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Steam, as powered by Valve

February 9th, 2016 Comments off

Steam.

I have 409 games, and some I’ve played. In fact, I’ve even completed a few. My most played games are: Dungeons of Dredmor, Card City Nights, Hero Siege, Puzzle Kingdoms, Borderlands 2, Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey, 10,000,000, and Rogue Legacy in that order. Sid Meier’s Railroads is up there, but only because the Tutorial takes about an hour to play. If you were counting along, that means that I have very few games I’ve played continuously. In fact, to further clarify, I have played 37 of my Steam games. For those math people, that’s 372 games I have NEVER played. This is called a backlog. For the rest of the year, I will attempt to play one game every day for an hour. That means it will still be next year when I finish my backlog. Considering I buy 5 games a week, I may never finish my backlog. However, I will document this endeavor here, as well as mentioning other things. For example, I totally wanted to talk about the NES tournament I was in!

So, a local group wanted to have a re-enactment of the 1990 NES World Championships. We had an original NES, and a copy of the competition cartridge (available from RetroUSB ). We started by deciding the order of play, determined by who showed up first. I wanted to go in the fifth slot, so I could see how other folks played. There would be two rounds and they had some practice games set up around the room. The NES World Championship cartridge is very interesting. It is set to run for exactly 6 minutes and 21 seconds. The cartridge will cycle through Super Mario Bros (once you collect 50 coins), Rad Racer (you must drive to the end of the first course), and Tetris (your remaining time is spent on Tetris). I was pretty sure I knew Super Mario Bros and how to get 50 coins, so I focused on practicing Rad Racer. Rad Racer is hard. The controls are crappy, the graphics are quite dated, and the AI is ruthless. I did not once finish the first course during our hour-long ‘practice time’. When competition started, I watched the first three contestants play three different methods of gathering 50 coins and racing in Rad Racer. I don’t even remember the guy who went before me because I had some major shakes. When it was my turn, I was able to drown everything else out and start. My method was to collect exactly 21 coins in the first level, and then finish out in the second level. It took painful seconds for the animation of Mario going down the tube to level 2, and a ton of time to get to the 50th coin. Then Rad Racer basically bent me over a chair and spanked me until I cried. When I got to Tetris I had an unknown time remaining and I just started getting single lines. My pieces were crappy, so I had little to work with. The cartridge just stops you at 6 min 21 sec so abruptly, you are a little taken aback. Then the scores are displayed. The Super Mario Bros score is whatever you did in the game (I had like 10,000). The Rad Racer score is the exact same for everyone, as it is based on the distance you went. Since everyone went the same distance, it is the same score. This is followed by the Tetris score, which has a 25x multiplier. My overall score topped out at 159,850, which put me in the lead! It turns out the pro players were waiting until the end. The next guy scored 360,730 and the last guy scored 408,925. The scoring method for the second round was the exact same, but they would take the higher of the two scores. Folks learned their lessons quick and we all mimicked the pro dude (collect 20 coins, die, collect 20 coins, die, collect 10 coins). By the time it was my turn, I was in last place with 159,850 and a few players had just barely cracked the 200,000 mark. I stepped up to the plate and blew thru Mario. I had the fastest time, but Rad Racer glitched out and my car flew off the track from one side to the other. Nobody had ever seen a wreck so bad. When I got to Tetris, I had no idea what time was on the clock, and I again got crappy pieces. However, I scored a solid 207,650, which put me in third place. The first place guy told everyone he had actually owned the game, so they disqualified him. Turns out the pro dude had all the tricks up his sleeve anyway and scored a final score of 436,500! I did some research and found the original champion, Thor Aackerlund put up 2,800,000 in the actual competition. It was truly amazing, and you can still find some of his amazing Tetris play online. The highest score I’ve seen on the NES Championship cartridge is 4.5 million. I finished second with the DQ, so I was pretty happy. I’ve often said that I’m at the top of the mid-tier players of the world, or the bottom of the top-tier, so taking second was pretty good. I wish I had practiced more with Tetris so I could overcome some of the poor play I had.

Anyways, stay tuned for some reports on my Steam games. I hope some of them are good. I plan to start with the A’s section and just select a new letter every day, but I promise nothing.