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MaGL 3 results: moral of the story: laziness always prevails

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Re: MaGL 3 results: daddy issues

Postby raocow » 3 years ago

by the way, does anyone know all the early levels I missed their secret exits? If I'm gonna be doing a cleanup, it'd be useful to know what it is I'm missing, haha.
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Re: MaGL 3 results: daddy issues

Postby Ometeotl » 3 years ago

If you want to do a cleanup, start with your computer desk.

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Re: MaGL 3 results: daddy issues

Postby FrozenQuills » 3 years ago

raocow wrote:by the way, does anyone know all the early levels I missed their secret exits? If I'm gonna be doing a cleanup, it'd be useful to know what it is I'm missing, haha.
IIRC, you missed secret exits in King of GETs' level and MaxMaxMaxVidya's level.
(and you can do Zyglrox Odyssey's legit and all at once if you REALLY want to, hahah)
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Re: MaGL 3 results: daddy issues

Postby Le Neveu de Rameau » 3 years ago

Oh yeah, breaking up complete m/m-style domination of the top three.

This was the first SMW level I made in about three years (basically since I fell off the face of the earth that one time). It turned out better than I had initially expected, but it's still a little rough around the edges at points. Had I had access to other playtesters at the time, I think I could have delivered a tighter final product. Still, I'm glad this one was as well-received as it was--second place among such an excellent collection of levels is a high honor indeed, and certainly far better than I had honestly been expecting to place.

It should be noted that raocow missed a few Easter eggs, including one I'm sure he'd love. I'll upload a video showing them off when I get a moment.

A few notes on the enemies:

- The ghost-looking creatures are not ghosts; they're Bloogs, and the creation of an imagination far more fertile than mine (more on that in a moment). I imagine they're probably leathery in texture, and sort of like windsocks which travel on air currents. Honestly, I cared far less about my actual placement in the contest than I did about whether any of the judges would recognize these things. Alas, 'twas not to be.

- At some point I decided that the bug/crab things are totally officially called "Crustrations". This is, of course, short for "crusty frustrations".

- The child's doodle of an Octorock thing (also not my invention, but from a graphics set on the Central) doesn't have a name, but, uh, I guess it could possibly be called a Duopod or something, if you're into that sort of thing. The shark thing is only indirectly referred to in hushed whispers.


Making "an experience" was pretty much what I set out to do here, and I'm glad it came over that way for raocow and the judges. For me, video games are all about getting lost in new worlds and immersing one's self in fantastic environments. This was the true appeal of games for me as a child, and I think it may have been (err, along with being a culturally confused eternal foreigner person with no roots) one of the things which sparked a lifelong wanderlust in me. So when I make a level, it's all about building a new environment, and creating a unique experience in that environment. Gameplay is still extremely important, course, even central to that very idea of an experience, just like the activities you perform when travelling are ("pretty but boring" is not a particularly compelling advertisement for a place), but there's a reason all games aren't just a bunch of grey rectangles jumping on other grey rectangles. So I'm not really setting out to make an obstacle course per se. An obstacle (in my style of design) should always fit organically in its environment; if it doesn't, maybe it doesn't belong in that particular environment, even if it's good on its own. And I'd rather sacrifice a good obstacle than shove in something that doesn't fit and interupts the natural flow of the level. Again, this is just one approach, but it's the one I prefer. There's nothing wrong with Rube Goldberg machines and wacky obstacle courses, they're just not what I enjoy building.

On Bloogs and origins:

The æsthetic of the first section is actually based on a two-page spread from the Dr. Seuss book Oh, the Thinks You Can Think, with the accompanying text:

Think of black water.
Think up a white sky.
Think up a boat.
Think of BLOOGS blowing by.


This page kicked me in the metaphorical face as a ~ 6-year-old, and the imagery has been burned into the forefront of my brain ever since.

The idea of Mario being symbolically born into a primordial sea between earth and sky and climbing up a rocky coast before having the choice to proceed to either Ouranos or Gaia's realm was actually a concept I had developed for the 2016 Vanilla Contest, but never ended up following through with due to academic obligation. I'm sort of glad I saved it for this contest, though, as it allows for a much fuller realization than I had initially planned.

Originally, the first section was going to have a sort of pale yellow sky and green, primordial-soupy water. On a whim, I tried changing it to black, and liked the effect. And if you have black water, well, why not a white sky? And if you have black water and a white sky, the only other logical thing to have after that is Bloogs blowing by. And a boat. Can't forget the boat.

The larger Bloogs are Gusties, with a modified graphics routine. I am completely incompetent at coding graphics routines, so this was an experience. The graphics are slightly larger than the hitboxes (I wasn't even going to open that can of worms), which I tend to find the lesser of two evils, but I think I screwed up on the flipped (i.e. moving right) versions. In that case, their hitbox actually extends about 8 pixels lower than the graphics, instead of being slightly smaller. Unfortunately, because there are so few (obligatory) left-to-right moving Bloogs in the level (and I as the creator so rarely got hit by them), I didn't notice this goof until it was too late. This is not the only bug in the level (I noticed two more rather embarrassing ones in the days immediately following the deadline), so I'm a bit surprised the judges were so kind to me in terms of functionality. This level puts the FUN in dysfunctional in more ways than one.


Gaia, Ouranos and screen wrap:

The Ouranos section is my favorite, too, and I agree that that Gaia's path is the weakest. There's a few reasons for that, I suspect. Firstly, descending vertical levels are tricky to design well due to both the camera and the way enemies spawn in vertical level; it's hard to make setups that both work and don't ambush the player (and yet it's a format I keep coming back to; either I like the challenge or I'm a masochist). Secondly, horizontal screen wrap is a more common and less "weird" (i.e. non-gravity-defying) gimmick than vertical, so the things you can do with it are a little less kooky. At the same time, the SMW horizontal wrap is also, as Tyty suggests, a little abrupt and jarring (the final two 16x16 tiles don't "count", and you get warped very suddenly), so it seems like a less-smooth implementation of a less interesting concept. Finally, Gaia's section (especially the second half) is probably the section I outright spent the least time working on, as I was also starting to get loopy at the time from overwork/overdancing and lack of sleep, so after I had gotten a rough sketch done, I told myself I'd just leave it at that for now to keep "on schedule" and do an extensive revision once I had everything else up to an acceptable level. Had I spent less time fighting with the ridiculously temperamental Cluster Sprite Tool, I might have actually had time to do this revision, but as things were, I didn't. Also, I completely forgot that reverse Swoopers were a thing while making this. That probably would have been a huge help while designing setups. Actually, just better controlling the heights of their swoops via a disassembly could have made them a lot more interesting in and of itself. I probably could have done more with the Snifits as well.

In very early conceptions of the level, I considered having the way the screen wrap kicks in half way through the stage changes the geography being a more major feature in the level, but I decided I didn't want this to be a backtracking level--things should keep moving forward, as does life. I did pay tribute to this by having a bit in both vertical wrap sections where you could backtrack a few screens to get a bonus, both of which raocow ignored, despite expressing his suspicions about one. Originally the wind was going to kick up (cosmetic wind, not pushy wind) in the Ouranos section when the screenwrap kicks in, making the rain fly by almost horizontally, and while the effect looked sort of neat, I decided keeping the rain as was still looked better. I considered a cluster effect for Gaia's path, too, but nothing I tried really looked right. I thought the door (which raocow also skipped) was enough there, anyway. Now that I think of it, maybe the door should have triggered the screen wrap...


On difficulty:

I honestly had no idea whether difficult or more broadly accessible levels were going to be favored by the judges, so I tried to veer more towards the latter end, when perhaps I should have gone all-out. Earlier versions of this level were a good deal harder, and many of the setups more complicated (if still significantly less so than in the entries surrounding it). Most of my revisions generally involved toning things down, so less hardcore players could enjoy this as well. Seeing how some other otherwise excellent levels were dragged down a bit by going overboard on some of the setups towards the end, I don't necessarily regret doing this, but I wonder if I didn't perhaps move too far in the opposite direction. There's probably too many fire flowers in the level, for one. raocow basically smoked all the Crustrations in the level with them, so we never got to see the interesting way they interact with the vertical wrap, which was always a key part of the level for me; dealing with them mano-a-mano is much more "interesting", to be certain. Still, I've always thought it was exceedingly petty to deny a player a fire flower (or make random enemies fireproof) because, gracious, it makes my precious setups easier!!!!!!, so maybe having the scorched earth option is not a terrible thing from an accessibility point of view. There is probably a good middle ground here, though, which I didn't strike.

I think I also eventually starting telling myself that "Sweet Mother Earth" should be a good bit easier than "Cruel Father Ouranos". "Sweet" and "Cruel" are obviously meant to refer to their attitudes toward their son more so than anything else, but somehow I was sure people would be confused if "sweet" were not easier than "cruel". Again, this was probably a mistake, and another reason that Gaia's area feels a bit less interesting.


Anyway, I'm glad you all thought my level was weird, as that's the most important thing. I'm not sure I entirely deserved to be the sole representative of non-m/m action in the top three with all the other excellent levels we had in the top 10, but I'm honored to hold the position all the same. In any event, congratulations to our winner--he completely deserves it, and was indeed my pick for first place throughout the competition (though I didn't say anything, as any time someone made such a prediction in the thread, the individual in question seemed to be eliminated from the contest the next day). His name, as we will see, is clearly meant to be interpreted ironically, as his is a great work of effort and painstaking care.
Last edited by Le Neveu de Rameau on 11 Dec 2016, 23:13, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: MaGL 3 results: daddy issues

Postby SAJewers » 3 years ago

GlitchMr wrote:So, this entry had an average score of 77.75 (57, 53, 146, 55).

I wonder how good the winner is then.
obviously 100 /s
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Re: MaGL 3 results: daddy issues

Postby Arctangent » 3 years ago

I really don't get the blatantly random Kirby and Daffy. The :P at least is hidden, but those things are just ... there. It kinda detracts from the somber, heavy atmosphere I got from the rest of the level.

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Re: MaGL 3 results: daddy issues

Postby Grounder » 3 years ago

Arctangent wrote:I really don't get the blatantly random Kirby and Daffy. The :P at least is hidden, but those things are just ... there. It kinda detracts from the somber, heavy atmosphere I got from the rest of the level.
Not sure about Kirby, but just before the Daffy Duck sign, there was a sign with Mario ducking on it.
Why don't you eat me?

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Re: MaGL 3 results: daddy issues

Postby Arctangent » 3 years ago

No, yes, I got that.

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Re: MaGL 3 results: daddy issues

Postby nothobz » 3 years ago

its fun. dude's not submitting this to the Louvre it's just for raocow to get a chuckle at. its probably for the best you dont take yourself super seriously when entering contests like this (i've seen what happens when you do, it's cringey as heck and not very fun)

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Re: MaGL 3 results: daddy issues

Postby Ometeotl » 3 years ago

nothobz wrote:it's probably for the best you dont take yourself super seriously when entering contests like this (i've seen what happens when you do, it's cringey as heck and not very fun)
You get the judges' favorite in MaGLx2?

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Re: MaGL 3 results: daddy issues

Postby Arctangent » 3 years ago

nothobz wrote:its fun. dude's not submitting this to the Louvre it's just for raocow to get a chuckle at. its probably for the best you dont take yourself super seriously when entering contests like this (i've seen what happens when you do, it's cringey as heck and not very fun)
I mean that's fair but why then go to all the effort of building your level to be the exact opposite of that?

I wouldn't question it at all if it just presented itself as a pretty but pretty normal level, but with everything else about this one in particular it just feels incredibly out of place.

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Re: MaGL 3 results: daddy issues

Postby 10204307 » 3 years ago

While I do like the music in the sky section on its own, I feel like that song was way too upbeat for the level, which kinda detracted from the atmosphere.

Of the three sections, I liked the first part the best; the combination of the background, the music, and the graphics really set a nice tone for the level.

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Re: MaGL 3 results: daddy issues

Postby Zephyr_DragonLord » 3 years ago

nothobz wrote:its fun. dude's not submitting this to the Louvre it's just for raocow to get a chuckle at. its probably for the best you dont take yourself super seriously when entering contests like this (i've seen what happens when you do, it's cringey as heck and not very fun)
And that's the same attitude that I took going into this. I do think it's more fun this way...

Anyways, this level was fantastic, and clearly inspired, as some of my favorite things are. The sky, the (literal) branching path, and the enemies all were rolled up into one package, and it's glorious. I can't make an essay out of my thoughts like you can, Rameau, so fantastic job with getting the silver here, and my heart, in the process.

The winner's going to be a real treat...
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Re: MaGL 3 results: daddy issues

Postby Tyty » 3 years ago

nothobz wrote:its fun. dude's not submitting this to the Louvre it's just for raocow to get a chuckle at. its probably for the best you dont take yourself super seriously when entering contests like this (i've seen what happens when you do, it's cringey as heck and not very fun)
But meatface luigi and crying mario from that one VLDC had me in tears, it's probably the hardest I've ever laughed at a romhack anything.

I agree though, it's always more fun to just let loose with designing levels. Nintendo figured it out and that's why Mario Maker was such a success.

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Re: MaGL 3 results: daddy issues

Postby nothobz » 3 years ago

Ometeotl wrote:You get the judges' favorite in MaGLx2?
what the hell does that mean
Arctangent wrote:I mean that's fair but why then go to all the effort of building your level to be the exact opposite of that?
juxtaposition is a pretty effective tool. The level establishes the tone it does so those moments of silliness are less expected and thus more effective. I mean, sorry that Rameau('s Nephew) isn't as passionate about delivering a dark, somber tone and opting for something more enjoyable, but I mean, to each their own.
Frankly if it wasn't self-aware and took itself as seriously as it appears to at first it probably would've been way less enjoyable to watch. The level design would've been the same, but the feeling of playing it would be a lot less interesting because it would feel like you're supposed to have some kind of atmospheric experience rather than just having fun on your own.

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Re: MaGL 3 results: daddy issues

Postby Pyro » 3 years ago

nothobz wrote:what the hell does that mean
Ometeotl is referring to the Horikawa and Quill judge favorite from maglx2, which was basically a nothing town-like level with a e s t h e t i c and a bunch of npcs giving D E E P L O R E and P H I L O S O P H Y
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Re: MaGL 3 results: daddy issues

Postby Ometeotl » 3 years ago

Pyro wrote:
nothobz wrote:what the hell does that mean
Ometeotl is referring to the Horikawa and Quill judge favorite from maglx2, which was basically a nothing town-like level with a e s t h e t i c and a bunch of npcs giving D E E P L O R E and P H I L O S O P H Y
*fart noise of approval*

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Re: MaGL 3 results: daddy issues

Postby ano0maly » 3 years ago

Comments for the top five levels. Other stuff in talkhaus kept me from paying attention to the levels in the past few days, so I watched them all today/yesterday, and they all felt similar in that they were centered around on certain gimmicks and were also quite polished and thought-out.

5th (nothobz): I liked the add/subtract coins. It reminded me of that earlier level with the different kinds of moons, but with a difference. You're not just trying to preserve your coins, but rather, you're actively collecting coins to meet the quota. Furthermore, the goal isn't to just reach the end and survive with enough coins, as a linear level would have you do; it's to go around places and gather the coins.

4th (morsel/morceau): The red/blue blocks have good potential to lead to creative design. But I just felt that all the things in the design were working against the player. Maybe that's just morsel's style? The several mushrooms given to the player make up for that, though.

3rd (ft029): Two interesting ideas. The variety of moments with the usage of the key made for some good laughs. However, I was disappointed that the place above the midpoint didn't lead to anything. After all the ways it teased raocow it seemed for sure that it would be where the secret exit is or have something.

2nd (Rameau's Nephew): It's a solid level, but the vertical and horizontal wraparounds didn't excite me as the gimmicks of the above three levels did. The vertical wraparound, in particular, didn't seem to have the level design weaved around it as much as it could have; the lower path from the fork with the horizontal wraparound was better at this. The aesthetics were pretty top-notch.

1st (

Lazy_

): I guess we'll see tomorrow.
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Re: MaGL 3 results: daddy issues

Postby Arctangent » 3 years ago

nothobz wrote:juxtaposition is a pretty effective tool.
And like the best tools, it loses its effectiveness if it isn't used well.
nothobz wrote:I mean, sorry that Rameau('s Nephew) isn't as passionate about delivering a dark, somber tone and opting for something more enjoyable
It did? Where? Because everything else about that level is all about that tone. If you're onto something, then did level completely flubbed what it was going for.
nothobz wrote:but the feeling of playing it would be a lot less interesting because it would feel like you're supposed to have some kind of atmospheric experience rather than just having fun on your own.
So, basically you're saying it could've gotten first if it hadn't done that nonsense?

Because to me, the gameplay wasn't the strength at all. It was definitely the atmosphere that made that level so appealing.

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Re: MaGL 3 results: daddy issues

Postby Koopster » 3 years ago

GlitchMr wrote:So, this entry had an average score of 77.75 (57, 53, 146, 55).
oops

(I don't remember if that was intentional)
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Re: MaGL 3 results: daddy issues

Postby Sebby19 » 3 years ago

Le Neveu de Rameau wrote:Ouranos or Gaia's
I've heard of Gaia (mother earth), but this is the first time I've even seen the name Ouranos. Who dat?
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Re: MaGL 3 results: daddy issues

Postby Tyty » 3 years ago

Sebby19 wrote:I've heard of Gaia (mother earth), but this is the first time I've even seen the name Ouranos. Who dat?
The Greek god of the sky, Husband to Gaia. Also known as Uranus.

He was also her first son or something. Greek mythology is kinda weird. They were parents to the titans. Mario in this plays the role of Oceanus I guess?

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Re: MaGL 3 results: daddy issues

Postby Le Neveu de Rameau » 3 years ago

As promised, here are the main secrets raocow missed. I actually recorded a full playthrough of the level with audio commentary, but I managed to somehow not the record the video on my first attempt (the commentary, yes, but apparently not the audio and visuals from game itself), and then on the second attempt, the video recorded fine, but the commentary for the first section and Gaia path managed to get eaten somehow, leaving me with a corrupted audio file. I don't have the strength to try a third time tonight, and tomorrow is our winner's day, so I'm afraid this is all I can provide you fine folks. I just rattled on about a bunch of nonsense as usual, anyway, just in sounds instead of text.

Concerning the Kirby Kontroversy:

I went into this in the audio commentary that got eaten (actually in the part that didn't get eaten, but it doesn't really stand on its own), but the point of Kirby barreling down from the sky is that I wanted to have another "friendly" character caught up in the screen wrap there. raocow had played Kirby's Adventure recently, and I remembered how pitiful the Kirbster looks when he falls off screen in the "Miss!" sequence, so I thought he was a good choice for the role (then I felt sort of bad for him and let him catch onto a line guide in the end). It doesn't strike me as out of place in the level since, well, I don't regard this level as all too grim and serious to begin with. Because, well, it's a Mario game. It's totally fair to say that it leans more to the sombre side, but in the way that the last world of a normal Mario game tends to do so--it takes on a darker tone, to be certain but there's still a lot of goofy enemies and the occasional comedic moment and the like. And that's essentially what I was going for here. Even if the mood and æsthetic themselves are quite different from what you would find in the normal Mario games, a certain Mario-ish sentiment remains at its core. Which seems appropriate enough.

And it's not just the two elements mentioned about. Honestly, this level is filled with jokes, as my levels tend to be. Admittedly, they're Rameau jokes, which are as likely to get a sideways glance as they are a laugh, but still. Let's take a look at the major non-saw enemies in the stage. We have:

- Several variants of an obscure Dr. Seuss creature
- This weird, Jack-o'-lantern-like bug/crab thing with chattering teeth
- My avatar
- The world's doofiest-looking Octorock

Honestly, that's a pretty silly rogue's gallery. Oh, they fit naturally in their environment, because their environment is so unnatural that they feel like logical inhabitants of the place, but that doesn't make them any less goofy in design. And being a bit goofy in design doesn't necessarily prevent them from filling other roles at the same time. Clowns did not become popular villains because they look suave and debonair.

In addition to the enemies, Kirby, Daffy and the :P :

- The mushrooming falling into the water then raining down from the sky again to introduce the screen wrap is meant to be funny.
- The hidden cave raocow missed is meant to be...well, more cute than funny, but hardly grim and serious.
- The hidden peek-a-boo Bloog in the Gaia path is meant to be funny.
- The fake door (again ignored by raocow; see the video) is meant to be funny.
- The shark things falling down slowly in the gravity-defying pool when you bop them (again, raocow didn't bop them, but trust me, it happens) then falling off screen very quickly once they emerge from the water on the other side is meant to be funny.
- The larger Bloogs hyperaccelerating due to the screen wrap is meant to be at least mildly amusing.
- The platform fakeout with the switch in Gaia's section is meant to be funny.
- The lamp turning out to be a sprite which falls forever (while the fire, being red like the blocks, turns to an "off" state) is meant to be funny
- Ouranos contradicting himself by unintentionally making a dad joke while disowning his son in overly-dramatic language is meant to be funny (if sort of sad at the same time).
- Mario being sent to the flippin' moon at the end is meant to be funny.

If I were to describe the mood I was going for here, I'd say it's meant to be sort of like a dream, or maybe a nightmare when you look back on it the next day, when the inexplicable fear has evaporated, leaving you with a series of bizarre, sometimes funny, sometimes compelling images, now that you can view them on their own. The reaction I was going for was more along the lines of "Ha-ha, man this is weird, but neat!" rather than trying to wow the viewer with my astounding depth and profundity.

That said, plenty of serious and sombre works of actual art (as opposed to strange Mario levels about Dr. Seuss meets Greek mythology) have humorous moments as well, often in intentional opposition to darker elements. Should Beckett have cut all the jokes out of the unremittingly bleak (yet also hilarious) Endgame? Would Werner Herzog's Stroszek be a better film had the relentless and haunting ending not so prominently featured the Dancing Chicken? I'd say no. Humor is a major part of humanity's dealing with darker emotions, and life in general. Denying that gets us no further

But again, we're not talking about enduring works of art, we're talking about some excessively wordy hobo's entry for a Super Mario World level contest. While my personal atmospheric preferences do tend to trend towards the sombre, bizarre and uncanny, there's pretty much always a certain undertone of silliness there to balance this out. Because life itself, even in its darkest moments, can be a very silly thing, if looked at from a certain angle. And looking at things from that sort of angle is my way of dealing with things, I guess you could say. We all have our own peculiar gait when walking down this road.

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Re: MaGL 3 results: daddy issues

Postby xfix » 3 years ago

Well then, congratulations on getting first place, Lazy.

Oh wait, it's one minute before the winner reveal. Sorry for the leaks...

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Re: MaGL 3 results: daddy issues

Postby Mata Hari » 3 years ago

What I don't get is, why would m/m's level based on Nairobi in the first place


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