The Mezunian

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

Nihilly, the Nihilist – My 1st Dumb Program

The 1st real1 program I e’er remember writing was in what I thought was C++, but was closer to C. The header includes were C-style & none o’ my programs used classes ( though there is a C-style struct ) or STL. The only thing “C++” ’bout this program was that it had a CPP extention & didn’t put “void” in empty parameter lists. Nonetheless, I was confused by these 2, since I called this folder “C++” & remember reading a ( quite terrible )2 book on C++ @ the time.

There was no particular inspiration. When I was a teen I’d oft check out wildly different nonfiction books from my local library. ’Twas in a songwriting book that I learned that imperfect rhymes are better than perfect, since they’re generally fresher ( none o’ that moon-june shit ); ’twas in a podcast book I learned ’bout Audacity; ’twas @ the end o’ an ol’ For-Dummies book ’bout YouTube that I got to read the writer pontificate ’bout how to survive in an apocalypse ( I think the For-Dummies books let writers write whatever the hell they wanted in the last few chapters ); & ’twas in Game Programming All in One that I truly 1st learned how to program, round the spring & summer o’ 2009, I think.

I used to have this idea that a simple “enemy chases you & hurts you if it touches you” was the best simple game idea to do 1st. I think I got the idea from reading ’bout Atari founder, Nolan Bushnell’s, 1st program on some ancient computer, which I read ’bout in yet ’nother nonfiction book, The Ultimate History of Video Games, by Steven L. Kent, a hefty 600+ page book that I highly recommend. Thus, this was the gameplay o’ my 1st game, “Nihilly the Nihilist”… or “Nilly”. I was ne’er consistent on that part. Also, I always pronounced it “Nilly” till I finally learned the proper way to pronounce “nihilist”. You were chased by somewhat KKK-looking guys with white bandanas wrapped round their faces & deep black holes for eyes called “Fucksters”. You can see that this was an immensely edgy fox-&-chicken game worthy o’ Edmund McMillen.

That’s ’bout it for art design. I couldn’t comprehend such arcane concepts as programming backgrounds ( I think I was so paranoid ’bout resource use for some reason that I feared redrawing so many graphics every frame or something — I don’t know. I also thought objects were resource intensive & should only be used for “big” things, whatever those were, for some reason. You can probably see that I still thought o’ computers as some magic too powerful to use without discretion ); therefore gameplay was played o’er plain purple. Not sure what that purple was s’posed to represent — other than a way for hackers to figure out how to steal my passwords, ’course. The title screen was just whatever font Allegro decided, apparently, o’er blue background — presumably inspired by ol’ Final Fantasy games. Maneuvering menus was programmed through a bunch o’ lock integers acting as booleans ( & global, to boot, for some reason ) so that 1 button press wouldn’t cascade through all the options.

If you look @ the linked code, you’ll see that I had a strange method o’ indention. Interestingly, I still used the Allman for braces, though conditional statements & function calls would randomly fall out o’ this pattern. Mo’ importantly, you’ll notice that I didn’t quite understand functions very well. I seemed to view them as simply a means o’ dividing game states, & nothing mo’, while blissfully copypasting large chunks o’ code. Also, for some reason I made every function return an int, e’en though none o’ them are used for anything. Each frame o’ each sprite is just it’s own graphic file plopped right into the big “gameplay” function. @ the time, I certainly didn’t know what the “*” next to the “BITMAP” type was for, but I dutifully copied & pasted it there as the book told me to do.

As a larf, I downloaded Allegro 4 & compiled this program. Unsurprisingly, it’s utterly broken. Content stretches far past the end o’ the screen & everything runs ridiculously fast, like a 90s game that comes free with Cap’n Crunch cereal. I guess that’s to be expected when I was too naive to understand the whole complexity o’ framerate maintenance & I test my software on a 169MB-RAM laptop that was mo’ than a decade ol’ e’en back when I had it ( how I miss you, Grape Faithful ). Also, Valgrind told me it had 16 whole bytes o’ leaked memory, which is, oddly, less than an empty program programmed in D, apparently — a’least on my computer.

As part o’ my nostalgic research, I actually tracked down the book I learned from, which is apparently on GitHub. There I learned that the writer said he was writing his code as C++ projects with mostly plain C to keep his code from sucumbing to C++’s object infection, STDs, & colon cancer. I also learned that apparently the GameCube & Game Boy Advance SDKs, or whatever, used GCC. He also hilariously recommends readers to actually learn C before starting, which I didn’t do.

There were a few other programs I made round this time, too. In my language arts class @ the time I had to memorize the work, the chapter, & the speaker of certain quotes from works like Macbeth & The Waste Lands, so I made some quiz program that showed my amazing understanding o’ functions by having each question have its own function — there was no fucking way that version o’ me would understand the complexities o’ passing string pointers & concatenating them with the parts o’ the question that didn’t differ ’tween questions. I think I did figure out how to have tree tiles based on multidimensional arrays in 1 program. But none o’ it went anywhere, & I soon lost interest & didn’t come back to programming till 2014.

View e’en worse code than Boskeopolis Land.

Posted in My Crimes Gainst Art, Programming

Questionably Relevant Content Is a Great Way to Cover a Lack o’ Updates

If anyone remembers those Nasrin stories I published here almost a year ago, they now have their own website… sort of. That also has some new stories that I wrote o’er the last year but ne’er bothered to publish like many other things.

& since I’m talking ’bout other stuff I’ve been doing ( ¿isn’t that all this blog is, anyway? ), there’s this short story series I’ve been doing for 5 years whose website I recently ( read: 4 months ago ) overhauled & a microstory series based on random prompts that I started doing daily ‘gain this month.

In my defense, I have been doing things, it’s just that I haven’t been finishing them, which is the trick. For instance, I’ve finished 2 levels for Boskeopolis Land, but am still trying to record “The Minus Touch”, but am failing, ’cause Ubuntu likes randomly making programs stop working, or maybe it’s just linux video-editing programs. I may have to resort to using screenshots, since, to be honest, I hate video-editing, anyway; but this bugs me, since ’twas a pain beating “The Minus Touch” so that I could record a successful run in the 1st place.

Expect 2 editorials ’bout video games before the end o’ the month. I thought last October would be my worst, but 2017 nadirs as always.

Posted in My Crimes Gainst Art, Nasrin

The Legend of Pokéme – Pokémon Leaf Green & Fire Red Adventures #2

This is the comic that most resembles the world I was trying to convey.

— 100% real quote by Pokémon creator, Satoshi Tajiri.

¿You remember all the inconsistent characterization?

Pictured: Pikachu, who is later established to be a player, shown here to be a nervous nerd who, in Soviet Russia, has lockers stuffed into him.

Bonus: that scamp Squirtle shown to be a blatant sexist.

Leafaro doesn’t become spontaneously infatuated with this character purely due to appearance till later.

& you can’t forget all those smooth panel transitions…

Pikachu ventures off to find Jigglypuff after staring @ where she is for a whole minute.

Spoiler: ’twas Firara. Pikachu apparently had to sleuth this out, e’en though he clearly saw the event happen in front o’ him.

& then there are those setups that don’t make any sense…

There are these things called “clothes stores”, Leafaro.

¿& how could we live without that wonderful filler?

After all these panels with Leafaro’s tiny arms flapping loosely in the wind, I’m convinced that he has some horrible physical disease & that he can’t actually use them.

¿Remember, um… Pikachu & Leafaro being perverts?

¿Why bother? Just go jerk off to that comic where her shirt rips open, revealing she has Pokéballs for boobs.

We have, um… truly fucked up violence — so fucked-up that e’en Pikachu is appalled — happening to Firara for no reason @ all.

Also pictured: Firara apparently developed the same “spontaneously lose hair for some panels” ability that Leafaro has ’tween issues 1 & 2.

We have hilarious satire, like hilarious tips for beating the gym leaders in the 1st-gen Pokémon games, such as “Next, surge. Use Geodude. Or lick a donkey”. The best joke is that I couldn’t count & forgot either Koga or Sabrina.

& then we have that amazing artwork:

& then we have a comic wherein Leafaro gets addicted to gambling, causing Pikachu to get chased by a mobster Ditto & his rectangular bullets, & leading Pikachu to check himself into a mental asylum, which also has amazing artwork.

Leafaro heartily approves:

Considering he’s turned ’way from the TV & the TV is clearly facing the camera, not him, Leafaro’s not watching anything on it & is simply having ’nother nervous breakdown.

¡Order Pokémon Leaf Green & Fire Red Adventures #2 Today!

Posted in My Crimes Gainst Art, Pokéme Comics

The Legend of Pokéme – Pokémon Leaf Green & Fire Red Adventures #1

12 years ago an utterly professional company known by the immensely clever name Pokéme — e’en though their work wasn’t particularly anime-styled & was, you know, comics on static paper & not animation — invented history when they released their 1st classic in January 2015. Today we shall be remembering these underrated gems.

Origins

The idea for the 1st series, Pokémon Leaf Green & Fire Red Adventures”, began 1 cloudy afternoon as the CEO was riding his scooter down the hill, having still not learned how to ride a bike till the tender age o’ infinity. The idea was to actually focus on the cute Pokémon critters & not the filthy flesh creatures, & that the best way to do that would be to have the Pokémon be able to talk real English, since the real anime showed how compelling Pokémon characters became when they voiced such Shakespearean lines as, “¡Pika Pikachu!” & “¡Meeeow! ¿did I not says ‘on topic’ heres? ¿Are you stupid or something?” Also, since I they truly hated the human characters so much @ the time, I they decided it’d be funny if the Pokémon screwed round with the humans.

A Boy and His Pikachu

Natural dialogue in the empty white void.

In the 1st Pokémon games, Pikachus had a patch on their bellies; in the 1st “Pokéme” comic, Pikachu wore gloves.

That makes 1 o’ them.

I don’t remember what Pikachu’s s’posed to be selling Firara. I don’t think a younger me would’ve imagined something gross like 1 o’ Leafaro’s pubes ( plus, as we’ll see later, that’d be a terrible scam gainst Firara ), so my best guess is a particularly hefty staple.

“Idiots: nobody till now figured out how much easier carrying round big sacks o’ money is by just super-gluing it to the back o’ your hand”.

& while we’re leagues below the ship that holds the barrel o’ quality, we might as well meme it up:

Nothing’s weirder than selling stuff on the market. Confirmed canon: Leafaro is a dirty communist.

What you fools may mistake as my weakness @ erasing cheap paper experts recognize as movement lines with the finest o’ detail.

This panel comes right after the previous. ¿Isn’t the pacing o’ this comic just smooth as linoleum?

Smooth as linoleum.

I’m curious myself. Not only is that ring that’s purportedly s’posed to be rope ( apparently transparent rope ) hilariously not tight ’nough to bound her legs in any way ( well, ’less she’s too stupid not to figure out how to move her legs in a li’l closer than as wide out as humanly possible ), said transparent rope isn’t e’en attached to anything, making it not so much “rope” as an antigravity ring. I’ve heard o’ B movies where you see string that’s not s’posed to be there; ¿but how could I fuck up not putting in string that’s s’posed to be there?

Natural smiles.

If you paid attention to what happened a mere second before, you’d know, Leafaro.

Also: super natural smiles.

Forget such triffling nonsense as Pikachu craning his neck awkwardly so that he’s facing the camera but his back is turned to the camera or Leafaro standing straight with his head just ’bove Pikachu’s level, implying that his entire lower body is underground; I forgot that for the longest time as a kid I thought “maybe” was spelled “mabye”. What a fucking tool.

Thanks to Leafaro’s gluttonous & linguistically incorrect theft o’ a scarce uppercase for his hip hope chant for all the spirited pre-teens, Pikachu was left for none @ the start o’ his sentence.

“¿Did you ‘atleast’ remember to draw my neck or Pikachu’s nose or not draw my arm as transparent? No…”

Magic water that makes it impossible to breathe, but makes it easy as air to speak. It must be magic, looking @ that sexy perspective up there.

I couldn’t have e’en bothered to erase the line through the middle o’ the pokéball.

I want to point out how extremely characters’ personalities shift throughout this series’ run: Pikachu starts out as an evil psychopath, Firara starts out cheerful & nice, Leafaro starts out as some high-strung yeller ( essentially Jon from Garfield ), & Torchic, who appears in a later issue, starts out as calm & deadpan ( i.e. boring ). Later, Pikachu’s mo’ a dumb jock who has some moral standards ( later “tortures” are less, “¡Ha, ha, murder!”, Firara’s an asshole, Leafaro’s a spineless wimp, & Torchic’s the one who in all seriousness despises humans & wants to kill them.

You probably think that’s it for the 1st issue. “Bursting with brilliant content, surely it couldn’t have mo’”. But you’d be wrong: there’s still 9 mo’ pages. Which means, no, I won’t be loosening the chains locking you to your chair.

This time we’ll only focus on the best parts, since I don’t have an eternity & there’s mo’ than 20 o’ these issues ( not including the Hamtaro 1s, which are just boring ).

Charmander, the Thief

Surprised I didn’t misspell it, “theif”. It’s remembering all my trip-ups with English’s many, many inconsistencies that leads me to believe that ol’ claim that children learn languages mo’ naturally & easily is bunk.

We start with some truly Marvel-quality animation wherein Firara has some disgustingly misshapen blog for legs.

Also, get used to Leafaro spontaneously losing his hair in random scenes — the illustrious Pokéme always kept their readers guessing.

Don’t be so amazed by her transparent arm, Leafaro: you already proved you could do the same in the previous story.

Laugh.

I’ve noticed I was quite creative with word-spacing back then.

Also, ’course “thee” is spelled the same as “the”; ¿Why wouldn’t it, considering it’s spelled completely different?

Also, for those who care deeply ’bout this series’ rich canon, you may notice that Leafaro’s shown without his hat, e’en though it’s later setup that nobody’s e’er seen under Leafaro’s hat.

Including Leafaro’s hair.

The way he says that, he’s probably s’posed to be referring to the canonical Dark Cave in Johto, not just any dark cave. ’Cept Leafaro & Firara canonically live in Pallet. Pallet is nowhere near Dark Cave, being in a completely different region & such.

“I’d better say this out loud so the cave lights itself up for me”

Charmander’s most devious scheme is his ventriloquist act on Pikachu.

Nobody has e’er thought to blow up someone they didn’t like the history o’ eternity.

So, Pikachu later decides he doesn’t want Firara to blow up, ’cause then he’d have nobody to torture — torturing humans being an immensely funny topic, by the way. So then he does this:

I can only imagine that Pikachu was that same guy who complained ’bout arrows hitting bombs blowing them up in Ocarina of Time.

After all, as the wise critic Anonymous once said eons ago:

What kind of piece of crap explosion is that? Mario can’t make people explode by hitting them with his hammer arrows!

Also, I always hated it when cartoons made a big deal out o’ something killing someone, & then they blow up & they’re fine. ¿Remember all those times Wile-E Cayote tried to “kill” the Road Runner with some explosion, only to hit himself & turn out perfectly fine. ¿What’s the point?

Over the Edge

Just for you.

Hilarious social commentary.

Leafaro transforms into a wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube man.

Accurate depiction o’ mental health issues.

Jiggly Puff, the Acomplist

In my defense, there was no hope o’ young me figuring out such a complex word as “accomplice” — & it’s not as if dictionaries existed back then.

Nothing’s better for working in the “black market” than wearing suspicious black shades & a black suit & saying out loud, “Nothing better than doing illicit activies, ¿am I right, everyone?”

Apparently I wasn’t right in the hands, what with how shaky & unreadable the writing is.

Jigglypuff, who finds Pikachu cute in his sexy The Matrix cosplay, agrees to help him with his hilarious scheme o’ having her make Firara fall asleep & draw on her face, ripped straight off from the anime that I hypocritically bashed as a kid.

Only 2 stories later, & Leafaro’s gone from, “How dare you keep indulging in ordinary capitalist behavior” to “So, ¿how many people did you fleece?” Just like Russia.

I, no joke, find the idea o’ pokéballs being these comfy li’l realms with lamps & other amenities endearing.

¿The outcome? Exactly as he crafted the plan.

I remember reading ’mong the mountains o’ writing advice I’ve read that if you give a character’s plans in-story, then it must go wrong, else it’ll look silly & repetitive — otherwise don’t give the plan @ all.

Pikachu vociferously defends his self-image, anticipating Tumblr by a decade or so.

I’m mo’ amused by what a narcissist Pikachu is — & I mean the medical term. Look @ that earnest expression he has on his face & see just how deeply he believes that he ne’er did anything wrong to Firara & deserves only the utmost respect for his prosocial behavior.

In a cave { named cerulean…

I have no idea why there’s a left brace before “named” & “cerulean” — ¿to show they’re connected? I also don’t know why I spontaneously change my story-title capitalization scheme to a Spanish-style — including not capitalizing “Cerulean”, when e’en Spanish titles would.

I’m going to drop kayfabe & completely trash this story, ’cause it’s dumb in too many ways to count — though I’ll try. Here’s it’s entirety.

My notes:

It’s full o’ inside jokes. “Anti-Hamtaro” is a reference to some ol’ sprite comics. “Hamtaro but with inverted graphics”, “Mario but grayscale & 5 times as big”, & “Wart but blue” were some o’ the brilliant character designs I came up with back then. ¿Why does Anti-Hamtaro work for Mewtwo? ’Cause he did in some ol’ sprite comic that’s thankfully disappeared off this planet. ¿Why did he in those ol’ comics? You’d have to go back in time & ask my younger self.

The world blowing up is from the also-high-quality Neglected Characters Comix, which I didn’t e’en make, & is now apparently being run by an Orwellian totalitarian poker machine.

Characters being bored is ne’er a good basis for a story. Having them blow up the world makes it e’en less funny.

Island of the Blastoise

Fuck myself, I forgot how much padding was in this.

Don’t worry: I won’t subject you to this utterly uninteresting waste o’ paper & ’stead just show the title:

1. ’Twas vitally important to advertise the lack o’ humans in this story, so they know that it came after a nuclear war wiped them all off the planet.

2. 1 o’ the s’s is cursive, & nothing else is cursive @ all, including other s’s. @ the time I probably only knew how to write s’s in cursive.

Sorry, the 1 other note I’ll make is that this comic ends with a recap o’ a previous comic so Squirtle can react to said event, e’en though nobody cares. Wonderful plotting.

A Day at the Pokécenter

This comic’s much better without the “The End” panel so you can feel like you’re reading this right next to Family Circus while eating your morning bagels & vodka & crying into your newspaper o’er how empty your life is.

A Dark World

I’m guessing mo’ filler…

¿Does Leafaro not have a Pokédex? Later he’d be established as a huge nerd & 1 o’ the few competent Pokémon trainers in this series where Pokémon rarely fight each other & trainers rarely leave their home town.

Spoiler: the comic ends with Pikachu commiting violence gainst her.

Also, no part o’ this story is ’splained: ¿why was Pikachu in her bag? Clearly this is right up there with the briefcase in Pulp Fiction with brilliant cinematic mysteries.

Ice Cave

Nope, this 1’s a skipper for su —

Hold that. Look @ this:

“Oops: drinking those chemicals made my hand become massive”.

This comic’s just here to make people rethink attacking the original Pokémon games for being ugly.

¡Space grocery bag to the rescue! ( In this production Earth shall be played by a bowl o’ chicken noodle soup. )

A Time for Tranquility

This final story for this issue is mostly more o’ the same. I just want to show off these 2 panels that in full honesty go 1 after the other.

Smooth as linoleum.

I like to think that Leafaro’s awkward digression from Pikachu showing callous indifference to the prospect o’ murdering a li’l girl is his way o’ trying to avoid acknowledging his own role as a passive enabler. This comic teaches us that evil has many forms, which is why award-winning sociologist Phillip Zimbardo included it in The Lucifer Effect — 100% true fact.

I mean, this same comic establishes Pikachu as a pyromaniac.

I also want to add that Leafaro’s idea o’ a “place of tranquility” is just @ the foot o’ an ordinary tree in a place so plain, there isn’t e’en a horizon. To be fair, Leafaro clearly needed a break from all the… not training & not leaving his hometown that he does.

A good summary for this whole series.

If I torture you with more o’ these, I’ll try to be mo’ selective. There’s too much silly stuff to waste time on fucking juggling Anti-Hamtaro.

Posted in My Crimes Gainst Art, Pokéme Comics

The Legend o’ Legend of the Four Switches: Part 9 – The Warped Void

World J: The Warped Void

Music: “Main Menu”, WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$!

“It’s just an empty void”. What a great ’scuse to not put any effort into map graphics, like I did throughout this whole hack. The only interesting part is how a lot o’ the level tiles are ?s, making the player figure out how many exits each level has.

I do really like this map song, though.

Easiest Level Ever

Music: “Green Greens”, ’bout every Kirby game

Laziest, too.

Originally this spot held “Let’s Abuse Yoshi”, a level much mo’ clever & fun. I think I replaced it ’cause a few parts were janky — specifically a part where you had to get through a corridor clogged by Chargin’ Chucks using Yoshi’s extra hit point & retrieve him ’fore he goes past the next Chuck. I shouldn’t have; jankiness is better than boring, ’specially for the last world.

  • P-Switch level count: 30 / 50
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 15
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 8

Stratus Travesty

Music: “Green Greens”, ’bout every Kirby game

Message box: best way to deal with flaws isn’t to fix them, but to point them out so people know I made their experience less enjoyable on purpose & hate me e’en mo’.

See, the trick ’bout the end is that you have to not get hit with the feather the level gives you or you can’t fly & are screwed.

There’s nothing interesting to say ’bout this level. It’s mere OK.

  • P-Switch level count: 30 / 51
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 15
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 8

Goomba Path

Music: “Enemy Battle”, Super Mario All-Stars: Super Mario Bros. 3 ( Same )

I don’t know what inspired it, but for some reason this world has a bunch o’ levels revolving round a certain enemy. This level focuses on Goombas & resources I ripped off from Super Mario Bros. 3, the 2nd o’ which is a tradition that continues to today in the bosom o’ Boskeopolis Land.

In particular, the “boss” rooms @ the end are a waste o’ time: I just copypastaed so many Goombas that the sprite engine slows to slime, ’cause repetition & slowness are always fun.

I seemed to like puzzles wherein you have to make small jumps under flat platforms to avoid getting stuck in a higher place & having to go back to go back down. I apologize for that.

In my defense, some o’ the running & jumping sections in the low corridors actually looked neat if you knew when to jump. But its been years since then & I’ve lost all my Super Mario World skills & memory for when to jump, so I make it look like shit.

  • P-Switch level count: 30 / 52
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 15
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 8

Jungle of the Ninji

Music: “Overworld”, New Super Mario Bros.

Replace “Goomba” with “Ninji” & Super Mario Bros. 3 with Super Mario Bros. 2.

¿Did I truly need to make this key require Yoshi, & then force you to ditch him & bring the key all the way to the end? Great: every time I died, I had to go all ’cross the map to get ’nother. ’Nother reason cutting “Let’s Torture Yoshi” was a bad idea.

’Specially since that waterfall jump to the lower mushroom is bullshit. I think I remember adding that midpoint specifically to make that jump less bullshit. ’Cept it’s still bullshit — ’specially for the secret exit — & I should’ve just made it less bullshit. That “Ho, ho, don’t go to high or you have to go back & try ’gain” shit got ol’.

The Ninji “boss” is the dumbest, most trivial fight e’er. & this was a hack wherein a “boss” was a single Goomba as a joke.

  • P-Switch level count: 31 / 53
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 15
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 8

Killer’s Fun House

Music: “Shy Guy’s Toy Box”, Paper Mario

The strangest time to insist on using Bullet Bill’s Japanese name. I guess I thought it sounded mo’ ironic.

A’least this level is short ’nough to not get annoying. If you only have 1 trick or 2, you should keep your level to 1 trick or 2.

¿What does a fun house with Alfred Chicken & Wario Land 4 bonus tiles have to do with Bullet Bills?

I think this was 1 out o’ quite a few levels wherein I discovered that making you drag the P-switch back to the start was ridiculous, so I made the switch cause some blocks to make the race back after hitting the switch easier. I think it’s better that way.

The saddest part is that this Warped Void enemy “boss” is the best ’mong them — & it’s puzzle is just going in a loop.

  • P-Switch level count: 32 / 54
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 16
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 9

Lunaria

Music: “Title Theme”, SimCity ( SNES )

This was originally going to be the 1st level o’ the scrapped space world, the remnants o’ which can be seen in the map on the 1st post. The other planned levels, scrapped ’cause they sucked unbelievably, were a level where you had to swim through thin shafts ’tween walls o’ lava with a glowing rocky background called “Helios”, a lablike level with lots o’ shitty layer-2 shenanegans involving lava walls repainted green called “Cryogian”, whatever that’s s’posed to mean, & what would’ve been a haunted, darker-tinted moon level if I’d been able to think o’ mo’ than a straight path with a boo here & there called “Hades”.

I don’t know why I e’en bothered to keep “Lunaria”, since it sucks too — just not as hard as the others. The only original idea was having the secret exit in the Yoshi-wings section, & e’en that had the hitbox jank o’ totally-not-munchers & Yoshi caused by the programmers only intending for them to be used on the ground & not realizing that hacky rom hackers would want to spread them everywhere like weeds. Precise jumps o’er totally-not-munchers is hardly new, nor are Lotus Plants & Baseball Charlies, which are all o’er this world. This is, I believe, the only level in this hack that uses Monty Mole, simply ’cause I hadn’t thought to use them till then ( it’s funny how I took the time to look up patches & custom blocks on SMW Central for new gimmicks, but neglected a bunch o’ sprites, blocks, & general features already in the vanilla game ); but I don’t do anything with them, ¿so who cares?

Extra note: as noted ’bove, this level uses the title screen music from SimCity ( ’twas ’tween that & “The Moon” from Duck Tales; I figured this was the less cliché choice ). I was thinking how I should’ve chosen the SimCity menu theme for the title screen o’ this game ’stead o’ that metal Super Mario Bros. remix popularized by ASMT. It’s not as if the title screen needs to long a song, anyway. In my defense, I chose to use that song before that hack came out ( though the hack that rendition was actually made for, Cool or Cruel, which didn’t get nearly as much attention, already was ).

  • P-Switch level count: 32 / 55
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 16
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 9

Autumn Hills

Music: “Enemy Battle”, Super Mario All-Stars: Super Mario Bros. 3 ( Same )

Actually, you’d probably see brown grass in summer mo’ than autumn.

Speaking o’ neglected sprites, here’s those Chocolate Island dinos, used nowhere else. ( To be fair, ¿didn’t the real Super Mario World only use them in 2 levels? )

This level bugs me, ’cause its gimmick is ruined by its placement. Its gimmick is that, ’less you’re great with the cape, you need a blue Yoshi to get through, as there’s only a Yellow Koopa… but you’re guaranteed to have a blue Yoshi to get here ’cause the route to here is that Yoshi-wings secret exit that turns Yoshi blue.

This is also why my hack in general has so many bugs: I refused to make limiting choices, like making Yoshis & capes not stay with you after levels, which many hack makers recommend: I wanted to exploit as many stupid weird things as possible, including having a level wherein you needed to get a Yoshi from a totally different level.

  • P-Switch level count: 32 / 56
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 16
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 9

Attic Antics

Music: “No Eating Crackers in the Theater”, Mother 3 / “Shy Guy’s Toy Box”, Paper Mario

That’s some Rareware level naming there.

Didn’t know ’bout this horrendous game-breaking glitch with the midpoint. For those who don’t know, Super Mario World can easily kill you don’t put the camera’s vertical starting position near where you start. This is a common glitch in Super Mario World hacking. Now with a greater understand o’ game development & just looking @ how you die, I’d guess it’s not caused just by the camera not being where you are but probably caused by your character or the blocks below them not having collision detection while offscreen, causing your character to fall into the ground; when the camera catches up to them they’re already embedded in the ground. Now that they’re on-camera, collision detection resumes; but since you’re inside the ground, the game kills you, as it usually does when you’re smashed in solid blocks.

The 1st half o’ this level’s quite lame. The Piranha Plant section’s nothing new; & the part after that is full o’ filler & enemies that can fall on your head from offscreen. I love how I bothered to put all those blocks on the street in that middle area in some futile attempt to prevent flying, when you can easily fly from the very beginning & fly o’er the whole room.

I actually didn’t know ’bout the trick o’ jumping off Yoshi to reach the goal to skip the entire 2nd room all throughout development; I only learned ’bout it while watching a Let’s Play o’ this hack.

The 2nd portion’s all right. I like the idea o’ using grabbable items to reach a vine — I just wish I did mo’ with it. Also, ¿why’s there a vine in an attic? ¿Mold? ¿Why are some o’ the walls infested with Munchers? Obviously ’cause everything else in Dinosaur World is.

  • P-Switch level count: 32 / 57
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 16
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 9

Also, while we leave the mainland for good, I need to finally address some weird glitch wherein Luigi’s palette delays changing when returning to the o’erworld from a dark level…

Unforunately, the only way I can address it is with a silly meme:

Golden Bomb Mines

Music: “Mt. Moon”, Pokémon Red & Blue Versions

I remember liking this level a lot near the end o’ development, e’en though I didn’t remember much ’bout actually developing it. There was just something ’bout the trickiness o’ those slopes.

Maybe I was in a bad mood, — not helped by how late this update was coming — but I was less enamored this time. Those slopes seem less “tricky” now & mo’ “inconsistent”.

That said, I’d still call this level better than what we’ve seen so far in this world. In fact, it’s ironic that I was in an impatient mood while recording these next few videos, as looking back, these are some o’ the strongest levels.

This level does have cruft, though. ¿What’s the point o’ the water section? ¿To show off that it’s gold?

& ’course, we have this “boss” which is the same as the Goomba “boss”, but e’en less tricky, since it’s just straight right ’stead o’ going upward.

  • P-Switch level count: 32 / 58
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 16
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 9

Twinkle Twinkle

Music: “Casino Night Zone”, Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Well, maybe not that strong…

The 1st half’s solid. I remember when late in development I considered that jump off the Yellow Koopas to be the hardest jump in the game ( now we see that that clearly goes to that 1st slope jump in “Golden Bomb Mines” ).

The 2nd half, though. “¿Wouldn’t it be delightful if you had to slowly bounce through small passageways walled in all directions by bouncy blocks like the padding o’ a mental ward?” Actually, I do like how those Koopas always find a way to bounce up into that powerup area you’d think would be safe. I ’specially like how I didn’t design that on purpose @ all — I was as delightfully surprised when I ran into it back when I was developing this.

Something that had ne’er happened to me till now: not getting all the coins on that brown block wall. You can see the point where Luigi matches my expression: freezing in stoic horror as my mind slowly reeled the possibility that I’d have to start all o’er. But, to my own surprise, I was able to fly through.

The rest is just filler meant to be funnier mo’ than fun — just like “Death Desert”. Particular example: the brown blocks @ the end that are s’posed to make you go, “Fuck, ¡I missed a P-switch? Better go all the way back…” only for the solution to be mo’ hidden blocks.

& as an extra hilarious joke, Luigi falls off the ending platform during the victory march, but doesn’t quite reach the bottom ( which would kill him & steal ’way his victory in what is popularly called a “kaizo trap” after an infamous level in that infamous hack ) before the level ends. That was a big gimmick o’ this hack: teasing kaizo without actually giving it, which was probably fresher in a time when kaizo hacks were still the standard, like… maybe the 1st year o’ this hack’s development.

  • P-Switch level count: 33 / 59
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 16
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 9

Persistence of Time

Music: “Peanut Plain”, Kirby Super Star

Here’s where I was inconsistent: ¿remember how I just recently said I refused to limit myself to keeping Yoshi out o’ levels he clearly didn’t belong ( like “Attic Antics” )? & yet I refused to apply the patch that allowed you to have mo’ than 19 characters per name ( well, without smushing letter together in hardcoded graphics, like the original Super Mario World did for “Forest of Illusions”’s names ), e’en though I wanted longer names. Here’s an example wherein I not only wanted it to have the word “the” & have it be “Persistence of Memory”, which is what the Dali painting’s actually called, but wanted it to be in its original Spanish, “La persistència de la memòria”, which would’ve been e’en harder to fit.

History repeats itself as I procrastinate allowing Boskeopolis Land to have levels that go beyond 1 line…

The note ’bout there being 1 o’ each color Yoshi is interesting ( not the least the fact that it’s wrong: you can also get a Blue Yoshi from that wings section o’ “Lunaria” ): you can’t 100% the game without finding the Yellow & Blue Yoshis, so they’re not all that secret. Only the Red Yoshi, which I showed off up ’bove the beginning o’ the 1st level, is truly secret.

Spreaking o’ the Yoshi section, its layout is odd. There’s just ’nough Koopas to feed Yoshi & leave 1 mo’. Knowing me, you’d think I’d leave just ’nough with none extra. The blocks are also setup so that it’s as awkward as possible to feed Yoshi, which I guess was the point, since I for some reason thought “awkward” meant “challenging”. ’Course it wouldn’t be LOTFS level without that awkward design leading to some hilarious glitches that kill you instantly. LOTFS teases you with intentional kaizo bullshit but doesn’t deliver, but does deliver kaizo bullshit by pure accident.

“HURRY UP PLEASE IT’S TIME” is a reference to a line spoken a few times from a poem by T.S. Eliot called “The Wasteland”, a famous example o’ modernist poetry ’mong the literati. Despite said popularity with serious literati, the all-caps & lack o’ punctuation are true to the poem — ’cept LOTFS actually adds punctuation: the original line said “ITS”, not “IT’S”. ’Cause o’ this, I was always surprised “HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME” ne’er became a meme.

In the earlier 2012 version o’ this hack, this level had a blander background & “Green Greens” music. I always wanted this level to have “Gourmet Race”, what with the focus on speed, but there was no rendition on SMW Central & I was too incompetent to make any decent renditions, as my attempt @ “Sea Turtle Rock” showed. I later found “Peanut Plains” & settled for that, since ’twas close & was a’least mo’ fast-paced than “Green Greens”.

I think this is 1 o’ my better-designed levels. It’s full o’ things that can delay you; but if you’re clever, you can speed them up. For instance, you can actually jump o’er the Pokeys with precise jumps, skipping the delay o’ eating them, & you can skip building some o’ the bridge o’er the Lotus Plant if you know that you can run o’er block-wide gaps by holding the jump button.

2 flaws: I remember the goal being higher up, requiring you to hop off flying Koopas to reach it. Maybe I thought that was too hard, but I think it makes for better design. I also think the time’s not nearly tight ’nough: I wasn’t e’en going all that fast & I made it to the end with 50 whole seconds left. I think I wanted to time it so that the timer kept reaching 100 seconds so the song would keep getting faster & faster, thanks to the famous Funky glitch.

  • P-Switch level count: 33 / 60
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 16
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 9

Touchdown

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

The trick with this level was that I simply didn’t add a normal exit & set the normal exit to have no event. Thus, while most levels have no secret exits, this is the only level in this hack to have only a “secret exit”.

This was ’nother level I always liked, though it has its problems, too. That message box in the middle with the reset pipe is there ’cause some glitch I couldn’t figure out would sometimes cause the vine block to not make a vine when hit by the Rainbow Koopa, forcing you to warp to refresh the map.

There’s something to be said ’bout the oddness o’ this level’s layout. It’s s’posed to be a long stretch o’ a football field, only to be full o’ pipes. I guess that was the point. Strangely, despite this, the level does stay rather focused on the theme o’ Chargin’ Chucks & pipes & Piranha Plants. Then ’gain, ¿doesn’t most o’ this hack focus on those enemies?

¿Is that Muncher jump in the middle that I kept getting hit by e’en possible to make if big? I couldn’t do it @ all in my recent attempts.

  • P-Switch level count: 33 / 61
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 16
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 9

Wonka Factory

Music: “Fear Factory”, Donkey Kong Country

After 2 strong levels we get a meh level. Clearly the aesthetics & the underutilized mechanics o’ conveyor belts & Li’l Sparkys masquerading as Super Mario Bros. 2 Sparks were s’posed to carry this level. Most o’ the 1st room is easily-dodged enemies on conveyor belts, with the only difficulty being the silly 1-tile conveyor jumps, & most o’ the 2nd room are easily-dodged Thwomps & Ball-’n-Chains, with the conveyor belts not doing much to change anything. Finally there’s ’nother autoscroller with unpredictable Podobos. The most interesting part is Wendy being a boss ( ¿Why didn’t I call this “Wendy’s Factory”? ¿Did I think nobody would get the reference or did I want her to be a surprise? ), marred by a wonky camera.

  • P-Switch level count: 33 / 62
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 16
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 9

@ this point we’ve reached 84 exits ( & 62 levels, oddly, which means I must’ve miscounted somewhere, ’cause I remember there being only 60 levels ). That leaves 1 mo’: the aptly-named “The Last Levels”. As the plural “levels” indicates, it’s a big exit, which I’ll go into next update.

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

The Legend o’ Legend of the Four Switches: Part 8 – Clean Up

We’re going to skip the world intros, since we’ll be jumping round rather erratically & they’re getting ol’.

Bootropolis ( revisited )

Music: “Shy Guy’s Toy Box”, Paper Mario

Probably should’ve done this back when I did the regular exit, but forgot that its “prize” was so inconsequential. You’ll see what I thought it unlocked in the next update.

Something I don’t show in this video: you don’t need to go to the hassle o’ getting the silver P if you already know where the doorway is; it works whether you hit it or not. The silver P just reveals it. Probably should’ve let myself die for a ’scuse to demonstrate that.

The graphics for the attic area are from Garfield & his 9 Lives for the GBA, which was surprisingly a decent game with nice graphics & music, unlock its bretheren Garfield: the Search for Pooky, which is shit — e’en shittier than this hack.

’Course, I can’t talk ’bout this level without mentioning the infamous game-breaking glitch that probably was the prime reason this hack wasn’t accepted into SMW Central 1 o’ the 2 times I tried. I don’t know how it happened, but the top block o’ those move-throughable blocks ’bove that ladder was solid ’stead o’ a ladder, making it impossible to get the golden mushroom, & thus impossible to get this exit & 100% the game. Considering how oft I tested this game, I have no idea how that flaw made it in, but somehow it did.

Though you were expected to use the shell o’ 1 o’ the yellow Koopas, as I show, to hit the turn block so you can get back o’er the wall, you can just throw the key @ it. This was unintentional, but is a nice way to keep players from accidentally screwing themselves o’er by destroying both shells.

  • P-Switch level count: 29 / 48
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 14
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 8

Shroom of Streets

Music: “Dark Cave”, Pokémon Gold, Silver, & Crystal

& our message is just a hilarious 4th-wall-breaking joke ’bout everything wrong with these shrooms. Deleting my save file & filling my computer with viruses would’ve been a better reward.

The 50s & 60s ( revisited )

Music: “Hippie Battle”, Earthbound Beginnings

Finally we see where the “60s” part comes in.

While the palette gimmick feels cheap, I feel I did rather cleverly use it by forcing the player to puzzle out where the blue Koopa is. ’Course, as the end o’ the video shows, the player can just fly straight up @ the start & skip mo’ than half the level; & I could empathize, size that 1st part is annoying, ’specially if you fuck up in such embarassing ways as I did. I e’en feel bad ’bout having to raise the P-switch count, since the use o’ both P-switches is actually clever in psychedelic land. Then ’gain, if I didn’t use so many switches in superfluous ways, this wouldn’t be a problem, so I don’t feel bad, ne’ermind.

I read some people complain ’bout the palette in the 2nd area somehow being “godawful torture to the eye” or something. Yeah, making the gimmick o’ a level just a different palette, ’specially 1 as lazy & ugly as “invert all the colors” is, well, lazy. This is from the same person who, when much younger & making awful sprite comics ’stead o’ awful rom hacks, thought “Mario & Luigi with inverted colors” & “Mario in grayscale & 5 times as big” were compelling character designs.

  • P-Switch level count: 30 / 48
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 15
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 8

Lab of Secrets

Music: “Revenge of Meta Knight – Halbert”, Kirby Super Star

Those lava sections are completely pointless. Due to the recording setup I have ( using Zsnes movies for recording, believe it or not ) I couldn’t show me turning off layer 3; but if I could, it’d show you that there are no fireballs anywhere nearby — they’re all way up ’bove the screen. The idea was that this was s’posed to be sort o’ a troll, sort o’ what I called @ the time “psychological challenge”, or something. Basically, it’s s’posed to make players worry ’bout cheap hits only to realize that they’re perfectly safe. It’s dumb & wastes time on subsequent attempts.

Which is relevant, ’cause I die all the time in that 2nd section, as shown. I actually expected to die many mo’ times, but I think I found a kind o’ rhythm to it that I didn’t know ’bout before. This was a case wherein I struggled ’tween what I thought was a clever & unused gimmick & my worries that ’twas too cumbersome & hard & not worth keeping. However, looking @ other playthroughs, it didn’t seem as if other players had much trouble with it.

What truly shocked me, though, was the section that came after it, which must be so late in development that I forgot ’bout it. I remember this level having you go through each o’ the previous lab bosses ’tween each room & having trivially easy ice section followed by some buggy sewer room wherein you bounce o’ breaking blocks or something, which is easy to screw yourself out o’ any chance o’ victory, & which I did see other players get annoyed with. Since neither o’ these rooms were any good, nor were any o’ the bosses save for 1, who was not good ’nough to fight ’gain, the replacement was definitely a good idea.

Though I die a lot, I don’t think this section is bad. I’m surprised I hadn’t done such an obvious gimmick as that till then, & it’s certainly 1 o’ the few all right layer-2 parts. It doesn’t o’erstay its welcome a’least. I can’t say my problems with this level were due to anything but my incompetence.

The Thwomp boss is all right — not much o’ a boss, but then none o’ the Super Meat Boy bosses were, either. I just don’t like how Thwomps are used in a 2nd boss. Since I couldn’t get the Custom Boss Sprite @ SMW Central to not make my rom shit its pants in Zsnes & didn’t want to reuse the boring Koopa Kid fights, I didn’t have many tools for making bosses but regular enemies.

  • P-Switch level count: 30 / 49
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 15
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 8

& with that we finally enter the true final world o’ the game: the bonus “Warped Void”.

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

The Legend o’ Legend of the Four Switches: Part 7 – Bowser’s Secret Sea

World E: Deserted Skies

Lab of the Mirage ( revisited )

Music: “Revenge of Meta Knight – Halbert”, Kirby Super Star

Yes, e’en this world’s lab’s secret exit involves flying.

The reason for my clumsy playing is that I just started using a real SNES controller & was getting used to it.

  • P-Switch level count: 27 / 45
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 13
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 8

World I: Bowser’s Secret Sea

I was a’least wise ’nough to hide the water levels ’way in a secret world that doesn’t give you anything for beating it.

Sea of Secrets

Music: “Underwater Tunnels”, Wario Land II

Nice awkward tiling o’ the bottom row o’ the background.

Not much to say ’bout this level. It’s not terrible — it’s just not terribly creative. It’s just a bunch o’ places where you need to dodge Urchins & swim round Electros. As the bonus ending shows, this level does reward you for noticing alternate routes.

Speaking o’ which, that brings up a point that annoys me: while I play rather clumsily in this video, when I was playing up to the part o’ the 2nd route, I did so well & smoothly, making early cycles with Urchins & squeezing through Electros with minimal movement. But I didn’t start recording till I got to just before the secret path, since it’s not as if I expected that to happen.

Also, that the “multiple paths, right path is 2nd-to-last” is a “puzzle” I’ve done a’least 1 other time, & probably mo’. It’s hilarious ’cause it wastes a li’l bit o’ the player’s time, & nothing else. Actually, to be fair, if the answer is this consistent for a few times, it does make for an OK puzzle in terms o’ challenging players to learn & remember. I did remember it ’cause it’s so common it’s solidified in my mind; I only intentionally took the last path to show it off.

The lack o’ P-switches & my foggy memory leads me to believe this was extensively remade late in development.

  • P-Switch level count: 27 / 46
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 13
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 8

S.S. Devil Koopa

Music: “Jib Jib”, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest

For some reason I reference a lot o’ Japanese Mario names like Teresa ( Japanese name for Boo ) & “Devil Koopa”, which is actually what Super Mario World calls Bowser @ some point. I think I found it exotic, like how I always found the inaccurately translated enemy names in Super Mario RPG exotic.

The silver P-switch is a nice reward for exploring. I didn’t e’en know Boos turned to silver coins till I made this level. I also like how the dynamic o’ the 1st room changes if you take the key with you. As you can see, I couldn’t control myself worth shit & careened into every obstacle I could — but still didn’t die thanks to this level babying me & giving me plenty o’ powerups. The only problem is that savvy players would probably think to take the silver P-switch with them only to ne’er find a place they need it — ’nother flaw caused by my o’eruse o’ P-switch puzzles.

Speaking o’ which, the 2nd area has a needless blue switch, presumably to force the player to explore the left area on the top deck, where they can find a bunch o’ empty space & a single hopping Koopa.

That’s OK, ’cause it turns out my memory was wrong: I thought the ship went straight down, preventing you from swimming under everything, @ certain points, like just after the keyhole alcove. Turns out I changed that & allow you to straight swim past everything. Guess that was to give the player a back-up in case they stupidly waste the P-switch without getting rid o’ the brown blocks.

I have no idea why Luigi’s fiery palette is messed up in this area. ¿Does he e’en have a different palette scheme in this area? Other than the fiery palette being his normal palette, everything else is the same. ¿Why does this exist?

You’ll also notice the water surface tiles choppily jutting into each other when the open surface meets the surface in front o’ the ship. No matter how much I tried, I could ne’er fix that problem. I don’t think I could e’er figure out the frame speed o’ the original surface.

& our reward for this secret exit is… a warp to the middle o’ the forest for some reason. Makes me wonder if this route would make for better speedrunning — as if anyone would be masochistic ’nough to speedrun this gem.

  • P-Switch level count: 28 / 47
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 14
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 8

Sea of Classics

Music: “Underwater Theme”, Super Mario All-Stars ( Super Mario Bros. ) ( Same )

Now we get some truly shitty level design: an obnoxious maze with cliché references to the original Super Mario Bros., glitchy turn-block graphics, & a P-switch. I love how I didn’t e’en go all the way with the classic references: the music is from All-Stars & the end has the Super Mario World goal post, not the flagpole. It’s the only level with the goal post, too, so that means that if one’s stupid ’nough, they could use this level to get the bonus level that otherwise is defacto edited out. I’d be interested to see how glitched that looks.

Also, the outlines on everything is wrong: it’s dark gray when the original Super Mario Bros. obviously used pure black.

The 1 interesting point ’bout this level is that it’s while copying the graphics from Super Mario Bros. that I learned that the clouds & bushes are the same graphics, just with different palettes.

  • P-Switch level count: 29 / 48
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 14
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 8

Shroom of Seas

Music: “Underwater Theme”, Super Mario All-Stars ( Super Mario Bros. ) ( Same )

¿Do I have déjà vu or did I not also see this message somewhere else? Considering how many messages are just stupid jokes, it amazes me that I couldn’t come up with ’nough messages that I had to stoop to repetition twice. Truly these were here just to give me a reason to have mo’ multiple exits, since it’s not as if I could’ve made level layouts mo’ creative than a straight line to the end. I mean, we already saw what kind o’ bizarre shit I come up with when I don’t just use shrooms with that warp star to the middle o’ a forest shit.

I want to emphasize: your reward for beating this secret world is a fucking shroom. A fucking shroom with a message that’s a copy o’ ’nother & randomized item blocks that don’t e’en seem to work & aren’t worth e’en 10 coins.

Next update will be e’en shorter, & hopefully mo’ prompt, since it’ll just be a li’l clean-up & build-up to the true final world.

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

The Legend o’ Legend of the Four Switches: Part 6 – King Koopa Kastle

World A: Valley o’ Bowser’s ( revisited )

¿Have I mentioned that I loved making you go back to the start @ the end ( well, the end o’ the main game )?

King Koopa Kastle ( revisited )

Sorry the video’s so long. I forgot to edit some parts @ the beginning, such as the boring walk through the o’erworld all the way to Bowser’s Castle. Feel free to skip ‘head to ’bout 8 minutes if you’re busy.

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

Ugh. I forgot what a pain this level is — made e’en worse by recording errors that made me have to redo a bunch o’ it, which is why the footage is so uneven. I don’t know if I mentioned it yet, but my method for taking footage is odd: I record Zsnes videos & dump them as avis. This normally is mo’ stable in that I don’t need to worry ’bout rendering mess-ups happening while playing; but on rare occasions Zsnes somehow makes an input mistake @ a point, causing all footage hereafter to be desynced & messed up. This usually leads to an hour o’ footage wherein Luigi keeps entering the level & jumping right into spikes. @ 1 point our rogue Luigibot e’en decided that he was sick o’ this level & decided to hop round randomly in “Ghosts ‘n Goblins”. Can’t blame him too much.

I should admit here that my original mortifying death to Bowser was part o’ that. Most would be thrilled to have a ‘scuse to cut out such embarassment, but since I had a dumb joke to make, I decided to reenact my failure & edit it in. If you look @ said footage, it may look as if I’m making obvious mistakes… till you see the winning footage where I was trying to win & see me make some o’ the same mistakes — just not ‘nough to be killed. I have no idea how I managed to beat all the stuff in the Green Switch but apparently have trouble gainst Bowser.

If you’re curious why I keep insisting on keeping a Mecha Koopa round after the 1st round, e’en going so far as to kill a Mecha Koopa when I only have 1 left & still 1 hit left, it’s a silly speedrun strat ( not e’en the full 1, either ) to make the 2nd, harder section faster & easier. Despite fucking it up so much in the failed attempt ( as I reenact here ), you can see that I still attempt it in the winning run — though a’least I succeeded that time.

Some o’ the deaths in the 1st section are also reenacted. It seems disingenuous, — & I take the authenticity o’ footage ’bout electronic toys with the same seriousness as war photos in major newspapers — but I’d say it’s mo’ honest ’bout the actual experience I had playing the level, which is what I wanted to show. The fact that I lost the footage doesn’t mean that the stuff didn’t happen.

As an easter egg, throughout the level I hid a bunch o’ secret mushroom blocks. I can’t remember if ’twas 30 or 50 I put in, but I could only remember where a few o’ them were, & a few others I found by surprise. I can only guess that the secret mushroom block @ the end o’ the thunder section being solid black, appearing when the screen flashes, was intentional.

This level’s difficulty is incredibly imbalanced. The 1st room is the hardest; past the midway point is a joke. ’Twas annoying, ’cause in my 1st recording I got to the vine ( ¿why are there vines in a castle? ) section quite quickly, only to die in a dumb way by going o’er the ball-&-chain’s block & nudging the top o’ the block with my feet just ’nough to lose my grip o’ the vine & careen right off. After that, it took fore’er to e’en get back to that section. Compared what comes before, the vine section & everything hereafter is easy.

That said, I think the 1st room is the best part o’ the level. I like the mazelike nature o’ the level, & some o’ the jumps are tricky — ’specially the jumps round the Thwomps. My only problem is I think the section under the Thwomps is needless padding. It’s unlikely that if you fall from the Thwomp section you’ll land on solid land — I ne’er did, a’least — so it might as well just be a bottomless pit.

1 note I will make ’bout the video is that despite all the idiotic mistakes I made in what must’ve been mo’ than 3 dozen attempts, including the lost footage, I didn’t once get hurt by the shell the Blue Koopa kicks @ you that you need to bring to the Ball-&-Chain place.

The cloudy section before the vine section is so empty & pointless that I actually forgot ’bout it when I was 1st writing this till editing the video ‘bove. I wish I sped it up in the 2nd run, since it’s far too boring to watch a 2nd time & the video’s already way too long. Sorry.

After the midway point is mixed. The autoscrolling section actually isn’t that bad. Forcing the player to duck & let the edge o’ the screen push them past the spikes @ the start is clever ( but goes on a bit too long ). It’s also why I had to change the safe way to leave this level @ the beginning I mentioned in the 1st part, as the sprite that makes you leave the level by touching the edges o’ the screen for some reason propagates to further subscreens. Other than that, I actually felt pressure to keep up with the screen, rather than in most autoscrollers wherein you spend most o’ your time waiting ( “Donut Plains 2” & “Valley of Bowser 2” come to attention ).

The thunder section looks nice, but has mediocre level design. It has some o’ the most uncreative jumps in a video game: here’s a bunch o’ rows o’ vines, & here’s a bunch o’ cloud platforms that all look the same. Actually, I take back what I said ’bout the section looking nice: the thunder effect looks nice, but the clouds look way too bright & tacky. In these red levels like this & “Sea of Sangre” I turned way too many things red that didn’t look good red.

The water section looks nice, & is a nice callback to the original Super Mario Bros., but is brainlessly easy & mostly just a slow slog, ’specially through those tunnels with the Fish Bones.

The final tower climb has no puzzles you haven’t seen before. It does have the hopping statue sprite, which doesn’t appear anywhere else in this hack; but it oft doesn’t spawn for mysterious reasons. This hack was ne’er good @ sprite management; everyone would always tell me to apply some patch, but none o’ them e’er did anything. This was ‘nother edit I forgot to make: there’s a part where you’re climbing up the vine to the top where a hopping statue finally appears. I wanted to have a word balloon pointing to it that said something like, “Hey, sorry I’m late”.

I have no idea why Peach’s dialogue’s letters are glitchy in some places. I don’t remember that happening before.

Also: no credits. ’Stead, we get yet ’nother Mushroom — ’cept this 1 gives you powerups for free & has the most useless message box in the game. The reason for the lack o’ credits is that, ’cause o’ how I edited the graphics in this game, they became glitchy. Also, it wouldn’t be too accurate, since some o’ the vanilla Super Mario World enemies like Magikoopa or all but 1 ( ¡Spoiler! ) Koopa Kid don’t show up & custom sprites like Birdo or Beezo obviously won’t show in the credits. But moreo’er, the game would end without letting the player save, & I always hated it when games didn’t save you beating the final boss; & this hack was, über alles, ’bout me avoiding all those tropes in video games that I always hated as a kid like not saving beating the final boss or lives & game o’er.

  • P-Switch level count: 27 / 45
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 13
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 8

We’re only 3/4ths through the levels, though. We should still have ’bout 4 or mo’ posts left.

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

The Legend o’ Legend of the Four Switches: Part 5 – The Green Switch

Highway to Hell ( revisited )

Music: “Dark Cave”, Pokémon Gold, Silver, & Crystal

A’least the secret exit is rather clever. Here we see the importance o’ being able to take Yoshi from level to level, which is usually considered bad design in Super Mario World hacks: some exits require it. You’d think that since the idea o’ being able to take Yoshi from level to level was so important that I’d do a better job o’ planning for the happenstance in other levels. You’d think since you’re definitely expected to take Yoshi into the room with the key that I wouldn’t put Balls ’n Chains in it with the magical powers to make Yoshi’s head & neck disappear.

Here’s also a case wherein SMW Central’s advice helped: originally the pipe to the keyhole room had brown blocks o’er it, requiring you to go & get the blue P-switch ’gain, double-carrying both it & the key. I wasn’t sure whether to go with this or not till SMW Central made the decision for me, telling me not to require such glitches. I agreed, & am glad, since it would’ve just made this exit excessively annoying.

( Note: you saw me double grab in the secret exit to “Caves that is Cool”, but it wasn’t required there, as you can just carry the blue P-switch o’er to the brown blocks & go back to get the key. Nowhere in LOTFS is double-grabbing required. )

  • P-Switch level count: 21 / 32
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 9
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 6

World G: The Lost Woods

There’s quite a difficulty leap here. I remember 1 o’ the people who looked @ this hack @ SMW Central complained ’bout my hack getting too hard too quickly ’cause he played this section near the start — a lesson on the risks o’ giving the player a lot o’ control o’er what level they play next.

This world takes inspiration from “Forest of Illusion” in that it has many circuitous paths. Also, earlier on levels had a theme o’ having names that indicated how lost you were, like “Still lost…”. I found these level names to be too generic & gave mo’ indicative names.

Playing in the BG

Music: “Forest’”, Kirby’s Adventure

Welcome to the world o’ gimmicks, which reveals how late most o’ the forest levels were in development. Having run out o’ ways to make you carry P-switches from point A to B, I’d just read through SMW Central’s lists o’ patches, blocks, & RAM addresses for ideas, & that’s where this came in. I’m surprised I’ve ne’er seen these blocks used in any other hack; you could do so many mo’ interesting things with them than I did.

I thought I remembered being able to skip most o’ this level by just using the changing blocks themselves as platforms, but when playing it this time it didn’t seem to allow me to do that so much. I dunno, maybe I fixed that problem later on.

  • P-Switch level count: 21 / 33
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 9
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 6

Teresa’s Triathalon

Music: “Shade Man – Ghouls ’N Ghosts”, Mega Man 7 ( Based on 1st stage theme from Ghost ’N Goblins games )

Despite its name, this level actually doesn’t have much to do with racing, ’cept for maybe a few areas, but timing. I think I started with the idea o’ racing the Goomba disguised as a Boo, but found my ability to design levels round it limited, since if the distance ’tween you & the Boo is too great you’ll get hit; thus I found that timing ’tween the Boo being on wooden parts worked better for puzzles, but then didn’t bother changing this level’s theme to match that or e’en give it mo’ interesting graphics than vanilla Super Mario World’s usual ghost house graphics.

( Fun fact: I believe this level was originally “Ghosts ’n Goblins” & what is now called that was called “Teresa’s Revenge”. I also think that other level originally had a Boo boss, which made that level name actually make sense. )

Also, ironically, the level’s quite slow if you don’t cheat. I have no idea how I missed the fact that someone has ample room to just fly to the main goal without bothering with the long hopping & floating bullshit, but I can understand anyone who takes the faster route. Similarly, one may be better off just damage-boosting to the left to the key room rather than wait for that sluggish Boo to go all the way right & then all the way left. This was a case o’ me coming up with a clever idea, but 1 that wasn’t particularly fun.

  • P-Switch level count: 21 / 34
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 9
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 6

Orchid Orchard

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

This level name must be so late in development that I didn’t e’en expect it on this playthrough, though I recall the level itself exactly as it was ( though with a slightly better palette now ). I can’t e’en remember what ’twas originally called, though — ¿“Still lost…” maybe? I remember these forest levels originally had level names all talking ’bout how lost you were till I later decided those names were lazy.

Don’t have much else to say ’bout this level, though. Nothing in it is particularly surprising, though it doesn’t feel too ol’ hat, either. We see a variation o’ sorts on the “Some Igloo Level” Muncher puzzle wherein now you start going through with a star & then go back through with a newly-gained Yoshi so you can go back to a pipe near the start & tongue a P-switch out o’ some brown blocks. It’s ’nother instance o’ that ubiquitous blue P-switch, but a’least you don’t have to carry it anywhere. It’s basically just a way to ensure you have to have Yoshi.

Though I just realized that, with that aforementioned ability to take Yoshi into levels, & this level’s conspicuous lack o’ a no-Yoshi sign, one could simply enter the level already with a Yoshi & beat it with li’l effort. Great testing.

  • P-Switch level count: 22 / 35
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 9
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 6

Inferno Forest

Music: “Forest Frenzy’”, Donkey Kong Country

I don’t hardly remember e’er playing this level with Yoshi, despite the inevitability o’ beating “Orchid Orchard” with him, & doing so now makes the level much easier. In particular, the fact that Yoshi can walk on fire is somewhat funny — though I guess it’s no odder than the fact that Yoshi can just walk on Munchers. Usually I have a fire flower & accidentally sabotage myself by trying to spin jump off a Piranha Plant, only to kill it with a fireball & land right in the lava.

This level actually originated from a different, mo’ linear hack ( the secret exit was thrown in after I transfered it to LOTFS ), which used icegoom’s Super Mario World Redrawn graphics, which is why they’re used here for the level graphics. I think it works well with the Donkey Kong Country background & music. Mixing forest & fire is also a cool gimmick, though I don’t think I did ’nough with it.

The fire blocks is 1 case where I disagree with SMW Central’s advice, but caved in since I didn’t care that much & didn’t want something so trifling to get in the way o’ submission. They were originally ice blocks, but SMW Central said that didn’t make sense for a fire level. I always found it weird how much o’ sticklers they could be for “sense” in Mario games. It’s like how they complain ’bout floating Munchers, e’en though Mario games have had floating ? blocks fore’er. I always felt the fire blocks made less sense, ¿since shouldn’t fire blocks be mo’ resistant to fire? Then ’gain, I guess they’re kinda like the fire blocks in Wario Land 3.

  • P-Switch level count: 22 / 36
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 9
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 6

The ’50s and ’60s ( 1st trip )

Music: “Hippie Battle’”, Earthbound Beginnings

As the info box says, his level requires 1,000 coins. Normally I’d show off how great “Pain in My Temple” is, but it turned out I already had 1,000 coins ( you just can’t see it thanks to zany 1-player Luigi glitches ), so it let me go through. If you didn’t have ’nough, an invisible wall would stop you.

Also note: you only have to pay the fee once, a’least till you reset, so don’t worry ’bout dying.

Not like it matters, since as this level shows, it’s a simple, easy level. It makes you wonder why the game e’en bothered to lock out Yoshi or power-ups. It seems this level hardly does anything but make everything grayscale. Big woop.

  • P-Switch level count: 22 / 37
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 9
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 6

Rope-Bee Trees

Music: “Forest Frenzy’”, Donkey Kong Country

For some reason I think the sound o’ the saws goes great with this music.

This is ’nother level that changed quite a bit from what I remember. I remember the secret exit had you follow a rope down to a pipe in the middle o’ the rope section, not @ the end. I guess I feared — or maybe SMW Central told me — that the secret exit was too obscure & required suicidal guessing.

Gotta love that rope that just hangs out down there, though.

I don’t know how I feel ’bout making you go back & forth for the secret exit here. On 1 side, it’s repetitive; on the other, a’least this is challenging, as opposed to “Teresa’s Triathalon”, which was just boring.

I love how the main path ( the room with the blue background ) has so many parts where you can trivially skip harder parts, but I take the harder parts due to my instinct to avoid skipping parts I want to show ( since it’s too easy for me to know how to skip parts, having played this hack millions o’ times ).

  • P-Switch level count: 22 / 38
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 9
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 6

Nose-Bleed Trees

Music: “Forest’”, Kirby’s Adventure

As this video shows, there’s a major glitch for the secret exit ( which is necessary to open the rest o’ the path to the green switch ) in that if you get the midway point & then die, you lose the “golden mushrooms” you collected & have to beat the normal exit & restart from the beginning.

While I like how big & explorative this level is, & like the on-&-off water gimmick’s gameplay, — though I wish I’d had the savvy to change the background in some way so that it actually looks like you’re underwater — I think this level has too much. ¿Did it truly need a blue P-switch just to get to the normal exit? ¿Did it truly need a Blue Yoshi to reach the secret exit, which already needs 5 golden mushrooms?

  • P-Switch level count: 23 / 39
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 10
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 7

World H: The Sewers

Probably the most exotic level theme in this hack, other than the city theme in that not-truly-much-o’-a-world. I wish this hack had mo’ interesting level themes.

This is the only map to have custom graphics, though I didn’t do much with them. I always felt bad ’bout the blandness o’ the o’erworld’s graphics. 1 o’ the reasons I’d ne’er remake this hack is that I’d force myself to redraw the whole o’erworld, & that would take years.

Pipe Pollution

Music: “Underground ( Super Mario Bros. 3 )’”, Super Mario All-Stars ( same )

This is the 1 level where I’d say I did OK with the layer-2, ’specially the 2nd half. My only problem with it is the beginner’s trap near the end o’ the 1st area: there’s no way to know that you need to bring a shell ’head o’ you to make a vine ( if you don’t have a cape, a’least ), & the level kills you outright if you don’t have psychic powers.

Also, 1 flaw with the 2nd half is that I think it’s almost impossible during the downward portion if you’re big, ’less you’ve memorized the level, as you have to wait a li’l bit as the toxic sludge is going down to see where solid land is, but still have ’nough space ’bove to jump without diving head-1st into the sludge. Then ’gain, I guess you could duck when jumping; but it’d still be much harder, I’m sure. I dunno: I guess it’s not a huge problem. Still, a lesson: always test levels with multiple power-ups, which I definitely didn’t do.

  • P-Switch level count: 23 / 40
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 10
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 7

Trash Pack Pipes

Music: “Underground ( Super Mario Bros. 3 )’”, Super Mario All-Stars ( same )

My only problem with the 1st half is the pointless & dickish silver P-switch, which, if you didn’t think to go on a detour, makes you restart the 1st half if you didn’t bring it to the end. I guess, to be fair, you can clearly see it up there @ the start, giving a huge hint that you’ll probably need it. ( ¿Does this game have any optional P-switches? I don’t think it does. )

In the original version o’ this level, the 1st half was the whole level; I later decided the level was too short, so I added the 2nd half. I’m glad I did, as I quite like it & its tricky jumps. I also like its graphics — the trash blocks from Wario Land 4 & the background from the GBA Garfield & His 9 Lives, o’ all things. I wish I’d used these graphics mo’, as the rest o’ this world looks a bit generic ( not helped by the proliferation o’ that clich&eactue; Mario underground music ).

My only problem with the 2nd half is the obvious mistake o’ having 2 midway points, 1 structure-less 1 right in front o’ the pipe & a normal 1 a few blocks afterward. I’m not sure what my thinking was there, but I’m sure ’twas a mistake. Maybe I thought having that white line just floating in front o’ the pipe, e’en for just a few seconds, was tacky & decided to just create a normal midway point, only to forget to get rid o’ the original.

What I find funny ’bout this footage is that I always found the 2nd half hard & usually died a lot in it; but in this playthrough, though I die in stupid ways in the 1st half, I make it through the 2nd half, 1st try, without getting hit @ all.

  • P-Switch level count: 24 / 41
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 11
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 7

Climb of Clogginess

Music: “Underground ( Super Mario Bros. 3 )’”, Super Mario All-Stars ( same )

Not much to say ’bout this level. Other than the downward floating section @ the end ( which isn’t all that original, but a’least was ne’er done anywhere else in this hack ), it’s color by #s, “go somewhere to get P-switch, go back to use it to get past brown blocks / Munchers”.

I like how the Bullet Bills round the vines offer almost 0 threat, as the chances o’ them firing ’fore you pass them are thin.

  • P-Switch level count: 25 / 42
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 12
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 7

Lab of ‘Difficulty’

Music: “Fight Against an Armed Boss’”, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

@ the time I liked parodying kaizo hacks, since I hated them & their proliferation @ the time ( remember, I started making this hack round 2007 ). It’s a joke that isn’t as relevant anymo’, since I don’t think kaizo hacks are as popular anymo’. Maybe if I’d retinkered it into parody o’ terrible Super Mario Maker levels…

I always liked the “puzzle” o’ this 1st room, as it does what I think good puzzles should do: challenges fallacious preconceptions. In this case, the puzzle is based on the idea inherent in Mario games that pipes always have the possibility o’ being transitions to other rooms, conflicted gainst the absurdity o’ re-entering a pipe you entered the level through. ¿But why should that pipe be an exception? It shouldn’t — & there lies the fallacy. It’s not a genius “puzzle”, though — “The Second Reality Project” had already done it back in, ¿what, 2002? Plus, the info box almost tells you, “Hey, go back into the pipe whence you entered”, e’en if hid ’hind a seemingly casual cliché line.

The rest o’ the level is mediocre to bad. The only high point is the cool palettes in the water section that e’en affect Mario & Luigi, which was a bigger pain than you might think ( Lunar Magic itself doesn’t let you give Mario & Luigi custom palettes for each level — a’least it didn’t when I made this ). ’Cept, as you can see, I fucked up, & Luigi temporarily becomes Mario for this section. Otherwise, the P-switch is pointless & the star makes the rest o’ the section pointless.

The 1st section is generic Thwomp dodging. I remember in an earlier version the part where you go upward was harder ’cause the camera refused to scroll upward. Not sure how I fixed it here.

& then there’s the smasher section. I only had that ’cause I for some reason felt bad ’bout not using the smashers a’least somewhere. The problem is, the smasher sections were ne’er good in Super Mario World & they can ne’er be good ’cause they’re slow & boring. Autoscrollers are, in general, boring-as-death levels & I’m glad they’re rare in this game. But this smasher section is terrible ’cause I didn’t time anything well, making it so that you have to already know the level well to avoid death as you need to jump before you can see where you need to jump to to avoid being smashed & knocked off platforms.

This boss is the worst. It’s e’en worse than just the Goomba in the 1st lab, since a’least that was a joke. Not only were Koopas already used for the better desert lab, I was so lazy & incompetent that I didn’t e’en recolor the blue Koopa so that their colors would match the actual Koopa Bros., e’en though it’d’ve been too easy to contemplate.

& then we have the dimwitted secret exit, which is just “notice coins ’bove hole & use that to indicate you can fall in”. Luckily, it just leads to ’nother useless Shroom level.

  • P-Switch level count: 26 / 43
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 12
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 7

Shroom of Sewers

Music: “Underground ( Super Mario Bros. 3 )’”, Super Mario All-Stars ( same )

A’least the message is actually useful info this time.

The Green Switch

Music: “The Axem Rangers Drop In’”, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

I’d say this is the best Switch. While most are trivial “hop from block to block” with li’l thought to them, this feels like a coherent level with a coherent theme. I die a lot, but I still had fun doing the tricky jumps. I particularly like the subtle difficulty o’ the final jump.

I somewhat wonder if I should’ve made it a bit longer. Then ’gain, too long & this level would’ve been too frustrating.

I do like how I tried to give each Switch ( ’cept the Red Switch ) a theme: the Yellow being flying, the Blue being icy physics, & this 1 being bouncy blocks. I only wish the Yellow & Blue Switches did mo’ with their themes, ’specially the Blue Switch. I also wish the Red Switch weren’t utter garbage.

  • P-Switch level count: 26 / 44
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 12
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 7

We’ve already hit all the Switches. Next is Bowser’s Castle, & then off to the postgame.

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

The Legend o’ Legend of the Four Switches: Part 4 – The Blue Switch

World C: Shroom City Mainland ( revisited )

3 mo’ levels from this disparate “world”.

Piranha Trap Pass ( revisited )

Music: “Overworld”, New Super Mario Bros.

As expected, the secret exit that clearly leads to that wide space on the left side o’ the map to the left is on the left side o’ the level.

Mo’ evidence that I redid this level @ a later time: I wisely got rid o’ the blue P-switch that was here before & just had the pipe open @ the end. Originally, the blue P-switch was where the fire flower now is in the cave section, on the far left side, a copy o’ a trick I use later, so ’twas redundant here. Similarly, the pipe @ the end used to have brown blocks round it, in a much less interesting copy o’ a few levels we’ve already seen.

As I show in the cave section, while I added an extra pipe to allow one to get back up, this only added a way to get stuck & be forced to start-select out or wait for the timer to kill them if they haven’t beaten the level yet. That pipe was added @ the behest o’ SMW Central back when the P-switch was still there as it made it impossible to beat the level if you made it past there without grabbing the P-switch & you didn’t have a cape. ’Course, since the P-switch is gone, there’s no reason to need to get back up anymo’, so it would’ve been better had I ne’er added that pipe @ all.

I have mixed views ’bout the main challenge o’ the part after the cave: though I like the way the tricky jumps don’t outright kill you if you fail, which is nice for an early level, the fact that you have to swim all the way back makes it almost worse. Also, the ease is a bit silly considering all the levels with plenty o’ bottomless pits round this level. If you can’t handle these simple jumps, I don’t know how you’d handle the level after the next — or the level before this 1.

  • P-Switch level count: 14 / 22
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 4
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 3

Totally Stoned

Music: “Marble Zone”, Sonic the Hedgehog

The name’s a joke my teenage self clearly thought was funnier than my current self.

Here’s a level that taught me a devious hack to trick people into thinking a level’s design is less boring that it truly is: spruce up the visuals. The level’s mainly just the same simple gimmick o’ breaking open clogged passages with Koopa shells, which I found rather boring. But I ’specially found the original graphics, which were just a typical tree BG from a few levels & the normal graphics found in many other levels in this hack, so I changed them into Sonic graphics to make it a’least look mo’ interesting. Now ’stead we have to deal with tacky cut-off thanks to the top o’ the grass being move-throughable.

’Course I also spruced up this level by cutting out a lot o’ the filler pap. I remember an earlier version had this long section where you had to go up some stone tower & dodge a bunch o’ Koopas to get a throw block, & then you had to race down so you could throw it @ a brick to pass through. Actually, I think just moderating that would’ve been better than cutting it out completely; might’ve made this level a bit mo’ interesting.

The layer-2 section is 1 o’ the least bad implementations I’ve done, ’specially thanks to the weird gravity-defying Spike Top.

I do like the final trick o’ the shell-kicking gimmick @ the end.

  • P-Switch level count: 14 / 23
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 4
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 3

Bootropolis

Music: “No Eating Crackers in the Theater”, Mother 3

O, this level. This is 1 o’ those levels that’s big, but quite a bit o’ it is irrelevant — a’least parts o’ the night section. One could also argue that this level falls into a bout o’ trying to do too much & not keeping focus. ¿What do Munchers on pipes have to do with a city haunted @ night? ¿& why would the pipes be high up in the sky? ¿Wouldn’t it make mo’ sense had I put it underground — specially since I don’t think there were any bottomless pits in the day portion, so it shouldn’t have conflicted with the upper portions. There’s also some copied parts: the whole “Disco Koopa chases you through spike blocks you have to navigate through” gimmick’s already used later, & here it’s easily made trivial by just rushing forward, not allowing the Disco Koopa to drop from its perch.

The dark half is also mixed in quality. On the good side there’s the death holes scattered in the formerly solid streets, emphasizing the uglier side o’ the haunted night section, as well as just how generally mo’ twisted the dark side looks; on the other, some parts are just jarringly off, like the big holes o’ nothing in many places, such as round the top, & the weird section with the weird white Piranha Plants with the spike holes that slowly kill you ( since you can’t jump out o’ them ). Also, I’ve noticed that Boo Carousels — whatever they’re called — aren’t truly challenging; they just waste your time.

Still, I have a bit o’ a tenderness for this level. The way the level changes @ night & the weird Muncher-infested pipelines in daytime have character, & while SMW Central complained ’bout the need to intentionally kill yourself to continue past the “Ghost Mushroom”, or whatever it’s s’posed to be ( while admitting that the infinite lives makes it less mean ), I still stand by it as clever & no harsher than some o’ the puzzles considered legitimate in other hacks. It’s basically a power-up filter that gives you some power-ups afterward, which is mo’ lenient than some hacks give you.

I’m surprised the puzzle I made for fighting the Boo boss hasn’t been done mo’. I’ve seen convoluted pipe mazes you have to kick shells through, but ne’er a straight race to hop up platforms with a throw block before it disappears. But as the video shows, mine was a bit mo’ lenient: there’s a Koopa that offers a’least 1 guaranteed hit; & technically one could get 1 o’ the many Koopas lower down, if desperate.

I should also probably ’splain the arrow coin pointing down next to that pipe in the 1st area:

That was a friendly li’l riff on SMW Central who kept complaining ’bout blind jumps in LOTFS. Sort o’ imagine some asshole hacker saying, “Uh O: better warn the player that it’s OK to fall down this long fall”. I’m not sure why I felt the need to tease them, since I’m sure I should’ve agreed with them — I’m certainly no fan o’ blind jumps, & they certainly don’t fit in LOTFS’s main mission o’ not being a bullshit kaizo hack.

Finally, I always hop off the side o’ the building as the Boo boss reaches the bottom o’ the screen ’pon dying, causing us both to plummet back to the bottom o’ the tower ( since the Boo boss doesn’t die till it goes off-screen, regardless o’ where the camera moves ), & was saddened when purplegoomba64 didn’t do it. ( Also, I forgot all ’bout that o’erworld glitch that happens afterward in that video. )

  • P-Switch level count: 15 / 24
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 5
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 4

World F: Mt. Windsnow

Music: “Walking the Snowy Mountains”, Final Fantasy V

Earlier on, this world was much shorter: there was just “Mt. Windsnow”, “Caves that Is Cool”, “Celsius Lake” ( though as I’ll mention when I get to it, it changed immensely, too ), & the lab & switch levels. Feeling ’twas unfair to have this world so short, I lengthened it; now, ironically, it is probably 1 o’ the longest.

’Bove: original Mt. Windsnow o’erworld, circa 2007
Below: latest Mt. Windsnow o’erworld

& the very original version, when ’twas called simply “JJW Game” & none o’ the levels were e’en made, it looked completely different:

Mt. Windsnow

Music: “Freeze Man Stage – Iceberg Area”, Mega Man 7

A simple but challenging romp that I actually had fun playing. It helps that I wasn’t as familiar with this level as most o’ the others, so it actually felt fresh. I particularly like the part near the end where you have to walk down staircases with spikes, something that’d be trivially easy if not for the ground being slippery.

You can tell I changed this late in development by the use o’ quite a few custom sprites. For some reason I hardly e’er used custom sprites. It’s not that I found them hard to use; I just ne’er thought ’bout it for some reason.

I’m not sure why I felt the need to tell players to use Birdo’s egg to continue through the level; ’twas a trick ripped straight off from Super Mario Bros. 2, & that game didn’t have to tell players what was an obvious use.

  • P-Switch level count: 15 / 25
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 5
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 4

Caves that Is Cold

Music: “Blizzard Buffalo”, Mega Man X3

I’m thoroughly satisfied with the 1st half, which was also spruced up late in development. The level design was simply tightened up, with the P-switch run actually being timed so that there’s some challenge, & not just me trying to guess when would be the right time to end it; but the true improvement are the foggy graphics. The original version was just a bland blue cave.

The 2nd part is still lame. I think I tried to shorten the raft section from the original version, but it’s still a slow-ass raft. I ’specially love the bat that’s pointless, since it’ll always flutter below you as your raft rises. I think the keyhole secret was the only reason I kept the raft section.

The blue P-switch is useless. Yeah, it challenges you to realize you can go left sometimes; but that’s it. Also, this level reuses the “go to end to get switch so you can race back to a pipe near the beginning” gimmick already used back in “Basidio Bridge” & “Dark Desert”.

  • P-Switch level count: 16 / 26
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 6
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 5

Celsius Lake

Music: “Underwater Tunnels”, Wario Land II

A nice bonus level that’s hardly challenging @ all. There’s not e’en much to say other than to point out how sparse this level looks ( the background’s just some Game Boy style kelp ) & how lazy I was that I couldn’t e’en make whatever it is that’s keeping you from freezing to death not blue mushrooms — ’cause it makes sense that blue mushrooms warm you up. Also, ¿why’d I let the bar go red when you’re close to freezing? Should be the opposite.

Originally, there was a different level here: 1 where you had to hop on dolphins hopping o’er deadly water, with some sections in which deadly water ( purple ) & safe water ( cyan ) jarringly stood right ’side each other. It sucked hard, which was why ’twas replaced. Just wanted to remind you that as weak as these levels may be, there were far worse before.

  • P-Switch level count: 17 / 27
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 6
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 5

Shroom of Shivers

Music: “Freeze Man Stage – Iceberg Area”, Mega Man 7

I may be misremembering, ¿but wasn’t the secret sea world already hinted @ in ’nother “Shroom” level? God, these levels are so repetitive, I couldn’t e’en stop myself from repeating messages, ¿could I?

Hotel Baltic Ave.

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

Not long after the long “Bootropolis” we have ’nother long level.

This level has a history. When I was making it I had grand plans that this would be my “magnum opus”, a’least for this hack. I think I was watching raocow play The Second Reality Project 2 & was champing @ the bit a bit @ how nice it looked, so I decided to make a super snazzy looking level that uses 6 whole graphics “banks” all for itself. I certainly think it still looks nice, since it uses graphics from Wario Land 4, which looks great. I only wish I could’ve done mo’ with the outside graphics. I also wish I’d had any talent with porting music & could’ve made a port o’ “Crescent Moon Village”.

That said, I think the level fails to keep up with my expectations. The 1st problem is that my expectations were high: I wanted this to be some huge, nonlinear level full o’ secrets & exploration — something close to “Hotel Horror”1, which is where these graphics originate. But as you can see, it’s quite linear, actually: there’s just a bunch o’ rooms with short puzzles to get 1 out o’ 4 topaz quarters, or whatever they’re s’posed to be, to get through the door to the midway point, with a few pointless rooms with power-ups & coins. I dunno, I feel like I could’ve done mo’ with the different floors.

Worse, this level’s imbalanced: after the midway point you have a long ice area that, as the video shows, is literally just a troll job — a self-inflicted jab @ my o’eruse o’ “take item @ point A to point B to get item to unlock point C, etc.” All you get for completing it is a fire flower… which you need to start the puzzle. & after that you have a short hallway with the cheapest Fishing Boo e’er ( I swear in 1 o’ those deaths in the video the flame just warps to where Luigi is ), & then a short climb upward. What we had for a exploratory level turns into pure linear, color by #s level design.

But the absolute worst is the secret exit. You have to go through the whole 1st half ’gain, & then you just go left in the hallway with the Fishing Boo. That room has no challenge & the puzzle was done in a much funnier manner in Brutal Mario. ¿Why bother with the secret exit when ’twas so clearly thrown in & just makes the level mo’ repetitive & annoying? ’Cause this was my magnum opus & ’course there needed to be a secret exit, e’en if it serves no purpose.

If the secret exit were gone, it wouldn’t be too bad, though. I guess some o’ the puzzles are clever, like Yoshi-jumping bridge-building or that secretly challenging room with the Chargin’ Chucks… or a’least they would be clever if you couldn’t mow through them with a cape, as the video shows later on — a cape you’re pretty much guaranteed to have since the level gives it to you & you need it to reach the switch.

  • P-Switch level count: 18 / 28
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 7
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 6

Some Igloo Level

Music: “Blizzard Buffalo”, Mega Man X3

See, this 1’s almost the opposite: it has much cleverer level design, but banal graphics. A’least it’s secret exit is something different.

Just a few points to say ’bout this level:

  • That midway point is hilariously devious — though not in a particularly punishing way, since there’s a fire flower right there.

  • I don’t demo it, but the purple water is instant-death. Probably should’ve put a message box warning ’bout that. Funny, since I read a SMW Central person complain ’bout “Highway to Hell” not warning ’bout its deathly water, e’en though there is a message box telling you exactly that in that level, but didn’t say anything ’bout this level.

  • I don’t know why getting in that passage to the keyhole is so hard while big.

  • I probably should’ve shown off where the vine area leads ( ¿why are there vines in an igloo? ), but I’m sure it just leads to a power-up — a power-up not worth the effort to get. I wasn’t great @ balancing challenges & corresponding rewards.

  • I like the last puzzle, the way it challenges you to do platforming to get through the Muncher patch @ 1st, but lets you easily run o’er it with the star. I generally like sections you go back & forth through, but in a different way ( such as that 1st “Dead Shallows” section ).

  • P-Switch level count: 19 / 29
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 8
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 6

Holy Shit It’s Cold

Music: “Freeze Man Stage – Iceberg Area”, Mega Man 7 / “Hot Head Bop”, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest

This was the place I was talking ’bout when I mentioned saving my swear words for someplace special.

But the funniest thing is, as purplegoomba64 mentions, this is probably the worst level to have this name, since it isn’t that cold: ¡half o’ it is a molten volcano! The whole gimmick is that it goes back & forth through ice & lava, àla “Hailfire Peaks”.

I don’t like this level. It’s not terrible; it’s just lame. There’s not much to the switch ’tween the 2 types: sometimes lava turns to water & sometimes ice cubes melt. You have to go through the 1st section in both versions, & it hardly changes ’tween them, making it repetitive.

Also, the use o’ the P-switch here has to be the worst in this entire game. Not only is it a copy o’ the “go backward to find it hiding in a corner”, but it makes you wait right after the brown blocks you turn to coins so that a brown block you do need to use as a platform turns back to a brown block. I guess the idea was to challenge the player not to go too fast & grab the coin, but that’s stupid. Worse, it’s a tricky jump that’s easy to fail, forcing you to go through all that ’gain.

The graphics also look like shit: brown Donkey Kong Country mountain background looks tacky. The various clouds @ the top look stupid & are pointless. In general, the level looks thrown together — like that pipe that’s just there in the middle o’ nowhere in the lava version o’ the 1st section. I guess it’s s’posed to be hard to notice, since you need to go into it to beat the level, but it just looks lazily designed.

The lava version is particularly worse, & it takes up more o’ the level than the ice section, e’en though this is an ice world. I don’t know — this level just feels wrong. It irks me. Let’s speak o’ it no mo’.

  • P-Switch level count: 20 / 30
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 9
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 6

Lab of Blizzards

Music: “Hunffin’ and Puffin’”, Paper Mario

Here’s a much better level. It’s definitely the best lab level, with the best boss.

If I remember correctly, originally this level was just the 1st half, which I found trivially easy for where ’twas placed, so I added a 2nd half. This half, in contrast, has quite a ridiculously hard jump o’er instant-death… ¿cold lava? I don’t know what that’s s’posed to be.

Also, I think the cracked frozen lava edges in the 1st half are @ the behest o’ SMW Central, who are infamous for hating cut-off. Can’t complain ’bout the decision; cut-off is tacky.

The boss is the only good 1, since it’s an actual clever puzzle, & it’s not just a Goomba or a bunch o’ Koopas. The only problem is you have to be careful, ’cause if you lose all fire flowers, you’re screwed.

  • P-Switch level count: 21 / 31
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 9
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 6

The Blue Switch

Music: “The Axem Rangers Drop In’”, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

This level, meanwhile, is too easy ( e’en if I die a bunch in the video ). Most o’ the switches in this game feel anticlimactic; this 1 could’ve had much mo’ depth.

  • P-Switch level count: 21 / 32
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 9
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 6

We’re already halfway through all this game’s levels & have only 1 mo’ switch to hit.

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