Tired: hiding Loss in everything you make. Wired: hiding Cow Tools in everything you make.

Also discussed: eating cold pizza right out of the freezer, rolling a natural 1 on your Advent Calendar dice and having to throw all your presents in the garbage, and reframing impostor syndrome as being about how incredibly good you must be at fooling people into thinking you have worth.

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I just found out that Super Mario Bros. 3 had budget of $800,000 and a development time of two years. Pshh. Given two years and almost a million dollars, *anyone* could've made the most incredible game of the NES generation.

Just listened to Giant Bomb''s deliberation for the Best Dad award and Hop's Iconic Cap didn't come up even once, and my brain is going off on some Mandela Effect shit. Did I actually ship that game in this timeline? Is this-- is this Frog Fractions 2??

Nine spoons in the dishwasher and zero forks. I can't believe yesterday-Jim would do me like this

Available for patrons, #66: There's No One Way To Suck Glass, ft. Kev and Nelson. We professional wrestling, discuss stealing the Declaration of Independence to save Nicolas Cage's life, that time every American didn't get free Taco Bell, &c.


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Topic Lords #65: Love In The Time Of Beavis And Butthead, ft. April and John. We discuss woodworking, mentors and mentorship, Advent Calendar dice, Rax and Mr. Delicious, and having to poop when entering a bookstore.


Suddenly I remembered scratch-off video games. Little Donkey Kong themed sheets of cardboard where you'd take a coin and rub a silver oval to find out whether Mario got hit by a barrel.

Don't judge us. Entertainment was scarce in the 80s.

Unfortunately, it's hard to find english-language information on Tower of Druaga, but I liked John Harris' Game Design Essentials entry: t.co/nVoZxhcw86

And Jeremy Parish's Game Boy Works video: t.co/Pd6Be15wap

I had to play Tower of Druaga because of its focus on secrets and its historical significance, but you don't have to make the same mistakes I did. Save yourselves!

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I feel the influence of Tower of Druaga on Zelda 1, too. The shield that drops when you use your sword feels like it came from here. Zelda's Wizzrobes, who appear, shoot at you, and vanish, are clearly based on a common Druaga enemy.

The movement locked into rows and columns, where if you try to move one one axis you'll often slide into a lane on the other axis first, made it into Zelda. Though since Druaga is derived from Pac-Man, you always move forward rather than towards the closest lane.

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Namco Museum just tells you the secret thing you have to do on each floor if you hit the hint button, so all that's left is executing it. Even with save states, that's incredibly hard and not particularly fun. I got to floor 20 and it was *exhausting*.

It's interesting to look at Druaga's legacy. Games obsessed with ultra-obscure secrets, like Milon's Secret Castle, Bubble Bobble, and Castlevania 2, can be traced back here. Games with bump combat, like Ys and Hydlide, owe it a debt as well.

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One of the most obscure items has the sole purpose of making the final boss appear. Imagine if Atari 2600 Adventure had dozens of its famous easter egg, all necessary, to a greater or lesser degree, to finish the game.

It's nearly impossible nowadays to have the communal Tower of Druaga experience that players had in 1984. The closest thing in modern times was probably playing Demon's Souls or Dark Souls at launch, and being part of an active forum. Maybe you could do it with a book club.

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A sampling:
- Touch the left and right dungeon walls.
- Don't touch the outside walls for 12 seconds.
- Press 1P start.
- Kill 6 colored slimes in a specific order.
- Step on 3 unmarked tiles in a specific order.

Some items are highly useful -- pickax, speed boots. Others, like the gauntlets, seem like they'd increase your survivability, but you don't have health or armor in this game; everything is an arcade-style one-hit kill. These items are often merely prerequisites for future items.

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Tower of Druaga clearly draws inspiration from Pac-Man (it's a maze chase) and Rogue (the maze isn't randomized, but everything *in it* is, plus you bump into enemies to attack them) and Wizardry/D&D (theming and upgrades).

To pass each floor, you need to find the key and the exit, dodging monsters. You can also find a secret item on each floor. These "optional" items are crucial, some are literally required to proceed, and the processes you need to guess at to unlock them are *ridiculous*.

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Playing a bit of Tower of Druaga, in the Namco Museum collection. Splatterhouse is in there too, and it makes a good comparison, because you know how Splatterhouse's only draw is the hyper-detailed violence? Druaga is like that but the only draw is the hyper-obscure secrets.

But the secrets made it a huge hit in Japan in 1984. This is supposedly the game that created the Japanese arcade culture of players sharing notes, because the only path to success was approaching the game as a community.

Also discussed: sitting two feet away from a 50 inch television and trying to get RetroArch working, an unstoppable liquid metal monster with a jaunty soundtrack, espresso machine eggs, and whether anyone actually knew what Cornholio actually was.

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I'm sure I've heard the last of this square wa-- there it is again!

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If you fill your house with toys that play cheerful electronic jingles in response to any stimulus, some day you and your wife will wake up in the middle of the night to hear one neither of you have heard before.

You'll reassure her that it doesn't sound like it's getting any closer, even though you know full well that it's hard to judge distance with square waves. Then you'll fall asleep and dream that you discovered the origin of the sound (a Doors album) and wake up hearing it again.


Winston (28 months) is currently freaking the fuck out because he wants to clean up his toys but everything is already clean

Available for patrons, #65: Love In The Time Of Beavis And Butthead, ft. April and John. We discuss woodworking, mentors and mentorship, Advent Calendar dice, Rax and Mr. Delicious, and having to poop when entering a bookstore.


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