AGDQ 2017 Run Thoughts
Well, it's been almost a month, but the Mighty No. 9 run at AGDQ is done, and I've had some time to look at the aftermath and reflect on it. Overall, the run was (mostly) well-received, which I'm glad to see.
It wasn't easy, and was quite the uphill battle, but I managed to meet my goal to make the run memorable.
For those wondering why the run was presented the way it was, you have to realize, I was in a very awkward position. Here I am, an unknown streamer, a fresh face to the speedrunning world, somehow getting a chance to make his first live appearance and showcase this highly maligned game at the biggest speedrunning event of the new year, which was sandwiched between two popular games, at a prime-time slot no less. I was basically put in a spot where I could fail hard, or succeed hard. There wasn't really a middle ground. Getting a chance to play this at AGDQ also had some personal implications for me. There were a lot of firsts that were going to be happening for me that week, from first road trip, first time seeing snow, to first time playing for a live audience.
Anybody who knows me will tell you that I tend to be very reserved and don't talk much. For a while, I've been trying to break this barrier and be more expressive. Since I had this run to do, I decided to use it as the driving catalyst for several things. I decided for this one run, I was going to dispel the 'normal' me, let my wilder side roam free, and just go with the flow to see what would happen. Let's face it, this isn't something many people get a chance to do, let alone for a newbie like myself. Obviously, I decided not to let this opportunity go to waste and choose the path where I would just go all-out and try to put on a show with no regrets coming out.
Going in, I knew what the general viewership's expectations were (anywhere from nonexistent, game is trash, 'watching to see how bad it is', or 'why is this game even in'). There was little hype surrounding the run, and I received virtually no indication outside of the MN9 speedrunning community (and even that was very minuscule) that people were looking forward to seeing it. In short, I expected most people were not going to be siding with me at first, and expectations were low due to the game being what it was and myself not being a recognized name.
There was almost no chance that a regular info-laden commentary could work for what I wanted to do, since the flaws of the game would still be apparent as I played (frame rate, excessive puns, barebones level design, etc).
Because of this, I decided to just accept the criticism and negativity that was inevitably going to come my way, not care about what people thought, be willing to make a fool out of myself, and have fun with it.
Personally, I feel that the best way to enjoy MN9 is to view it as a game that doesn't take itself seriously, and treat it like a parody game that is meant to be made fun of. I took some of the most ridiculous elements of the game
(head scratching scene, trailer shenanigans, etc) and intended to strongly emphasize them during the run. I also believed having active couch participation was essential for a successful run, so I decided to have actual signs for the bonuses, which would also get more people involved, even if they weren't commentating. I convinced myself to have ridiculously low expectations coming in (nobody present in the audience, Twitch viewership was at its lowest), which helped put me in the proper mindset for the run. All these factors led to what the final product that was the AGDQ MN9 run.
In the end, given the game's polarizing nature, and the direction I chose to go with the run, the results turned out as expected. It's a run people thought was anywhere from over-the-top, amazing, entertaining, ridiculous, cringeworthy, or memetastic, and I'm fine with it. I wasn't going to please everyone, and I never would. I went with what I thought was best for me and my goals, and that's really all I could ask for.
Some Misc. Notes:
- I went over with a staff member, everything 'unique' that I wanted to do days before my run. They had no issues with it. The bottom line was 'No political or sexual material, and no swearing'.
- You can make any game work out at a GDQ, even controversial ones. Some games require more effort and thought put into the presentation, but it's doable.
- Even if you're a smaller streamer, you can make a name for yourself. You just need to get creative, and be willing to differentiate yourself from everyone else out there.
- The Nep stuff was loosely relevant to the game, but I forgot to mention it in the heat of the moment.
- The couch crew and I did a couple rehearsals beforehand, but some things said during the run (battle cry, pizza) were definitely not planned out.
- I tried speaking with many people to make sure nerves wouldn't be too much of a hindrance. It also helped me assure myself that at least some people had my back.
- The back couch broke during the run. It was after the 'Velguarderp' fight (Call's boss).
- We had fun.
The Couch Crew