Category: Interviews

New changes in November

Dank Art

I made a LOT of Dank Art on the weekend watching the 1CC Marathon. I missed a lot of Friday because I was working, but I did my best to try to catch most of it between IRL stuff and eating. It was a lot of fun and I always love watching skilled players do their thing in events such as this. I hope more fun events like this pop up on twitch that will help to encourage more people to go for their gaming goals, meet new friends and find new streamers to follow. Most of friends on twitch I met thru the 1CC Marathon, so don’t be shy when it comes to signing yourself up for events like these.

I caught some of Ultimoice’s Final Fantasy 7 runs over the weekend as well as more Mother 2 runs in between of the 1CC Marathon as I was cooped up around the house most of the time. A lot of people are going to say that FF7 was the game that changed everything back in the day and they are right. I remember seeing the commercials for Final Fantasy 7 on the TV and freaking out that it was being called Final Fantasy 7 and not FF4 AND it was coming out for the PlayStation and not the N64 as what was expected. The biggest thing was when suddenly EVERYONE wanted to play Final Fantsy 7 and almost overnight people who were never into video games suddenly wanted to be. I’m not joking, everyone was so blown away at the graphics and the sheer size and complexity of this game that you had everyone dropping serious coin on PS1’s to just play this game (minus the nerds who bought the PC release of the game and who had to suffer thru playing that hahaha).
Though Final Fantasy 7 isn’t my favourite game (it’s not even my favourite Final Fantasy)  it does hold a special place in my heart just because of that experience and what direction video games started to go after it came out. The fact that Ulti speedruns this game is absolute insanity to me, but he pulls it off and it is a run you have to catch at least once if you have played the game.

 

Dank Zine

60EF2D97-E932-4721-99C4-2C05DF6CBE43Backers for my Dank Zine who back before the end of the month will be getting this amazing limited print run sticker featuring Milky from Shock Troopers! This design was created last Christmas during one of BBH’s streams when Twitch had a bunch of cute holiday emoticons that you could play with. I made a Dank Art from it and decided to clean it up this year to give it make it my gift to my backers.

Make sure you back my Dank Zine before November 30th as this month’s feature streamer is none other than PJ. I got a chance to chat with PJ just over Halloween about his experience speedrunning, streaming and Gin! I also have a special interview with Cathodedaze who works at a special Arcade Museum in Florida where they have over 50 arcade and pinball machines and what its like to have a cool dream job. Fantastic Planet returns with a great Christmas feature as well as a bunch of cool art and extras for the holidays. The other neat thing is this issue will have featured PJ Sub Stickers so if you’ve been following PJ and want these stickers then you better back before the 30th of the month together yours. 8AF1A8A2-3493-4A90-B6E5-D4821B8BE5E4.jpeg

The BIG BIG BIG news for me is that my little zine has grown so much in the last few months that to meet the demands of my printing fulfilment I will be changing printers. Subscribers should instantly notice a HUGE upgrade to the quality and look of the Zine as now I am big enough to move away from print-on-demand orders. This means a lot more control on my part when it comes to the look and feel of each issue so I am very excited to be moving up with these new changes.

This means a huge change for Dank Zine because each issue now will be limited to the one production run and once all back issues are sold THAT’S IT. This means if you are backing my Zine you will get an issue with all the fun stickers each month and there will only be a few back issues in the store for those who were sitting on the fence. Even more reason to back the Zine so you never miss out. This also means starting in January my current Dank Shop will come down to make way for the new shop, so if you were thinking of grabbing any back issues that are in my Dank Shop right now do it soon before they are gone forever!

 

 

1CC Marathon this Weekend

This weekend make sure you tune in to catch some of the action with the 1CC Marathon where a selected group of top players will challenge themselves to get 1 credit clears in their selected arcade game. I’ve been tuning into this event for the past 3 years and discovered a lot of my favourite Twitch streamers from it.

The posted schedule is here

 

B3556D6F-DAD4-4263-8D5D-03D561A53E0DI sat down with players Pasky, zuq_, Neo_Antwon, and Chuboh who are participating in the event this weekend for an article in my Eighth Issue of my Dank Zine. You can check it out here:

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AnnK: How long have you been running the 1CCMarathon?

Pasky: I’ve been running the ‘1CCMarathon’ for roughly two years now. The first one took place in November 2015 and the second event occurred in October 2016. The upcoming event will be happening on November 10th through the 12th of this year.

AnnK: Do you organize this event on your own or do get help from other people? If yes, who else makes up your 1CC crew?

Pasky: I handle the administration of the entire event myself. This includes creating the game submission form, processing the submissions, scheduling the event, communicating with the participants to get them set up, preparing the format of the stream (stream layout, wait screens, etc…), and, of course, streaming the event itself. I’ve always been a believer in the saying, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.”

AnnK: Why do you put on a big event like this?

Pasky: Well, I wouldn’t exactly call it big, but it’s truly a labour of love for me. There’s no monetization involved, it’s not advertised everywhere I go, and I’m not looking to get any sort of recognition out of it. I enjoy holding this event because I’m a huge fan of watching high-level gameplay and it’s extremely exciting to me to see top players complete their respective games in a live setting.

When you watch the completion of a difficult game on Youtube, for example, it’s pretty cool but that player basically has an infinite amount of chances to get it correct; he can simply reset the game and restart the recording. Now give that player a live audience, put a spotlight on them, increase the pressure, and allow them to show off all the skill they have accumulated, giving them only one chance to complete the game to receive that recognition and you have a recipe for excitement.

There are a lot of players that are relatively unknown on Twitch but are extremely good at the games they play, or perhaps they don’t normally do them in live settings. This event allows these players to exhibit their skill to a broader audience, so more people can appreciate it. It is for these reasons that I enjoy putting this event on.

AnnK: What are some of the challenges you face when planning an event like this?

Pasky: Where do I begin? I’d say the first challenge is to determine what games to accept in the marathon. There are many factors when considering this, such as if a game was played in a prior year, if it is entertaining, and things of that nature. Another challenge is scheduling players, as there are so many time zones and scheduling constraints to work with and there are people on entirely different continents that I need to work around. There’s also the issue of streaming the marathon itself, making sure everything is properly functioning while making sure the next player is set up while keeping tabs on the current run. You’d think an online event would be an easy gig, but it can be quite stressful ensuring everything runs smoothly for the players and the audience, especially when you’re dealing with factors out of your own control such as Twitch server errors and things of that nature.

AnnK: Why focus on 1CCs?

Pasky: Well, arcade games in particular are known for being much more difficult on average than your home console released games. The odds are usually against the player and unfair situations are placed upon them because these games were designed to make money for arcade operators, so to generate revenue, ending credits forced players to pay if they wanted to play again. Particularly in the United States, arcade companies usually pushed regional differences to make the game even more difficult than the original Japanese release to encourage credit feeding, and for that reason, a lot of the United States arcade culture was akin to credit feeding through games. This leads many people to be surprised that these games can be beaten in a single credit, and opening their eyes to this sort of high–level play is always refreshing. It’s extremely impressive watching someone show off all the content of a game by completing it without continuing.

AnnK: Who do you look for when selecting someone to be in the event?

Pasky: All of my scrutiny goes towards the game being played. Is it entertaining? How impressive is the run? Has it been played in the marathon before? There are other factors such as character choice because using some characters over others can be far more impressive and difficult. With that being said, I sometimes put my own personal taste aside when selecting games to accept. There have been plenty of games I don’t personally like that have been in the event because there is a community that enjoys them or someone is passionate about it and wants to share their fondness for it.

AnnK: Can you describe in your own words what the best thing about 1CC’ing a game is?

Pasky: I’d have to say the best thing about 1CC’ing an arcade game is triumphing over a game designed to be outright difficult and unfair to complete and mitigating these obstacles with your own skill.

AnnK: Can you tell me what game you first 1CC’d and what that feeling was like?

Pasky: The first game I ever learned to clear on one credit was Double Dragon. I believe I was 11 years old. It was pretty cool, but at the same time, I didn’t feel that accomplished because I just back elbowed everything, haha. It’s an extremely easy arcade game because of that exploit.

AnnK: What do you hope to share with the people in your community with this event?

Pasky: All of the great games and players exhibiting them. This year there’s going to be a mix of relatively unknown games, popular games, and a lot of difficult games. With such a huge variety of games this year, it’s going to be really exciting. I’m happy to be able to put this on and share this with a broad audience, while at the same time giving the players an audience and a moment to shine themselves.

AnnK: Can you tell me which runs you are most excited about?

Pasky: This is such a difficult question for me to answer because I’m actually excited for everything, but if I had to narrow it down I would say P.O.W. which I have fond memories of playing as a kid.  Scoop will be playing it and he normally cannot stream his playthroughs, but he will be at Zuq’s home for the marathon so I’m super excited to watch him in action, live! I’m also looking forward to both Dodonpachi games, as they are incredibly difficult games in my opinion. Really exciting to see these done in a live setting.

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AnnK: Tell me who you are, where you are from and what sort of games do you play

Zuq_: I’m just some dude from a small town in Poland. My nickname is basically unpronounceable to English speaking folk, so everyone calls me zook or zuck but I got used to it to such an extent that the original pronunciation sounds foreign to me now.  I enjoy playing arcade beat ‘em ups the most but I do play some run ‘n guns (Metal Slug series) and traditional shmups (Toaplan, NMK and early Raizing) from time to time.

Neo_Antwon …I primarily play arcade shooting games such as Mahou Daisakusen and Game Tengoku. I also play a lot of older 2d fighting games, my favourite is Project Justice, that game is super fun.  I’ve always gravitated towards faster paced arcadey type games, long RPGs and stuff tend to put me to sleep.

Chuboh: My name is Michael Gilroy, and live in a small town in northern Michigan. I play classic games of all kinds, ranging from arcade games to computer games and console games, with a special focus on games that could be considered “hidden gems” and, of course, everyone’s favourite, jank.

AnnK: What is the most challenging thing about the game you are playing in the 1CC Marathon?

Zuq_: The most challenging part of “Knights of the Round” is the boss of stage 6 – Muramasa. You need to be on top of your block game, not over-commit to heavy attacks and be patient enough not to go all in when he keeps juking you once low on health. Though, the entire run is pretty demanding as you can die in 2-3 hits from certain enemy types.

Cadillacs & Dinosaurs is mostly about sticking to tried and tested strategies and not trying to be overly creative but it does have a gatekeeper, Slicesaurs. It’s a duo-boss fight which is a Capcom staple and personally, I think that this one is one of the most frustrating beat ‘em up bosses to deal with; they’re fast, aggressive and will try to stay on opposite sides of the player character but the frustration stems from their random wake-up timers, due to which you’re unable to crowd-control them with throws.

Thankfully, The Punisher co-op run I’ll be doing with Scoop is rather tame in comparison to the other two games I’ll be running in the marathon, even on hardest difficulty. Unfortunately, due to other obligations, we won’t have much time to practice prior and that fact alone can pose a challenge as our play styles vary a lot.

Neo_Antwon: For this 1CC Marathon I will be playing a trio of games. Labyrinth Runner by Konami, Kiki KaiKai by Taito and Plus Alpha by Jaleco. I feel that Kiki KaiKai may be the hardest. when you die, getting the power-ups you want again is really hard to do in some stages. Sometimes enemies just spawn so fast it’s hard to keep up and they will overwhelm you. Plus Alpha can be a blow up on the last 3 stages if you’re not careful.

Chuboh: Out of the three games I’m playing for the 1CCMarathon (Spelunker, Big Karnak and Bonanza Bros.), I would have to say Bonanza Bros. is by far the most challenging. For those who may not be familiar with it, Bonanza Bros. is a stealth-action game released by Sega in 1990. The Bonanza Bros., Mobo and Robo, have been hired to sneak into various buildings in the town of Badville to steal evidence that will allow some nebulous, undefined force of justice to clean up the town. It has a really neat graphical style that almost looks like early 80s CGI, kind of like the old Money For Nothing music video, where everything is made up of low-poly geometric shapes. The way the game is structured, the levels are almost like puzzles, where you have to figure out the best routes and tactics to collect all the loot and escape without getting clobbered or shot by the guards. You don’t get any 1-ups at all during the game, and the guards become faster and more aggressive as the game goes on, plus each level has a 3-minute time limit, so clearing all 12 levels on the three lives the game gives you by default is pretty tricky. Things can go terribly wrong very quickly!

AnnK: How long have you been playing the game you are playing in the 1CC Marathon?

Zuq_: Too long. Cadillacs & Dinosaurs used to be my favourite arcade game as a kid (why play anything else when you can get ~40 minutes out of a single token) and to be frank, I’ve been playing it on and off for about 20 years. I’m still working on getting No-Miss (deathless) runs on the hardest difficulty setting with characters other than Mustapha. I’ve played both, Knights of the Round and The Punisher for the first time around the same period as Cadillacs &  Dinosaurs, but my history with those two is rather different. The Punisher is one of the first games I cleared back in my arcade-going days, and despite it being a great one, I’ve grown a bit bored of it – Scoop, my co-op partner, simply loves The Punisher so fun will be had. Knights of the Round is probably my favourite beat ‘em up at this point, it plays vastly different than other Capcom developed brawlers and despite having played it in the arcade, most of my experience came from a half-year grind – when I was still aiming for deathless clears with all characters on the hardest difficulty. What captivates me the most about this one is the combat system, which has blocking, heavy attacks and other options which are just fun to execute. Plus, all characters are rather balanced so you never feel confined to a single, top-tier choice.

Neo_Antwon: I’ve had prior experience with Kiki Kaikai and Labyrinth Runner before, but I recently started Plus Alpha like maybe a month ago. Plus Alpha is a lot of fun, it has really good music and is easy to pick up and play.

Chuboh: I first encountered Bonanza Bros. when I rented the Sega Genesis version as a teenager around 1992 or so. The idea of a game where the object was to sneak around stealing things rather than shoot everything in sight was pretty unique, and the art style in the game really stuck in my mind. Then, about a year ago, on a whim, I started playing arcade games in MAME again, and one of the games I picked up was the arcade version of Bonanza Bros. Memories of the Genesis version came flooding back, and I’ve been fascinated with the game ever since.

AnnK: What sort of practice schedule or planning goes into a 1CC attempt?

Zuq_: I do not really have a schedule and I’m more of an ad-hoc guy so planning is not my thing. Once I focus on a game I’ll just keep playing it over, and over, and over again – credit feeding at first. I do, however,  make save states for stages and boss fights as the ability to practice bosses and route stages (especially later ones) is invaluable and speeds up the learning process immensely. Unfortunately, the scarcity of my leisure time forces me to chose between practice or streaming attempts, and I’ll opt for the latter any day of the week as I feel the former to be rather boring/mundane. I do admit I love loading boss save states and looking for new loops or strategies as it feels rewarding to turn an otherwise difficult boss fight into a punching bag through manipulation and AI abuse.

Neo_Antwon: A lot of stage routing goes into learning a game for 1CC.  I really like to have a planned route to get me through a stage if possible, it reduces the chance of running into a situation you can’t get out of or waste resources on you could use later in the game. I also watch a lot of super plays, high-level replays, for the games I play to pick up new strategies.

Chuboh: The first thing I do when I pick up a new game is just mess around with it, familiarizing myself with the controls, figuring out what the game will and won’t let me get away with, working on potential tricks and techniques that might help with tough situations, stuff like that. So, my first several times playing the game are more exploratory rather than trying to actually make progress. Then, I start working my way through the levels, planning out routes and making note of tricky spots I need to work on. Around this time, I try to string things together into a full 1CC attempt, and then just hit the grind, trying to improve and refine my routes, making things as safe and idiot-proof as possible. I try to practice a game at least two to three times a week when going for a new 1CC, or if a game is really demanding.

AnnK: Why do you enjoy playing arcade games?

Zuq_: Arcade games, when played with a one-credit clear mindset feel satisfying, there’s no hand-holding and the variety when compared to current releases is off the charts. But the steep learning curve is what truly turns it into a rewarding experience as in order to beat the game (credit feeding doesn’t count) you need to master its mechanics and familiarise yourself with patterns etc. You take baby steps, but once it all clicks, and each subsequent credit ends up lasting longer/you get further, you realise that “winning” is possible even when facing a game essentially rigged against the player.

Nostalgia also plays a big part as I’m quite susceptible to it myself and clearing games which made me fumble constantly back in my arcade days feels great.

Neo_Antwon: I really enjoy arcade games, STGs in particular, because you can continuously get better at them. Like I can clear a game but I always know I could do it better. Seeing the progression in my game play is very satisfying.

Chuboh: I enjoy difficult games in general, and classic arcade games are among the most difficult games out there. There’s something very satisfying about playing a game that was purposely designed to take as much money from you as possible, and beating it on a single credit. Also, and this is the real reason now that I think about it, I was REALLY BAD at video games as a kid. I loved playing them, but I rarely beat them, and I would get frustrated and ragequit all the time. So, playing and beating these hard old games is like conquering a childhood hobgoblin.

AnnK: What’s the best thing about participating in events such as the 1CC Marathon?

Zuq_:  It’s the showcase aspect of it; exposing people to my favourite games, whilst simultaneously sharing all my knowledge and applying it during a live play demonstration. Thus, dismissing the misguided claims of arcade games being just “coin munchers” as it just takes passion and practice to overcome the odds. Even if they’re stacked against the player.

Neo_Antwon: Participating in events such as the 1CC marathon and  Nintendon’t gives you an opportunity to show off games others may have never seen before. Its fun to show off the game and get people hype for them. Everyone should take a break from reading this and play some Battle Mania Daiginjou 😛

Chuboh: To me, the best thing is being able to show off games that some people may have never seen before. There are a TON of really great games out there that don’t get the recognition they deserve

AnnK: Do you think events like the 1CC Marathon encourage other players to get up and go for 1CC on their favourite games?

Zuq_: Absolutely, we’ve got a couple runners (Goati, CoolJay, perhaps others?) in this 1CC Marathon who were encouraged by the previous editions. Events such as Pasky’s show that arcade games (the Japanese developed ones at least) are fair, balanced and designed with one-credit play in mind. Furthermore, it’s especially beneficial to those viewers who are intimidated by arcade games, to the point of not following through with the 1CC attempts of their own as they see for themselves that success is not guaranteed and failure is a given, even if you mastered a game. This uncertainty is mesmerising as it creates this aura of excitement, which further encourages viewers to give it a go and maybe, participate the next time the 1CC marathon comes around.

Neo_Antwon:  I feel like events like these inspire other players to learn a game or two. They get a chance to see what’s possible in a type of game that was thought to be designed to completely stomp you and steal your coins.

Chuboh: I sure hope so! That’s how I got interested in streaming these old games in the first place. You don’t even have to go for the 1CC; just picking up a classic game you’ve never played before or going back to an old favourite you haven’t touched in years is great!

 

Poemato Salad 

If you ever wondered how Dank Art happened it all goes back to 2014 when two of my friends, Tomato & Poetrader, started streaming games for fun that summer. As the weeks went by, I thought it would be a fun idea to draw along with their stream to help add to its experience and its enjoyment (mostly my own). It’s been almost two years & my friends little stream Poemato CX is growing with them, their lives and their relationship.

If you’re not familiar with this ghost & vegetable duo, Heidi & Clyde are best known for their recent book: Legends of Localization Zelda– a companion guide that focuses on the differences between the North American and Japanese release of Zelda on the NES. Clyde is also known for his work on a few fan translations of Japanese games, notably the Mother 3 Fan Translation.

Here’s a quickie Q&A with Mato about streaming 

Tell me a bit about what is Poemato CX and where you both stream from (as in city/state)

My wife and I stream all sorts of strange games – usually crazy Japanese games – in what we call Poemato CX. We’re located in Tucson, Arizona and use these streams as a way to play games. Our lives are so busy that streaming is the only way we can find time to sit down and play games anymore.

Final Fantasy Magics



What made you want to get into streaming? Was it more of a fun thing to do or had the idea been there for a while to start doing it

It all started when I was working on a new version of the MOTHER 3 fan translation. After making all the changes I wanted to make, I needed to test the entire game to make sure everything worked properly. I figured it might be fun to share that with other fans, so I set my shyness aside and streamed the entire game over a week or two. It was a lot of fun, so more games followed after that.

Cid from Final Fantasy 6 T edition


Back when you started up how basic was your set up compared to what you are doing now?

I originally took ideas from Starmen.Net’s funfest streams and combined them with my basic knowledge of website layout to create a simple but nice setting for our streams. Programming is a hobby of mine so I naturally wanted to improve things and add more functionality, so now there are all kinds of fancy automated scripts, special effects, and other bells and whistles. It’s fun making them and newcomers often seem impressed enough to keep watching for a while.

Link in the forest

What kind of games do you like to stream on PoematoCX? Tell me about some of the hacked games and memorable games you have featured 
We used to celebrate odd holidays such as World Cat Day by playing a bunch of games revolving around related themes. We also play a lot of Japanese games – usually I’ll translate everything live and sometimes I’ll also have fancy programming stuff that displays English text overlays automatically. We used this to play an incredible Japanese hack of Final Fantasy VI that added loads of new content. It was great fun and a very memorable experience. Other times we’ll do more traditional streams like Zelda speedruns, but often with extra little quirks, like adding a heart monitor or letting the stream chat affect the game in question through programming magic.

Earthbound

 

What would you say are your goals with streaming? Are you setting any serious goals with your streams or do you just like to play games and share the experience with people 

I’d say our goal is just to have fun and to have an outlet for playing games. Without these streams we almost never take time out to play video games anymore. Maybe it’s because we like the social aspect of streaming and playing alone doesn’t feel as fun anymore. I consider streaming to be a lot like the old days when you’d go to a friend’s house just to watch them play games. Sometimes it’d be a game you don’t own and wouldn’t see otherwise, or sometimes it’d be a game you own too but was more fun in a social setting. I view streaming as the modern version of that. So if people come watch our silly streams with that mindset, then my goal is already achieved.

Annoying Mato with the power of Link

in your words, how would you say you make your stream unique? do you offer information on the games or an opinion? do you play really really good? Would you say you are the only Poe & Tomato team?
I think the fact that we’re a little older than many streamers is a big factor. I think the fact that we act like our normal, silly selves helps too. We’re not very good gamers and not very knowledgeable gamers, so I think it comes down to who we are. We’re probably a standard married couple streaming team I’d say. 

Ugly Final Fantasy 4

Whats the best thing about streaming with your wife? 
Being able to make new gaming memories with her is great. Having a close partner to interact with helps make streams more interesting too.

Fast Food Final Fantasy 6 T Edition

chat has joked that the two of you are the kind Mom & Pop twitch streamers. how does that comment sit with you?
I’d say we’re more like the Aunt and Uncle streamers. I can tell kids about “the old days” while playing Japanese games that have yet to release outside of Japan. I’m that uncle that every kid used to have who worked at Nintendo and played games before they came out.

Yo-Kai Watch



You are a tomato of many hats- I could say you work as a translator but you are more than that these days. Could you tell me a bit about your projects such as books/ translation work

I’ve been a professional translator for almost 15 years now, working on all sorts of stuff like games, anime, movies, and TV shows. I recently took a side hobby of mine – digging into classic game translations – and turned it into a small career too. I now write books on the subject on the side. I also do translation consulting work here and there, and have started dabbling in writing about Japanese gaming history.

Tomato Adventure

You guys havent streamed for a while- what are some of the reasons such as your book, life and cats that are taking more priority? 

A couple of factors have kept us from streaming regularly lately. We got some kittens a few months back, and they like to jump around and get in the way. That kept us away for a good while, so for whatever reason it’s been hard to get back into the rhythm. And the more time that passes, the harder it gets to jump back into streaming. My current book writing has also kept me very busy. We do hope to break this weird cycle and get Poemato CX back soon though.

my dank art assistant



Where do you see Poemato CX in the future? Will there be a glorious return?

I see it being a regular thing again. We miss it and we consider all the regulars visitors genuine friends. I don’t think there’ll be a big, fancy, glorious return though, it’ll just be a quiet “we’re back” realization once we’re in our groove again.

http://legendsoflocalization.com

See you next game!