Welcome back! It has taken several months to recover from the harrowing adventures Last Boss Gaming undertook to help save the world. Last time I blogged, Crosstix and I were about to embark on a 24-hour video game marathon to raise money for Seattle Children’s Hospital as a part of Extra Life. We hope you had a chance to check in and see the action live on Twitch, but here is my account of our epic tale for those who missed it.
Before the sun rose, Crosstix arrived for the all-important set up. We talked about the plan, checked all the equipment, and then kicked off the event at 6am with a bang. The first game was Toejam and Earl 2: Panic on Funkotron.
It had been decades since either of us had played the Tj&E 2. Most of my memories and critiques as a kid held up over time. The game plays like a clunky knockoff of other platformers of the era. The movement felt sluggish and awkward. Secrets were everywhere and obnoxious to find. Criticisms aside, the game is not all bad. It was fun to mess with the other player. Mocking all the games we play has become an entertaining pasttime. A good warmup to begin with. In total, we finished the complete game right on target, even with the good ending Crosstix had to have. Not too shabby.
Next came a moment I was looking forward to the most. I had created several levels in Mario Maker and Mega Maker. The big one was a Metroidvania style Mega Man level. All went well, and Crosstix was enjoying it (I think!), when he became soft locked from one of my checkpoints. I had tested the level relentlessly, but unfortunately I am good enough to not die so the checkpoints did not apply to me. One of these days I will go back and fix it. Not all was lost though as I downloaded the level and took the guys to the epic last boss. Fitting, I know. Crosstix usually tells me how painful it is to play and experience my levels because of the difficulty or trolls. This time though, as he saw my design for the final boss, he gushed over the unique and clever use of all the powers. Score one for me.
Then came the real torture. I had James and Crosstix play my Mario Maker levels. Crosstix survived my flu shot level. He is now inoculated. Then came the dastardly evil troll level. Both he and James barely made it anywhere in the level before being stuck and agonizing over beginning the level again. Before they both killed me, I showed them how to win. The big reveal brought on groans. I am happy to report that they both are still talking to me, but I am sure they will never play another level made by me in Mario Maker.
Overcooked 2 was next up. I had intentionally planned for this game to be after the “Maker” games so that Crosstix would become happy again. He enjoys the stress of a kitchen for some reason. The storyline was ridiculous. The pun of zombie bread being called the unbread was amazing. Jokes about rising bread were just the dad humor that we all needed. Having played through the first game, we cruised easily through the second. Rarely did a level present any problems for our mad skill.
After Dinner and James’ departure, Crosstix and I transitioned to A Way Out. I have played many games that reviews have described as movies with minor game elements. I enjoyed Final Fantasy X and all the Xenosaga games. None could touch the amount of video in this game. I dreamed of levels that we had to use precision and coordinated actions as we explored the prison, gathering items and working schemes to get out. Instead, the game spends most the time in film, then cuts to quick time events where you hit X when it shows on the screen. This game could be controlled with a joystick and a single button for the majority of the sequences. Crosstix argued that the game needs the multiple buttons because one is for “use” or “attack”. I would argue that each scene only has you push a single button so why not the same one? The gameplay was non-existent to easy. The story felt like copycat of “edgy” TV shows in an pathetic attempt to be cool. The icing on the story’s cake was the ending. I love character driven stories. A Way Out’s characters though make outlandish choices that bounce you right out of the story and shines a spotlight on plot holes. Without spoiling anything, the choices at the end just do not feel connected with the entire story arc. In our loopy state, the edgy mature story became a hilarious comedy.
Hitting the Wall
Crosstix and I finished up the game with over 2 hours left. We looked at eachother and wondered what to do next. Excitedly Crosstix suggested the Duck game. I had no idea what I was in for. The game was hyped as a super easy game that is fast to learn and everyone likes. After choosing my character, I was dumped in a single screen with Crosstix. Before I could blink, I was blasted apart all while being serenaded with giddy laughter and duck taunts. The next arena popped up almost instantly. I tried to figure out how to move, and was slowly and clumsily making my way to a weapon (which I could not figure out how to pick up), only to be blasted again.
At this point of the night, sleep deprivation has begun to hit. I was playing as if I was drunk. Learning a new fast game was awkward and almost impossible. My annoyance surprised Crosstix as “everyone likes the game.” In fairness, I probably would have liked it had I not been tired and given a chance to figure it out. It is like jumping into Smash Brothers with an experienced player and being attacked before you have a chance to test out buttons. Or like playing Halo for the first time with a player who knows all the spawn points of weapons and players. This was a fitting punishment for the troll levels.
The saga does not end there. It was only just beginning. Crosstix packed up and left after we crossed the 24 hour marathon finish line. After all that he had been through this year, it was almost a miracle Crosstix made it home safely after staying up for 24 straight hours. I thought I was in the clear since I only had to walk up a flight of stairs to make it safely to a warm bed.
I envy those who, after a long night, will sleep for 10+ hours and wake up renewed. I on the other hand only got a few hours of sleep. After falling asleep at 6am, I was awake again around 10. I figured I would eat, get a relaxing shower and go back to bed. Little did I know my old man weakness would kick in. Apparently, after staring at a screen for 24 hours straight and getting little to no sleep for two days, puts me in vertigo mode. I almost passed out from the heat from the shower. I laid down thinking I just needed to stop for a second. Nope. Like Neo, I popped when leaving the matrix.
I spent the rest of the day feeling every motion of the Earth as I slipped in and out of naps. Keeping the room dark, with very little stimulus helped. Each nap slowly increased my health bar and decreased the effect the spell had on me. It took me roughly three days to get back to full strength.
The cause was worth it, but I have to face the reality that I am getting old and my body just cannot handle the crazy things I used to throw at it. I will definitely be doing Extra Life again next year, but I will not be doing 24 hours straight myself. I will take breaks and naps so that I can support Children’s Hospital, and not have to call out from work for the next several days. I look forward to that adventure next year. If you have not, and would still like to donate, you can follow the links below to help Children and families at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
Game On and Happy New Year!
Donation/Extra Life Page: https://www.extra-life.org/participant/LastBossGaming