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Everything else about the Metroid Versus Marathon

May 1, 2011

Q: What is this?
A: This is the Metroid Versus Marathon, the fifth versus marathon from! It’s a competition to see who can score the most points between the games involved. Teams score points just for finishing, with extra bonuses based on their completion time and percentage, and whoever amasses the most points when time’s up wins. It’s also an entertainment event – we’ll be interacting live with anyone interested enough to watch, and doing whatever it takes to keep you entertained. And finally, it’s a fundraiser – if you like what you see, consider making a donation to Architecture for Humanity, a charity looking to help rebuild Japan or anywhere else that needs rebuilding. If you donate, you have a chance to win stuff too!

Q: When does this take place?
A: It all goes down on July 8, and will last for at least 48 hours – yes, if you have an insomnia attack, we’ll be here for your late night entertainment.

Q: Who is participating?
A: There are three teams involved. Two of them are the mainstays of the versus marathons, Ocean City Trinity and Triple Speed Runners (a.k.a. The “casual gamers trying to be hardcore” and the “hardcore gamers who know when to step back and be casual”. We never did figure out which was which.) The third team is a relative newbie to the marathon world, Team Mountain Gaming – they’re more just here to chill out and have fun. (As a note to any other marathoners, we are willing to add a fourth team – send us an email if you’d like to play too!)

Q: What games are you playing?
A: Expect to see the following games:

* Metroid (NES)
* Metroid: Zero Mission (GBA)
* Metroid Prime (GC)
* Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (GC)
* Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (WII)
* Metroid II: Return of Samus (GB)
* Super Metroid (SNES)
* Metroid: Other M (WII)
* Metroid Fusion (GBA)
Incidentally, that’s the order you’ll see the games played in the marathon, at least for each team’s first run of the game. It’s also the order which the games actually take place. It’s not the order they were released, which actually goes all over the place (as the systems listed show).

Q: Why isn’t Metroid Prime Hunters or Metroid Prime Pinball on the list?
A: Getting a decent looking stream from a DS proved to be difficult last time. That, and the people in charge that have played these games already don’t like them much. But hey, we got literally the rest of the series included, so there’s not that much room to complain, right?

Q: Are these going to be speed runs? 100% runs? Casual runs?
A: The technical (and short) answer to that is “Yes!” But that doesn’t really answer your question much. So a more detailed answer is that teams are free to run the games however they’d like. Considering the scoring is based on speed and item collection, quick, efficient runs will probably be the norm.

Q: Can I still enjoy watching if I don’t know anything about Metroid?
A: Of course! We’ll aim to make it as accessible as possible.

Q: What should I know about Metroid, anyway?
A: Mostly that you’re missing out on a fantastic series. It’s one of Nintendo’s longest running series, and essentially started as a combination of Super Mario Bros.’ platforming with Legend of Zelda’s nonlinearity with a sci-fi, Alien-inspired setting. Later games switched the format to a first person shooter but kept the concept of nonlinearity intact. The series is also notable for having one of the first lead female characters in gaming history.

Q: Are there going to be spoilers?
A: Since each game will get played to the end and a few games reference previous events, it’s inevitable. We’ll do our best not to spoil them before they happen, though.

Q: Are you guys really good at these games?
A: Depends who you ask. We have players that know these games inside and out, and we have players that just picked these games up recently. Separately, we have players that swear by strategy guides, and we have players who refuse to read them at all. Separately still, we have players with catlike reflexes, and others with slothlike reflexes. That all said, expect to see players that know what they’re doing and can play solidly, though certainly not up to world record standards.

Q: How does the competition side of this work?
A: See the rules page for complete details. For those of you who don’t want complicated answers: for each game, 25 points for finishing, 25 for having the fastest time (or 10 for second fastest), and 1 point per percent of items found, plus a 50 point bonus for finishing every game. Highest score after time’s up wins.

Q: What if you finish the games before time’s up?
A: Then we go back and do better! Or at least try to finish with a faster time or collect items we missed the first time around.

Q: Are we allowed to give hints to the teams?
A: Of course! Audience participation is welcome and encouraged.

Q: What happened to the achievements/speed run format from last time?
A: This format was essentially an attempt to combine a few different ideas, including those two. Achievements weren’t liked by the teams because of how much extra preparation it caused and that it rewarded doing extra stuff unrelated to actually finishing the game or getting a concrete reward, and a straight speed run wasn’t liked because it dictated exactly how to play the game and caused games to be cut short. (Your mileage may vary on whether or not these were valid opinions, but they were certainly prevalent.)

Q: What does the winner get?
A: The right to nominate the series/themes for the next versus marathon. They’ll pick a few choices, and everyone involved will figure out a favorite from that.

Q: What about the loser?
A: Normally I make some joke reference or meme about the series here that they have to do, but in a series with so little dialogue, I don’t have much to go on, do I?

Q: You said this was for charity.  Who are we donating to?
A: Architecture for Humanity.  They’re a wonderful organization that provides design, construction, and development services where they are most critically needed.  Some of their more recent projects include helping to rebuild Japan and Haiti after the natural disasters that happened this year and last.  Visit them and learn more at

Q: Are you associated with Architecture for Humanity at all?
A: No, we’re just a group of gamers that don’t think you need a reason to help people.  (For that matter, we’re also not associated with Nintendo, we just like their games.  And they hopefully like the free advertising they’re getting from this.)

Q: How do donations work?
A: Click on the Donate link on our main page, and this will take you to the Chipin widget.  Click on that, and you’ll be able to make a donation to them via Paypal (or, if you don’t already have a Paypal account, directly by credit card).  You can also donate via Chipin using this link.

Q: How much of our donations actually go to the charity?
A: All of it. We don’t touch any part of the money.

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

Q: What happened to that part about donating to extend play?
A: The short explanation is that one of the teams isn’t able to take enough time away from “real life” to keep this going.  That said, the other two teams are able to, and may continue past 48 hours if there’s enough demand to, even if the actual competition side of things will have wrapped up by then.

Q: Are there any other incentives to donate?
A: There are, but we haven’t finalized what they’ll actually be.  Each team will have something separate for this.

Q: You said this was the fifth versus marathon. What were the other four?
A: In order: Star Fox, Banjo-Kazooie, Legend of Zelda, and Mario. The first three used an achievement-based scoring system, while Mario was more of a speed running competition.

Q: Is there going to be another event like this?
A: Probably, as long as there’s interest.

Q: Where are the teams based out of?
A: Ocean City Trinity is throughout southern New Jersey, but broadcasts out of Cherry Hill, NJ. Triple Speed Runners consists mostly of Ohio State University students, and broadcasts out of Mansfeld, OH. Team Mountain Gaming is all from and broadcasts out of the Philadelphia, PA area.

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 5, 2011 1:18 am

    Obviously the losers have to wear metroid hats for a week.
    Or however long they last. Whichever comes first.

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