Hello everyone and welcome back to this new edition of Beyond the Board, where we sit down with members of the bingo community and discuss their games and discover more of their world!
Before getting started, do remember that submissions for Bingothon Summer 2022 are currently open until May 22nd, so do make sure to check out the Masterpost if you are interested in being involved for this event that will happen on June 17th-20th!
With that said, as usual, you may see the video right below as well as the FULL INTERVIEW right here! You definitely want to check out the full interview as there is A LOT of content that isn’t covered in the video.
With that said, enjoy!
Floha258: Hello everyone, and welcome back to this month’s Beyond the Board episode! Today, we are going to be talking about Sonic Adventure 2! I have not only one, but TWO guests with me. Please, feel free to introduce yourselves!
Tommy: Wanna go first, CFood?
CFood: Alright! Well, I am CFood, I am on the event committee for Sonic Adventure 2 as well as overall kind of dipping into the other Adventure games, and we’ve been putting on the bingo league for the last 2 and a half months (editor’s note: at time of recording the interview, which was in mid-April), still got another half a month to go!
Floha258: Alright, Tommy?
Tommy: Well, I am Tommy, or if this nickname is already taken on the website you can probably find me as TommyeAsY. I started speedrunning SA2 in November 2015. Oh, it’s been a while! In our context, I guess I was the main developer of the bingo boards for Sonic Adventure 2: Battle. And, well, there’s so much to say about that! [Laughs]
Floha258: Alright, we’ll get into more details later on! So, let’s chat a bit about yourselves. How have you both gotten into SA2 speedrunning?
CFood: [Laughs] Oooooh, this story is so funny for me! Right, so it started with Shadow the Hedgehog and I was trying to 100% it to 326 pathways and be insane like that, or something.
And then, a few days later I’m like “Alright, I want to watch some other people!”, and no one is streaming Shadow [the Hedgehog] so I go look at Sonic Adventure 2 which is a game I liked more and then I saw Deku_sr running. It was KnucklesX20 (editor’s note: Knuckles Stages x20 Extension category on SRC), it was either that or a bunch of Chao streams, and I was like “I like Knuckles!”. I thought treasure hunting was neat, and it just kind of worked from there!
Tommy: Well, I was just chilling at some point and I figured “why would I not check the SA2 section on Twitch?”, because it’s a game I knew but I never cared to check before for some reason, because well I wasn’t really intending to speedrun in at all at this point. I found this stream of EdwardBottle which was known for a while. He’s not currently running the game. He was doing something that looked kind of funny, that was relatively new which was Knuckles Centurion (editor’s note: The Knuckles Centurion Extension category on SRC). I got a bunch of lost memories from when I was playing this game decades ago, and the only thing I remembered from this was probably the fact that I liked hunting, not sure why! When I was looking at the stream, at the concept of trying to, well, hunt as fast as you can based on the locations and stuff, the idea crossed my mind then. “Hey, I probably can do that too!”. And well, here we are!
Floha258: Alright, those are very interesting stories indeed!
CFood: [Laughing] You’ve got a very varied interviewee pool here! Both very hunting-obsessed bingo enjoyers!
Floha258: [Laughs] Well, that cuts very neatly into my next question. What’s your favourite aspect of SA2 and why?
CFood: Ooooh, yeah, that’s the hunting for sure. Well, I never thought I’d get into speedrunning specifically, like I never really looked it up in games or anything at like anytime I saw beat challenges in video games for like a completion point or anything. I was just like “I never did ‘em” and then I was just like, I was watching the treasure hunting, I was watching Deku_sr do it fast and I was like “this actually looks fun!”. It’s like a little sandbox you can play in, and a lot of times I’m just doing hunting without the timer! [Laughs] It’s fun!
That is why I like hunting the most out of everything in Sonic Adventure 2. Bingo is pretty cool for similar reasons with, you know, you get a different board every time and you just got to kind of vibe with what you get and do as best as you can, which is like the hunting mantra! [Laughs]
What about you, Tommy?
Tommy: Well I would generally agree with hunting. Your best character is gonna be the character that you probably enjoy quite the most, and hunting has a kind of funny aspect where you can just straight-up learn the path of how to do stuff, but you need to react differently every time you play based on the information you have. The fact that you need to make decisions during the run I think is what caught my attention.
And speaking about bingo, it actually has quite a long story because I was one of the players of the first bingo ever played in SA2. I kind of still remember it, and it even had a VOD of this, because we had eight people… So there was like two teams of four people who were doing random objectives, but since we didn’t have anything like Bingosync service at the time, we used a Google spreadsheet and a generation function for it! [Laughs] The goals we had there weren’t balanced at all like what we have now. They were just a bunch of random goals that everyone can understand, and some of them even involved Last Story, which pretty much forces you to play the game for at least for half an hour if you want to reach there, so that was a fun experience!
At this point, bingo also got a lot of attention because you’re not just racing with other people from point A to point B like in regular story [runs], but you have to route your way in, and sometimes do things you’re never used to do. Like, you’ve never tried them before and you’re just not used to that. And you know, you’re not the only one in this situation. We have a lot of runners who can play relatively good and consistent in Hero Story for instance, but then have no clue how to do certain missions from Hero Story because they never needed that. That creates some variance I guess between the amount of time that the different teams need to spend to reach the goal. Considering all the other things like the upgrades you might need and you can just forget getting them… I guess in particular that’s why bingo races are fun.
Floha258: You said that you were one of the original bingo creators for SA2. What inspired you to make these bingo goals back then?
Tommy: Well, as I said I really liked bingo the first time I played it, but we never had the proper service for doing so. At some points, I met two other people who actually helped a lot with developing bingo, I wasn’t totally alone. I had Melrose and En Passant who helped me with making original boards and contacting directly to Bingosync staff so we were able to add different boards for the website for Sonic Adventure 2: Battle. It was originally just long and normal board, how we call it now, that involved both Hero and Dark stories.
Since we mostly designed it for teams of two people, there were requests of some opportunity to play 1v1 races and this is how we eventually to the conclusion that we had a Hero and a Dark Story boards separately, which you can too play as a team but they’re gonna be a lot shorter. Since we got more and more interest to bingo we eventually added two more boards. One of them is just called Long which is a regular, normal board but it has a lot more late goals and story progression, so races in general take more time. And then several years later, I was working alone on this, it took a lot of time and a lot of testing from other community members that were willing to help me to test all the usual stuff, we also added a challenging board that we called Nightmare which has the most absurd goals, but I still tried to make them ‘funny’ and, well, enjoyable if you know how to do that. So now we have 5 boards for just this game alone.
CFood: Yeah, big fan of completing missions without pressing the A button!
Floha258: [Laughs] Oh boy! Ok, so what do you think makes SA2 bingos fun?
CFood: Game aspect that really works out well… Ok, like I was mentioning earlier and Tommy was mentioning earlier, the parallels to hunting is what drew me in. Sonic Adventure 2 is really the perfect team-based bingo game, because you have one runner loading in the Hero Story and you have one runner loading in the Dark Story. It’s not the same open world or anything, so you both have your own tasks but the downside is sometimes you might have to roll quite a few times for a board with a good balance between Hero and Dark goals. Otherwise, it might be very heavily Hero with very few Dark or very heavily Dark with very few Hero. You know, that’s just how the generator rolls it up.
But you know, once you get that balance between the Hero and Dark goals, it is so cool because it’s not just you’re doing your own Dark Story, Hero Story… There’s some strategies that we’ve been seeing in the Bingo League even where runners will load up into the other story because there are some goals like defeating Big Foot and Hot Shot, or Tails and Eggman ones… You can load in and you know, if no one’s done City Escape for a while, or [Wild] Canyon missions for quite a while, a Dark runner could go in and do it, or vice versa. If there’s a good mission people haven’t been doing, like… well, there’s probably a reason, Dry Lagoon M5 (editor’s note: Mission 5) is not fun without the Security Lense! That’s what it’s called, right?
Tommy: I think it’s called Treasure Scope?
CFood: Oh yeah, Treasure Scope! That’s what it’s called! But yeah, that’s why I think Sonic Adventure 2 makes a great bingo experience, because of the team aspect. Story bingo is cool, 1v1 is cool, and it is nice to be able to play without needing two more people if it’s just you and one other person, but that’s my take on it.
Tommy: This game in particular has a very interesting structure, and basically everything of what CFood just said! No matter who you are, you always have access two stories – well, we basically have three stories, but we’re not gonna talk about the third one, it doesn’t exist! So, there is always an option to go for either Hero or Dark. If everyone who is racing can do both of them, you might not even predict what’s gonna happen first, because again, it’s not as linear as some games which are also fun to play with bingo but everyone starts from the same point. Instead, you can pretty much even start the same story with your teammate and just follow for a while because that would benefit you for taking a certain goal. That’s what kind of makes it unique in a way, and that’s also the reason why we tried adding as many team-based goals as possible. Stuff like when both players need to reach a certain point of the story or you need to get some amount of rings or some amount of emblems, stuff like that… Or, there might be a goal that you might finish from any story, like Beginner Kart Racing Emblem because there is a driving stage for both stories, Hero and Dark, but you gotta choose at this point if you want to sacrifice story progression and just drop for this mission for a while or if you keep going in the story or other goals and your teammate might take this goal out of your way because well, eventually everybody will have access to this.
Floha258: That’s an interesting part you’re speaking of, story progression! Now, most people Sonic Adventure 2 only like as a pretty linear game where you just go from level to level, to story, and so on. Can you maybe tell us more about how that affects the bingo in itself?
CFood: Yeah, that is a really good point about everything. So, take like [Super Mario] Sunshine for example, right. That game, you could just go off and do half of the worlds right off the bat. There’s a couple that require a couple of shines first, but you know that’s a very open game. [The Legend of Zelda:] Breath of the Wild is a very open game in the way that you can go and do what you can do.
Sonic Adventure 2 does seem like a very linear structured game where, you know, you’ll have a goal, like a story-based goal, or getting animals, or finishing with 100+ rings and things like that in the regular story-based missions. But when you finish a stage, then you can do missions 2 to 5, which you would need to do for the 180 Emblems speedrun or 180 emblems in general! But, we throw these into the mix as well so like once you finish City Escape, the question becomes “do you continue opening more up for yourself later, or do you go and get City Escape M2 right now?”. It’s not that long of a goal, but is it worth going for right now? And the later the missions are in the stage… If it’s a goal for City Escape M5, or Mission 5, that is a HUGE commitment because you have to get through Mission 2, Mission 3, Mission 4, and THEN you can do Mission 5. And by that point, your opponent is probably in Shadow 1 (editor’s note: the first fight against Shadow at the Green Forest stage) by this point or something, not entirely sure. Those are the questions you have to think about with regards to story progress, because you can do these things but your opponent could be continuing the story. Meanwhile you could just keep going through the story but then once you start seeing your opponent pick off missions, are you going to be sweating there, would it be wise to get some other missions, I don’t know! There is so much strategy to this and so much second-guessing and wondering.
With streaming and stuff, it would be in poor taste to go have the stream open so you know exactly where your opponents are at all times, but the offline matches… You have NO IDEA what they’re doing, so it’s very fascinating to think about, and their story progression really just nails home the type of bingo game that Sonic Adventure 2 is. It’s about slowly opening up your options for what you can do. Well, not slowly, you want to do it as fast as possible but you know, getting missions, or getting Chao Karate or karting, there’s a lot to it.
Tommy: I would agree that SA2 is a linear game, only to a certain extent… Especially if you’re just doing a regular speedrun one of the two most common categories which would be either Hero Story or Dark Story, even in that case, it’s still not linear for one reason which would be hunting, because once again hunting would be different pretty much guaranteed every time you play it. But, if you mix this game with bingo it’s almost never really linear because the amount of goals that would let you take them just during story progress is quite low compared to the total amount, which makes a routing difference.
There is a lot of routing in SA2. You can simply play better than your opponents, but take bad routing, and because of this routing you can lose the match, especially if it is the most common type that we usually play, being lockout, because you can lock the goals from the other team because of better routing and even if the other team plays a story faster, it’s not guaranteeing a win in this case.
Bingo in particular also led to creating a bunch of exclusive leaps and strategies that literally never have been used before because there never was a reason!
[Tommy]: I’m pretty sure CFood knows what I’m talking about! The greatest example probably would be taking the upgrade on Hidden Base in Hero Story because you normally cannot do that if you play casually. There is a certain clip which you can do during bingo to go out of bounds and take this upgrade, and I think the only case where it’s useful is pretty much bingo, because you can grab this upgrade MUCH faster if you just come back to this stage with later upgrades that you can get from other stages, which would be Eternal Engine and grab it in Mission 2 for example, which would be used in the 180 Emblems speedrun. But instead you can sacrifice probably up to 10 seconds more and grab this upgrade a lot earlier, which might be a goal, or there might be a goal which would require you to use this upgrade, so yeah you can take a lot of unnatural decisions just because of bingo!
CFood: Yeah, it had me laughing there right! So, there’s this little strat that’s been coming up lately to get in the stage select even faster, because there’s a lot of boss fights ands stages that start with an in-game cutscene that you can’t skip. We’ve got the very famous faker cutscene that starts when Sonic and Shadow fight for the first time, and that’s like just really slow and you have to watch that and then you pause and exit to go to the stage select and then you have to watch it again once you go back to story… So a lot of runners in bingo have been using this strat where you collect the Chao Key, unlock the Chao Garden and if you pause and exit the game from the Chao Garden, you go back to the main menu so you can get it to stage select right away without sitting though that entire in-game cutscene. And so once you go back to story, you don’t have to watch that in-game cutscene. This has even gone a little farther, I think everyone saw it for the first time when we had a runner go into a mission in stage select and unlock the Chao Garden that way, and then because you’re not doing it from story, when you exit the door you don’t get kicked out so that is probably one of the more optimal times to go and do the funny goal of naming the Chao after your opponent! Love that goal! [Laughs]
These things literally NEVER get used outside of bingo because this is a bingo RTA optimization. Everything else, you know, getting upgrades as soon as possible or doing missions without upgrades… Like those are fun challenges, you don’t see them in speedruns but the Chao Garden optimization to avoid an in-game cutscene, that is peak SA2 right there, I love it! [Laughs]
Floha258: I love how you’re basically answering all the questions that I don’t even need to ask! That’s very good! I always love it when people do that. Now, we’ve talked a lot about the story, but are there any other aspects in SA2 that are very challenging or engaging, if it comes to routing or execution?
Tommy: That’s a tough one. I’m pretty sure the farthest thing to keep in mind is to consider all the upgrades you’re gonna collect or NOT gonna collect while doing certain missions because if you don’t do that properly, it backfires you in the middle of the way, and I’ve seen it happening MANY times, including with myself because this game as a lot of levels and each level has one upgrade. You don’t need all of them, but you might need more than you usually get when you just run the story. If somebody slipped your mind it can make a difference and pretty much cost you a goal or the entire match because of it.
CFood: It’s a tough question. I mean, there’s the obvious cop-out, we could say Nightmare bingo is very challenging! [Laughs] That’s got some interesting goals. I love one time when I had to sit there and think hard for all of these, and… Zero A inputs… One of the most creative ones actually from Nightmare bingo was in Radical Highway M3, you have to collect a Life Capsule which is after where the Lost Chao is in the level so you have to go collect that Life Capsule, NOT DIE, you can’t die, and you have to backtrack through the stage to get back to the Lost Chao and finish it off. It’s very difficult, and it is such a creative goal, I love it.
As far as normal bingo is concerned, I think debating whether you want to pick story progress or not… Or even if you’re quite aways in and you have a lot of missions open, there’s a lot of times where runners are like “alright, it’s mission time!” and everyone seems to go in a mission at about the same time, but there will be like so many missions available that you don’t know which ones to go for and like, it really hurts for the runners with less points to be going towards different missions entirely. In a lockout scenario, right, it’s a free, uncontested point but at the same time their opponents with way more points and way more goals ticked off are going to be even closer to winning because their goals are also not being contested right now, so that’s a very interesting challenge… The lovely Bingo Dilemma right there when you’re not sure which missions to work towards and it really sucks to be in the lower end at the time! I think that’s probably one of the more challenging aspects of normal bingo.
Floha258: Ok. Alright, so now let’s talk a little bit about some individual goals. The good, the bad, the ugly. What are some really fun, engaging goals, or some that you really love to have? Or just some that you REALLY DO NOT like or that you even think that maybe even not may be that good in their current state and may need some rebalancing?
Tommy: I will probably lead the entire question to CFood since I made most of them! [Laughs]
Tommy: I created them and tested them, and there is a number of goals that never are never added because, well, they were either not fun enough or they were too hard but still possible, in case for example of the Nightmare bingo board. There was an idea of making the missions without both ring boosts and… how do you call that platform? Speed boosts? Speed pad? I don’t know what it is, but yeah, you cannot use any kind of boosts and I didn’t know if that was possible because I never managed to get that, but I had a driving God to test this thing who is IDGeek who was also one of the many members who decided to help me with tests and stuff, and he actually managed to get this! [Laughs] I thought if only one person can do that, it’s probably just gonna get removed! [Laughs]
CFood: [Laughs] You really are asking Tommy “pick his favourite child” and I don’t know if he can do that! [Laughs]
As for me, this question is very interesting because on one hand I immediately want to say that I think mission goals are very boring because it’s just ‘do mission 2/3/4/5’… BUT those also make for the best lockout bingo races because while the interesting goals of finishing mission 1 with 100+ rings or finding the 5 hidden animals or whatever else, while those are cool to do, they’re also just a free point to whoever gets to the stage first almost every time. It really turns into a one-on-one race basically of who gets to the stage and story progression faster and then they get that goal immediately. These are more just the bingo types of like the happy balance of ‘these are the fun goals that I like doing’ but these are the goals that I don’t think are fun but are the goals that actually make the actual bingo experience fun overall for everyone.
But as I mentioned earlier, that Nightmare bingo goal on Radical Highway M3, getting the Live Capsule and then finishing without dying, I really like that goal! In fact, there’s a lot of Nightmare goals that are like that I think are really neat! [Laughs] One of them is very funny: getting to Sonic or Shadow 2, the last fight in the story… There are endless rings as you run through, and so the goal is literally to Game Over with 99 rings, so you have to go down to 0 lives first, and then collect 99 rings, and then jump off and die! [Laughs] It’s really funny, I love that goal! But also, you’re one ring away from getting an extra life and wasting all that time, so that makes it even funnier! [Laughs] Oh man, bingo is so cool! When is Nightmare Bingo League?
Tommy: If I may add a couple things to respond to that first, about the funny Game Over goal, the original intention in particular was also to waste enough time for the player that instead of Game Overing he will straight-up finish the boss fight with 99 rings, which actually happened several times! [Laughs]
Tommy: Which also makes this goal funny because after you beat the final boss you have to see the unskippable credits for 5 minutes! Or, you reboot the game, which might not boot up for the first time because we have a great port.
And second thing, I don’t understand why you call regular missions boring. What about regular missions you need to beat in a specific way which don’t necessarily require you to go fast but rather have a knowledge about how slow or how fast you need to go for getting B ranks?
CFood: Alright, I like the B ranks stages more because knowing all about the bonus points is really cool, and I’ll give this: I think City Escape M5 and Dry Lagoon M5 and a LOT of M5s actually are really neat when you don’t have the right upgrades! I believe someone, I don’t remember who it is, in their way to get past that gap in White Jungle M5 that you’d normally need the Light Dash for, like you go on top of a tree and do a funny spin dash jump, someone was saying that this is possible if you do that, I don’t know if it is because I haven’t done it and I haven’t seen it, but the M5s are cool and hunting B ranks are really funny. In general, yeah, doing regular missions to me is just kind of like “oh, yay, here we go, it’s another mission”, I don’t know. That’s just me though.
Floha258: Alright, so we’ve talked about the upgrades where you said that some people might regret it in the end when picking them up. So maybe let’s elaborate a little bit more onto that, or is there maybe anything else that can completely not maybe entirely ‘destroy’ it, but affect your routing in a negative way, or anything like that maybe?
CFood: So, if you DON’T have the upgrades and you need them, like for Dry Lagoon M5 as I mentioned it’s WAY easier and simpler with the Treasure Scope. In fact, there’s a lot of missions where having the Treasure Scope makes them a lot easier, but Dry Lagoon M5 is one of the first ones and even after you have Security Hall open, I’ve seen some runners still try and do Dry Lagoon M5 without it. As far as I think the only instance of an upgrade being gotten that would negatively affect you is in Nightmare bingo. I don’t remember the name of the upgrade but when you’re supposed to do Iron Gate Pacifist, this upgrade that will destroy multiple enemies and gives your bolts larger radius, that makes that Pacifist Iron Gate goal really difficult! Nightmare bingo has got all the fun goals! [Laughs] But yeah, those are the things that popped in my head real quick.
Floha258: Do you want to add anything to that, Tommy?
Tommy: Well, I don’t know if I have much to add here because there are very specific instances when having more upgrades than usual might hurt your case, but they’re so local I feel it’s not really worth mentioning them. It’s just something you’ll probably experience at some point.
CFood: Yeah, actually, the Airshoes that you get in White Jungle to do Light Dashes, those can be very problematic especially in Sky Rail. [Laughs] If you try to go on top of those pumpkins, if you’re not charging the spin dash before you land, then there are times where you could accidentally light dash yourself off of the ledge and die. That is always a funny upgrade, I just thought about that.
Tommy: Yeah, that’s one of the upgrades you never see in Dark Story runs because there is a very lazy way around it which is simply faster… Which is not the case for Hero Story though, but because most runners are not used to not having Light Dash for half of Shadow’s stages, that can mess up for them later as well, specifically Sky Rail and I would say Final Chase, but I will skip all that, kind of makes it irrelevant. [Laughs]
Floha258: Alright, so, we’ve seen a lot of SA2 bingo being played in 2v2 matches as seen in the Bingo League. But, let’s imagine for a moment, how different would it be to play these matches in a 1v1 format? How does this affect pretty much everything?
CFood: So, right off the bat, if you’re doing 1v1 you’re almost certainly going into normal bingo, most runners who do 1v1 are gonna pick Hero or Dark Story bingo specifically, so when you load into the game, that’s all you have to worry about, just the thing in Hero Story or just in Dark Story. If they were to do normal bingo or Nightmare bingo, it might turn out really funny immediately with one runner going Hero and the other going into Dark, maybe! [Laughs] That would be something.
But yeah, so you just load in Hero or Dark Story and to make up for the fact that normal bingo doesn’t necessarily go that deep into the story depending on what the board generates, Hero and Dark Story are almost guaranteed to go through Final Rush and Final Chase because of all the goals in Tier 25 specifically. So, that means you’re actually seeing all of the stages, especially in Dark because I think Hero Story bingo has some more funny goals in Tier 25 like three M5s, but that’s the immediate change, that now you only have to worry about one story… Is there anything to do with the Chao Garden besides unlocking it?
Tommy: In Story boards?
CFood: Yeah, in Hero and Dark boards.
[Tommy]: Honestly I don’t remember.
CFood: [Laughs] It’s ok!
Tommy: It’s been quite a while. But yeah, we don’t need to imagine much about how 1v1 races would be like because it’s kind of a thing we already have. As I mentioned before, it was interesting to have some board for people to be able to race against one another without gathering four people, because sometimes it might just be unfortunate timing. And yeah, there’s always an option now for running either Hero or Dark, you CAN possibly run any other board which would simply make the race about twice as long since you need to cover both stories or even more if you’re running only one of the stories.
You know what’s more funny, that most people don’t consider? It’s a race where we have actually more than 4 people. Again, I still can’t remember the race of a long board where we had 8 players, in two teams, and there was a goal… I think it was get either 8k or 10k total rings, team combined, which means you need to sum up the total amount of rings every racer got and when you get to that point you can mark the goal and claim it. BUT, since it’s not something that’s always on your screen, you can only get total amounts of rings after you beat some level, and the number can be pretty much whatever, it’s not just like divided by five or ten points, it can be whatever amount you collected… And I remember at some point when we thought we probably got the needed amount of rings, but we couldn’t calculate it because everyone is playing and I had Piner in my team back then and they had a calculator that they needed in order to sum up the total amount of rings for all racers to make sure we actually got it because it was a lockout bingo so we needed to get it faster!
CFood: I love Piner! [Laughs] They are great!
Floha258: Gotta love those anecdotes here! Alright, so, let’s go a bit more on the surface level. What would you say is the barrier of entry for people who are interested in picking up SA2 bingos?
CFood: So, unless you’re doing Nightmare bingo, which is its own can of worms, that one barrier of entry is learning a lot about the game’s tech and layouts and everything. As far as normal bingo, hero and dark bingo and long bingo… Those ones, the barrier of entry isn’t really that high, I’m pretty sure anyone can pick these up. You have to know where the animals are, you have to know the point values you’re gonna need for the A ranks and the B ranks but you know, outside of that if you want to go against other people in people… The barrier of entry is probably you know, be competent at the game, be able to have somewhat of an understanding of how the movement and everything works… But literally anyone can pick up SA2 and do a blackout if they want to, it’s not gonna take that long.
Typically for the Bingo League, the 2v2 Bingo League, we set the entry requirement being having a Hero and Dark run at a met threshold because we didn’t want anyone to get paired up with someone that doesn’t have the speedrunning prowess to be able to do these goals fast enough, but you know, as far as outside of that anyone can pick up SA2 bingo. It’s easy, all these goals are very well do-able. Are you going to do them as fast as everyone else in speedruns? Probably not. But you can still do it. To people that do know the game but don’t speedrun they can still have a fun bingo game between themselves, I am sure.
Can’t wait for Floha and Pikastroff versus time itself! *Cough cough*
Floha258: [Laughs] Soon, ™.
Tommy: As a bingo developer I had one of the goals that would be to make sure that every single goal would be accessible for players of any skill. Even if you’re just playing the game casually. I’m pretty sure for as long as you’re not touching the Nightmare board, you can beat pretty much any goal you will encounter on this board.
There are several hundred goals for each of them, so it took a while to sort some of these goals because I can totally remember suggestions where some were like quote unquote “tricky goals” but I didn’t want to force players to learn specific skips or tricks that they would not get the natural way in order to simply obtain the goal for a normal bingo, or any other bingo except the Nightmare board. So, I’m pretty sure that pretty much anybody can beat all the goals. It might not be as optimal as more experienced runners who spent some time practicing in a speedrun of the game. So, it might take more time in race conditions, but pretty sure they would all be do-able, except for the Nightmare bingo board that I eventually got up not that far ago, it was the very last board I made.
Well, there was another goal for this. I specifically wanted to make it challenging, so even if you’re a casual player I’m pretty sure you can still beat all the goals but some of them will not be obvious because well, they’re kind of like puzzles. There is usually at least one easy solution but it’s not guaranteed that you’re gonna get the goal the way I intended to, because for example there was a goal for Green Forest Mission 5, to finish without Bounce Bracelet, which essentially would be almost the same mission as with Bounce Bracelet except the very end because of a funny trigger which makes platforms fall sooner. I wasn’t sure how easy it would be without prior knowledge of how to do this, and then I asked the team of testers for this particular goal, I got about eight different ways to finish it off! [Laughing]
Tommy: All of which I never thought of, some of them were hard, some of them were as easy as what I knew. This is pretty much the biggest reason why I decided to let this goal be in the board, because again, there are at least several ways as far as I’m aware now to beat it without needing to be super skilled. I would say pretty much most of the goals are accessible and if you take aside the Nightmare board, then every goal is accessible for any level.
CFood: Ok, so I just remembered there are actually a couple of goals. There is Eternal Engine and Mission Street, finishing those with 100+ rings… Those are goals that even speedrunners have trouble with trying to do. These are hard stages, they can be done with enough patience and perseverance but if anything, those might be the only goals in normal bingo that any casual or newcomer will have problems with. There’s a lot of things that keep shooting at you the entire time in Eternal Engine, and trying to get to the end, especially at the very end with all the lasers going everywhere, and you can’t just drop down you do have to plan your movement through there and hover at the right time so you can move over and not get hit by the artificial chaoses and everything… It’s a whole fun process! So yeah if anything, those goals might be a little tricky but they’re still do-able, and the 100+ rings, that’s literally just Mission 2 but finish the stage.
Tommy: Wow, I’ll give you that they’re more tricky if you speedrun the game, because there are two huge reasons which make this mission difficult in particular. The first one would be that if you’re a speedrunner with experience, you’re most likely to know how to play this level in a fast way. When you do either the skip in pretty much the second room, or the alt version of the skip when you do it half-stage, but you’re just not used to play the rest of the stage with a lot of enemies.
This part is intended to be difficult casually because it’s a late level in story progression, and another reason which would make it more difficult is pretty much the fact that you are racing someone. You want to beat it before your opponent which is why might be in a hurry and do risky moves. But in a vacuum, if you play it casually and take it slow, I’m pretty sure it’s not going to be as difficult simply because yeah, it’s kind of like M2 at some point where you need 100 rings but after that, you have checkpoints and each of them will give you an extra shield which gives you extra chance for a mistake, so you CAN still take damage at least once after every checkpoint and still beat it. So I think this mission is simply harder because of the fact that you’re used to being in bingo and in races.
Floha258: Alright. So, what do you think in how far can any normal speedrunners benefit from playing bingo?
CFood: So, as we’ve drawn a lot of parallels with hunting at the beginning of this interview, I think dealing with that same kind of thought process on how to react to everything will make you better with dealing with hunting. And then there’s also doing these bingo matches, you are doing things that you wouldn’t do in a normal run, but it will also get to do movements and getting you to traverse through these stages. Eternal Engine and Final Rush probably don’t get a lot of use unless you do a restricted skips speedrun so even then it’s pretty useful for that actually. But going through Pyramid Cave or Green Forest, stages like those, you’ll still get a lot of movement and just getting used to going through these stages even when you go out of your way to get some hidden animals or collect rings on the way which can be useful for M2s down the line, and vice-versa. I love to joke that the 180 Emblems speedrun is a bingo practice category! But yeah, I think bingo should help with movement and the decision making that comes really handy when you decide to take hunting super seriously or take a more indepth look at it.
Floha258: Alright, then we’ve got one last question about the bingo itself. How do you think the community can further support bingos?
CFood:… play them? [Laughs]
Tommy: Pretty much. The more people play bingo the more they will get interested in it. I guess that’s how things work.
CFood: So after watching Bingothon Winter 2021 and getting involved with that, that was my first exposure to Bingothon and other types of bingos and then I started looking at the [Super Mario] Sunshine bingo and seeing what they’re doing. You know, Row Control, Draft and Lockout bingo. A lot of runners are not familiar with these types of bingos at all and might be a little hesitant to jump into these games especially if the rules don’t seem clear enough. Invasion sounds complicated, but it’s really simple. It would be nice if we could get a lot of runners to want to start doing these bingo types to see if it fits well with Sonic Adventure 2 and get the interest out to other people who watch it. I know Deku and Tethys did a Hero Story Invasion bingo and Prophet was commentating that and he was instantly sold. In fact Piner said they’re interested to play Invasion bingo with him, so I’m looking forward to that match!
Floha258: Alright, really cool! So now, we’ve talked a lot about the Bingo League so far. So let’s talk about it just a little more. Would you like to explain what even is this mysterious Bingo League?
CFood: So, there were quite a number of people in the Sonic Adventure 2 speedrunning community that wanted some kind of bingo event, a bingo league, a bingo tournament, anything, they just wanted something. A lot of people were also asking for a Hero Story tournament and a Dark Story tournament and a hunting tournament, and a lot of things!
Meanwhile, we were also dealing with our fun little timing question of how we want Sonic Adventure 2 to be loadless, so while they’re still dealing with that question, the mods decided to get an event committee together and here comes me… I give my PC, finally built after Hero Story and Dark Story tournaments have happened and I’m like “alright, it’s time, bingo league!”… 2v2, so we get Hero and Dark runners in there right away being able to go, and lockout, and we got 11 teams with 22 people signed up and they’ve had since the beginning of February until the end of April to get all of their matches in, which is 10 matches each. Depending on how things go, we never confirmed this off the bat but we did kind of mention we might do a little playoffs after the league to crown the champion at the end. But if anything, getting four people all free at the same time and try to keep that going for two weeks straight was never gonna happen! [Laughs]
So, three months of schedule-whenever-you-can has worked out really well I think, and that has been our Bingo League experience where, because it’s 2v2, all runners who have a run that’s in threshold… The leaderboard thresholds on Speedrun.com for Hero and Dark Story are 50 minutes, or 55 minutes RTA for consoles. Those were the entry barriers, because we were also willing to pair up anyone who signed up without a partner, who would be paired up with someone else who didn’t have a partner. We did do this, and then a team dropped out unfortunately but we didn’t want anyone who wasn’t somewhat competent at the game bringing their partner down even if we tried making our boards as fair as possible to give teams with different playing abilities a fair chance. We’ve actually seen these boards really work out like that. It is amazing seeing teams that we thought would be a complete blowout and they’ve actually really closed scores so that’s cool! But yeah, there’s our Bingo League.
Floha258: So, what is the process for organizing such a tournament and what have you realized to be the most challenging aspects of this organization?
CFood: Alright, so the process was… We took what we’ve learned from doing the Hero Story and Dark Story tournament and used that to make the Bingo League organization a bit better. One of the things I immediately knew was that unless I – not me specifically, but generally – had a machine that’s capable of restreaming bingo, because this is FOUR streams that you’re restreaming and not every restreamers are able to even just do two streams for the races, so that was one of the first things that I was thinking about. We NEED a machine that can bring in four streams, also have Discord going, then have OBS up and screensharing OBS through Discord so the commentators can commentate on the match and be in sync with what’s going on, and then being able to stream that and having it all work smoothly without seeing the colour blue show up at all. Except the hedgehog, blue hedgehog is fine, the blue screen though, don’t want to see that! [Laughs]
That was one of the main things, the machine. There’s been a few times where friends in the event committee that I trust enough, I would give them Parsec (editor’s note: a software for remote control to a computer) access to do the restream through my PC while I go to bed, so that’s been nice.
Outside of that, what have I learned from this? Well, we’re going to put out a questionnaire after the league is over for all the runners and then to anyone who helped out or anyone who’s been watching and see what their thoughts are because some runners have been feeling a little tired after a couple months of this. I’m not sure if a three months time frame was too long, or if the league format just wasn’t for them specifically, I don’t know. We don’t really want to exclude anyone, we’re just trying to make events that the runners actually want to do.
And yeah, back to the first part… Things we learned from Hero and Dark Story tournament that we’ve had to employ a little bit coming into the league here is sparking the conversation about scheduling, because not every runner… Well, they’re all ready to schedule, but they don’t always speak out to the other teams, so sometimes we gotta get that ball rolling, to be like “hey, what time do you guys think you could do this?”. Some teams didn’t need any guidance and then some teams, they just needed a little bit of a “hey, when could you do this match?”. You find out there are some people that do great with being asked “hey, what time can you do this?” and they can spit something up, and they haven’t been the type to go asking other teams so once you have those people left that’s when as organizers you have to come in and be like “hey, what time could you do this match?” and see both teams respond with what they have. This is something we learned during Hero Story and Dark Story, and once again during the Bingo League. Some people are better with responding rather than taking the initiative to ask others themselves.
Floha258: Alright, so concluding this line of questions about the Bingo League, do you have any advice for anyone interested in making a bingo tournament for their own community?
CFood: Shoutouts to the Bingothon folks, they are quite the little army. They’ve been more helpful than you can realize.
Well… you’ve realized, you are the help! [Laughs]
But to the people listening to this, the Bingothon folks are very helpful and they love bingo, they will probably say yes!
Floha258: I can confirm that we will probably say yes!
Floha258: Alright, so let’s round everything up again. What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you in a bingo that’s unlikely to happen in a normal run, or just in general, any anecdotes that you would like to share?
Tommy: There are so many…
CFood: Alright! First thing I thought of! [Laughs] I love Deevo, in one match he didn’t have anything else to go for I believe so he was going to do Chao Karate, so he gets another Chao Garden and he starts raising the Chaos’ stats up to be able to go in. He goes into the cave in the garden to do karate, realizes he only has Chao Racing and then finds out he does not have the DLC, so he closes the game, opens his Steam Store and buys the DLC to do the Chao Karate goal! [Laughs] It is by far the most committed goal grab I have ever seen, and the greatest story! This is going down in history. [Laughs] It is amazing!
[Tommy]: Ok, CFood, here we go, for another example of commitment to one goal. It’s been quite a while ago. They were doing a bingo race, I don’t remember all the teams but I remember that there was Ethmar against me in the opposite team, and there was a goal to reach a certain amount of emblems. Not sure how many it was at the time for this board, but it would take some time to get not naturally. So, independently Ethmar came up with the idea of doing a funny Any% route… This route is very specific in SA2. You need to do a very awkward setup. You need to go into 2-player mode, rely on RNG giving you the correct second stage in 2-player mode, beat it, come back to the story, grab the Chao Key in a very specific way that your camera is locked off so you need to do it pretty much blind. After this, you’re doing a wrong warp to the final level, but first spawn in a hunting level as a non-hunting character and have to beat it in several seconds, but before you do that, you need to do the same thing with Chao Key by grabbing it blind and you need to keep doing it many, many, many times, and that was Ethmar planned to get very fast emblems in order to grab this goal for his team… But unfortunately it appeared that doing this Any% route wrong warp doesn’t give you any emblems!
CFood: OH NO! Ethmar! [CFood dies in laughter]
Tommy: That was some serious commitment, even without paying for DLC! [Laughs]
CFood: That is great! I love you Ethmar! [Is resurrected by laughter]
Floha258: Alright, so yeah, that’s about it. But before we go, any final words that you’d like to share?
CFood: Auraace66 is very based.
Floha258: Alright, I am guessing that there are no other words, which leads me to say shoutouts to both CFood and Tommy for coming on and talking about Sonic Adventure 2 bingo! Go make sure to follow them both: the links are down in the YouTube description (editor’s note: or just click on their names if you are reading this, *wink wink*).
If you want to be featured in your own Beyond the Board for your own game, then do join our Discord and either message me (editor’s note: Floha258#1968) or Pikastroff#4262. You will see us again on next month’s Beyond the Board. This was Floha. Bye!
And that is it for this month’s Beyond the Board!
Thank you, and see you later on another Beyond the Board!
About The Author
Floha258 is one of the Main Organisers of Bingothon and depicts himself as “Mädchen für alles”, since he’s responsible for Development, Social Media and all other kinds of organisational activities.
Currently he is trying to fix his sleep schedule, in the hopes of it not crashing like Otogi.