- Emulator: JPC-RR r11.8 rc2
- Goal: Beat the system
- Destiny manipulation
- Minimizes effort
- Genre: Arcade
- Genre: Arcane
This movie uses Keen 4 v1.4, which can be downloaded for free on the 3D Realms legacy site: http://legacy.3drealms.com/keen4/index.html
Total Sectors: 16128
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Paddle War is a mini-game available through the menu in Commander Keen 4 through 6. It is essentially a pong clone where the first to 21 points wins. Many Keen players have fond (or frustrating) memories of taking breaks to play this little game. Matches can be intense and may require good reaction times and precise movement. In this TAS, I demonstrate that none of these skills are necessary.
While it might be intuitive to just win a match quickly through precise movement and a sound strategy, I prefer a less pragmatic approach. I want to end input as early as possible. Ideally, I would just start up the game and not move at all, but a small amount of that pesky "effort" may be required.
Randomness manifests itself in this mini-game through ball spawning directions. There are three possible spawns: slightly to the right, straight ahead, and slightly to the left. These spawn directions are very important, since without movement the maximum amount of spawn directions that will result in contact is two, with the other being a guaranteed score for the CPU. Luck manipulation is not viable since the RNG only advances upon a ball spawning, although I wouldn't want to do manipulation anyway because that requires effort (and inputs). The only viable way to change results is to affect the initial RNG seed by adjusting the initial RTC time. To quote the great turska
The final position of the paddle is the key to winning without movement. We want a position which will result in favorable contact on two out of the three possible spawn directions. There are a few possibilities here, but moving only two units to the left is ideal. A spawn straight ahead deflects the ball to the right corner and is almost a guaranteed score, and a spawn to the left has a possibility of scoring if the CPU is in a bad position. And because of the limited CPU paddle speed, a score in the corner guarantees yet another point on the respawn since the paddle can't get back to the center in time, and perhaps an additional point if we're really lucky with the second respawn. One begins to see how an effortless win is possible with enough fortune...
So yeah, I won 21-20 without moving the paddle past the initial two units. I don't want to mislead anyone on the amount of time this took and the rarity of this event: I got this result within the first few RTC times I tried. I would roughly estimate about 20% of RTC times I used resulted in a win. Strangely enough, after many attempts to get a faster victory, I got this exact same result several times, as well as many identical losses. There is a bit more of a pattern to the RNG than I initially thought.
: Clever idea, but turska showed the run is slower than real time records with the same strategy. (Given the brevity of gameplay input, I'd also argue the category is insufficiently different from unassisted gameplay in general). Rejecting.