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Happy -2020 and +2021! (31 Dec 2020 at 23:07)
It's NYE and I'm supposed to be partying it up (from the comfort of my home of course) so let's not dilly-dally too much. Accomplishments in December:

I 100%ed Spelunky 2 (all achievements)! I loved this game. It's really a masterpiece from a design point of view, and even as a Spelunky 1 veteran I found it really fun to work through all the challenges. When I started I didn't think I'd ever do the most difficult ones, but one great thing about its design is the way it teaches you how. (Like I said it was reminiscent of Celeste in this way, although as a randomly-generated game the particular contours are pretty different.. a lot more starting over!) The last thing I got was one of the character unlocks, which happens only in the last level, and is annoyingly just a random drop that you could do everything right and still not get (this is one of only a handeful of gripes I have with the game... I don't think an unlock should work that way!). The no-money run is harder than it was in Spelunky 1, but I think still my favorite. I have a particular fetish for gameplay like "visit familiar ground but everything has a different meaning now" (Other favorites in this genre: Monkey Island's second sword fight; Castlevania: Symphony of the Night; Cave Story second playthrough) and the various ways that the normally-helpful $$$ immediately ends your run is very cool in Spelunky. Anyway, I heartily recommend this game if you like hard platformers, especially if you consider "roguelikes" to be lazy from a design perspective—this was the series that changed my mind.

After finishing that I beat Disc Room and Superliminal in about a day each. Disc Room was a nice small bullet-hell dodger with great artwork and some good "how is this even possible?" puzzling. I thought it was a little grindy and would have probably been more fun if the levels were deterministic so that you could practice a route. (As it is, you need to be both good *and* lucky for some of the harder things.) Superliminal has some good ideas, but has a bunch of Portal cliches that rub me the wrong way (like somehow it's fine with me if I need to collect the 7 Star Spirits, but the glitchy AI voiceover in the broken-test-facility trope is hard for me to enjoy any more). But I think it has just enough ideas to make it worthwhile, most of which come towards the end.

In Running, I met my goal of 2020 miles running in the calendar year; the vast majority happened after the shelter-in-place order started in April (the treadmill runnning before that doesn't count!). Actual total was 2175 miles. In Pac Tom I am truly almost done now: There are just two short street segments left (probably ~200 feet) that I deliberately left scouted but unfinished so that I could make sure my last run is really my last, and prep for some kind of commemorative video. So, presuming I can get out of the 2020 not-finishing-video-projects funk, expect some closure on that one soon! On this penultimate run, I slipped on some gravelly mud and faceplanted, which was my worst ever fall in the thousands of miles that I've run, which is a strange thing to happen so close to the end. (Also kind of surprising that it was on a warm day, given how much ice running there has been recently!) Fortunately I didn't break my teeth or phone or need to go to the hospital, and the face scrapes/cuts seem to be healing ok! As I've mentioned, I've already gotten myself into the probably-hopeless Pac Tom Level III challenge of running the entire county, and so I made a few trips out for that kinda thing too. My knee has been acting up, so I may tone it down now that 2020 is on the books, and perhaps complement the running with some other athletic project?

The other main thing I've been working on is a new Secret Project that seemed like it would be a small thing I could turn into a quick SIGBOVIK paper or video, but of course is getting out of hand (in a good way?). Not much to say about secret projects, but they do fill up the days.

All right, I am going back to the party. Happy New Year!
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jonas (catv-176-63-11-225.catv.broadband.hu) – 01.01.21 14:54:55
I'm glad you enjoy Spelunky 2. It's indeed a well-designed and enjoyable game.

Falling on gravel is something of a personal nemesis to me, ever since around eight years old. Admittedly I fell from a bicycle, and not on my face. I got a big wound and permanently clearly visible scar on my left knee from it.
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Anonymous (ip72-208-80-94.ph.ph.cox.net) – 01.03.21 14:10:59
Happy new year buddy!
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andrea (host-79-13-215-211.retail.telecomitalia.it) – 01.27.21 17:28:30
Hi!


Bye
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Tom 7 (pool-74-109-237-238.pitbpa.fios.verizon.net) – 01.31.21 23:07:32
jonas: I'm sympathetic about the gravel, but I'm sure glad the scar is on the knee (basically cool) and not somewhere prominent. When I wrote this post I was worried about this cut on my face, although by now even if doesn't get any better than it is, it's fortunately not that bad.

Anonymous: And to you!

andrea: hi
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A. A. (70.95.60.201) – 10.12.21 11:29:15
I too have fond memories of monkey island sword fighting (I assume you are talking about the final boss fight where all the comebacks are different).

How is the 2nd playthru of sotn different? You don't mean the upside down part do you? It just feels like more of the same to me....
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Tom 7 (74.98.220.200) – 10.31.21 22:19:23
Yes that's what I meant about Monkey Island!
"2nd playthrough" was about Cave Story, but I was referring to the upside-down part of SOTN. If there's a NG+ or something I never tried it :)
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