No Hints, No Spoilers, and No Mames
July 27, 2014 11:13 AM   Subscribe

NESMania is one man's quest to conquer every NES title, or at least all 709 officially seal-of-quality-licensed ones released in the West.

Live from Xalapa, Veracruz, The Mexican Runner (TMR for short) is a speedrunner mostly known for his record-breaking times on notoriously difficult games like Battletoads and Contra (links go to archived Twitch videos). As of this writing, 48 games have fallen to his combination of persistence and skill (most recently Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, aka "that one with the bombs and the dam"), and he is currently making his way through Trog. Every game on the list will eventually be beaten, although the order is left up to the chat. Note: stream is NSFW for loud outbursts of rage (in two languages).
posted by wanderingmind (29 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

Semi-relatedly, Chrontendo is a guy working through every Famicom and NES title chronologically. He beats a lot of them, but doesn't seem to regard it as a necessity.

posted by Pope Guilty at 11:16 AM on July 27 [5 favorites]

Also, taking a look at the list, there is some sadistic shit being foisted on him by his chat people. Back to the Future II & III is a miserable, miserable experience even when it's not that difficult.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:18 AM on July 27

Although it was never released in the West, he should try beating Takeshi no Chōsenjō. Here's a video of a Japanese show called "Game Center" where a dude wearing a jumpsuit beats it...
posted by pravit at 11:32 AM on July 27 [2 favorites]

Game Center CX is similar enough to what he's doing here live that I almost titled this post "Game Center .MX". He's said he might try extending the list to Famicom-only or unlicensed titles, but only after he finishes the 709 first.
posted by wanderingmind at 11:35 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]

I want to see him do Athena. That one's going to drive him insane, and I say that as someone who has, in fact, beaten both NES and arcade Athena.

Then Solomon's Key and Mighty Bomb Jack. Only best endings will do! I haven't gotten those.
posted by JHarris at 11:56 AM on July 27

And I just noticed the "no hints, no spoilers" message in the title. If he really is playing these games that way, then the three games I mentioned are going to stall him hard. Even the relatively benign Castlevania II is going to hurt him badly, it's going to come at him with a knife.

Let us not forget that this is the age when some developers considered that giving players a tremendously obscure, but essential, task to compete which is not described anywhere in the game was an acceptable practice.
posted by JHarris at 12:14 PM on July 27 [2 favorites]

He could edit and release a great compilation of cheap deaths afterwards. And yeah, I hope he knows to kneel for no reason in order to progress in Castlevania II. Hope he gets Kirby for a reprieve.
posted by ersatz at 12:22 PM on July 27 [2 favorites]

TMR is (in my opinion) a pretty singular speedrunner. I watch a lot of people who have world records on various games, and almost all of them have a real lack of affect about it. (And frankly, when you're playing something like e.g. Super Mario 64 where 90% of your 120 star runs end 6 minutes in because you missed cannonless on Whomp's Fortress, you need to basically never get frustrated about it.)

On other other hand, TMR is wildly emotional. Basically every one of his failures (or successes) is met with some pretty sincere, strong emotions. And I have no idea how he could possibly tolerate the frustration that he feels. It's actually pretty hard to simply watch his frustration, TBH.
posted by TypographicalError at 12:22 PM on July 27

Dragon Warrior I-IV is going to be some boring watching
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:40 PM on July 27

God. This made me shiver. Literally.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:41 PM on July 27

Only official seal of quality, eh? That means he won't enter the hell that was the Micro Machines game.

Lucky bastard.
posted by m@f at 2:45 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]

I was wondering if someone could do this with Atari 2600 games, until realizing that most 2600 games had no actual ending. Well, maybe a few did (why waste precious bytes on an ending?)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 2:50 PM on July 27

If he makes it through Top Gun, he's obsessive. If he makes it through Jaws, he's just hard-headed. If he makes it through Friday the 13th, he's just not interested in life.
posted by skewed at 3:32 PM on July 27

until realizing that most 2600 games had no actual ending.

E.T. being one of the notable exceptions.
posted by radwolf76 at 5:43 PM on July 27

That was pretty great Contra playing; I loved that he jumped OVER the flame @ 7:25, and later how he made the difficult Hangar stage look like it was a piece of cake.... BUT clearly he's got a turbo button enabled, which kinda takes the challenge out of the boss battles. (Half of me thinks it's cheating, the other half wants to immediately buy a turbo-button equipped gamepad and dig out my old NES)
posted by warreng at 7:18 PM on July 27

The first ten minutes of the seven-and-a-half-hour Metroid game seem pretty much like you'd expect.
posted by mubba at 7:43 PM on July 27

You mean, Maru Mari, 5 Missiles, Long Beam, Energy Tank, Bombs?
posted by JHarris at 7:50 PM on July 27

Awesome, I've been prowling my local retro gamestore lately just kind of ... eying things. I noticed Trog and miss playing it with my cousin at his house circa 1990.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:22 PM on July 27

If he makes it through Top Gun, he's obsessive. If he makes it through Jaws, he's just hard-headed. If he makes it through Friday the 13th, he's just not interested in life.

IIRC you can beat Jaws in a minute and I KNOW you can beat Friday the 13th almost instantly.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:23 PM on July 27

I have always said that there is a really interesting game design hiding under the shittiness of the implementation of Friday the 13th. It's a free-roaming game in an environment that you're trapped in, where there's something horrible in the world with you, and occasionally it strikes at your helpless charges or your friends. You've got to explore your enclosed environment and find the means to destroy it while also taking care of your friends and your charges. That's really interesting, and it's a shame LJN were the ones to implement it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:42 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]

Speaking of shitty, way-too-hard games, here's a room full of people failing to beat the last level of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:15 PM on July 27

I have finished the last level of that game. If memory serves, the ending is the Wedding March playing over a picture of the chapel and the words The End.

posted by JHarris at 12:42 AM on July 28

Even Battletoads? GOOD LUCK.
posted by Wild_Eep at 4:47 AM on July 28

Can 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?' even be beat? From what I remember you had to call a 1800 number for a passcode at some point.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:02 AM on July 28

I once attended a live show where a man played the whole way through Battletoads. It was amazing. He had his friends and family up on the stage dressed in terrible costumes and they had to get up and say shocking 90s puns for each of the bosses until he beat each one. Holy shit is the final stage impressive too.
posted by selfish at 6:31 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]

Can 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?' even be beat? From what I remember you had to call a 1800 number for a passcode at some point.

If memory serves, the phone number was just for generic game hints (what to do with some of the more bizarre items in the game, e.g.), not for any essential content. The only password I remember existed as an item in the game.

That having been said, the game IS almost impossible to beat, but that's because of the ludicrously difficult final boss fight and the clumsy controls.
posted by DiscountDeity at 6:31 AM on July 28

I have always said that there is a really interesting game design hiding under the shittiness of the implementation of Friday the 13th.

I feel like a lot of the notoriously bad or difficult games of the NES era had some elements that were really interesting or innovative, but just couldn't be implemented properly with the technology of the time, or coexisted badly with the prevailing design philosophies of the era.

Ghostbusters, Dr. Jekyl & Mr. Hyde, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, A Boy and His Blob, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure: I think all of these have a cool (or at least interesting) game somewhere inside that just didn't quite manage to present itself well.

Well, maybe not Bill & Ted. But you get my point.
posted by DiscountDeity at 6:42 AM on July 28

Crystalis. Crystalis is the best game. You can make it through a lot of bullshit if you have the memory of Crystalis to fortify your mind.
posted by Errant at 1:10 PM on July 28

On Castlevania II (for when he gets to it): As someone else mentioned, there's a couple of places where, to pass, you have to go to a certain location, equip a certain item, and duck for several seconds. One such place, this opens a path to a new area. Another, it calls a tornado to take you to another region. At least one of these things is not clued by the villagers or hints in the game. Those villagers are infamous for lying anyway. (The phenomenon of mysteriously knowledgeable townsfolk, and questionably precise legends, and stuff like that, that's a video game trope that could use deconstructing, so I'm not actually annoyed that villagers sometimes have wrong information, you'd expect that of rumor. But no one tells you how to advance past that point, either truthfully or lying.)

On Athena: Hoo boy. First, it's a long and difficult game, with a low frame rate and shoddy programing by that secret villain of the Famicom, Micronics. Second, the final boss is invulnerable without certain items. You have to have the Harp, found in the infuriatingly obtuse World of Labyrinth, an area filled with arbitrary and maddening traps that force you to restart or die by running out of time that can only be discovered through trial and error. Not just any harp will do: the obvious one, presented to you by a background image of a goddess, is in fact a fake, and will remove all your items. The real harp is found by uncovering another image of that goddess covered in blocks elsewhere. This means you have to have a weapon capable of breaking blocks. Uncover her completely and you get the Harp... now, since there is no boss to the level, you just have to find a Lamp in a block to escape from the world. Oh, just getting to the World of Labyrinth requires finding an item in a previous level.

So I started watching his video of Metroid. He's not completely unspoiled, he's played Super Metroid and knows about Energy Tanks, Missiles and Missile doors. But it was frustrating/entertaining (frustrataing!) watching him go through Brinstar in literally the worst way possible, going through every route that requires Missiles before stumbling upon the one route that provides them without other items. Poor guy.
posted by JHarris at 3:32 PM on July 28

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