Monday, December 23, 2013

Resogun: First Impressions from a Defender Addict

Since I'm a Defender nut, a couple of people have asked me what I think of Resogun, which is a game that is very similar to Defender, yet has enough differences to make it pretty damn cool for this generation of consoles. 

[Read more about my recent Defender world record attempt.]

Plus Big Ol' Bosses!
Resogun has all the sexy graphics you could want. Really. It's beautiful and it runs at a super high frame rate so you never have that "slow down" Defender did. Although the slow down was a pretty cool part of Defender that you could use to your advantage, it's something that would NOT work on a console game nowadays. 

My shorthand description of Resogun would be that it's a mix of Defender (save the humans) meets Robotron (2 stick control) meets Galaga (pattern flying enemies) meets Star Castle (some rotating inside bosses) meets R-Type (bullet walls, etc.). 

These are all great games that taste great together.

WTF is happening here?
When I first started playing, I made the assumption there would be some sort of training or tutorial. NOPE. My friend Luke walked me through it, so it should have made sense as he talked while I played. NOPE. I had to figure it out on my own.

Wow. This is starting to remind me of something. The good old days in the arcade. New machine. No instructions, just a high score table. I get it. 

All of the games this one pulls from pretty much drop you in the shit and hope you figure it out. Oh yes, I can recognize that type of game, no doubt.

Beat your head against the wall until you break through it. 

How I feel when
I play Defender
After playing for an hour, I think I finally get it. There are a LOT of things you have to think about all at the same time, and you only truly succeed when you can get to a point where you're NOT thinking about them. You are reacting to them AND predicting them. 

Kind of like Zen

Kind of like Defender. 

In fact, it's more like Defender than any of the previous Defender-like games. And that's a damn good thing, because there really hasn't been anything like Defender in a LONG time. Maybe ever, including all of the "ports" of Defender. 

Top level thoughts at this point:
  • Graphics are fantastic. Never any slowdown. Amazing feel.
  • I hate the multiplier. It forces me into a playstyle that feels more like I am "playing" the multiplier more than the game.
  • Collecting humans feels more like a way to earn extreme powerups rather than an integral part of the game.
  • I love the circular use of the planet.
  • I love the top and bottom boundaries.
  • I like all of the audio clips telling me what is happening. I would love it if I could turn off "voice" and only hear SFX. Human lost? Please give me a SFX. Etcetera.

Three selectable ships?!? Oh yes.
I played a two player game online. It was nice! I want two player co-op on the same screen. Not sure how to do it, but I'm sick of online multiplayer only games. 

Now, I have to get a PS4, but Christmas dealt me two car repairs, so I'll be playing Resogun at my friends' houses for now. Bummer.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Attempt, Final Thoughts And Results (Defender World Record Saga - Part Five Of Five)

What was I thinking?

This year, Josh Jones and I decided to make a marathon record on Defender a reality. 

On Friday night (November 15th, 2013), Josh and I were up pretty late getting the machine wired up with cameras and the laptop set up with the online streaming. We didn't get it perfect, but it was getting late, so Josh said he'd get it set up. I went to sleep. 

Saturday morning (November 16, 2013), I was supposed to get up at 9:30am and get started at 10am. Well, I got up at 7:30am and I could not convince myself to go back to bed. It was like Christmas! I checked on Facebook and saw that Josh had posted that he had gotten the stream up and working, so I figured... let's get started. 

My marathon record team mentors all had suggested that I should get started as SOON as possible after I awakened, so I went and told Josh that I was ready to start. He wanted to get breakfast and shower! WHAT?!? We worked out a plan so I could get started at 8:30am, and I started rolling. 

My wife, Jacque, had spent weeks putting things together behind the scenes to surprise me with all sorts of cool things. Almost immediately after beginning, events began to unfold that I was not expecting. Friends and family members came by, phone calls of support came in, and a local television station sent over a reporter to do a piece!
Still Standing. That's my son, Matt sitting. :)

As the day began, it was me against the machine with Josh in the room. He and I were certain that we were going to make the 80 million distance. No problem. Most of my thoughts surrounded how much faster than 80 hours could I complete this? 

I was recording scores that were higher than one million an hour in all of my regular play, so I was hoping to get finished well before Tuesday evening.

Just into the first day, my friend Jenny Bendel came over and at some point started calling out the wave completions. This started out funny and cool, but as the game reached the end, it was something that actually grounded me quite a bit and made it feel like I was REALLY saving the world. Seriously

Yes, sensei
These numbers were collected by my new sensei Todd Rogers during play, while he watched over the interwebz. THANK YOU TODD!!

Started at   --- All times are noted in EST time.--
 930a[EST]      0 11.16.2013  
1023a   1,000,000 1hr  (53m)
1116    2,000,000 2hrs (53m)
1210p   3,000,000 3hrs (55m)
 108p   4,000,000 4hrs (58m)
 2xx    5,000,000 5hrs  [
 3xx    6,000,000 6hrs  [ I was watching not tracking time]
 4xx    7,000,000 7hrs  [
 558p   8,465,600 8.4hrs
 650p  10,000,000 9hrs  (52m)
 745p  11,000,000 10hrs (55m)
 830p  12,000,000 11hrs (45m)**Fastest 1 million
 922p  13,000,000 12hrs (52m)
1025p  14,000,000 13hrs (1h 3m)
1125p  15,000,000 14hrs (1h)
1218a  16,000,000 15hrs (52m) < 11.17.2013 EST Sunday>
 114a  17,000,000 16hrs (56m)
 213a  18,000,000 17hrs (59m)
 314a  19,000,000 18hrs (1h 1m)
 416a  20,000,000 19hrs (1h 2m)
 518a  21,000,000 20hrs (1h 2m)
 618a  22,000,000 21hrs (1h) **Playing sloppily
 724a  23,000,000 22hrs (1h 6m)
 829a  24,000,000 23hrs (1h 5m)
 933a  25,000,000 << 1Day(1h 3m)
1039a  26,000,000 25hrs (1h 6m)
Bio break =
loss of ships

**Wave 0 Potty break -8 men (1 min) 

1144a  27,000,000 26hrs (1h 5m)
1246p  28,000,000 27hrs (1h 2m)
 144p  29,000,000 28hrs (58m) {Losing men where its visable}
 256p  30,000,000 29hrs (1h 13m) {struggling to keep men * wave 256 saved him}

3:01p Wave 0 Potty break

 404p  31,000,000 30hrs (1h 8m) recovered men
 509p  32,000,000 31hrs (1h 5m) * 530p low on men again
 614p  33,000,000 32hrs (1h 5m)

 705p  33,644,725 32.35hrs << FINAL SCORE >>>>

Tracking the time for each million is a great way to judge how long the entire 80 million will take. I was trying to get way ahead by beating a million an hour all the way through to shave time off the end. Anything would have helped. 

I don't even remember two potty breaks. I thought there was just one. Shows what I can remember.

Focus, grasshopper, and
take it easy on the buttons
Todd, whom I started calling my sensei, came to my rescue through the final hours by reminding me (over and over) to focus on the game. He was totally right about my play around the 30 million point. I started struggling and never caught up. Just too mentally exhausted and, although I didn't know it, my hands / wrists were not working worth a damn.

Apparently I need to take it easier on the buttons if I'm going to try this again. Each and every move should be purposeful. No finger wiggling between waves, either. It all adds up to tendon damage over that much time.

After 32.35 hours of continual play, I was defeated by the machine. The entire experience was completely unreal. 

This was the best gaming experience of my entire life, bar none. The support and seriousness with which everyone treated it was absolutely phenomenal

Thank you all!

The fact that we hit our charity's funding goal is just amazing. Now I have to start shipping out some rewards!! 

I am writing this on December 8, 2013. My wrists still hurt. I can still feel the stiffness in my trapezoids. My back is in good shape; I was crazy about posture. 

My son made origami numbers to indicate the million
count, which does not appear in the game
because there aren't enough digits
World Marathon Record Score on Defender: 33,644,725 at www.Recordsetter.comIt is also listed there as the longest marathon on Defender and the most points on Defender.

Here is the criteria of this submission: it is the Highest score on Defender that has been Verified, Refereed, Publicly Viewable, and was witnessed by multiple record keeping entities. 

PLUS you can watch it online any time at

HUGE DISCLAIMER: I understand that there are higher scores on Defender at other scoring entities. This is just where things stand right now with Record Setter.
The man, the myth,
THE Walter Day

Since the beginning of arcade gaming, THE place to have your records tracked has been Twin Galaxies. They have kept and managed records since the 1980s. They have been included in many movies and documentaries, such as King of Kong and Chasing Ghosts. Please look up the MAN himself, Walter Day, because HE is the true champion of video game records. His legacy cannot be underestimated. And he is one of the nicest people I have EVER met.

The mystery and mystique of those records and record holders has spawned a whole subculture of arcade record attempts as well as people that question those old scores. 

Many scores from "back in the day" have been questioned for decades and in some cases have now been matched or beaten and are now being recognized for the accomplishments that they had always been

Not enough of these
Some records have been completely debunked as well. 

The issue comes down to one question: how do you authenticate a record that was never physically "recorded?" The answer is YOU CAN'T! This makes weird controversy and winds up hurting people's feelings. I have been surprised by this in many ways, and I'm still wrapping my head around it.

For me, all I can say is that the score I set is viewable and was refereed. It does not matter to ME if my score is the highest in the record books; it is the highest score I have ever recorded. 

Copyrighted by Video Games
Dale is the MAN!
So who knows if those scores in the 1980s were real? Who cares if they weren't? Not me. 

I'm SURE an 80 million score is possible. Did those gamers really push the limits of human endurance and pull it off? Seems plausible to me. We were all young and full of piss and vinegar. If I'd have tried this in the 1980s, I'd bet I could have played 80 hours. At least I want to believe it.

The one historical score that has the most "proof" is the one of Dale Rees. He logged in a 40 hour score of 42,335,225. Truly epic. 

I think I might be able to pull that off once my hands get better. Who knows? Can 80 hours be done? Let's see who can get there first... again(?). 

First order of business - post marathon? Vegan Pecan Sandies!

Want to read each part? Well, here's your chance!