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Thursday, April 9, 2009

An Object Lesson On Me Overthinking Things

As regular readers of ↓C know, I've been playing through Ocarina of Time for the first time. I've been finding out that the reason that I never really enjoyed the Zelda games is because I overthink the solution to a puzzle. I will now illustrate how I did this with the future Criminally Overlooked game Donkey Kong for the Game Boy.

(Before I start getting confused e-mails, yes, Donkey Kong is well-known and revered. However, no one ever talks about the Game Boy remake with almost 90 levels including a boss battle with a 50-foot-tall Donkey Kong. It's a travesty that I'll rectify someday.)

For those who haven't played that version, it's very similar to the Game Boy Advance game Mario Vs. Donkey Kong. You're supposed to pick up a key, get it to a door, and advance to the next level. Some of these levels had very devious layouts, and you die is you get touched by one enemy or fall from too far a distance.

The level in questions is level 3-1, and the solution is relatively simple. There is a platform that is covered with spikes. You have to get an enemy to walk onto the spikes so that you stand on his head and get to the door. To that end, you have to create a bridge so that the critter walks across it. Pretty simple, right?

Here was my solution.

In my solution, you threw the key at the critter. It bounced on the critter's head until it (sometimes) rested carefully on the edge of the platform. Then, with a running start, I picked up the key and landed on the spikes. Since I was holding an object, the key would fall forward and I would fall backwards into a pool of water. Then, I would try and get back on the platform and try and make another running jump at the key, where I would pick it up AGAIN and try throwing it in hopes that it would land on the platform and I would go back into the drink. Then, I would build the bridge that was SUPPOSED to bring the critter over there, and walk across the bridge to glory.

It took me about a month of playing to get this solution to work. I couldn't understand why this game was so difficult so early. The only reason I kept playing is because I didn't have any other games at the time, so I had no choice but to keep on attempting my cockamamie solution. Eventually, shockingly, it actually WORKED.

So, if it seems that I'm bragging when I say that I overthink solutions, I'm really not, unless you count coming up with Rube Goldberg-esque solutions for simple problems a plus.