📺i'm working on my sonic 2 (genesis) run w/ 7 emeralds. looking at checkpoints and strategy for Emerald Hill Zone. 📺
speed runs are a surprisingly relaxing activity.
why does steemit turn all of my photos sideways, or even worse, UPSIDE DOWN?!
meditation of speed running.
i find rerunning a familiar game over and over to be meditative and enjoyable. it's the opposite of a lot of my other activities, which are improvisational and creative in nature. speed running is about precision and repetition.
it's fun as hell to learn to crush a video game that once pwned me all day long as a kid. when i was young, i barely dreamed of collecting all seven emeralds.
(in case you aren't familiar with classic sonic -- you can become "super sonic" when you get all 7 emeralds, giving you invincibility and super speed / flying for a limited time)
the hard part about practicing a video game is that many games are linear. you start the game at the beginning, and then you have to play all the way to the spot you want to "practice." you might only get one or two tries to practice that spot, aka die to it, and then you have to play from the beginning again. this is annoying.
having fun with video games
luckily today it is the year 2019
we have full level maps, save states, and everything else. which makes it way cooler -- now i'm able to deconstruct the game using emulation tools to practice. then, when i actually play the game for real, i can experience what it's like to be a talented gamer.
it's not "work" -- i wouldn't do it just to get better, i do it because it's fun. the practice is fun, and then being able to crush the game on a whim is fun.
sonic 2 / 7 emeralds -- easier than it seems
the fun part about breaking down a game to get good at it, is, it becomes a puzzle. how can this game be easier? how can i be better? and often, the answer lies in plain sight.
noob explanation -- how the emeralds work: the way you unlock an emerald in sonic 2 is to get 50 rings at once, then hit a checkpoint item to enter a bonus stage. each stage is harder than the last, so as you play the game and collect more emeralds, it's easier and easier to fail the bonus stage. you not only need to enter at least seven bonus stages, each one requiring 50 rings and a checkpoint, you also need to beat each bonus level. if you fail, you have to repeat that level at the next checkpoint -- after collecting another 50 rings! not easy!
here are the first two level maps from sonic 2 -- courtesy of sonicretro.org (note - you can see large versions of these images at the retro sonic page])
Emerald Hill Zone, Act One:
Emerald Hill Zone, Act Two:
Looking closer, we notice something interesting...
In act one, there are three checkpoint spots:
and then in act two, there's 5 more. that means 8 in total!
Eight checkpoints is one more than seven very advanced mathematics and that means a sonic 2 emeralds run can be a lot easier than i realized.
i don't need to get any of the more challenging checkpoints in later levels -- they aren't hard to find, but it's very hard to keep 50 rings for long enough to actually get into bonus stages after Hill Top Zone or so. also, having them all in the first level means that if i am doing speed runs and i blow it on a late emerald stage, it'll still be early in the run -- maybe it takes 8 minutes. that is less frustrating than if it happened 40 minutes into the run, to say the least.
reducing the stress of failure and increasing the speed of "iteration" -- or trying new ideas -- is the key for making speed runs fun. i like to try and tackle something new every session, rather than banging my head against the wall of the same little thing.
speed runs are a lot of fun!