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What you (and we) should know about the Zelda marathon

August 11, 2010

Q: What is this?
A: This is a marathon competition featuring the Legend of Zelda series! Each team will be streaming their progress throughout the entire series for at least 60 hours. While that’s going on, they’ll be interacting with anyone interested in watching and collecting charitable donations from anyone entertained by the event. In terms of the competition, we have previously written an achievement list for every game in the series – whoever has the most points after time is up is the winner!

Q: When does this take place?
A: The event will start on Friday, September 10 at 5PM US Eastern time. The default end time is 60 hours later, but given enough donations we will extend the event up to an additional 36 hours – read on to see how that works.

Q: Who will be participating in this event?
A: Two different teams have signed on: Ocean City Trinity and Triple Speed Runners.

Q: Which games will be included in this?
A: You can expect 14 out of the 15 official Legend of Zelda games to be played, and here they are:
Legend of Zelda (NES)
Zelda 2: Adventure of Link (NES)
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)
Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (GB)
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64)
Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (N64)
Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages (GBC)
Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (GBC)
Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker (GC)
Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures (GC)
Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap (GBA)
Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (WII)
Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (DS)
Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (DS)
Full disclosure: Because of the open ended structure of this event, it’s likely these games may be played out of order, and due to time constraints some might get skipped entirely. On the other hand, there is a clause that allows for some other Zelda games to be played and still partially scored, so there may be some extra games on top of this list too. Check with each individual team to see what their plans are for that.

Q: Why isn’t (insert other Legend of Zelda game here) on your list?
A: Four Swords on the GBA isn’t included because we thought it would be difficult to get a good stream of it, considering each player has a separate screen that would need to be captured separately. Other games simply aren’t part of the main series or aren’t well known enough. Beyond that, the game list is long enough as it is. But, as stated before, some other games could sneak onto this list.

Q: Will you be doing the second quest of the original Legend of Zelda?
A: Most likely not – it falls into the same category as “any game not on the list” for the purposes of this marathon. This is an extra version of the same game that essentially changes many of the dungeons to make them harder. Ocarina of Time: Master Quest is essentially the same idea.

Q: Will you be doing the two Oracle games linked together?
A: Most likely. After completing either game, you’ll get a password you can use for the other to make it into a sequel to the first game.

Q: Will you be playing Four Swords Adventure multiplayer?
A: Assuming we have the equipment for it (which involves a Game Boy Advance for all players), yes.

Q: Do you actually expect to finish the whole series in the time given?
A: If by “time given” you mean the 60 hours we start with, not likely. But if the event gets popular enough to warrant lots of donations, we’ll extend time further in order to finish them all!

Q: What about staying up for 60+ hours? You plan to do that too?
A: Not quite what we said. What we’re saying is that during all 60+ hours of the event, someone from each team will be awake playing the games. The actual people around will be rotating every so often.

Q: Are you really good at these games?
A: Depends who you ask. Some of the players have played these games over and over again and can probably put together a solid speed run or know where everything is from memory. Others…well, can’t, and may be playing (or at least watching) these for the first time during the marathon. So a decent answer to your question is “Sorta, but not really.”

Q: So if I think I know something you don’t, am I allowed to say it?
A: Sure! Audience participation like that is welcome.

Q: So what exactly will I see from you?
A: Each team will be streaming separately, and you should expect to see live footage of the game they’re playing and live footage of the players playing them. They also have chat rooms set up (which they do watch), so you’re encouraged to talk with them and the other people watching.

Q: What’s an achievement?
A: It’s an accomplishment you get in the game that awards a point value. Xbox 360 games have several of these by default.

Q: Where did these achievements come from?
A: The short answer is “our imagination”. A better answer is that we agreed beforehand on things we think a good player should be able to do in these games.

Q: How are you keeping track of these achievements?
A: It’s up to each team to notice that an achievement was actually scored. Whenever point values change, we’ll inform our chat and the other teams and keep a running total of everyone’s scores available.

Q: What does the winner get? Besides bragging rights?
A: The right to nominate the games to be played at the next versus marathon! Specifically, they’ll come up with a short list of ideas and all teams interested will vote on those.

Q: What happens to the loser, then?
A: They have to confess their love for Tingle. You know, the character everyone hates.

Q: Who’s receiving these charitable donations?
A: Child’s Play. Their primary mission is to give toys and games to children in hospitals. They’re fairly well known in the gaming community because a lot of other game marathons also donate to them and they’re founded by Gabe and Tycho from Penny Arcade.

Q: What’s this Chipin thing handling the donations?
A: It’s a widget that processes a Paypal-based transaction directly to someone (in this case, Child’s Play), given the amount and account info (from you). That said, you don’t need a Paypal account to donate, just a valid credit card. If you want to donate, just click on it, or go here!

Q: So my money is going directly to them?
A: Yes.

Q: Is this donation tax deductible?
A: Yes.

Q: Why should I donate?
A: Essentially, you’re donating to buy extra hours. The first additional hour costs $5 (in US dollars), the second costs $10, the third $15, the fourth $20, and so on in $5 increments. So the more people donate and contribute, the longer we’ll play for everyone, and the more likely it is you’ll get to see the whole series!

For the not-so-mathematically-inclined, here’s a table that breaks that down further.

Hour Cost Cumulative cost Hour Cost Cumulative cost
1 $5 $5 19 $95 $950
2 $10 $15 20 $100 $1,050
3 $15 $30 21 $105 $1,155
4 $20 $50 22 $110 $1,265
5 $25 $75 23 $115 $1,380
6 $30 $105 24 $120 $1,500
7 $35 $140 25 $125 $1,625
8 $40 $180 26 $130 $1,755
9 $45 $225 27 $135 $1,890
10 $50 $275 28 $140 $2,030
11 $55 $340 29 $145 $2,175
12 $60 $390 30 $150 $2,325
13 $65 $455 31 $155 $2,480
14 $70 $525 32 $160 $2,640
15 $75 $600 33 $165 $2,805
16 $80 $680 34 $170 $2,975
17 $85 $765 35 $175 $3,150
18 $90 $855 36 $180 $3,330

That said, some of the teams might make their incentives to increase donations. Maybe with the right negotiation skills, you can ask them to do something unusual for your money (though don’t expect it to work if it’s dangerous, expensive, illegal, or otherwise in bad taste, and I know you already assumed that but someone will try and suggest something like that if I don’t say this).

Q: Which members of Ocean City Trinity will we see?
A: The expected roster right now consists of old favorites Tom C, Sarah L, Shawn M, Dan L, and Kyle C, along with some new faces Bern L and John. This time around, they’ve also enlisted some help from a couple other marathon teams as well.

Q: Where are you based out of?
A: Ocean City Trinity claims to be based out of Ocean City, NJ, though the team is scattered across the entire state. The broadcast itself is out of Tom and Sarah’s apartment near Cherry Hill, NJ. (Incidentally, this will be the first marathon at this new location.)

Q: Which versions of these games are you planning on playing?
A: Ocean City Trinity is playing both NES and N64 games off a limited collector’s edition released on the Gamecube. A Link to the Past is using the Virtual Console port. Everything else is the original version.

Q: What other marathons have you been in?
A: This is our eighth marathon. Of the previous seven, four others were more traditional (Sonic, Mario, Devil May Cry, and Mega Man), one was in a segmented format (Suikoden), and the other two
were versus marathons like this one (Star Fox and Banjo-Kazooie). Check their archives section for some quick facts on those.

Q: Will we see further marathons from you guys?
A: That remains yet to be seen, but we do have something we might be able to announce by the end of the event.

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