can stand on the coins & enter that pipe.

You can’t bring the P-Switch with you from the top o’ the pipe construction, either, as you can only enter it from upward-only cloud blocks & can only leave by hitting the switch to make the brown blocks turn into coins, making it a bit o’ a race o’ sorts.

There’s not much to say ’bout the cave interlude. It’s just a boring raft ride forcing you to hop anytime a Blaarg pops out or a bat flies down @ you. I tried to make it a li’l mo’ interesting from the original version by giving the ceiling weird patterns. But it’s still not notable. Probably be better if this section were cut.

The last “puzzle” is OK. You need to grab a throw block & throw it @ the wall o’ turn blocks so you can go through it to reach the goal. To reach the turn blocks, you’ll have to defeat the Amazing Flying Hammer Bro & use his platform to reach it, which means you’ll probably have to go back afterward to get the throw block so you’ll have time to use it.

My only problem is the superfluous use o’ the P-Switch to get through the brown-block-wall ’tween the throw blocks & the turn blocks. I guess the “puzzle” was ’sposed to be that you’re ’sposed to pay attention & notice that there’s land under the throw blocks, which otherwise seem to be o’er a bottomless pit. But that’s a lame puzzle, & would’ve worked better somewhere else. I’d cut it.

Also, Yoshi & turn blocks are great:

If I have any problem with this level, o’erall, other than the 2nd P-Switch & the cave section, it’d be that it doesn’t fit the theme well. It’s s’posed to be a forest level, but most o’ it is pipe structures.

  • P-Switch level count: 4 / 4
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 1
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 1

Basidio Bridge

Music: “The Tidal Coast / Sea Turtle Rock / Beneath the Waves”, Wario Land 3

I really liked the puzzle @ the beginning, where you have to kick a shell down in the small passageway @ the bottom to hit a block @ the end & create a vine. I also like the use o’ the P-Switch to create a race to the beginning to enter the pipe just @ the start, surrounded by brown blocks. I think it’s probably the inspiration from Wario Land 3 & 4, but I like levels where the goal is @ the beginning, which must be unlocked by getting something @ the end, & then take a different path back to the start. In fact, now that I think ’bout it, this puzzle is a lot like Wario Land 4: the P-Switch is like the also-blue frog switch, forcing you to race to the beginning before the switch runs out.

Speaking o’ Wario Land 3, this level’s music is from that game — though, strangely, not from the level that takes place on a bridge. It’s the only song I converted myself, & it shows.

  • P-Switch level count: 5 / 5
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 1
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 1

Pepsi Lake

Music: “Underwater Tunnels”, Wario Land II

This level completely changed since the 2011 version o’ this hack. You can see an early version here. Also, in an e’en earlier version, the water was the boring ordinary blue ’stead o’ cola-brown-&-black.

The main change is that the level is vertical now, ’stead o’ horizontal, & it’s simplified. It’s just a short swim-through, dodging piranha plants & munchers. @ the time I remade this, I felt the original was too ordinary, & noted that vertical water levels were rare. I also like the alcove that the midway point is in. Just a li’l divergence.

E’en better: ¡there’s no P-Switch! This was after I realized how o’er-used they were & cut it out. The original, as the video shows, makes you go into some generic ice subroom found in some random pipe ’mong millions to get a P-Switch so you can pass through ’nother brown-block wall. None o’ this hasn’t been done before, & much better. I don’t miss it @ all.

You know, I just noticed ’pon reviewing the footage that the 2nd message box references “upcoming Torpedo Teds” that aren’t in the newer version o’ this level.

  • P-Switch level count: 5 / 6
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 1
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 1

That’s it for now. We’ll continue on the mainland next update.

Posted in Legend of the Four Switches, My Crimes Gainst Art, Programming, Video Games

O’er

The final pluck o’ the clover—

I love naught.

Tie the knot.

In gray matters,

the last stem has already been severed.

Too weak to pull the weakest levers.

What a pusho’er;

now it’s o’er.

Posted in Poetry

The Legend o’ Legend of the Four Switches: Introduction

Since I’m writing ’bout some dumb game I’m making now, I might as well write ’bout an e’en dumber game I worked on way back in high school — & by “dumber game”, I mean a Super Mario World rom hack.

Also, I just realized that it’s been 10 years since I 1st started working on LOTFS, back in 2007. O, the time wasted.

Legend of the Four Switches was a hack so bad, it wasn’t e’en accepted @ Super Mario World Central after a’least 2 submissions.

It wasn’t the absolute worst. In fact, there are quite a few decisions I still stand by, such as the main gimmick: ’stead o’ being a straight path from world to world, ’twas simply a quest to find & hit all the 4 colored switches. Once you do that, you can go to Bowser’s Castle @ any time & complete it.

The 4 switches could be hit in any order, too. ( An improvement o’er an e’en earlier version: my original plan was to make the red switch always 1st & the green switch always last, with the player only getting the choice o’ order ’tween the yellow & blue switches. Thankfully, I realized how lame such a limit would’ve been & broke it ) . This lead the o’erworld to have the kind o’ looser division I praised the original Super Mario World for having.

Having the Star Road map down in the bottom right is a bit misleading, since that was rejected from the final hack.

That said, I could’ve done a better job o’ it: an idea I later had, though long after I stopped working on this hack, was having multiple paths that converged on a single switch.

I also tried to make this hack mo’ like an actual game in terms o’ difficulty, which makes it much easier than the average hack. I remember I aimed for Diddy’s Kong Quest level difficulty, which is my favorite linear ( i.e. non-Wario-Land ) platformer & insisted on being able to beat it without save states. Nowadays this is mo’ common, which sapped some o’ the use o’ this hack; but remember, I started making this hack in 2007, when e’en the most prominent hacks like The Second Reality Project 2 were full o’ kaizo-like elements.

Legend of the Four Switches is full o’ problems that it’s hard to sum them up — though this page gives a nice litany o’ sloppy problems. Though some o’ those problems — such as the unbeatable attic area — have been solved since then, many others — like the fade-out glitch or the glitch that makes your characters freeze after beating a switch palace — I couldn’t figure out how to fix.

But Axemjinx summarizes the true core problem with this hack, which would make it lame e’en if these glitches were fixed:

I played around 15 levels, and speaking for myself, it just seems like a slightly above-average joke hack that over-relies on item ferrying and needlessly labyrinthine levels. That’s not nonlinearity- it’s just tedium. There’s no emphasis on obstacles at all, there are plenty of empty areas with nothing going on, and it seems like the wisecracks are more important than the level design.

The “over-relies on item ferrying” is far too modest. ’Pon looking back @ these levels years ago I was shocked to find almost every level involved finding a blue & gray P-switch to continue, usually getting 1 to get ’nother to finally continue. Levels oft had pointless filler areas simply for the sake o’ avoiding linearity. I was obsessed with avoiding linear levels, with the assumption that linear levels were somehow less “creative”. But using blue & gray switches o’er & o’er apparently was.

I still stand by some o’ my nonlinear levels — mainly the earlier ones, when I still had some creativity. But if I were to redo this hack — which I’m 100% not doing — I’d ease up & do some mo’ linear levels, as well as some shorter levels. I also fell into the trap o’ thinking that long levels were also mo’ sophisticated, not unlike those people who think that large epics are mo’ sophisticated literature than short writing, which is ironically usually the opposite.

I’ll try to go o’er all 60 levels & talk ’bout what I still stand by, what I think was disastrous, & other fun background notes.

Addendum

There are 2 major versions o’ this hack: a 2011 & 2012 version. The one I’ve seen in most YouTube videos is the inferior 2011 version, whereas I’ll be showing off the latest 2012 version & will point out major differences when they happen.

Posted in Legend of the Four Switches, My Crimes Gainst Art, Video Games