Author: Tobias Lukefisher
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Humours

5 Must-See Speedruns from AVPQ 2020

It’s always sad to see the end of another August Videogames Played Quickly charity marathon, especially to those of us at SLN who took a bunch of pills and stayed up for every single one of the marathon’s 72 hours of duration.  But hey, more casual viewers should rejoice; we’re here to link you to five runs you might have missed that are definitely worth your time.  Head on down to https://runs.speed/aug2020/ and use the search bar to find the on-demand replay video of each entry when you’re done reading and have clicked on at least twelve of our in-line ads, earning us one eighth of a cent!

Alien 3 [Amiga CD32] by BloodborneFan1986
This port of the SNES classic based on the film is considered the definitive version to speedrun due to the infamous “magnet trick,” where the runner holds down the A button and then places a rare earth magnet between 18 and 24 millimeters from the right side of the system’s case, causing Ripley to glitch into an alternate dimension where prisoners Dillon and Morse have 65,535 health points each and David Fincher was happy with the final cut of the film.  A single millimeter farther and the trick won’t work, and even half a millimeter closer and the CD32’s hard disk drive will corrupt and the entire system will become unusable.  BloodborneFan1986 was an early pioneer of this trick, and in this run he shows off riskfree the new emulation of this trick recently added to the git nightly builds of the experimental Thre3Amigas CD32 emulator.

Domino’s Pizza Heroes: Revenge of the Noid [Nintendo Wii] by TealRuin
Utilizing several skips not possible in the HD rerelease for the Wii U, TealRuin shows us exactly why RotN is the finest entry in the Domino’s Pizza Heroes open world action franchise, at least for speedrunning.  (Not to be confused with the Domino’s Pizza Heroes handheld platformer franchise, which has multiple contenders for best speedrunning entry.  Please do not rehash those arguments in the comments section.)

Teen Titans vs. X-Men: Rival Schools [Sony PS2] by XStarfiresWifeX (tool-assisted)
While a standard “human input only” run of TTvXM:RS’ in-depth league management career mode can take hours of optimization to assemble the perfect team of superpowered adolescents to throw down in hundreds of brutal MMA-inspired bouts, XStarfiresWifeX demonstrates that with frame-perfect input while crossing the international dateline during the initial draft, you can recruit seven identical copies of Omega-variant Jubilee with perfect stats within the first hour of play.  Since clones do not experience interpersonal drama in this simulation, it’s smooth sailing right up through the championship.  (It should be noted, of course, that in the real world clones are even more prone to interpersonal drama than regular different people.  Konami really dropped the ball there.)

Silent Hill: War of the Chosen [Xbox 360] Ashley Campaign by CircumcisionIsMurder666
Speaking of Konami dropping the ball, the oft-maligned real-time strategy entry in the Silent Hill franchise makes for a surprisingly compelling narrative experience when you’re not the one doing all the unit micromanagement!  On the couch with the runner is his handler and legal guardian RestlessDreams1985, who keeps him from ranting about how the whole series is a metaphor for the horror of circumcision under threat of physical violence.

Doom II: Hell On Earth [Nintendo Switch] by ForeskinFlenser & Todd Howard, sort of
Bethesda’s Switch ports of Doom 1 and 2 are widely mocked by the Doom community (or “Doommunity”) for being lazy, buggy, DRM-ridden atrocities based on the Unity engine and not the original source code.  So it was that one fateful day on a community IRC channel, a (relatively) young man born well after the original games were released hopped in and was like “you guys won’t fuckin believe this, dogg, you gotta see this shit.”  Indeed, they did have to see this shit, and would not believe it initially:  Taking advantage of a remote code execution glitch in Unity and using the time dilation chip that Brazilian-market Switches use to not get bored and fuck off to the beach during shipping, ForeskinFlenser was able to split the timeline and create a tangent universe.  Having eliminated any possibility of legal retribution or other unpleasant consequences in our timeline/the “prime” universe,  ForeskinFlenser was able to imprison the tangent universe Todd Howard in a pocket dimension where he is forced to continually beat his previous Doom II speedrun record in order to receive food and water.  Exclusively at this year’s AVPQ, tangent Todd Howard beat our universe’s world record, and on commentary via further time trickery were tangent Todd Howard ages 8, 19, and 24.  A true classic, not to be missed.

Image credit: “Gamers” by Taylor.McBride™ is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Humours

Sponsored Post: Value Comics presents The Hitler Ultimatum, Uncut & Uncensored and in TPB for the first time!

Guten tag, nerd nation! Rejoice, because Value Comics’ controversial crossover event The Hitler Ultimatum is finally coming out in trades!  We here at the SLN Comics Silo have the exclusive skinny on the new uncensored and expanded releases of the event that The Mary Sue refused to cover, and Diamond continues to refuse to solicit! Let’s take a look at what’s in each volume…

March to The Hitler Ultimatum
Gathering together the exciting leadup to the event, Volume 0 opens with Wonder Warriors Confidential #45-49, in which the golden age Old Glory deals with the isolation and mounting guilt of having 1940s-era racial sensibilities in today’s America after the CyberCataclysm merged the Classic universe, the recently restored New World universe, and the mainstream VCU, creating the ungodly tide of continuity problems we’ve been sorting with the past few years but ultimately making things way simpler.  Rejected by his former teammates in favor of the younger, hipper Faded Glory, the New World version of Sgt. Sam Johnson, he simmers with resentment and begins an unfortunately web-based hunt for the American Dream that leads him to some of the larger white nationalist forums.

This leads into Wonder Warriors seXtreme GunForce Annual #19, in which Young Lust and Gunbattler are separated from their teammates Bloodnado and Assaultforce and stranded in the Wonder Warriors’ War Marina by the rising floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina II. They initially write off Old Glory as a twisted old bigot, but his cutting “alternative” analysis of The Force Awakens and other “politically correct” cinema opens their eyes to a new world of insidious fascism. Finally, in Glory #99, Old Glory brutally murders Glory, his popular, normal, not-a-fascist modern equivalent in a series of brutally gritty, unflinchingly visceral two-page spreads, a sequence that famously took up nearly two thirds of the original issue’s page count before some of the images were removed by editorial and replaced with ads for Paxil.  In the trade-exclusive expanded version, the full set of thirty-seven gory two-page spreads has room to breathe, something that beloved comic book hero Glory no longer does, because he has been murdered by a fascist.

Special Features: Cover gallery, design sketches, the full text of the unhinged forum rant visible on Old Glory’s computer screen in Wonder Warriors seXtreme GunForce Annual #19. Continue Reading

Uncategorized

SLN Mailbag 5/14/2017

You stare into the blackness.  The only sound is the howling of a wind whose origins you dare not contemplate.  This wind slowly changes its direction and the howling its tune, and letters handwritten on crumpled, soft paper swirl up from somewhere below.  One by one they blow into your trembling hands, presenting themselves for reading.

Dear Void,

Ever since my sister returned from college, we haven’t been as close as we were before.  Up through high school we were only a year apart and were practically inseparable, and for her first semester in college we tried to keep in touch via instant messaging but that sort of petered out as she got busier and built a new group of friends.  Now that she’s living at home again for a while I hoped we would pick up where we left off, but she keeps locking herself alone in her room for long periods and when she comes out to eat or whatever she barely speaks, answering questions with single words or not at all.  I’m worried about her.

Yours forever,
Distant in Des Moines

You look to the void for answers.  The shrieks of a thousand damned swell briefly before fading into nothingness; silence so pure your ears ring. Continue Reading

Humours

2017 Spring Movie Preview

March
Jennifer Lawrence brings her quirky and irreverent charms to the Armenian genocide in Lars Von Trier’s The Girl Who Was Death, Part 1 of 3.  James McAvoy and Charlie Day are exterminators who fall in love with the same unhygienic heiress in the hilarity-packed Roach Maiden.  Terry Crews and Lance Reddick are profoundly uncomfortable as The Only Nonwhite People Who Were Invited To This Party.

April
Saoirse Ronan, who is 22, plays the love interest who revitalizes a gross middle-aged writer in The Awakening of My Wrinkled Loins.  Cameron Diaz and Jessica Alba take a european hiking trip together to get over their awful exes and find out more about themselves and each other than they bargained for in Lurid Latina Lesbians in Latvia.  Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi join a knitting group and gossip with old ladies in the wholly violence-free Pacific Rim Gaiden: A Scarf For Mako.

May
Ioan Gruffudd and George Clooney are gay accountants in The Love Ledger.  Riz Ahmed and Aziz Ansari are the only ones who can stop a daring bitcoin heist in near-future Bangkok in the cyberpunk thriller Blockchain.  Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey reteam in the screwball comedy The Drag Queen In Yellow: A Sexy Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge.

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Humours

SLN Holiday Gift Guide 2016 Part 2

Kompjuter! Magazine, July 1995
Yahoo! Auctions, starting bid $0.35
This back issue of the seminal Maltese computer gaming mag is in near-mint condition with light shelf wear and includes the original cover disc.  Inside is the infamously controversial top 25 list that nearly led to a military confrontation between Malta and Italy, four screenshots of a Doom clone that was never released, and an interview with the civil servant whose job it was at the time to censor exposed knees and elbows on game box art with stickers.  The cover disc contains eighteen demos and shareware releases, among them a Latvian turn-based strategy game with battles resolved by a minigame heavily resembling “Go Fish,” a Wolfenstein 3-D clone set during the Spanish civil war, and an executable that seems to just print “SEX” and “DEATH” over and over to the DOS prompt.

A half-dozen porcelain cats in various poses
Etsy, $299
They’re adorable, hand-painted, and can also be found on AliExpress for 30 bucks or so.  The seller’s entire shop inventory can in fact be found on AliExpress for under 50 dollars apiece, and everything is tagged “steampunk” regardless of relevance.

Burt the Bear Teaches Programming
Barnes & Noble, $11.99
Let your kids learn to program in Python with this helpful cartoon guide narrated by TV’s Burt the Bear.  Included tutorial projects begin with a simple “hello world” and then branch out in many different directions, from a tax calculator to a program that just prints “SEX” and “DEATH” over and over to the command prompt.

[image credit]