I mentioned this on this week’s Video Games Hotdog (which is not yet on iTunes at the time of writing this, but it’s posted on the site), but I figured I should post some proper links.
Also I wanted to show off my completed Victory Monument. Booyah!
What I’m talking about here, in case you don’t listen to VGHD (or do but haven’t heard the new one yet, which is likely), is Sunburn Islands, a map in the Super Hostile series of maps by a fella called Vechs. (“Super Hostile” is the name, I’m not using it in an adjectival sense there. Okay, well, I could have, and it would still be perfectly appropriate.)
What this is, is a series of Adventure Mode maps for Minecraft. By which I mean, a map where someone has designed their own dungeons and tricks and challenges, and posted them somewhere for other people to try and solve. Generally, these maps have the rule that you’re not supposed to break any blocks — the designers don’t want you circumventing their carefully-arranged traps by smashing holes in the walls and tunnelling around the tricky bits. Eventually, it’s rumored, this will be supported by an actual game mode in the Minecraft application, but at the moment it’s an Honor System kind of thing.
I feel that digging (and building and crafting and resource management) is such an inherent part of Minecraft, that to demand that people not do that is kind of bullcrap. And it seems like maybe Vechs agrees with me, because the Super Hostile maps are created with the express notion that you are free to do whatever the fuck you want. Smash the walls, tunnel under the ground, any trick you can think of is absolutely kosher. There are only two rules (well three, but “Don’t use advantage-granting mods” is so obvious that it’s hardly worth mentioning): First, you’re not allowed to leave the map edges to generate new random terrain, and get free resources. Second, you aren’t allowed to use dyes to change the color of wool blocks.
That second rule is sort of the heart of the thing, as that photo up top shows. Every SH map contains sixteen dungeons, and a room with a Victory Monument in it. Each dungeon has a chest at the end, containing a bunch of one color of wool. You find the dungeon, clear it out, and bring a block of wool back to the Victory Monument.
It is pretty great. Vechs is an excellent designer. All the dungeons in Sunburn Islands (the map I played) are very different in both theme and structure, and if you are into exploration it is an absolute blast. Defintely start with Sunburn Islands, though, because unless you’re willing to hunt down a copy of the Minecraft 1.7.3 .jar file to down-version your copy, the only other one available is called Nightmare Realm, and Vechs has labelled it as “ROMHack Hard”. This means he’s filled it with the nastiest traps he could devise, with the express purpose of, essentially, fucking the player right in the eye-sockets. I’ve been watching a Let’s Play of one of his earlier such maps, and jesus it is brutal. You start to learn things like “Never use the doorway provided”.
Sunburn Islands, though, is much much friendlier, and it was a real treat to play. Absolutely check it out if you’re looking for something Minecrafty to do while you’re waiting for 1.9 to come out.
And as long as I have you here, the other thing I was talking about on the show, the fan-translation patch of the Japanese DS game Nanashi no Game, can be found here. You’re on your own for getting a copy of the rom to apply the patch to and a flash cart to play it on, though. I can’t recommend it to anyone who isn’t very patient, because it is a very slow game. In many cases, ‘plodding’ would be an appropriate term. Honestly, it’s barely a game. BUT, the premise is really great, and the 8-bit game-within-the-game is genuinely spooky in that special way that only something totally innocuous but slightly wrong can be. So if you have a DS flash cart, and a lot of patience and willingness to get into the mood of a thing, it’s worth checking out.