Saturday, February 18, 2017

100 Films

Top 4 is interchangeable

1. Ohikkoshi             (Moving)
1. Den-en Ni Shisu         (Pastoral: To Die in the Country)
1. Un homme qui dort         (The Man Who Sleeps)
1. Barry Lyndon
5. Mimi wo Sumaseba        (Whisper of the Heart)
6. Nekojiru-sou            (Cat Soup)
7. Der Seibente Kontinent    (The Seventh Continent)
8. Russkiy kovcheg        (Russian Ark)
9. Du, Levande            (You, The Living)
10. La chute de la maison Usher (The Fall of the House of Usher)
11. Fehérlófia             (Son of the White Mare)
12. Play Time
13. Nybyggarna            (The New Land)
14. Mind Game
15. Vecher nakanune Ivana Kupala (The Eve of Ivan Kupalo)
16. 2001: A Space Odyssey
17. Face like a Frog
18. Geomen tangyi sonyeo oi     (With the Girl of Black Soil)
19. Cha no Aji            (The Taste of Tea)
20. Až přijde kocour        (The Cassandra Cat)
21. Water and Power
22. Visa de censure no X
23. Kusa-meikyū            (Grass Labyrinth)
24. Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion
25. Bakha Satang        (Peppermint Candy)
26. Nemuru Otoko         (Sleeping Man)
27. Sátántangó
28. Vtáčkovia, siroty a blázni  (Birds, Orphans and Fools)
29. Narayama Bushiko        (The Ballad of Narayama, 1958)
30. Možnosti dialogu
31. Hatsukoi Jigoku Hen        (Nanami: The Inferno of First Love)
32. Taifû Kurabu        (Typhoon Club)
33. Dong            (The Hole)
34. Sånger från Andra Våningen    (Songs from the Second Floor)
35. Oasis
36. Körkarlen            (The Phantom Carriage)
37. Kurutta ippēji        (A Page of Madness)
38. Andrei Rublev
39. Quatre nuits d'un rêveur     (Four Nights of a Dreamer)
40. Omoide Poroporo        (Only Yesterday)
41. Eureka
42. Seance on a Wet Afternoon
43. Ovoce stromů rajských jíme     (Fruit of Paradise)
44. Sud sanaeha            (Blissfully Yours)
45. Walden: Diaries, Notes & Sketches
46. As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty
47. Tsumiki no ie        (The House of Small Cubes)
48. Šťastný konec        (Happy End)
49. Mon Oncle
50. McCabe & Mrs. Miller
51. Dream Work
52. Outer Space
53. Eraserhead
54. Sansho Dayu            (Sansho the Bailiff)
55. Harakiri
56. Seelische Konstruktionen    (Spiritual Constructions)
57. Chumlum
58. Mat i Syn            (Mother and Son)
59. Spalovač mrtvol         (The Cremator)
60. Praėjusios dienos atminimui (In Memory of the Day Passed By)
61. Idi i Smotri        (Come and See)
62. Local Hero
63. Steklyannaya garmonika    (The Glass Harmonica)
64. The Bed You Sleep In
65. L'humanité            (Humanity)
66. Persona
67. La femme qui se poudre    (The Woman who Powders Herself)
68. Scenes From Under Childhood Section One
69. Sink or Swim
70. Passageraren
71. Meshes of the Afternoon
72. Trees of Syntax, Leaves of Axis
73. Trains are for Dreaming
74. De Ofrivilliga        (Involuntary)
75. Play
76. Chikamatsu monogatari    (The Crucified Lovers)
77. Himalayaeui sonyowa        (Himalaya, Where the Wind Dwells)
78. Domestic Violence
79. Hospital
80. Maboroshi no hikari
81. Sho o suteyo machi e deyō    (Throw Away Your Books, Rally in the Streets)
82. Soshun             (Early Spring)
83. Tobenai chinmoku        (Silence Has no Wings)
84. Onna no Mizuumi        (Woman of the Lake)
85. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
86. The Draughtman's Contract
87. Nostos: Il ritorno (Nostos: The Return)
88. Week-End
89. Forest of Bliss
90. Sedmikrásky         (Daisies)
91. Elippathayam        (Rat-Trap)
92. Julien Donkey-Boy
93. Hausu
94. La Ville des Pirates    (City of Pirates)
95. Tenshi no Tamago        (Angel's Egg)
96. Sherlock, Jr
97. Duck Soup
98. Airplane!
99. L'ange            (The Angel)
100. Kamen            (Stone)

Bubbling under:
A torinói ló      (The Turin Horse)
La Seine a rencontré Paris     (The Seine Meets Paris)
Pierrot le Fou
Kauas pilvet karkaavat        (Drifting Clouds)
The Hart of London
Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine
Akahige                (Red Beard)
Ordet                (The Word)
Odinokiy golos cheloveka    (The Lonely Human Voice)
The Dream of a Ridiculous Man 1992
Ko to tamo peva        (Who's That Singing Over There?)
Pather Panchali            (Song of the Road)
Le roman de Renard        (The Story of the Fox)
The Shining
Ginga Tetsudou no Yoru     (Night on the Galactic Railroad)
Tonari no Totoro          (My Neighbor Totoro)
Pom Poko
Une histoire de vent        (A Tale of the Wind)
Sweet Movie
Sans Soleil
Koufuku no Kane            (Blessing Bell)
Terje Vigen            (A Man There Was)

25 Anime

1. Akage no Anne [Anne of Green Gables]
2. Mimi wo Sumaseba [Whisper of the Heart]
3. Nekojiru-sou [Cat Soup]
4. Mind Game
5. Nichijou
6. Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion
7. Omoide Poroporo [Only Yesterday]
8. Tsumiki no Ie [The House of Small Cubes]
9. Osomatsu-San
10. Yuyushiki
11. Tenshi no Tamago [Angel's Egg]
12. Ginga Tetsudou no Yoru [Night on the Galactic Railroad]
13. Tonari no Totoro [My Neighbor Totoro]
14. Pom Poko
15. Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei [The Tatami Galaxy]
16. Azumanga Daioh
17. Kanashimi no Belladonna [Tragedy of Belladonna]
18. Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor
19. Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo [The Girl Who Leapt Through Time]
20. Chika Gentou Gekiga: Shoujo Tsubaki [Midori]
21. Atama Yama [Mt. Head]
22. Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi [Spirited Away]
23. Hotaru no Haka [Grave of the Fireflies]
24. Kaguya-hime no Monogatari [The Tale of the Princess Kaguya]
25. Kaiba

My selection of best animes I have watched. I value a pretty artstyle, fluid animations, emotional, dreamy, contemplative, and surrealistic contents.

Bubbling under:
Laputa: Castle in the Sky
Serial Experiments Lain

Friday, December 23, 2016

Best games I played in 2016

Only games I played for the first time this year are included.

I didn't spend much time to grind STG this year, and for the time being, I'm on a forced hiatus. I got into something new that I never would've expected instead: Visual novels.

The first reason I picked up a visual novel was because I had watched the anime Oreimo, which I hated, but I really liked Kuroneko, so I decided to play a game featuring her, the PSP game Oreimo. It was surprisingly enjoyable, but it didn't exactly have good writing, it just had fun gameplay and overall just clicked with me. That's when I decided I wanted to play at least some visual novel that was actually supposed to have good writing and see where that takes me. Well, I really didn't expect to read like 30 VNs in half a year...

So, that is why this entry has a lot of visual novels. I think I've had a pretty good streak with them, so I'm assuming there's many excellent ones left to find. If you are uninterested in visual novels, you can scroll down to the games below them. Just keep in mind that I used to assume visual novels were something I would never like and I was wrong.

Visual novels

Symphonic Rain (All ages)

A slow burner, but let it consume you and you will be deeply rewarded. There's not much point in trying to talk about it, because its many qualities are hidden away and you must play it and find out for yourself. A very moving game in the second half.

Saya no Uta (Eroge)

A great love story at its core. This novel is helped tremendously by the godlike soundtrack and the effective use of CGs. The writing is generally very good, although also the biggest problem with the work. It has a bit too much focus on exposition, and the minor characters behave pretty stupidly. I also wish it spent more time during its first half. Too flawed to be a masterpiece, but still an essential game I think.

Period (Eroge)

This sure is amazing for a moe-trash game. Kohane's, Aoi's and Tzuzumi's routes are excellent. It's simply a happy, joyous game with delicious art by legendary H-artist Ooyari Ashito.

Katawa Shoujo (Eroge...?)

I'm a big fan of this game for one reason: Rin's route. I feel that many people will just misunderstand this route and interpret it on a simple surface-level, so try to pay attention if you're playing it. The other routes are OK, but if it weren't for Rin, I wouldn't care that much about this game.

Steins;Gate (All ages)

I think it's overall a good babby's first VN (though it was my 4th or so). Everything in it is just on point, the writing is interesting and ties together well with some of its characterization, the unique art style is appealing at least to me, and it has great tunes. The gameplay is a bit too obtuse, so you'll need a guide for this game. Unfortunately, Steins;Gate had some pretty bad things too, like the Faris arc.

Kikokugai - The Cyber Slayer (Eroge)

This is just a very enjoyable cyberpunk/wuxia novel. It caught me off guard, I didn't expect it to be this good. It's a badass masculine game with some fun edgy pretentions on the side.

Rewrite (All ages)

A strange game. very strange. Too long. There's so much to say. So many flaws to point out. I'll just say that for all its flaws, the good parts really stick with you, and if anything, it's very interesting thematically. Oh, and Chihaya's route can fuck off.

Ever17 - The Out of Infinity (All ages)

This game is a bit difficult to judge for me. On one hand, the common route and the first route I did (Tsugumi's) was an unforgettable experience (much thanks to the brilliant sense of mystique and powerful emotions) but on the other hand, the farther into the game I got, the more I started to feel disappointed. Unlike everyone else, I honestly didn't care for the true route at all.

999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (All ages?)

Similar to Ever17. Too similar, in fact. Looking past that, it's obviously a very good game, but not quite as good as Ever17.

Swan Song (Eroge)

A great game that was surprisingly not as depressing as I expected. It's quite well rounded. It's not a perfect game, but I really liked it.

Other games

Yume 2kki (Exploring)

It's a fan-game of Yume Nikki. I loved that game, and this one is just as good, if not better, considering how much bigger it is. I can talk a bit about how the two games are different and how it becomes a bit awkward to try and compare them, but let's just say that I love both. Yume Nikki is a bit more of a personal experience while Yume 2kki's strength over Nikki is its sheer size. I think it is a good idea to play Yume Nikki first, for a number of reasons, so don't jump into this one blindly.

Middens (Exploring/RPG)

The most wonderfully surrealist game I've encountered. Despite some more problematic aspects, I think it is one of the best games I've played. It is just about precisely to my taste. The prettiest game ever, in fact.

Gingiva (RPG)

Another game by the creator of Middens. This one is a bit more straight forward, but almost as good. A lovely psychedelic experience with moving dreamy contents at the end.

DustForce (Platformer)

One of the finest speedgames I've come across. sivade's gameplay is mindblowing.

Mother 3 (RPG)

Of course I had high expectations for Mother 3, it has a reputation of being one of the best games ever by people who I think could be somewhat trusted on that matter. I felt like the game lived up to the hype, considering I'm not very fond of JRPGs. It's not one of the best games I've played, but it is absolutely solid, much thanks to such a memorable end-game, and it compares favorably to EarthBound in my opinion.

Labyrinth of Touhou (RPG)

The gameplay during bosses is exactly what I want out of an RPG. Absolutely perfection. Unfortunately, the game has a lot of flaws elsewhere. I generally really like dungeon crawling, despite my limited experience, but they really need to put a limit on how much XP you can get. I had to intentionally stay low leveled to have fun with this game. You will actually gain levels faster and faster the longer you grind.

Beventlaed (Puzzle)

A fantastic grid-based puzzle game where you match UFOs, featuring Sanae. Although the game is incredible, I'm very uncomfortable with the mouse control, and I don't know if it's the games fault or my hands fault. It honestly hurts my hand to play this game. If it doesn't hurt your hand, count yourself lucky, because the gameplay is bliss.

The Cat Lady (Point and click)

A great character-driven horror adventure with a fantastic visual style. It has some shortcomings, but overall it is highly recommended.

Gundemonium Recollection (STG)

I fell in love with this STG right away. The question is how fun it will remain during a scoreplay, since I've reluctantly quit STG (hopefully temporarily. I simply can't play in my current state) I might never find out. So, the placement is a little awkward, because I only played it for about 2 hours.

Toilet in Wonderland (Parody)

I went through a spree of playing through a bunch of horror RPGmaker games. Those were mostly rather mediocre, so finding this gem was a breath of fresh air. It's a parody of those kinds of games, and it's hilarious. You're going to want to play games in the style of Witch's House or Mad Father before jumping into this one to get a sense of context.

My 3 "must-plays" are: Yume 2kki, Middens, & Symphonic Rain. The rest are honorable mentions.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Photography (StB + DS) scenes rankings

The rankings are from my scorer perspective and don't take into account for example timeout attempts (which is very fun on DS 9-7) or aesthetics or anything else like that that's unrelated to how I play the game. This is simply about fun of playing for high photos and ofc it's all my opinion.

Maybe it will be useful to someone else who wants to go for high photos and doesn't know which scenes are good, but keep in mind that in the end its just down to my own taste. I like variety, though, so I put some "simpler" scenes high, despite generally favoring the more difficult and deep scenes.

Favorites and mini favorites of course are the best scenes. Like and really like speaks for itself too. Interesting however, means that the scene may be either good or bad depending on the perspective I adopt. For example, a scene in the interesting category might have interesting gameplay, but while not being particularly fun. Or, it may be fun to play in small dozes, but lacks optimization depth and becomes boring fast. Hell, maybe it's actually a good scene and I just have some obscure issue with it.

Shoot the bullet

S rank (Favorites)

A rank (Mini Favorites)

B rank (Really like)

C rank (Like)

D rank (Interesting)

E rank (Don't like)

F rank (Hate)

Double Spoiler

S rank (Favorites)

A rank (Mini favorites)

B rank (Really like)

C rank (Like)

D rank (Interesting)

E rank (Don't like)

F rank (Hate)


I still have significantly less playtime in Double Spoiler, so I had to put some scenes as undecided. I've barely touched some of them for score. SP-9 is a cool scene that I'd probably end up putting in the B rank. Also, DS ended up being the only game with F rank scenes. In general, I think DS is the better game, but that it also has more annoying content at the same time. I do prefer playing DS these days, for what it's worth.

Also, DS has two separate characters and they often approach the scenes significantly differently. I ended up not thinking about that too hard, hopefully I always had the "more fun" character in mind for each scene.

So, in the end I think my top 10 Photography scenes would be:
1. 9-6 (StB)
2. 9-5 (StB)
3. 7-6 (StB)
4. 9-1 (DS)
5. 7-6 (DS)
6. 12-3 (DS)
7. 12-4 (DS)
8. 8-2 (DS)
9. 8-6 (DS)
10. 5-1 (StB)

9-7 (DS) will always have an honorable mention for actually being more fun not to score in. Pacify it instead to practice your dodging!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

100 favorite games

1. Yousei Daisensou (Fairy Wars)
2. Touhou Bunkachou (Double Spoiler)
3. Touhou Yumejikuu (The Phantasmagoria of Dimensional Dream)
4. Touhou Bunkachou (Shoot the Bullet)
5. Touhou Youyoumu (Perfect Cherry Blossom)
6. Touhou Kaeitzuka (Phantasmagoria of Flower View)
7. Money Idol Exchanger
8. Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne
9. Dragon Blaze
10. Guwange
11. Armed Police Batrider
12. Yume 2kki
13. Yume Nikki
14. Unreal Tournament
15. Sutte Hakkun
16. Heroes of Might and Magic III Complete
17. Middens
18. Touhou Koumakyou (The Embodiment of Scarlet Devil)
19. Symphonic Rain
20. StarCraft: Brood War
21. Within a Deep Forest
22. F-Zero GX
23. .flow
24. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
25. Super Mario 64
26. Gun.Smoke
27. Saya no Uta
28. Rocket Knight Adventures
29. Dangun Feveron
30. EspGaluda
31. Katamari Damacy
32. Period
33. Gingiva
34. Touhou Eiyashou (Imperishable Night)
35. Touhou Seirensen (Undefined Fantastic Object)
36. Flame Zapper Kotsujin
37. ring^-27
38. Katawa Shoujo
39. Transformice
40. OpenLieroX
41. DustForce
42. Denjin Makai II
43. Gemini Wing
44. Strikers 1999
45. RayForce
46. Battle Bakraid
47. Mother 3
48. Steins;Gate
49. Aero Chimera
50. Sexy Parodius
51. Crimzon Clover: World Ignition
52. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
53. Adventures of Lolo 2 (J)
54. Labyrinth of Touhou
55. MegaMari
56. Ninja Gaiden II (NES)
57. Gimmick!
58. Twinkle Tale
59. Super Smash Bros. Melee
60. Gundemonium Recollection
61. Lilian Fourhand
62. Ristar
63. Limbo
64. Rewrite
65. Ever17: The Out of Infinity
66. Riven
67. Alpha Centauri
68. Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge
69. The Cat Lady
70. Mars Matrix
71. Quantized Blaze
72. Batsugun Special
73. Beventlaed
74. Europa Universalis II
75. Advance Wars 2
76. DoDonPachi Daioujou
77. Nox
78. Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn
79. Arcanum
80. Battle Garegga
81. Kururin Paradise
82. Quake III Arena
83. Etrian Odyssey III
84. Kikokugai - The Cyber Slayer
85. Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee
86. Pu-Li-Ru-La
87. Darius Gaiden
88. Toilet in Wonderland
89. Civilization II
90. Strikers 1945 II
91. Gunbird 2
92. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
93. F-Zero X
94. Twinkle Star Sprites
95. Night Striker
96. ChoRenSha 68k
97. Touhou Fuujinroku (Mountain of Faith)
98. Dungeon Keeper
99. Dimahoo
100. Elasto Mania

Bubbling under:
Super Mario Bros. 3
Swan Song
999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors
DoReMi Fantasy
Raiden DX
Cannon Dancer
Knytt Stories
Day of the Tentacle
Dragon's Fury
Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup
Zangband TK
Goof Troop
ToeJam & Earl
The Last Blade 2
World Heroes Perfect
Metamorphic Force
Metal Black

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Lunatic B1 107m

Somehow I reached 107 million on B1 Lunatic. Unreal and startling, but extremely satisfying, I think it is the best score GFW has ever seen, and it may even be the best play I ever get to do in my life. Of course, if this ends up not being the case... all the better. GFW deserves all the love and care in the world, and maybe I will grow more as a player...

Collecting the bigger mistakes (as I perceive them to be) and putting them all together, you could say that I lost about a million. In reality there is room for a bit more score and not only through RNG, although luck certainly plays a large role (and luck did bless me in this replay)

First I should explain just why there's two accidental deaths on stage 1 on such an otherwise "good" play, and why those deaths (with my patterns) didn't matter, as well as going over other possibilities.

Lunatic B1 has few notably good suicide spots and, particularly in the mid-late part of the run, it is difficult to use varying resource patterns. The two lives I lost barely interfered with freezing patterns and they did not cause me to cap my PF (though it was close). It should be mentioned however that had I lost a third life at any point on stage 2 or 3 it would have had disastrous effects. First of all I would not have been able to use another bomb on Luna's fourth nonspell, but also it is worth noting that dying at most points in the run does impact it very negatively, with some especially bad spots where I simply cannot die and still be satisfied with the final results (anywhere on Star, and the stage 3 fireball grid, for example) due to major score loss and difficulty or impossibility of retaining the original ideal resource patterns.

There are strats I rarely (or never) used, even though they are possible. For example, on Lily's first nonspell, you can get higher freezes by going to the top corner closest to lily and freezing there. Since these freezes will also damage Lily, this is a spot where you can suicide-freeze, respawn, and then going up to the corner to freeze again while still making it back down alive. If I ever play B1 again, I will start trying to use this sort of pattern (Perhaps it could be worthwhile on C1? Then again maybe not, since C1 already has too many suicides)

Another strat if you have lives to burn is a funky Luna midboss suicide strat. I haven't entirely worked out how this should be done, and the routes should be changed accordingly. Suicides here can only give you 25% PF since you can get 30% area all over on Luna anyway, but if you do this, the point is to end Luna with 300% PF, then you can do a 4PF second half of the stage if you also suicide on the knife rings. Even if you no-miss the entire game (aside from suicides) and play like a god, I highly doubt you can find a way to use all the bombs I managed to use on the 3 fairies with a pattern like that, anyway. To go further into why this should be done: It's either that, or using 2 bombs on Bright Night since you will otherwise cap your PF well before Ice Dissolver. It is highly recommended to cap the PF when you start Ice Dissolver to have any chance at 2PF non3, 2PF non4, 3PF final. If however you plan to remove 1 PF here, you can start Ice Dissolver with below 300%. It goes without saying that sitting at 300% long before Ice Dissolver is wasteful.

To explain the crux of knife rings suicide, this is not just +25% PF for the suicide, but it enables another 30% area, so it is actually more PF. However this is not a worthwhile place to die (barely increases the immediate score at all) if it doesn't enable an extra bomb, and 2PF Bright Night as opposed to 1PF, is shit for various reasons. Only conclusion is that this is the pattern to use if you are using 3PF on the fireball grid.

Here's the thing about the 3 fairies. You want to max your motivation before the third nonspell to get the highest potential on the second half of the fight, and this isn't chump change. It is worth considering starting this nonspell with less motivation and simply ignoring the possibility of 2PF nonspell3 + 2PF nonspell4, which enables some of the previous strategies I've been discussing. Is it possible to max your motivation there while still dying 1 more time than I did in my run? Honestly, I think it is. That would add another strategic dimension to all of this. You may not even need to max it if you can just gather a little bit more motivation on Fairy Overdrive than I did in my run. To take things even further, strictly speaking it should be possible to do away with one of the suicides I used on the 4th non or the suicide on the final, and still get all the PF. Is it reasonable to assume you can piece something that works together out of all of this? Fuck if I know.

Either way, suiciding on Lily's first nonspell instead of dying on stage 1 is better no matter how you look at it. As for everything else I've discussed, it all gets really hazy and complicated to determine what's best or what's reasonable. No matter the scenario, you do need godlike RNG on Sunny Milk to stand a chance with any patterns that can compete with mine. Without the extra PF you are screwed, if you can somehow avoid extra suicides on Lily while never dying on accident at any point, and still use all the PF I used up to Luna Child's midboss appearance, you've truly had lady luck on your side and then you deserve your wacky-ass new pattern I'd never use. It is possible, a lot of wackiness is possible. This game is fascinating.

PF routes on stage 1 and 2 should without a doubt be left alone.

I'll now go over my replay and its contents. I'll talk about it on its own terms, not thinking too deeply about the possibilities I've discussed above, as none of it could be applied in my run either way.

Stage 1, pre-Daiyousei: it took a long time, but I eventually worked out some good movement patterns for the jellybeans. They've been solidified for a long time now, but It's still a lot better than what CLR was doing... It's still inconsistent, and I still don't entirely get it, and I still wonder if there are better patterns... but either way, I've been content with my patterns here. In this particular run, though, this is probably the weakest part of the whole thing. The very first jellybean freeze was pretty high, so no problem there, but the third one failed, this happens pretty often unfortunately when you go for 600k+ ice... a shame. I would have restarted if the first one had been lower.

Daiyousei: It's routine, so I have little to say here. I always do roughly the same thing and it isn't any complicated. The second nonspell is heavily RNG dependant but as long as you play it right your freezes will be mostly around the same area. You can get 30% here on occasion.

Stage 1, post-Daiyousei: This is also simple routine, but the score does vary a little. The greenshit was actually slightly wrong, on the final freeze I thought excess suicide bullets were going to make it into my tiny space, so I froze a bit early there.

Sunny Milk nonspell 1: It's difficult. I died on the last wave I'm supposed to freeze before bombing, and It's hard to say how big that freeze would've been. I may have lost 40k or 50k.

Aggressive Light: The SCB drops pretty fast compared to the freezes you get here, so the spell is more about resources than immediate score gains. Particularly it is good to get a lot of PF out of this. I dunno if It's really about execution, more about intuition. Hopefully Sunny stays high so you can milk it better and longer. It's also good if she goes into the middle when you finish it off so nonspell 2 is better. My spell was rather tame, no good freezes...

Nonspell 2: 2PF pattern with 3 big freezes and then the rest is small freezes. In order to freeze on this, you must start charging away from Sunny, so that not even the side of your shot hits her. This does add a bit of extra difficulty to the small ice milking strategy I use. The small ice milking strategy requires a good dodging/reading ability, and of course since I apparently didn't have that, I died once.

Direct Sunlight: Praise buddha for the luck I had. About 1.8 million and almost 200PF. Wow! Luck here doesn't automatically crown you the winner, either, you have to capitalize on the luck with beastly playing and smart freezing. Thankfully the bullet patterns made this... relatively easy for me, as well. By the way, when I say luck, I mainly mean that Sunny moves away from your ice now and then so you can use more freezes. It's rare.

Stage 2, Pre-Lily White: I start it with 238% PF so the 2 deaths I had did not waste PF apart from the tiny amount I would have had from the to freezes that I lost, in reality they wasted nothing, since you get 60% PF on stage 2 before you can use the first bomb. 2% away from capping. Now, stage 2 up until Lily is routine. I've tried doing the part with the big rings differently, but nothing ever seems to work out favorably. I've been able to get much larger freeze, that also kills too many fairies, so that the bomb turns to shit. I can't really get over this part because it really looks like it should be possible to do it better, but I haven't found anything yet. Afterwards, you want 30%s from the streaming fairies while killing as few of them as possible with your shot for more items and motivation.

Lily White: I'm happy my final ice reached on the first non so I could get the items, got a bit lucky there. It's a very random and unforgiving nonspell when scoring. The second nonspell was great, I could not ask for it to go any better. I also do a brief little milk on the third nonspell, something I only started doing after 104 million, I think.

Stage 2, Post-Lily White: Although the wire zone can give varying results, this part of the game is mostly routine. You may miss some PF on the wire zone, but I got what I wanted from it. I guess It's worth noting two things: Enemies left alive from the final freeze of the wire zone will move along the top right of the screen when you bomb. These will then fire lots of suicide bullets at you which can enable a 30% area if you freeze the big fairy on the left instead of on the right. This is a back-up pattern since these fairies aren't supposed to die up there. Also, right before Star's appearance, you can squeeze in a tiny freeze for extra PF if you use the last 30% freeze correctly.

Star Sapphire, nonspell 1: My score was at an all-time high here, but I was still not feeling this run for some reason. I thought for sure I was going to lose the run since Star is difficult, and stage 3 is even harder. Anyway, I got 2.8 million out of this, and I got decent RNG. I think this nonspell was a little weak for this good of a run, but it wasn't bad, so I don't consider it a mistake.

Comet Stream: Welcome to hell, as they say. Thank god for Zil's misdirection idea. It really makes it more doable to stay alive on this. The freezes should be quite high on the screen so that they connect along the big stars, circling around Star. If you use one too late, then the big stars to the side will go offscren so the ice can only use the small stars to connect any further. The later you use one freeze, the later you will be able to get your ice charge up again for the next freeze, so it turns into a low-score cycle that is best broken free out of by bombing. You can use either 3 or 4 bombs on this depending on the pattern. One of the bombs has to finish the spell. This went very well for me, good enough scoring and no-miss!

Nonspell 2: Enjoying your stay in hell? In my opinion this is a bit more difficult than even Comet Stream, and it is also annoyingly luck based. When Star is close the middle, you can go through two rings for a higher freze. You have to go through the second ring very quickly so it becomes an almost pixel perfect squeeze through (and the rings are RNG). Star may not follow a movement pattern that allows you to do this more than one time, if you are unlucky. I was not unlucky, so I did this three times. If you are very unlucky she will camp near the side of the screen so that you can just get shit freezes. That could easily turn this 107 run into a 105 run! Meanie Star.

Star Piece Shower & Shooting Sapphire: These are supposed to be auto-caps, although I do try to put emphasis into capping Shooting Sapphire asap, without yolo'ing too hard if the RNG is being wacky. I did not go for the frozen items on Star Piece Shower, so lost about 60k on it, but I got a great SCB on Shooting Sapphire. Thankfully I did not need to concern myself with my PF, so I could focus on damaging star on Shooting Sapphire for the high SCB.

Stage 3, Pre-Luna: Good up until the two planned bombs, that was one of the worst parts of the run. First bomb was mistimed, I've tried many different timings on this with various results, and missing by frames can change your score significantly. This time I used the timing of 3rd row of knives moving down, but I used the bomb split second after instead of exactly during, so it was mistimed... This is a terrible way to mistime your bomb because, not only was the score almost 100k lower, but it killed 2 of the fairies that are supposed to shoot bullets for me to graze and freeze. This is not a problem I have any backup plans for and so my freezing pattern was ineffective, caused suicide bullets to come a bit sooner than normal, causing me to use the 2nd bomb a bit sooner than normal, once again the mistime cost almost 100k, all in all arout 200k lost here. On the bright side, the luck was high at the beginning of the stage.

Luna Child: The nonspell is very complex and difficult to optimize. I failed at optimizing it, I'd like to have about 2.2 million from the nonspell, I only got about 1.95 million in this run, so it is one of the largest mistakes. You want to make a distinction between the freezes that damage Luna (make these as large as possible) and those that don't (pray to god they don't!). The worst part was that one of my freezes that was designed to be a large freeze connected onto Luna too early because she was so close, so her last batch of bullets couldn't come out...

The spellcard is an auto-cap that you can milk a little if you think you need the motivation or PF. The SCB will drop faster than you can get score from milking, so It's dangerous and not worth it if you don't need resources. I used 3 freezes, and you can use up to 5.

Stage 3, Post-Luna: This went well, thankfully. It's a breather part, so I feel terrible if I fail this part.

3 Fairies, nonspell 1: Totally sick. I collect the frozen items as quickly as it is possible to do and it was very close that I did not get Sunny's items. This is important so that you can get more alone time with Luna. The Luna freezes were definitely acceptable. One of them scored like 132k!

Bright Night: Milk this with a planned bomb at the end. Pray the RNG allows large freezes that do not damage Star and Sunny, so that you can keep churning out high freezes. Usually they will die pretty quickly, which really ruins the potential on this card since Luna's bullets are worth so little. This time Star died around the usual time, but Sunny was left alive longer. Unfortunately, 1 side fairy just isn't enough to increase your ice area much, so I'd say RNG on this was fairly average. Dying on this would've been pretty crappy for the run and is always wasteful with PF... It's also a pretty normal place to die since milking it is so difficult. Good thing I didn't die! There was a really ugly false dodge in this card, though.

Nonspell 2: Decent. Average area wasn't amazing but I got 1 more freeze onto the trio than in certain runs, so that's at least something. 3 freezes onto solo Luna which I think was the realistic maximum I could do with that timer + healthbar.

Ice Dissolver: Two more mistakes made here. The second bomb was used just a split second too early, so Luna shot one of her lasers through it, killing some score. Luna wasn't quite low enough on HP by the end, so the final bomb didn't finish her off, losing 80k in items. Other than that, It's pretty hard to say if any of the other freezes can be referred to as mistakes on this card. I'd say all the regular freezes on this card were acceptable.

Nonspell 3: This is where my replay truly gets solidified as amazing in my opinion. This nonspell is the first thing that ensured I could use an extra bomb on nonspell 4! First of all, this is a pretty complex and luck dependant nonspell, so I can't sit here and explain too much about it, It'll get too difficult for me and it'd take too long and this post would be too long... So my pattern is roughly this: Suicide with a maximum freeze (should score 300k+ hopefully) and suicide FAST so that the deathwave doesn't remove any bullets from the next wave. You need all the time you can get on this. When you respawn, you use the ice in such a way so that it reaches 30% area, without dealing any damage to Sunny (and if possible, Star). Wait 1 wave, then bomb. Big suicide freeze again, 30% area non-Sunny damaging freeze again, wait again, bomb again. If you can do all this successfully it'll really come down to the health of the fairies and their respective positions to determine how to act next. I'd say I made the correct choices here but, to be picky, it could've been even better, so my execution lacked a little spice to optimize for example the big Sunny freeze. Either way, I scored a lot of 30%s and that was crucial!

Break Canopy: This is it, my friends... the hardest part of the run by far, the hardest trick you will see in any WR run in GFW, and the ender of almost every run. This is satan's spellcard if there ever was one... 20+ minutes into the run you have to do this shit. To give a basic explanation, you dodge through one wave, make sure you reach 100% (or as close as possible) ice charge, position yourself quite low on the screen without getting bullets bounced into you, and freeze. I don't know how hard it looks to other people, but I can tell you now this is very difficult to do so many times, It's tricky to just pull off once. I did 5 of these sweeps. On almost every run I will just die.

Nonspell 4: 2 Bombs! 2 Suicides! Barely enough motivation and PF to clear with max lives and 3PF the final spell. The second bomb here was bad, so that's a pretty big mistake. I'd like that bomb to score 150k~ higher. I don't feel too bad about it though, because I need to use all the time I can on this nonspell to freeze bullets as opposed to setting up for the second bomb... Since otherwise I might not be able to finish the run at all. Also, the first bomb was very high, that makes up for it a bit.

Fairy Overdrive: I lost one of the side fairy frozen item sets. I should've gotten more motivation from this but thankfully I still cleared 1000%.

Final: Flawlessly executed, as it should be.

Overall I am very pleased with this run... I literally could not believe I got it. You have to understand, that to get such a good run up to Break Canopy is super hard for me and I imagine it would be for anyone... And then that card will just end your run. That's it. Somehow it didn't end this run, the best run I've had up to that point, too. It just feels indescribable to have done this at all, but particularly that it took so little time, that is the part that I don't think I deserved. This kind of run should take a lot more credits. I livestreamed this run with mic and you can watch it here

Sunday, December 27, 2015

2015 condensed

2015 is not quite over yet but this feels like a good time to make this post since I'm slacking now anyway and not working on anything major that would change this post regardless.

2014 was the first year that I really went balls deep and started accomplishing things in these games, mainly in Shoot the Bullet which I began playing obsessively in April, but also in Great Fairy Wars which I played a lot during November and December. I really felt how my general skill had improved noticably, and my analytical ability and endurance really helped me to understand, to WANT to understand what I was supposed to do, how I was supposed to think, to play, and the possibilities that existed.

In other words 2014 was the first time I felt like I could really amount to something in Touhou, and this carried over into 2015. The GFW sweep  and working the scores well beyond what people had done previously, which I had only joked about prior to this (saying I wanted to "be the shin of GFW or "be the HS of GFW") started to reveal itself to be a possible reality, I now have almost every record for the game, and most of the records I have are significantly higher than the previous record thanks to the insights and consistency that I've gained. I feel like an anomaly in the English-speaking community because unlike most others, I'm pretty satisfied with my playing, I'm of course not entirely satisfied with my ability, there is always room to get better, but I do think my skill is peaking and that I can't really get noticably better in general than I am now. Of course, I realize there's so many players out there that are much better than me, not just at Touhou, but especially among the arcade players, where there's such a rich history, of course there's going to be an abundance of incredible players. I am still self-critical to a high degree. I just think It's important to be realistic. Critical doesn't have to be negative, and allowing yourself to be satisfied or happy about something, even if just for a brief moment, is important.

Now that that rant's over, I'm going to take a step back and look at just what happened during 2015.

Just as with 2014 I've narrowed my vision down to just a few games, where I focus on one at a time. Occasionally I've branched out to something unexpected for a little while just for the fun of it, and I don't regret that at all, I intend to try to do a bit more of this during 2016, even.

The big game of this year was without a doubt Great Fairy Wars. only 1 of my 25 scores from before 2015 still remains, Hard C2. All other scores were made in 2015.

The greatest score I achieved, by far in any game ever, was the 105.94 million score in Lunatic B1. I genuinely think this score is pretty much unbeatable unless you are highly skilled, have learned all the little nuances of the category, and have the endurance to grind until you are blessed with fantastic luck while also keeping the flaws to the minimum. It's not a perfect run, far from it, but it is such a difficult category, only high level players would stand a chance, and GFW appears to be neglected among these folks, unfortunately. The same run with a more ridiculous stage 3 could even have scored 107 million, which is pretty much around where I consider the humanly realistic limit to be. Who knows though, maybe someone will surprise me in the future. Stage 1 and 2 were all-time high scores, the odds of that happening... To get your highest score on stage 1 AND 2... My stage 3 was not the best I've had, though, but still among the better stage 3s.

Some other stand-out scores for GFW: Easy C1. I liked this run a lot even though I definitely have not optimized Easy as thoroughly as it could be (Dream Dweller's A2 run is a good example of an Easy mode score that is nearly unbeatable, none of mine are quite that good), reaching 38 million was not something I previously would've thought to be realistically possible. With a lot of studying and improving the patterns, and the consistency of getting it all together without much issue, 38 million somehow happened. I still think 38.5 is somehow realistic as well if you get a Dream Dweller-tier score, but 38 is good too.

Normal A2. I surprised myself by not having to put in as much time into this as I had expected, and I was so happy to beat Gasoline's great score which I have always idolized. Something that was really helpful was their article on this category, it helped me to grasp some things better. The final score reached 72 million and 73 million is still highly possible. I am honestly a bit doubtful about 74, but strictly speaking, sure, that's also "possible".

Hard B1. Nowhere near the level of my Lunatic run, but it is my strongest Hard run.

Lunatic B2 and C1. They're quite interesting runs but, since I am so fond of Lunatic, I intend to try to improve them significantly somehow. Same with the other Lunatic non-B1 routes. Big updates in the future.

Reaching the total score of 1.8 billion was a huge thing as well. It's now getting more and more close to 1.81 billion. I'm hoping to get to 1.82 billion in 2016, but we'll see if I play GFW enough for that.

Overall I put not that much time into GFW this year (less than 500 hours) but I instead managed to use the knowledge and skill I had gained efficiently. I would never have expected, before, that GFW could be mastered to this extend in this short amount of time.

I also played other games so lets move on. Roughly in order of importance...

Shoot the Bullet. I played it a bit less than Double Spoiler this year but a lot more focused on individual scenes. I actually didn't touch the majority of the scenes this year at all. This basically means I put the time in to get some really high individual scores, I think the most notable ones being 2.129m in 10-1 and 373k in 6-5. The 892k score in 9-5 was also a highlight but, Ia found a better pattern, so it is now obsoleted. The 10-1 score was single most in-the-moment satisfying and relieving score I made this year, even if it's not the most impressive.

Double Spoiler! I've hardly touched this game since my previous post about it, so I need not say much here, but I put in about 200 hours of playtime this year and upped the total score to 94 million with Hatate and 91 million with Aya, with a dozen top placing scores and even more second place scores. Since the last post I also made just a few improvements that I haven't submitted to Royalflare, notably around 660000 on 9-7 with Hatate. As for the most satisfying individual scores, I'd say those were on 6-8 and 10-7. I usually didn't put all that much time into individual categories in DS so far, so this entry is more about the total score.

Armed Police Batrider. I didn't play this so much, but when I did, I made some huge improvements, most notably 18.1 million with Solo Carpet on the Advanced course. My goal for that was met, though I know a lot more is still possible (there's half of I think a 21 million run online, the second half is missing...).

Battle Garegga. I scored only around 14 million, with Gain, but it was nonetheless very satisfying because I'm still quite a newbie at this game and I had to work harder than expected to reach this score. Before I had put my goal as I think 16 or 17 million. Now I know I just don't like this game enough to go for that kind of difficult score.

Phantasmagoria of Flower View. I scored 398 million with Reisen and made some other scores as well. Nothing particularly stand-out, though, and I played it very little. There's some really great scores out there made by players like yet, and I don't have the endurance for this game to go for those kinds of scores.

Strikers 1999. I cleared this game (both loops). Obviously nothing impressive at all compared to the above but I usually don't go for hard-ish new game clears and am more focused on scoring, so it marks an interesting deviation in my usual focus... I actually hope to do a lot more stuff like this in 2016!

What I want to do in 2016:

Double Spoiler/Shoot the Bullet: nothing in particular. I use these games when I get the drive and there's so many scenes to choose between that I could do pretty much whatever I want in them. I expect I'll play them a fair bit, but I'll decide my goals on the spot.

Great Fairy Wars: I want the sweep to be absolute, I want to have every record. My wish to do this is halfhearted. I like the idea of it, more than I can appreciate the grind itself. Easy A2 is largely to blame for this. Not only in the record for that already amazingly high, but it is simply not that interesting of a category to play. Normal A1 is a bit like this as well, but I'm not entirely sure just how good the record for that is yet, since I've barely played it. Extra, on the other hand, is both amazing and a very fun category to play, so that is certainly a record I no doubt DO want to go for.

I find it very important that the records I do have have reached a high level as well, so of course I'll probably spend much more time improving my own scores than trying to get he few records I don't have. Some individual targets: 105 million in A1 (maybe 106?), 118 in A2 (maybe 119)), 104 million in C1, all Lunatic. I'd like to try to get A1 and C2 higher than my current B1 score, the latter should be no problem, but I'm dreading A1.

Perfect Cherry Blossom: Highscoring, probably on Lunatic. I really think 2016 is the time for me to try to get into this!

Misc games! I want to clear more arcade games, and I want to do highscoring in the more easy-ish clears. Here's a small list of some of the games I will try to make time for, either just to clear the whole game (so two loops in the case of Psikyo, Cave) or to get a highscore.

Gunbird 2
Strikers 1945 II
Dragon Blaze
Ketsui (Omote)
Sexy Parodius
Mars Matrix
Raiden Fighters Jet

The lower 4 games being easier clears, will thus focus more on scoring. The higher 5 I'd primarily want to clear, although I can't keep myself from going for highscoring in Dragon Blaze, heh.

It is very possible I won't focus on any of the misc games after all, but I had a lot of fun learning Strikers 1999 even if I didn't stick with the game, I think I could do that sort of thing with some more games soon.

I thought I'd do something different at the end of this post and not just talk about myself or my own runs or goals for once, so now I'm going to mention some of the other players I've had fun keeping an eye on during 2015.

Japowpow: I thought it was amazing how he was working on, and ultimately achieved, UFO LNB when he was JUST starting out. I can't say I followed that closely because I'm not into survival, but then he branched out into PoFV and GFW scoring and It's been so fun to see his progress there. I really hope more people will pick up GFW scoring.

Yu-Suke: This dude's just beasting it like always and pushing that ReimuB Lunatic score. I hope he eventually even gets the privilege of allowing ReimuB to have the overall record.

Everlasting: Even if I'm less interested in survival I somehow can make myself interested because Everlasting is just that charming and, clearly a force to be reckoned with. If I'm not mistaken he also has not played for that long but he already achieved SA and UFO LNN. He talks about how he does want to move on from LNN goals in the future and that GFW scoring is one of the things he's interested in. Obviously I will watch over him like a hawk!

Ia: A bit different because I ultimately know nothing about Ia and they don't stream (to my knowledge) so all I can really do is look out for the replays they put out. Even so 2015 seems to have been a bit of a resurrection for Ia who barely submitted anything the last few years. This year there's several amazing Shoot the Bullet replays produced by them and the quality is undeniable. In particular the 8-8 and 8-7 ones totally blew my mind, and now there's a ridiculous 9-5 one as well. Some of the others are probably amazing but I don't really understand 3-7 or 10-7 well enough for example.

My final word to you all is: play Great Fairy Wars! Since it is by far my own favorite game, obviously the rest of you are just wrong for not feeling the same way about it xD

There's still time to fix that!!!!