Jason Killingsworth, 6th of October

In today’s video I explain – in my patented stop-start ramble – how I’ve revised my approach to the Daily Challenge. And then I give a brief master-class in why you should save at least one rope for the start of the Black Market ‘shopstorm’. (Hired help? More like HIRED ASSASSINS!)

10 comments on “Jason Killingsworth, 6th of October

  1. Anonymous says:

    The only time when ghostrunning is anything other than a panicky delight is when you finish an empty ice stage early and have to wait around for the ghost to appear. Otherwise it’s the most challenging and nerve-racking part of an incredibly challenging and nerve-racking game.

    You were right to balk at the “busywork” allegation, which sounds an awful lot like scrub grumbling to me. Spelunky is an arcade game: first you get the clear, then you play for score. If you want a higher score you play a riskier and more gruelling game. Ghostrunning is even analogous to milking bosses in a shmup. It’s a leaderboard-em-up, pure and simple.

    Also, the worm is terrible and your runs are perfectly fine as they are. 😦

  2. Periwinkle says:

    What actually happened here? At 13:15 you throw a bomb and it sticks to a hired hand, but if that’s what explodes at 13:16, it seems like it exploded ahead of schedule, just to cause maximum inconvenience. If it’s any consolation, I thought the bouncing around in the final photo was epic and original.

    How common is it to see two hired hands in the black market? That can’t have left much room for useful goods.

    As the author of the Mothership comment yesterday, I’d say that ghostrunning isn’t automatically boring; it can inspire some creative and desperate escapes. The more practiced and “in control” ghostruns sometimes demonstrate a rhythmic elegance of their own. I also can’t fault anyone who ghostruns the City of Gold; it’s there to challenge you to spend all the bombs you can while saving enough to finish the game.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I think sticky bombs explode early if they get squashed between a wall and a moving enemy. It happens sometimes when you tag shopkeepers while they’re jumping about.

    I’ve been dying at that spot in far too many daily runs lately.

  4. Hypocee says:

    “Riskier” and “gruelling” are opposites in Spelunky, though – and a well-executed ghost run by definition isn’t risky. You (usually) jetpack over here and waaaaaiiiiit for the ghost to be positioned right, then you go over here and waaaaaiiiit for it to pass over the gems, then you go over here and waaaaiiit for it to get out of the way, then you go get the gems and typically repeat the whole business two or three times elsewhere on the level, leaving when your boredom grows enough that you don’t care to run the last few scattered gems.

    It’s not players’ fault that an aspect of the design encourages tedious grinding, and I certainly understand that shooting at the top of the global leaderboard is a thrill of its own for people unlike me, but watching you top-tier guys pump in the twenty or thirty minutes of make-work in the interstices of actual Spelunkying to get your scores, I do not envy you.

    It’s seemed obvious to me since the original that this problem could be simply turned into interesting risk and skill by having the ghost either speed up or grow over time.

    And I assume the ghost doesn’t show up in Yama’s chamber, because otherwise grabbing his throne rubies first – as whiskingtroll says he does by policy even when running the rest of the game – is passing up a points bonanza.

  5. Hypocee says:

    That was before watching. Per the actual manifesto, I do hope that nobody here feels obliged to go against their own desires to make their runs entertaining for a viewer like me. My stuff above is an argument against what I perceive as bad game design and lack of endgame (as one facet of the best version of the best videogame in the world), not against any particular player conduct. This is the Explorers Club, not the Entertainers Club, and if your tastes run that way exploration of Mt. Leaderboard is definitely exploration.

  6. Anonymous says:


    You seem to be talking specifically about ghostrunning the ice caves, which, owing to the wide open spaces and abundant free bombs (landmines), is the easiest and least costly area to do it in. If you genuinely don’t think that successfully ghostrunning the mines, the jungle, the temple or hell is risky (merely “tedious grinding”) then you should be able to sail to the top of the leaderboard with little effort on a rainy Sunday afternoon, since only a handful of players have demonstrated the ability to beat the game while simultaneously ghostrunning multiple areas (not including me, I hasten to add!). It’s very easy to look at high-level play in arcade games and wonder what all the fuss is about; doing it yourself is another matter entirely. And besides, if you’re not thrilled by shooting for the top of the leaderboard, why do you care about the mechanics of ghostrunning anyway? The whole game is designed around scoring – the HD version even removes the scoring exploits from the original (tunnel man, Kali’s 99 bombs reward) while adding new scoring opportunities of its own (vaults, landmines, fairer mattocks, plasma cannon sidequest). I think you’re looking in the wrong place for an “endgame”: the whole game is the challenge, whether you’re a beginner looking to beat Olmec or an expert looking for a better score.

  7. Hypocee says:

    Yes… Anonymous… you do have to do something really difficult, admirable and interesting to get to the fiddly, repetitive grind on each level. I await your point with interest.

    I care about a portion of the game I’ll probably never reach because I’m capable of empathy for other players. Combine that with the aesthetic that makes me love Spelunky: that works of entertainment should above all respect their users’ time (Vonnegut) and that the main way games can follow that is to present interesting choices as often as possible (Meier). The result is that I’m dismayed by flawed points in great designs that make players repeat themselves or wait around for the game to catch up, especially when they could seemingly so simply be turned into fun.

    I do not own the Mona Lisa. I’d still be mad at someone who tagged it.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’m afraid I just don’t accept that ghostrunning is a “repetitive grind” in a randomized platformer with instakills and resource management. Seems your issue is with score-based games in general and not this game specifically. Spelunky’s ‘take bigger risks and play longer to score more’ mechanics can be traced back over thirty years. It’s classic arcade design.

  9. Hypocee says:

    Nope. I dislike score systems that incentivise repetitive work after the actual win. Admittedly that’s most of them, but that’s just Sturgeon’s Law in action.

    It’s futile to prove oneself on the Interwebs, let alone to someone who refuses to give a handle to their words and is willing to sling broad accusations based on one specific criticism of one specific portion of one specific game. For the record, I continue to concur with Stu Campbell that Grid Wars 2 on Hard, a game which reduces the player entirely to a single number, is the second-best single-player game yet made, beating out its sources largely because of the brilliance and balance of its scoring system.

    Abandoning the philosophical for the concrete: You are, of course, arguing in the knowledge that in the current implementation of Spelunky, gem distribution – whether they wind up ghostable, or buried two bombs deep, or in the corner, or over the abyss, or simply absent – is one of the few factors, perhaps the only one…? that is not constant across different players’ Daily Challenges.

  10. Hypocee says:

    Whoops. Also, that you’re speaking on a site founded partially out of disagreement with Spelunky’s scoring system.

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