For those not in the know about our Rant & Rave series, take a seat and get comfortable. This is the part of the show where we, as individual editors, get let loose on the internet and can give our own, unadulterated opinion on various aspects of the gaming industry. Just to make sure that we don’t sound exceptionally bitter all the time, we balance out our gripes with the industry by talking about something we love at the same time. This time around, I’ll be ranting about how frustrating RNG is, and raving about how much I love speedrunning.
I’m certain that I am not the only one who finds RNG (random number generation) one of the most frustrating things when it comes to video gaming. This time, only one type of RNG is coming under my scrutiny, but that doesn’t mean that other types are off the hook.
Item drops. Item drops are the worst. I’m sure many of you have had the same experience, and MMOs are notoriously bad for this. You’re merrily questing away saving the world from imminent danger, and the only thing that stands in your way is one random innkeeper, town guard, warlord, or some other questgiver who can’t fathom how important it is that you complete your task of saving the world completely unhindered. But no, he wants you to collect 15 bear teeth before you can pass. “Okay, fine, I’ll do this for you, but then you have to let me pass,” you think to yourself. How hard can it be to find fifteen bear teeth when you have a forest outside?
Very, very hard is the answer. After killing maybe 50 of these massive, grizzly, fearsome, and downright dangerous bears, you find that only 4 of them actually had any teeth. This is what you find after looting every single one of them. Even the most devout worshippers of RNGesus cant't find the items in a reasonable amount of time. “What’s that Mr. Innkeeper? You’re telling me that all of these bears have dentures and are, in fact, not dangerous at all because all they can do is gum me to death?” “Oh, no,” the innkeeper replies, “they are all fearsome and dangerous, but that’s just how the RNG goes. You only have a 13% chance to loot them.” Brilliant. Thanks. Good work game developers.
Okay, so before you all start talking about “what’s the point” or “it just seems like way too much effort,” I kind of agree with you to a certain extent. Speedrunning for me is not necessarily about being able to beat Super Mario 64 in 1 hour and 40 minutes, or going through Super Metroid in a matter of seconds, it’s about keeping the legacy of these games alive. I’m not trying to discredit the time and discipline that goes into completing a Zelda game in 4 hours, understanding the glitches, knowing what you can skip, and just being awesome. These things are indeed impressive, but I love how people are still playing and interested in games that are more than 15 years old. That’s cool.
A few weeks ago, an event called Awesome Games Done Quick took place. It was a charity event where a lot of the best speedrunners in the world got together to showcase their talents live in front of an audience in an auditorium and on Twitch.tv. To give you an idea of how successful this was, the viewer count on Twitch peaked at nearly 200,000 viewers. 150,000 people turned up just to watch Super Monkey Ball alone. In the end, they raised over $1.5 Million. Now come on, that’s impressive. (Also, please take note that GameJO6 in the video complains about RNG right at the start. He feels me.)
How do you feel about RNG or speedruns? Share your thoughts below and make sure to check out our other Rant and Raves.