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JohnnyOlMan
04-18-2019 at 10:56 AM
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Resting Marathons: The Methods We Find For Breaks

Today's "On This Day" record post by @GregDeg gave me pause. Actually, I've been thinking about it since my time at Score Wars in New Mexico last year when I watched @Barra employ the "parking" method in a Marathon Settings Galaga game.

In the world of Marathon gaming, there's definitely something to be said for keeping your reflexes sharp going into the long hours of the game, but I also find fascinating the spots players find to give themselves a breath. Greg's Wizards of Wor play is a little more like just finding that safe spot to work from, but I still find it interesting. As arcades were built to keep you pressured, take your coins, and send you on your way to make room for the next paying player (and early console gaming was often built around that same model), I delight in seeing the manipulations and understanding of code and patterns that players used to give themselves a break. Especially for Marathon runners who either find those very specific safe spaces like in Galaga or another method in which the player builds up so many excess lives that they can take a power nap while the game chips away at their extra life reserves. The latter is as impressive to me because of the calculations that go into how many lives you have, how fast the game takes them, and when you need to be back on deck to make sure you don't sleep through a gameover.

Wanna talk about it? Let's talk about it. What parking or rest moment stands out to you in retro gaming?

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  1. Snowflake's Avatar

    i should warn you, some of the breaks involve "oo i can get 40 seconds break here but what good is that" and finding ways to split your bathroom break among several different 40 second breaks can create some important, but not so socially acceptable conversations :)

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  2. JohnnyOlMan's Avatar

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowflake

    i should warn you, some of the breaks involve "oo i can get 40 seconds break here but what good is that" and finding ways to split your bathroom break among several different 40 second breaks can create some important, but not so socially acceptable conversations :)


    Ahahaha! Yeah, I'll bet! Gotta go sometime in a 40-hour play session! Let's uh... keep it "pg-ish" I suppose? xD

  3. Rogerpoco's Avatar

    Certainly not a marathon, but a couple of examples from Burgertime-

    You are obligated to kill off men many times throughout the game-if you get more than 128 the game code rolls over or something and it glitches to "Game Over" when you lose a life.

    In a killscreen game, you'll earn 500 or so extra men, so you can see there's a lot of "killing time".

    Well, I don't smoke in the house, but I smoke a lot, lol, so fortunately, the time spent letting men die would allow me to stand at the door and sneak a puff.

    I still played fast, for the most part I actively charged into baddies to kill off men rather then waiting for them to come to me.


    There are also a couple of "safe spots" I am aware of, tho you have to work to get them-I'm sure there are more.

    On the L-5 patterns, part of getting the baddies into position to group them gets them in a spot looping where you could simply walk away, and expect the game to still be going hours later.


    You Guys that can play marathon-length boggle my mind.


    *Edit*

    Is on my list to check out, I honestly don't know, but I'm pretty sure that Wor method is a little less "safe" than it looks!

    (But I understand the point.)

    :)

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    Updated 04-18-2019 at 12:22 PM by Rogerpoco
  4. Fly's Avatar

    My favorite break is the assisted break during the PunchOut!! world record. There used to be a clip of it somewhere. Can't seem to find it. I'm sure it's been pulled since it was a weird one.

    Well, it was a 15 hour game or so. Public place. NW pinball show 2009ish I believe. The game doesn't give more that 20 or so seconds between fights. You can't build up free men. Man has gots to pee. No time to run to the pot. Solution? Bring a bucket. Oh wait, public place....hmmmm???? Go get a blanket! Now what? 2 people drape it around me to cover my thingamajig and a 3rd person can hold the bucket! "Sweet! I'm down!" said 3 really really good friends...I think. This really happened and he pissed between rounds.

    I go longer that the game gives so I wont ever marathon it.

    Hec


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  5. JohnnyOlMan's Avatar

    Quote Originally Posted by Fly

    My favorite break is the assisted break during the PunchOut!! world record. There used to be a clip of it somewhere. Can't seem to find it. I'm sure it's been pulled since it was a weird one.

    Well, it was a 15 hour game or so. Public place. NW pinball show 2009ish I believe. The game doesn't give more that 20 or so seconds between fights. You can't build up free men. Man has gots to pee. No time to run to the pot. Solution? Bring a bucket. Oh wait, public place....hmmmm???? Go get a blanket! Now what? 2 people drape it around me to cover my thingamajig and a 3rd person can hold the bucket! "Sweet! I'm down!" said 3 really really good friends...I think. This really happened and he pissed between rounds.

    I go longer that the game gives so I wont ever marathon it.

    Hec

    And here I was thinking in-game breaks like the Galaga park or the Burger Time wasting lives things. That's
    some dedication between friends! I'd hate to be the one who had to hold the bucket, haha.
  6. RTM's Avatar

    There are only a few that I am aware of after having seen others perform these "resting" tricks which vary in terms of effectiveness. All depends on what you consider "resting" so I'll group these accordingly.

    MOST EFFICIENT - zero life/energy loss

    SEMI-EFFICIENT - minimal life/energy loss

    OTHER - everything else

    Let's start with the first and move our way down...

    MOST EFFICIENT
    -> "Tron" has a hiding spot in the red tank stage and while there you cannot be hit...I'm not sure if it is indefinite but it lasts for awhile. I believe that after a certain point no more red tank stages come so this trick is only good for the first so many stages in a marathon
    -> "Defender" - pick up a large contingent of humans and there is a method of pulling straight down on a mountain where you can freeze the game action. What I cannot remember is if it is undone merely but hitting a button or touching the joystick, does it last indefinitely if left untouched, or does it "time out" on its own...but while frozen you cannot get hit
    -> "Pacman" has a hiding spot which I am sure has been put onto YouTube by now...can't remember if it is a few inches to the upper right or upper left of the initial starting spot but it exists and the ghosts, while still moving about, ignore you. Can't remember if it lasts indefinitely or not. Also once you reach the machine code screen a spot on the far right exists, possibly more than one spot...I am sure that the pros have a video of this on YouTube by now
    -> "Space Dungeon" - Dwayne Richard told me many years back that in his opinion this was the perfect game to marathon...he said you could destroy all the enemies and then just wait in the final exit room and would not be attacked. I don't know if this would work but if so that would make this the one of the top rest tricks as he said it did not "time out" on you
    -> "Battlezone" - I had a conversation many years back with champion David Palmer. He told us that a way existed for you to park your tank against a barrier when the "missile" came out and that it would effectively circle AROUND you (and the barrier), never hitting you, nor would any other tanks come to hit you, and would keep doing this until destroyed. I have never seen it done before but if the world champion says it was possible then I have to believe it is true

    SEMI-EFFICIENT
    -> "Gauntlet" if I remember correctly has a treasure room scene...I've seen a player park themselves there with high 5-digit health then walk away and come back from dinner and it was still slowly chipping away at the health meter. Not perfect, but good for a decent rest
    -> "Qix" - I am not 100% sure if this trick "times out" or not so I am listing this as only semi-efficient. A way exists to configure your setup so that you effectively capture the sparks in a kind of "loop" so you can focus on trapping the larger enemy objects

    OTHER - includes banned tricks
    -> "Asteroids" - some players opt to blow apart all or most of the larger and mid-size rocks to create a truly cluttered playfield so when they get hit this maximizes the amount of time to "re-appear" at the center of the screen. Not perfect but as good as it gets for this title. Additionally I hear a rumour (unconfirmed) that there was a way to hide your ship inside the upper right score which was good until the remaining rock(s) were destroyed by the command ship...no idea if this is an arcade legend or not
    -> "Bosconian" - this is a rumour, I do not know if it is true or the mechanics of it, but supposedly there is a way to hide between the border of the upper right and bottom right borders. The problem is that you are constantly moving so I think this is an arcade myth
    -> "Q*Bert" - this is a banned tactic that is well known. You can lead "Coily" down the left side of the pyramid starting with (in my experience) stage 5-1 although maybe this is do-able far earlier, and it randomly jumps onto you as you wait at the bottom left then jumps OFF of you into the abyss. What happens next is amusing...first you are suddenly behind the pyramid with NO enemies atop, still able to jump and change cubes although you cannot jump onto discs but you CAN jump off the edge in which case assuming you have at least one more life you re-appear on the top of the front of the pyramid again, still with no enemies. Whenever you clear the pattern you re-appear in the front and can play unobstructed for as long as you wish, but if you by chance or intentionally jump onto a disc a high pitched noise comes, ends then you are frozen on the disc and a good number of minutes later you are dropped back down onto the starting position and the enemies re-appear
    -> "Rip-Off" - a tactic exists in this 1979 vector graphics title which is unique in that you can not only "rest" you can walk away from the game and it plays itself for as long as the game is not turned off or so long as the electricity is not turned off. A cannister can be pushed off-screen yet the enemy destroyed while still on-screen and doing so, OR you can be hit while doing it yourself (it's been quite awhile and I forget which(or if both methods) work). Anyway, the game still thinks that the cannister is not taken off screen so the game plays ad infinitum sending out enemy ships who you can then fire upon without fear as you technically have no "lives" in this game, just cannisters. I've seen this done decades back in both single and doubles mode...totally useless for TG submissions but great for practice at higher levels
    -> "Mega Zone" - a "hiding spot" of a sort exists in the final stage per level whereby you can park yourself in a specific spot and just keep firing. The seemingly random pattern enemies are no so random after all, and while in this spot the eyes keep making the same movements ending in being right over you to shoot for points at point blank range. So this trick is only as good as you keep on pressing fire.
    -> "Krull" - same thing, a "hiding spot" where you can park yourself in the "Beast" stage and just keep firing at glaives. Hardly a trick requiring no action, but as with "MegaZone" only as good as you keep up with the firing
    -> "Spy Hunter" - can't remember this one but Paul Dean told me quite awhile back that a way existed to drive along the side of a road off-screen where you could not be hit nor make points...what I do not know is if this lasted temporarily or not

    I am sure that thee are many others...I'm not an expert on every title so these are the few that I am aware of...as well as those that I can still remember from years/decades back.

    Robert

  7. Snowflake's Avatar

    note on the tron recognizer (red tanks) stage, after level 255 it no longer works, so basically only good for the first few 4 hrs. thats nice of course, but first 4 hours dont really cut it. its my understanding though that cruz understands the AI of the game so damn well, than even for later play, he found a spot, that while not truly safe, its temporarily safe just long enough to sqeeze in a bathroom break

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