Submission #8200: nymx's C64 Spike in 00:55.66

(Link to video)
Commodore 64
BizHawk 2.8.0
Submitted by nymx on 4/3/2023 5:58:30 AM
Submission Comments

Spike (Compute's Gazette)

It is a dark and stormy night, and you are diligently typing games into your Commodore 64.
Suddenly, just outside, you see a dazzling flash of light and almost at once hear the deafening retort of thunder. The lights dim, flicker, and wink out. A wave of dizziness overcomes you.
When you regain consciousness, you cannot recognize your surroundings. "This isn't my computer room," you think. A thousand theories about your situation fly through your head, but none is even close to the terrible truth.
You are trapped inside the Power Grid.
To return to your own world, you must find and encircle your Commodore 64 computer. It is not visible from where you are, but you know it is hidden inside one of the many grid nodes. Fortunately, you are carrying your pocket sonar, which always tells you how far from the 64 you are. The shorter the line displayed by your sonar, the closer you are to escaping.
You soon discover that the Grid is a dangerous place to be. Deadly power spikes travel up and down the wires. Touching one of the spikes results in a terrible shock. These shocks, though powerful, are very short, so you can endure up to four collisions with the spikes and still stand chance to make it home.
Unfortunately, should you successfully reach your 64, you will find that the magnetic disturbance which trapped you on the Grid in the first place is worse than ever. You end up on the Grid again, but now it is coursed by even more power spikes.
Is there no escape?
The article for this game can be found on page 74 of Issue 6 (December 1983):

Why TAS This Game?

This is just a continuation of my aspiration to see my child hood experiences come to new life, in the form of a TAS. This makes my 5th TAS from my all-time favorite magazine...Compute's Gazette.
Previous Compute's Gazette submissions include (In order of submission):

Level Choice and Game Ending

This game has two types of game play-ability. Playing Speed and Difficulty. I'm not sure what is what, but I can say that the playing speed seems to affect your control over the character you use on the playing field, while the difficulty seems to affect the enemies that you must avoid.
In this TAS, I choose the highest speed level and hardest difficulty. There is no lose in time, for selecting other configuration, since it is a keyboard entry of 1 frame each.
As for the ending, I stop after Level 7 because all unique content has been explored by this point. That content is outlined below:
  • By Level 5 (indicated by 4 flags), the amount of enemies on the playing field max out at a count of 7.
  • By Level 7 (indicated by 6 flags), the highest amount of bonus has been achieved...which is 7770. This same bonus amount continues through all future levels (which you can see below in an alternative encode).

Effort In TASing (BOTing)

The main work of this TAS, was to control RNG so that the "Hidden Computer" would be as close as possible to the starting point of each round. After I worked out a plan on how to force this RNG, I wrote a variation of a previously used BOT to accommodate for this task. Basically, I scanned the "Sonar" address to check for the lowest possible value and then stopped the BOT, so that I could manually play the level.
Now, I wanted to have a little fun with this game and find out what happens to the "Level" indicator. I wondered if the game would perform a game breaking glitch, but it wrapped around instead. Here is that encode for those who are curious, and proof that difficulty and enemies don't increase after Level 7.

Human Comparison

Thanks to "Lost 8-Bit Caverns" for your dedication to exploring as many C64 games as possible. Our interests are very similar, as the channel aligns with the same interests I had growing up. I look forward to more.

DrD2k9: Claiming for judging.
DrD2k9: Interesting game concept. Reminded me of an old DOS game called Gapper.
Anyway...optimization looks good, and the bot obviously made what may have been otherwise tedious searches rather simple. Endpoint seems adequate for an any% run. Obviously superhuman. Accepting.
Spikestuff: Spike.
Last Edited by nymx on 5/25/2023 2:54 PM
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