It’s almost that time again! Last year, my partners at Geekade and I teamed up with the Colon Cancer Alliance to do a 24-hour game streaming event where we played pain-in-the-ass video games to raise money for colon cancer research & awareness. Get it? Pain in the ass? Colon cancer? I know, I’m hilarious. Well, we’re doing it again this year, and I’ve got my fingers crossed that we’ll be able to raise even more than we did last time. ($2600 is the number to beat!) We’re going bigger this year too! We’ve got better equipment, harder games, special guests, and probably something to eat other than Funions. So, let’s get the important stuff out of the way: Here’s how you watch and/or donate!
So, what is the Pain-in-the-Ass-a-Thon? What’s this art auction all about? What games will be played? Who is playing them? Why should you care? I’m glad you asked! Let’s start at the start. The idea came from my wife, actually. Her father, John Pobicki, passed away from colon cancer before I even met her. Since then, her and her family have always arranged some sort of colon cancer awareness event each year to raise money for the cause. When I met her, they were competing in the Colon Cancer Challenge, which is an annual walk/run organized event, and while it was always a lot of work to get their teams and donations together, it was something they were all happy to do. That is, until everyone’s lives started getting more complicated. A few years ago, my wife Karen physically could not make it to the event. I won’t bore you with the details, but her schedule was very complicated and it simply wasn’t feasible for her to be a part of it, and that really bummed her out. That’s when a light bulb lit up over my head. I’ve always wanted to do some sort of video game streaming charity event with Geekade, so I whipped up a proposal for the PITAthon, brought it to my partners, contacted the Colon Cancer Alliance, and we made it happen. My wife doesn’t have to go through the effort the Colon Cancer Challenge requires (though she may still someday) and she gets to be a part of something that raises money for a cause that’s near and dear to her.
Now that you know the backstory, let’s get to the games. The event starts Saturday, August 5th at 10am and runs through Sunday, August 6th at 10am. It will be streaming live at www.twitch.tv/geekade as well as Facebook Live and YouTube Live. We’ve broken it down into time slots for specific games with different people jumping in to play all manner of stuff. Let’s have a look.
Game: Contra for NES
Why it’s a pain in the ass: Contra is pretty legendary for its difficulty. It’s a relatively unforgiving game, but with enough time, patience, and a certain famous code, the game is very beatable. Evan and I have 2 hours, Evan hasn’t played Contra in at least 20 years, and we aren’t allowed to use the Konami code for the first hour. I’m pretty confident that I still have the muscle memory to beat Contra without the code, but just to keep things interesting, neither one of us is allowed to beat a level without the other. Honestly, we will probably play fast and loose with those restrictions, but I’m envisioning Evan getting very frustrated, which is going to be all manner of fun to watch.
Game: Comix Zone for Sega Genesis
Players: Dan and Kris (me, again!) from the Stone Age Gamer Podcast
Why it’s a pain in the ass: Have you ever played Comix Zone? Because if you have, you don’t need to ask that question. If you haven’t, the easiest way to break it down is that the game is completely unfair. Absolutely everything you do does damage. A bad guy blocks your punch? You take damage. You block a bad guy’s attack? You take damage. You need to break an obstacle that’s in your way? You take damage. And just to keep things even more interesting, you only get one life. It’s a completely awesome-looking game with a killer concept, but it’s incredibly hard. Dan and I will be taking turns trying to beat the game for 3 hours. I’ve never made it past level 3. Should be a good time.
Game: Sneak n Peek for Atari 2600
Why it’s a pain in the ass: Before we get to the nitty gritty, this is the first game we’ll be playing with our special guest Ferg! He will be coming to the PITAthon to play some games with us in-person, and Sneak n Peek was his suggestion. I know almost nothing about this game, save for what Ferg has told me. Which is that it’s basically hide and seek for Atari 2600. I can not imagine a world where that works well. Ferg was the one who suggested I play SwordQuest last year, so I have every confidence that this game is going to be a complete mess to play.
Game: Puzzle & Dragons
Why it’s a pain in the ass: PAD is a mobile game that’s designed to be easy to play but difficult to master. Dan suggested that he play this game (as he would) in a particular mode, though. There’s something called the 3 Player Arena, and this is how Dan explained it to me.
“They are a pain in the ass because there are random spawns with pain in the ass mechanics that can end our run instantly. And they took a monster that had been a joke for a year and a half, gave her a bajillionty defense, and made her the boss.”
Dean also told me that while he and Dan have been putting together teams/decks specifically to take on these dungeons, Matt has not, which will apparently work as a sort of handicap to Dan and Dean. And watching Dean lose his mind over difficult games is always a good time. See: last year’s attempt to beat Ghosts n Goblins for NES.
Game: World Class Track Meet for NES
Why it’s a pain in the ass: This one is probably the most literal pain in the ass of all the games we’ll be playing. It’s not particularly hard, or bad, or anything really. What it is though is a game controlled with the Power Pad, and what we all are is out of shape. So this game will cause us all actual, physical pain to play. If you ever wanted to watch a bunch of sweaty, old guys bouncing around on a Power Pad, now’s your chance!!! We will be playing in Olympics mode, and competing in every event, for 2 solid hours. I hope we all survive
Game: Mega Man Unlimited
Player: Jonathan from the Mutant Musings Podcast.
Why it’s a pain in the ass: Mega Man Unlimited is a fan game that I am told is brutally hard. Jonathan requested to pay this game just a few days after the last PITAthon ended, and he’s been looking forward to it ever since. This is another game I can’t say I know a lot about, but when I asked Jonathan how much time he was going to need to play the game he requested 4 hours. So I gave him 3. What I’ve seen of this game looks awesome, so I’m looking forward to seeing him get through it. It’s designed to look and play like classic 8-bit Mega Man, and classic 8-bit Mega Man is known for its challenge.
Game: The Lion King for SNES
Players: Dave and Cengiz from You Shall Not Pass Go
Why it’s a pain in the ass: This game was literally designed to be a pain in the ass. No, really! If you’ve ever played this game and gotten frustrated by how freaking hard the first couple of levels are (except the first one) that’s actually done by design. It was part of some bananas scheme to harm the rental market. Anyway, this game is tough, and if I remember correctly, neither Dave or Cengiz have ever beaten it before. They have just 2 hours to do so, and I suspect a sizable chunk of that time will be spent on the “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” stage.
Game: Zelda – Wand of Gamelon for Philips CD-i
Player: Kris (hello again) from the Stone Age Gamer Podcast
Ugh. This game. Most of the games we’re playing this year are tough, but good., This one’s a pain because it’s just an awful game. The controls are a complete mess, the game progression makes little to no sense, and it’s cutscenes are legendarily awful. I finished Link: Faces of evil last year, so I had to follow it up with its counterpart this year. I will be using a walkthrough like I did last year, but even with that on my side, it’s going to be a difficult task to get it done in the allotted time.
Game: Binding of Isaac
Player: SPECIAL GUEST Brandon from Interdimensional RSS: The Unofficial Rick and Morty Podcast
Why it’s a pain in the ass: Binding of Isaac is another game I don’t have any experience with, but as a fan of Super Meat Boy, I not only know that I’d probably love it if I played it, but if it’s anything like SMB it’s hard as heck. Our second special guest Brandon will be remoting in once again from Hawaii, and he will have just one hour to get as far into the game as he can. He will have a slight time advantage, since he will not have been up all hours of the night beforehand thanks to the time difference, but I’m confident Isaac is going to still be quite the challenge for him anyway.
Game: X-Men for Sega Genesis
Players: Patti from the Mutant Musings Podcast.
Why it’s a pain in the ass: I honestly don’t know if this game is known for its difficulty, but when I was a kid and it came out, I used to go to my neighbor’s house to play it and we could never properly figure it out. When we were making the schedule for this event, we had an opening in the 5-7am slot, and Patti volunteered to take it if I could find a good game for her to play. Since she’s the co-host of Geekade’s X-Men podcast, I offered her X-Men for Genesis and Spider-Man/X-Men for SNES. She’s never played either one, and she picked X-Men. I am so psyched to see her play this for the first time. I suspect there will be many curse words flung at the screen, especially considering how obtuse this game can be. Patti is pretty foul-mouthed as it is, so it’s going to be a good time.
Game: Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind for SNES
Player: Dean from Vest and Friends
Why it’s a pain in the ass: The grand finale. Dean and Bubsy go way back. He’s tried a few times to complete this game, and each and every time he has failed. Last year it was one of the final games of the marathon, and by the time his slot was over, he was a broken man. Bubsy and his one-liners had defeated him. This game gets a bad reputation as being worse than it is. In reality, it’s not a terrible game. But it’s certainly not a good one either. Bubsy is incredibly fragile, and the level design not only makes no sense a lot of the time, but it’s designed in a way that routinely kills you in completely unfair ways. Off-screen enemies and traps are positively everywhere, and there are few things that are more of a pain in the ass in video games than cheap deaths. It’s got bright, colorful graphics and a really good soundtrack, but don’t let them fool you. Bubsy is pain. Bubsy is Dean’s nightmare. And maybe this year, Bubsy is going down.
But wait! There’s more! Remember I mentioned an art auction? Well, during the marathon, there’s going to be an art auction with original video game themed art from some local area artists. You can check them out here, and bid to your heart’s content. 100% of the proceeds will go toward our PITAthon goal, and the auctions will end during the PITAthon. So, if you’ve ever wanted a picture of Rick and Morty in the Fallout universe, you might just get your wish…
And that’s all there is to it. We will be bring a few extra games along in case we raise enough money to hit our stretch goals. Each hundred dollars we make past $1000, we will play for one more hour, up to 4 hours. So remember, Saturday August 5th at 10am, head over to www.twitch.tv/geekade and watch us suffer through this gauntlet of games, and while you’re at it, throw a few bucks toward the Colon Cancer Alliance. And one more thing! Stone Age Gamer has agreed to match our overall donations up to $1000 again this year, because they are awesome, so that’s going to go a long way toward us reaching our goal. (I want to hit $3000 this year). See you there!