Explorer Scores and Discussion, 8th of October

  1. Anthony Burch | 4-1 | $60,075 | Blocked
  2. Ashly Burch | 1-3 | $34,800 | Arrow trap
  3. Nick Breckon | 1-4 | $34,500 | Spikes
  4. Chris Remo | 1-4 | $28,600 | Big spider
  5. Richard Boeser | 1-2 | $11,000 | Trying to outmaneuver Mr. Ghost
  6. Marc Laidlaw | 1-2 | $4,000 | Spat on repeatedly

I thought to start these up again. Not so much for the scores, though I do kind of like our local leaderboard, but more for the discussion. I took the liberty of adding some of your scores. Also nice to see some new people here. Hi all.

Spoiler discussion after the break.

Richard Boeser I blame my death today on some of the other explorers here. I watch your videos and look at your skills thinking I should be able to do that too. So instead of going for a safe exit, I try to deal with the Ghost. Obviously I failed.

Also wondering how you all feel about the whole ghosting thing. So having the ghost fly through the different crystals and turning them into the very valuable ones. It seems like the only way to get a really high score. It is very risky so a nice challenge for the more experienced players.

But personally I don’t really feel it matches with the ghost’s purpose. To me the time pressure caused by the ghost adds a lot to the game. You know you can only fully explore a level if you hurry a bit. You also know that you increase the chances of dying dramatically when rushing though a level. The result is a constant balance between speed and cautiousness, which I really like. Mostly because it forces you to reflect on your own skill level, “Can I pull this off?” – “Hell yeah, let’s do it!” – Why on Earth did I even try?”.

Spelunky’s world is fantastic because all the mechanics are in many ways connected to each other. You throw a rock at a snake – rock triggers arrow trap – arrow hits explosive crate – explosion blows of part of a shop – shopkeeper gets angry. The emergent results are often fantastic and combined with the randomness in the levels makes for a a lot of great surprises. The ghosting mechanic fits this design approach. Without being able to convert the crystals the ghost would have only one way of influencing other game objects, it can kill the player (there might be things the ghost can do, that I haven’t discovered yet). I don’t think there are other object that have just one function. Even a chunk of gold can be collected for points, whipped to trigger an arrow trap or can cause impact damage on all creatures.

I’m a big fan of richly intertwined mechanics and its one of the many reasons why I love this game. But to me it feels weird that to achieve the highest score, you’d need to ghost as many levels as possible. And even though that is extremely difficult it seems to reward a style of play that I find less appealing.

Having said all this, it is important to know I have never properly ghosted a level.  Just curious to how you all feel about it.

Ashly Burch I definitely sympathize with how you feel about the ghost, particularly as it pertains to how the leaderboards are collated. We’ve probably talked about this on the blog already at some point, but I’d prefer it if distance was the deciding factor for that very reason. That aside, though, I really like the idea that your relationship to the ghost evolves the more that you play the game. When I first started, the ghost was terrifying. If I went too long, I would panic, abort whatever I was doing, and rush for the exit. Now he’s about as scary to me as any other Spelunky enemy. It feels really satisfying to outwit and dance around a specter. And, certainly in a game like Spelunky, it’s nice to feel that change in perspective because it’s validation that you’ve progressed and are getting better.

Which is HILARIOUS to claim in my case because I died from an arrow trap in the mines. Weee waahhh. After really excitedly shouting “kapala!” It’s so funny how your own sense of progression can hold you back in this game. Since I’ve gotten to hell, there’s a part of me that’s impatient with and condescending toward the mines now. As if I’m better than the mines.

Word of caution: you are never better than the mines.

Anthony Burch The ghost does feel a touch weird to me, but ultimately I think I’m fine with it since the margin for error is so small. If you fuck up even once, you’re dead forever, but the rewards are great (you can make enough cash to never need to rob any shopkeeps if you so wish, or you can just pump your score).

In my opinion, the thing that almost killed me in today’s run — bombing one of those weird vaults containing a shopkeep and two chests — makes way less sense. The money in those chests isn’t enough to make a huge dent in a high-score run, and the money you gain from the vaults becomes useless for anything else the second you breach the walls because now all the shopkeeps hate you. I kinda wish that, say, a ghost were hiding in the vaults instead of a shotgun-toting shopkeep.

But I digress. The point is, Ash sucks.

Richard Boeser Ashly, I too really like the changing of your relationship with the ghost. Though in my case it would still be best to leave immediately when it shows up, I’m now often tempted to stay a bit longer and try and get that one chest just out of reach. Next step would be to check the level layout for good routes to outrun the ghost, before it actually appears. Never managed to do so though.

Anthony, I never gave the vaults that much thought, cause for me they’re still too risky. But it does seem strange that the only real reason to do so is for chasing high scores. Having something dangerous other than a shopkeeper in there would fix that.

24 comments on “Explorer Scores and Discussion, 8th of October

  1. BooDoo says:

    Today I learned that you can stick a bomb to your own head.
    Joel McCoy | 1-4 | $44,200 | Bomb Hat

    • Richard Boeser says:

      Oh wow. Never saw that happen. Good thing you were wearing that helmet : /

    • Odward Frenry says:

      Wow, that’s a more impressive bomb-to-the-face than Anthony’s bounce off the force field. My guess is you stuck it to the bat in front of you which you then instantly killed.

      • BooDoo says:

        On review, it looks like the “over head” hitbox of the whip animation caught the bomb and sent it back onto my head. Will send along my application to be QA for mossmouth’s next game now.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Had fourteen health and got telefragged by a croc priest in 4-1 with about $250k. First time I’ve died that way, and it’s definitely one of the more annoying ways to die. Made the fatal mistake of thinking “I’m safe up here” right before it happened…

    Looking at the leaderboard, seems like I wasn’t alone: eight people died on 4-3, nineteen people died on 4-2, 140(!) people died on 4-1 and 21 people died on 3-4. 4-1 claimed almost half of the 342 people who made it past the jungle!

  3. Odward Frenry says:

    Dumb, dumb, idiot, stupid. I’ve gotten reckless in the dailies again.

    • Odward Frenry says:

      Oh, I forgot:
      1-3 | 44,000 | A giant pinball from the Addams’ Family pinball machine with “GREED” sound effect

  4. jordagalski says:

    1-3 | 44,000 | Millions of little creatures all at once (honestly my Spelunky worst nightmare)

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