Geekade’s Pain-in-the-Ass-a-Thon is back! For those not in the know, every year, the folks over at Geekade (the site that hosts the Stone Age Gamer Podcast) gather together for 24 hours of pain-in-the-ass video game live streaming. They do this for a couple of reasons. One, they love to torture themselves. But two, and most importantly, to raise money for Colon Cancer prevention. The fine folks at the Colorectal Cancer Alliance have teamed up with them for the past few years to help raise funds, and we’re all hoping this year will be their biggest yet. So, what are they doing this year? What games are they facing off against, and why are they all a pain in the ass? Read on to find out!
The game: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for NES
The challengers: Dan Ryan and Kris Randazzo from the Stone Age Gamer Podcast with special guest Matt Raimo from the WaveBack Podcast
Why it’s a pain in the ass: If this game’s pain in the ass status is a mystery to you, you’ve never played it before. TMNT on NES is unreasonably difficult. Sure, the first stage is manageable enough, but there are men and women all over the world who still have nightmares about the underwater bomb defusal level, and that stage is a genuine walk in the park compared to what follows. It’s got some fantastic music, and pretty much every child on the planet played it at some point back in 1989, but the percentage of those kids to actually beat it is pretty darn low.
The game: Altered Beast for Sega Genesis
The challengers: Evan Goldstein from This Week’s Episode and Angie Fernot, the artist behind the PITAthon nurse.
Why it’s a pain in the ass: Altered Beast was originally an arcade game designed to eat your quarters. The game is exceptionally difficult to get through without knowing all the patterns by heart, but as long as you had the cash, you had infinite chances to see the end credits. The Sega Genesis version doesn’t accept quarters. The Genesis version has a finite number of lives and continues. On top of that, we don’t think Evan and Angie have played the game in years. Also, they only have 1 hour to complete their mission.
The game: Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones for NES
The challengers: Dave DiOrio and Shaun Hayes from The Whiparound Podcast
Why it’s a pain in the ass: Double Dragon has always been a pretty challenging game, but by the time they hit the third installment on NES, they crossed a line. The game is flat out tough in its own right. It’s really easy to take damage, and there’s no way to regenerate health in any given stage. But health pickup aren’t the only things that are missing. There are no lives either. That’s right, you die once, it’s game over. There are some extra characters you can unlock during your quest that essentially can be used as “lives” but in total there’s a whopping 4 characters to split between the 2 players. They’ve got 2 solid hours to get as far as they can.
The game: Mega Man for Game Gear
The challenger: Jonathan Robert from the Mutant Musings Podcast
Why it’s a pain in the ass: Each year, Jonathan tackles some sort of unusual Mega Man game for the PITAthon. Last year it was fan game Mega Man Unlimited. The year before it was Mega Man: The Wily Wars. Both of those games are tough for different reasons, but this year’s game may just be the toughest of them all. Mega Man for Game Gear is quite an odd beast. On paper it looks like it’s a pretty straightforward compilation of Mega Man 4 and 5 for NES, but once you actually play the game you realize that thanks to the screen size of the Game Gear itself, you can’t see very far in front of yourself while playing. That means enemies will be firing at you from off screen, bottomless pits will be waiting for you just past your line of sight, and instant death spikes will sneak up on you when you least expect it. The chirpy music certainly won’t help either, nor will his Mutant Musings co-host Patti’s heckling.
The game: Zelda’s Adventure for Philips CD-i
The challenger: Kris Randazzo from the Stone Age Gamer Podcast
Why it’s a pain in the ass: Zelda’s Adventure is an awful, awful game. Games can be a pain in the ass for a number of reasons, but Zelda’s Adventure is a pain because it’s so broken it’s actually a pain in the ass just to try to play. This game moves screen by screen, similar to the original NES Legend of Zelda, except there’s quantifiable loading time between each and every screen. There’s little direction as to where you’re supposed to be going or what you should be doing, it’s ugly as sin, and your only weapon at the start of the game is a stick. Not like a Bo staff, more like a tree branch. Kris has tackled Link: Faces of Evil and Zelda: Wand of Gamelon at the past 2 PITAthons, and completing this one would mean he’s beaten all 3 titles in the unholy triforce. Can he do it?
The game: Until Dawn: Rush of Blood VR for PS4
The challengers: Dave Marconi and Cengiz Kuyas from You Shall Not Pass Go
Why it’s a pain in the ass: From what we’ve come to understand, this game is absolutely terrifying, and as such it can make aiming in VR extremely difficult, what with the pants being scared off of the player every couple of seconds. This will be the PITAthon’s first foray into the world of VR, so let’s hope Dave and Cengiz survive.
The game: Overcooked 2 for Nintendo Switch
The challengers: Everyone who’s still awake
Why it’s a pain in the ass: Well, it was designed that way! Overcooked 2 is one of the very best couch co-op games out there, and a large part of what makes it so much fun is that it’s all about trying to control chaos. The controls are intentionally less than precise, and the things the game makes you do become increasingly insane as time goes on. There will likely be lots of shouting.
The game: Fantasy Zone (arcade)
The challenger: Dean DeFalco from the Vest and Friends Podcast
Why it’s a pain in the ass: Fantasy Zone is super colorful and cute. You fly around in a little ship that sprouts legs and walks around if you get near the ground. Silly-looking creatures with googly eyes flutter about, and the music fills your ears with joy. This is all done to lull you into a false sense of security though because Fantasy Zone is as tough as games come. What starts off looking like a slow-paced afternoon romp quickly turns into a bullet hell designed to kill you as quickly as humanly possible. Dean will definitely have his hands full with this one if he hopes to beat it in the allotted time.
The game: Silver Surfer for NES
The challenger: Jordan Hazelwood from the Non-Stop Comic Shop Podcast
Why it’s a pain in the ass: Much like Fantasy Zone, Silver Surfer is a scrolling shooter with one-hit kills. Where Surfer probably has the difficulty advantage though is that is’t somehow even easier to die. Get too close to a wall? Dead. Come close to grazing an enemy bullet? Dead. Absolutely everything in this game is out to murder your silver-plated ass, and murder you it will. It’s been hailed as one of the very hardest NES games of all time. Jordan is going to have his work cut out for him.
The game: Odama for Nintendo GameCube
The challenger: Kris Randazzo from the WaveBack Podcast
Why it’s a pain in the ass: Odama is a pain in the ass because it requires you to basically play 2 games at the same time. From the insane mind of Yoot Saito, the man behind Seaman for Dreamcast, Odama has the player use voice commands to try and get a bell from one end of a battlefield to another. While issuing said voice commands though, you also have to play a game of pinball on that very same battlefield. Seriously, this game defies description. It’s fantastic, and super fun, but it’s a complete pain in the ass to actually play well.
The game: Bubsy II for SNES
The challenger: Dean DeFalco from the Vest and Friends Podcast
Why it’s a pain in the ass: For the past 2 years, Dean has attempted to beat Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind on the PITAthon, and both years he failed. Shortly after last year’s stream, he jumped on Twitch and did what he originally set out to do, returning Bubsy’s yarn ball collection and sending the Woolies packing. Yea, Dean beat Bubsy. So naturally, this year we’re making him take on the worse-in-every-way sequel, Bubsy II. With worse controls, abysmal level design, and just an overall sense of “cheapness” dripping from every aspect of this title, Bubsy II is pure torture, and we could think of no better way to close out the show.
And that’s all that's on tap for this year. Their goal is to beat their previous record of $2000, and this time around they're going to be hitting the viewers with special incentives to donate throughout the stream. Each game is going to have special challenges to make the experience even tougher if they can meet certain donation goals. There’s going to be a swear jar that the players have to donate to every time they lose their temper and say something naughty, and there will probably be a few other surprises thrown in the mix too. So mark your calendars for September 22-23 from 10am-10am and tune in to www.twitch.tv/geekade to watch them get our asses handed to them for the good of asses everywhere!