When it comes to video game preservation, much of the activities have focused on saving and confirming the game binaries, scanning packaging, and providing ways to play games on modern hardware (i.e. emulation). These activities are of course very important to ensure that games are playable in the future. However, video games are an interactive medium, and I think documenting how games are played is undeserved at the moment.
This is why I am so interested in a project by Peebs. His goal is to play through every single US, European, and fan translated Japanese game released on the SNES. Not only that, he plays through the games the way that we would have back in the early 90s, with nothing more than a user manual as a guide. Many games released during the SNES era did not age well, with goals that may not have been practical for a casual player. Through pure perseverance, Peebs has managed to complete over 600 games during the past five years. Given that there are over 950 games on his list, there is still probably at least a couple of years to go.
Since I find Peebs' goal to be awesome, I asked him a few questions.
First of all, thank you for the opportunity to conduct this interview. SNES Central has been a great resource for me over the years and it feels great to be able to add something to it. For those of you who don't know me, my name is Peebs, and for the past 5 years I've been streaming on Twitch and slowly beating every SNES game ever made. At the time of this interview, we've just completed game number 623! A list of what has already been completed as well as how long it took can be found here. I play every game on default settings and only use the resources included in the original packaging trying to recreate the experience as if I would have purchased the game when it was released. I'm also a huge fan and collector of weird controllers and peripherals, like the SNES Exertainment Life Fitness Cycle. I stream evenings 5 nights a week and for the most part, we just chill, hang out, and play Super Nintendo games.
Question: Has anyone else done something like this before, i.e. play through every single game for a mainline game console?
The first person to complete a system challenge was TheMexicanRunner, a Twitch streamer that is also very well known for speedrunning. TMR played through every US licensed game release for the NES and completed his challenge in February 2017.
Question: Playing every through every single game for a system with a library of hundreds of games is a massive task, how long did you initially think it would take? What keeps you going?
I never really consider how long the project would take to complete. It was simply something I want to do because I never grew up with a SNES and missed out on so many great games. I knew it would take a long time, but there was no way to even come up with a reasonable estimate. Every next game completed is a bit of a rush as we keep moving forward. People ask all the time what I plan on doing after I beat every SNES game but that's still so far in the future, I have no idea.
Question: By purposely not looking at FAQs/spoilers, you recreate the situation that the original players of the games would have faced. Having played through several hundred SNES games, do you think that most developers made SNES games with this in mind?
I haven't come across any games so far that have the wildly obscure "made to sell guides" mentality that people think existed. Although, a large amount of games assume you have access to the manual, as some mechanics have weird button combinations that one would never assume without a lot of trial and effort. Unfortunately finding scans for SNES manuals is relatively rough as they are scattered to the four corners of the internet. I've collected as many as I can, even digging through old fansites with the Wayback Machine. My plan is to clean them up and put them all on archive.org with a single easy to search directory, to help people that may want access to them in the future.
Question: The game that has taken the longest to beat so far is Sim City 2000. Why did this game take so long to beat? Is the goal the same as PC version? Do you think that you might be the only person who has reached this goal? Do you think the developers would have actually play tested games like this all the way through?
The main reason Sim City 2000 took so long is the entire simulation is a waiting game. Also, it is amazing that it runs as well as it does on the SNES, as there is no option like on the PC to speed up the process. Primarily, the longer the game runs and the larger your city gets, the longer, in minutes, it takes for a year to pass to get more money for your budget to continue to grow your city. With every space occupied, it would take about 14.5 minutes for a single year to pass. But it takes only 8 minutes if you stared at the map screen. Less moving parts, less for the SNES to process, thus speeding up the computation process. After hitting 100k people, you then get the ability to build arcologies, which are the best way to expand your population. In order to build the arcology, we needed 3 Real Hours of waiting for money. Then, once you build each arcology, they only fill so much every year. It was really just like, 80+ hours of waiting for money / arcologies to fill.
Question: After you reach your goal of playing through every SNES game, will you still come back and beat games with new translations and add them to your list?
After we're done with every US Game, unique PAL Game, and all 100% Complete Fan Translations, then we move to Partial Translations and anything that I can easily blunder through. Like platformers with little text, puzzle games, functional BS Satellaview games etc... The challenge will never really be finished because people are always working hard and translating Super Famicom titles. Even wild things like Nintendo releasing Starfox 2 and Squaresoft officially releasing SNES RPGs like Romancing SaGa 2 / 3 and Trials of Mana. Who knows as well, large, advanced, in translation technology has been made in the last 5-10 years. Maybe we'll have some form of OCR that can help provide live / more accurate translations on the fly than just taking photos with your phone.
Question: You have recordings of playing through all the games. What are your plans for these? Will you archive them somewhere?
Unfortunately, I'm missing a couple hundred games worth of videos due to Twitch changing it's policies and deleting pretty much everything I had with no forewarning. At some point I'd love to archive them somewhere but downloading and managing storage for 900 videos is a bit much. I'll probably make local backups on an external HDD and aim for a better more accessible solution in the future. For now, Twitch VODs are good enough for me.
Question: Do you have plans to formally document certain achievements, like the end goal of the games? Has anyone approached you about the preservation aspect of playing through every game?
I've got the framework set already for every game. Possible win conditions. Does this have passwords / saves. All the possible information that anyone else may want / need in order to attempt the challenge themselves. I just need to get myself reoriented with HTML so I can make functional webpages.
I'd like to thank Peebs for answering my questions! If you want to follow his quest to beat every SNES game, here are the links:
|© Evan G. This site made by a Canadian, and fueled by beer. Do not use material on this site without permission.|