Explorer Scores and Discussion, 16th of September

  1. Anthony Burch – 5-1 – $185,350 – Spikes
  2. Graham Smith – 4-4 – $90925 – Olmec
  3. Tom Francis – 3-2 – $12,050 – King of the yetis
  4. Ashly Burch –  2-4 – $91425 – Spikes (without ankh)
  5. Chris Livingston – 2-3 – $14,450 – Capefail onto spikes
  6. Jason Killingsworth – 2-3 – $74,075 – Gun violence
  7. Chris Thursten – 2-1 – $48,300 – Zombie incompetence
  8. Michael Cook – 2-1 – $20,075 – Zombie hubris
  9. Richard Boeser – 2-1 – $18,975 – 0 bombs 0 ropes and stuck
  10. Philippa Warr – 1-4 – $31,000 – Spikes, getting ahead of oneself

Discussion after the break.

Tom Francis: So, did anyone notice it? I didn’t. YouTuber QualityJeverage had to point it out to me: today’s set of levels is one we’ve played before, almost a month ago. Compare me starting August 18th‘s to me starting today’s.

Seems to be true all the way through, too – I compared the first level of the jungle. I’m guessing there’s some kind of glitch – or extreme non-randomness – in the seed generator. Or a copy+paste slip in a spreadsheet, depending how it works.

Anyway, this is really cool – I not only get to see how other people handled this set of levels, I can see how the old me would have handled them too! I’m getting much better – I make it to the Jungle one minute faster with more health, money and bombs.

Anthony Burch: What?! That’s incredible! Looking at my Aug 18th run — a run where my first words are “I am trying to get to hell” — I didn’t last past world 3. Today, I got to Hell and basically killed myself on a lark.

This is so, so cool. When you think of yourself getting better at a game, you either think in terms of memorization and reflex (Dark Souls, Super Meat Boy) or in the more nebulous (and in my opinion more enjoyable) way that Spelunky generally provides — that sense of getting better through a deeper understanding of the game systems.

This is the first time I’ve ever, in my umpteen years of playing games, been able to see direct, inarguable, progress through an identical system that wasn’t based purely around memorization. This is crazy! Jesus, Spelunky is my favorite game ever.

Also, today is the day I finally decided that robbing the black market — if you have a shotgun — is way easier and more profitable than not doing so. This is due to one simple rule: you can shoot the shopkeeps before they can shoot you. If you blast offscreen in a shopkeep’s general direction, it will hit him and he will be powerless.

Oh my god I just got to the part in my Aug 18th daily where I specifically say, “Rob the black market? No. Not on a daily.” This is incredible.

Philippa Warr: I hope they repeat 22 August so I can (hopefully) lord it over my past self. Feeling a bit jealous of Tom and Anthony in that regard!

In terms of this business: lessons need to be learned in terms of jump trajectories and things. Not having a grip on those is what’s behind a lot of my deaths or lost hearts. I also got impatient to reach the jungle and so got careless.

I have thus far been playing Spelunky and trying to learn it exclusively through the Daily Challenges. Now I’m considering practicing the mines section just so there’s a better chance of reaching the jungle. No desire to play ahead of myself in terms of where I am and what I’ve learned but I’d like to practice or hone the bits I have at my disposal.

Michael Cook: I’m really fascinated about how this happened. I really hope we get to find out!

I don’t remember this seed from before but it’s really rich with items and gold. Unfortunately I managed to hurt myself in just about every way possible without the world actually getting involved – leaping into traps, throwing stuff into my face, walking up to dangerous animals and high-fiving them. Oh boy.

Graham Smith: Tom mentioned before I played today’s run that there was something weird about the seed, and he’d be interested to see if anyone noticed it. That basically set me a secondary challenge: to work out what the heck he was talking about. Which I sort of did! And then talked myself out of, because only part of it was familiar, and it seemed more likely that it was just a similar scenario than an identical set of levels.

I’m also interested if anyone got to the City of Gold today, because I couldn’t find an Anubis guard before finding the entrance. Given how few bombs I had, that’s probably for the best. I ended up facing Olmec with none.

Chris Livingston: IMPORTANT CAPE QUESTION: does the cape power toggle on/off for you guys? I thought it worked like the jetpack: you hold the button to use it and let go when done. I think that’s how it worked on the Xbox version of the game, but now on PC It’s toggling for me (possibly because I’m using a wired PS3 controller with some kind of X-Box controller emulator). So, today, I started floating with the cape, and when I let go of the button to drop, I kept floating. Then I pressed it again and fell (onto spikes).

As far as progression or skill-building, I’m not feeling much for myself. I learn things about the game all the time, but when I start playing, I seem to forget everything I’ve learned. I routinely forget that skulls get up and walk around. Spiders, bats, and snakes still hurt me as often as they did the first time I played. If I carry a damsel to an exit and it makes her little exit noise, I occasionally assume I have also exited and just stand there as a ghost eats me. I think my brain is a roguelike, starting over from scratch each time. It’s weird!

Tom Francis: Yep, cape is toggle – I wish it wasn’t, I die to how-many-times-did-I-press confusion all the time.

Graham – here’s where Anthony finds him.

Ashly Burch: I remember there was a time when Anthony thought getting to hell was unfathomable. Now look at him, the little scamp.

I learned today that the leaderboard only counts when you die the first time (if you don’t get to the city of gold, presumably). I got the ankh and promptly impaled myself on spikes because I’m an idiot, and that’s the score that is recorded for all to see and mock me for. It makes sense, ultimately — any other outcome would be way too forgiving for Spelunky. That cruel mistress.

Chris, I empathize. I think (hope?) that you’ll feel that progression the more you play. Or maybe you’ll be able to see it when you review past runs. Sometimes I make the same mistakes I made my first week playing, but other times (very rarely) I feel like I can spelunk with the best of them.

Chris Livingston: Well, one thing about Spelunky that I love is that failing is almost always fun or at least entertaining, so I never really feel frustrated. Sometimes I’ll play a game I really enjoy but stink at initially, and never really improve at, like Hitman: Blood Money, or even Gunpoint. But these games all make me laugh when I screw up and die horribly, so I don’t really mind that I still play like a beginner even after putting in a ton of time with them.

Tom Francis: Update! I asked Spelunky programmer Andy Hull how it happened, and here’s what he said:

Just looked this up in the code. It’s a bug with the way the seed generates from the date. Will fix in next update.

Honestly, it is a pretty dumb bug. I should have noticed that it was possible to repeat seeds. Kicking myself! 🙂

2 comments on “Explorer Scores and Discussion, 16th of September

  1. fettsbounty says:

    I too had some fun with the shield, this was my first time with it so it may have been careless, but fun nonetheless.

  2. Odward Frenry says:

    Oh no! Of course the first day I ever record myself would be August 17th, and then I don’t get to it again until the 19th. No viewing of inarguable growth for me.

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