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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 gamemarathons.com! 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 http://architectureforhumanity.org/about.

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.

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The Metroid Versus Marathon Rulebook

April 28, 2011

Yes, we actually put one together…not because we want this to be a rules-heavy event, but because we don’t want there to be disputes like last time.  So with that said, here’s the rules.

SUMMARY. This competition lasts 48 hours.  All teams will play through all nine Metroid games, in storyline order. After each game has been completed, teams may play through any game over to improve. For each game, teams score 25 points just for finishing the game, 25 points if their time is fastest out of all other teams or 10 points if their time is second fastest, and 1 point for every percent of items found. The team with the highest score after time is up wins!

GAMES. The following games are played, in this order.

  • Metroid
  • Metroid: Zero Mission
  • Metroid Prime
  • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
  • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
  • Metroid II: Return of Samus
  • Super Metroid
  • Metroid: Other M
  • Metroid Fusion

Once you’ve finished a game, you can go straight to the next one – no need to wait for other teams.

SCORING. After finishing a game, teams score points as follows:

  • 25 points just for finishing the game
  • 25 points if your time through the game is fastest out of all teams – if there’s a tie, all tied teams score this bonus
  • 10 points if your time is second-fastest
  • 1 point for each percent of items found throughout the game (for example, if you found 72% of the game’s items, you score 72 points, if you found everything you get 100 points, and if you only found 10% you get 10 points)
  • 50 points for having finished every game in the series at least once

The time and percentage given during the game’s ending sequence will be used for this calculation. If a time or percentage isn’t displayed, it will be manually timed or calculated. If you didn’t finish the game, you don’t score any points for it.

GAME CONDITIONS. All games must be played from a new save file, on the default normal difficulty level. Additionally, cutscenes and storyline sequences, including the ending credits, may not be skipped unless your team has already seen it previously in the marathon. And – yes, I know this should be obvious – only one game can be played at a time, and that game must be streamed to your audience and played by someone physically at the broadcast site (i.e. no outsourcing).

These games have additional notes specific to them:

  • Metroid: Game can be played on any version whatsoever (NES, GBA, Virtual Console, or as an unlockable through Prime 1 or Zero Mission). This game does not display a time or percentage on finishing and must be determined manually. Our formula is that all items count for 3 points except the Morph Ball, which counts for 1, and the Wave Beam and all energy tanks past the sixth, which do not count at all.
  • Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Game must be played on the original Gamecube version, since Metroid Prime Trilogy makes significant changes.
  • Metroid 2: This game does not display a final percentage on finishing and must be determined manually.  Our formula is that all items count for 3 points except the Spider Ball, which counts for 2 points; Bombs and Ice Beam, which count for 1 point; and all other beams and energy tanks past the fifth, which do not count at all.
  • Super Metroid: This game can be played on either its original or Virtual Console version. There is a trick that allows you to reset the world state, in turn allowing a collection percentage higher than 100%; this trick is banned.
  • Other M: The post-credits mission is considered part of the run and must be finished to have considered the game complete.

Beyond all this, anything goes, play however you see fit!

REPLAYING GAMES. After a team has completed all nine games once, they may go back and revisit a game to get a better time or percentage. (There is one exception to this rule – a team can go back to a game before finishing the others if they are going back to a game they just finished before starting the next one, and are playing from the same save file.) In this case, teams may choose to resume from the same save file used earlier or start from scratch. As before, the game must be finished for scores to be changed or updated. Teams can mix and match times and percentages from different runs of the game. (Example: if one game has the fastest time and scores 50% of all items, then completes it again with a slower time but 80% of the items, that team scores 130 points – 25 for finishing, 25 for the fastest time, and 80 for their percentage.)

COMPETITION LENGTH. This marathon will last 48 hours.  (Teams are free to continue broadcasting afterwards, even if it doesn’t count towards this competition.)

COMMUNICATION. All teams should keep an open line of communication during the event. You should let other teams know of any updates in score. We also encourage communication just for entertainment purposes, since this is a friendly competition.

EQUIPMENT MALFUNCTION. If, due to a system crash, power outage, or something else that causes the game to stop playing or makes streaming impossible and clearly isn’t the fault of the team, that team should inform all other teams immediately. That team will be compensated for all time lost, or up until they have reached the point in the game they were at when the game stopped, or their progress begins to deviate from the last time they played (for example, taking a different path or finding an item missed previously), whichever comes first. Note that this doesn’t cover intentionally stopping a game to reload a previous save or something similar.

TIMING. Onlineclock.net will be used as our official clock to determine when the marathon begins or ends, and can also be used to manually time a game if needed.

EXCEPTION CLAUSE. For every rule, there’s an exception to this rule. (Possibly to this rule too!) If something happens that you think wasn’t considered when these rules were drafted and deserves exception, or you come across a scenario that’s not mentioned at all, talk to the other teams to get a consensus on how it should be handled.

WINNING. The team with the highest score after time is up is the winner. The winners may nominate game series or themes to play for the next versus marathon, which will be voted on by all other participants.

More news! Metroid-related news!

April 18, 2011

Surprisingly, a lot of the stuff regarding our next marathon has been settled on.  I say surprisingly because things don’t usually get figured out in this much detail this far in advance.  So expect some detailed news once I get around to writing it up.  For now, though, here’s some tidbits to keep you anticipating things:

* The next marathon will feature Metroid and take place in early July, lasting for a minimum of 48 hours.
* 9 games in the series will be featured — the only ones that aren’t are the ones on the DS.
* In addition to our usual friends at Triple Speed Runners, we’ll have a third team in the form of Team Mountain Gaming.  (For those readers who happen to be from another marathon team, we think a fourth team would be pretty cool too, so if what you read here interests you, email us!)
* We’re using a different format this time, one that we think will be easy to follow yet allow for multiple playstyles.  The extremely simplified version: 25 points for finishing the game, another 25 for doing it faster than the other teams, and another point bonus equal to your percentage of items found.
*  While we haven’t made arrangements for the charity at this moment, we’re looking at one to help with the natural disasters in Japan.

More updates soon-ish!

Finally, some news

March 10, 2011

Yes, I know it looks like I’m dead or at least took a break.  But I also wanted to stick to this “every four months or so” schedule that we’ve had more recently with the versus marathons, which of course means I should be planning the next one fairly soon.

We moved a little slower figuring this one out, but right now I think we decided on exactly two important details:
* Our next marathon will be sometime in June
* We nominated Metroid, Kirby, a selection of zombie games, and ditching the competitive side entirely to make it a co-op marathon to the other teams.  Right now it looks like Metroid’s going to be the big winner.

So yeah, nothing too big yet, just enough to get excited about.  I’ll try and post back when I have something more concrete.

The full recap

January 29, 2011

Well, totally forgot that I didn’t write this up, but here it is!  This is pretty much a direct copy from my personal Facebook page (neat reminder — we have a group Facebook page you should totally subscribe to!) about the event.

Read more…

Win get!

January 19, 2011

So I plan on writing up a more detailed report on this later, but for now…

* Final score was 53-52 in our team’s favor.  That’s good enough for a win!  I was not expecting at all for it to come down to a single point.
* The donation side of things was also a huge success, raking in more than $1300!  Definitely our best showing yet, and by a wide margin.
* Not sure what’s going on for us next.  We talked about a few ideas during the marathon, but right now they’re just that — ideas.

Stay tuned for the full report!

Donate to DC Outreach here!

January 13, 2011

Due to WordPress limitations, we can’t host the Chipin to donate directly here, so here’s a link that’ll get you there instead.

http://gamemarathons.com/marathons/versus/donate/

Remember, your donation could affect the show or win you a prize!  Here’s the skinny on that:
* Certain incremental donations will increase the overall length of the marathon, allowing us to continue the insanity a bit longer.  Once we’ve reached $780 in donations, the marathon will have reached its longest point and last for 72 hours.  See the FAQ for more details on how this works.
* Anyone who donates $30 or more has the option to override the order in which we play the game and select the next game we race each other on (provided it hasn’t already been played).
* Triple Speed Runners will be raffling off a Wii bundle at the end of the marathon.  Every $10 you donate will give you one ticket towards this raffle.
* Ocean City Trinity will be giving away smaller prizes to be announced periodically during the show.  They’ll come up with a random dollar amount, tell you a range it’s between, and whoever’s donation increments the total above this amount wins the prize.