Watch me on SpeedRunsLive!

I'm aware that this is a bit off-topic from this blog's usual topic, but since this blog's usual topic (logic puzzles) has been deferred to Grandmaster Puzzles, I figured I need to post something here.

SpeedRunsLive is a place where video games get raced. Why should my blog's audience care? Well, as the title of this post suggests, I race there. Some of you may remember ChipIn for Children's Charities, wherein I raced Super Mario World as part of a deal with one of my donors. My performance was terrible, but what few viewers I had were entertained enough that they donated more money than they pledged they would, which probably constitutes my favorite memory of the fund-raiser. However, I feel most in my element when I am racing puzzle games! People in the puzzle community like puzzle games, I trust? :)

If you'd like to watch me succeed and fail at puzzle games, please follow me on Twitch, where I stream my footage. You'll get an e-mail every time I start a stream; hopefully the quality of the gameplay will make up for the lack of quality of my footage. (Maybe I'll be able to start investing in better equipment thanks to my Grandmaster Puzzles work, though. . . .) If I perform particularly well or something interesting happens, I might even make a highlight of it so you can watch it forever; for instance, here's my personal best time for rounds 1 through 20 of the highly underrated Tetris 2 (15 minutes 42 seconds).

Don't just watch me, though. I would also like to invite the smart minds of the logic puzzle community to race against me! Here is a great video tutorial on how to use SpeedRunsLive; it's as easy as using an IRC channel and streaming yourself. No matter how well or how poorly you perform, I promise that you will have fun pushing yourself to achieve new personal bests. Below is a list of all of the puzzle games I have raced so far. If you spot me in the IRC channel, you can challenge me to one!
  • Dr. Mario (SNES and Wii)
    • For a short race, it's common to race levels 0-10 or levels 16-20; a long race will entail levels 0 through 20. If you get a game over, continue from the level you lost on. Unless the goal specifies a speed (like Hi), you are allowed to switch to a different speed if you get a game over.
  • Tetris (SNES)
    • A race will often entail clearing a specific number of lines (100 is common, but I've also raced 200). Be careful! If you get a game over, you start over from 0 lines! Another idea I've entertained is to race B-type (clear 25 lines) a specific number of times; this creates checkpoints where getting a game over doesn't erase your entire progress.
  • Tetris 2 (SNES)
    • A severely underrated "match three" color-based puzzler using tetrominoes, released on NES, SNES, and GB. Clear the flashing blocks at the bottom of the well to beat the level. Some of the tetrominoes have detachable pieces, adding to the possibilities for skillful play; when one piece locks into place, the others can still be moved separately. I've raced rounds 1-20 and rounds 1-30; a masochist with a lot of time available might be able to race to round 80. Be careful! After 30, only every fifth round is a checkpoint (so if you game over on round 45, you start over from round 41). You cannot change your speed after round 30 without starting over from 30, so if you get the opportunity to race beyond 30, make sure you're very, very comfortable with your starting speed!
  • Tetris Attack (SNES)
    • One of my favorite puzzlers of all time; I own Pok√©mon Puzzle League (N64) and Planet Puzzle League (DS), as well, but cannot stream them at this time. The cool gimmick of this game is that you can continue manipulating the blocks even while they're clearing, actively building the next steps in a chain reaction. Race goals include 99,999 points in Endless, completion of Stage Clear mode, and completion of Vs CPU on a specific difficulty level.
  • Yoshi (NES)
    • A simple Mario-themed puzzle game about matching falling Bloopers, Boos, Goombas, and Piranha Plants with each other. Eggshell halves also appear; bottom halves clear in the same way that enemies do, but if a top half lands on a column with a bottom half, they turn into a Yoshi egg, clearing any enemies in between. The goal in a race is to beat levels 1 through 5 of mode B; while there is a certain amount of skill in keeping yourself one move away from victory as much as possible, you'd better hope the random number generator cooperates.
Games I'd like to race:
  •  Wario's Woods (NES or SNES)
    • An underrated and difficult to master game where you play as Toad, picking up and dropping monsters while attempting to arrange them with falling bombs of the same color to make them disappear. I'd like to race Round Game.
  • Yoshi's Cookie (NES or SNES)
    • A cute little puzzler from Bullet Proof Software. A race would entail beating a certain number of rounds from the single player mode (or Action mode in the SNES version, since it has two single-player modes). Maybe rounds 1 through 10? Or maybe round 99 by itself (yes, it is that much harder to clear a round when you have a cookie that can only be cleared by earning a wild card).

Follow me on Grandmaster Puzzles!

For over four years, I have derived a significant amount of pleasure from writing logic puzzles of all kinds, sizes, and difficulty levels, and posting them for free on this blog for readers to enjoy. During this time, I have achieved much more than I ever thought possible: this blog has hit the number 6 rank on a blog directory with over 300 blogs on it (putting me in the 98th percentile, if my calculations are correct), I have gotten praises from some big names in the puzzle community, and I have even established relationships with said big names in the puzzle community. When I think about my humble beginnings as a kid with Asperger's Syndrome and the object of a certain amount of bullying and cyberbullying, I feel so utterly undeserving of these blessings which my puzzle-writing talents have allowed me to attain. However, the blessings certainly haven't stopped there, and I am now ready to make an announcement that I hope will excite you, dearest readers.

Some of you are aware that Thomas Snyder has founded Grandmaster Puzzles, a publishing company devoted to changing the logic puzzle climate in the US (where cheap computer-generated puzzles have flooded the market and left little room for logic puzzles to be seen in the public eye as a craft and not a mere hobby). Yesterday, the Grandmaster Puzzles blog teased at having a new guest author, and today, my first post as Contributing Puzzlemaster for Grandmaster Puzzles went up for all to see. As Grandmaster Puzzles is offering to pay me more money than this blog makes me (namely, any money), expect updates on this blog to slow down significantly. Updates will not, however, stop entirely; Grandmaster Puzzles obviously cannot use all of the puzzles I send in, and some of the rejects will appear on this blog (and in fact already have as early as January).

I would like to express many thanks for my loyal readers who have made operating this blog a blast; without you, I wouldn't be where I am today. If you haven't already, please bookmark Grandmaster Puzzles to see where my puzzle-writing journey continues to lead me. In addition to the puzzles that will be made available for free on the Grandmaster Puzzles blog, expect to see my puzzles (among those of other excellent authors) in the upcoming book The Art of Puzzles. If you would like to help Grandmaster Puzzles pave the way for handmade logic puzzles in the market, please buy this book when it comes out. I will do my best to ensure that the prospect of being paid money does not cause me to sacrifice the quality of my puzzles or of my character. :)

Puzzle 602: Dominnocuous 6

Remember that contest where you raised enough money for some charities that I was able to make puzzle 602 giant? Your giant has arrived! Fans of dominoes, rejoice!

Just as an advance warning, tomorrow will have no Monday Mutant. I figured these big things need some time to shine. :)
(click to enlarge)

Puzzle 601: Proof of Quilt 11

Remember that contest where you raised enough money for some charities that I was able to make puzzle 601 giant? Your giant has arrived! Fans of right isosceles triangles and rectangles, rejoice!
(click to enlarge)

Puzzle 600: Tetra Firma 40

Remember that contest where a guy named Jeff won a book of LITS puzzles? Well, he already had that book, so here is his substitute prize! Thank you, Jeff (or Jangler, as you prefer to be called), for being an awesome reader.
(click to enlarge)

Puzzle 599: Proof of Quilt 10

Remember that contest where you voted and decided that I can't post puzzles with more than 289 cells until puzzle 600? Well, this is puzzle 599! Look forward to some giant fun soon!

Puzzle 597: Straight and Arrow 42

Joshua Zucker took me up on my recent offer to throw in a free re-gifted calendar with 365 handmade Sudoku puzzles with the $25 purchase of my amazing board game Battle of LITS. In deciding what type of puzzle to make for him, I looked at his initials and immediately thought of "Party in the USA" ("And a Jay-Z song was on. . ."). Then I thought of the oft-neglected J and Z tetrominoes, which are really just mirror images of L and S, and therefore given no special treatment in Battle of LITS. These tetrominoes are the stars of this puzzle. Would you like to see what kind of puzzle your name inspires? I still have extra copies of Battle of LITS. . . . :)

Puzzle 596: Fencing Match 52

No comment.

Puzzle 595: Crowd Nine 12

Does anybody want a 2013 Sudoku Calendar with 365 handmade puzzles by Nikoli? I got it as a belated gift earlier this month, and I'd rather work on the puzzles in my unsolved volumes of Gekikara Sudoku than catch up. Don't forget that I'm selling my extra copies of Battle of LITS, my two-player board game based on one of my favorite Nikoli puzzles, for $25 apiece; I'll throw the calendar in for free as a sweetener! But remember: my supply of the calendar is even more limited than my supply of the game. . . . :) [Edit 2013-03-07: This offer has been accepted!]

Puzzle 594: Polyominous 54

A beginner-friendly puzzle. You know, just in case people who are new to puzzles still read my blog.

Monday Mutant 130: Cross the Streams (domino)

Shade in dominoes such that the black cells are all connected to each other through their edges, and no 2x2 cell area within the grid contains all black cells. Numbers to the left of a row or above a column represent the groups of consecutive black cells which are in that row or column. For example, a clue of "3" means the row or column has three consecutive black cells, and a clue of "3 1" means that the row or column has a group of three consecutive black cells followed by a single black cell, separated by at least one white cell. A question mark (?) represents a group of consecutive black cells whose size is unknown; an asterisk (*) represents any number of unknown groups of black cells, including none at all.
Inspired by this Nurikabe puzzle.

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