Training For The Omegathon

Training For The Omegathon
#1
Training For The Omegathon
Penny Arcade Expo, or PAX for short, is a convention run by the creators of the webcomic Penny Arcade. There are several PAXs every year including one in Melbourne, Australia scheduled this year for October 26th-28th. If you have purchased a three-day Early Bird ticket like I had you are given the option to enter a lottery for the chance to participate in the Omegathon. This year, out of the thousands of potential entrants, I was selected.

[Image: omegathon.jpg]

The Omegathon is a 3-day tournament that takes part both in front of a live audience and a Twitch audience. Each Omegathon is different and for PAX Australia there are 24 competitors. It is comprised of several rounds where a portion of the losing players will be eliminated until there are only 2 people in the final round. Every round is comprised of a different game and the games will vary wildly for each round. This year there are 6 rounds:

  1. Boomerang Fu
  2. One More Line
  3. Rat-A-Tat Cat
  4. Worms Armageddon
  5. Giant Rhino Hero
  6. Final Mystery Game

2nd prize gets you re-entry into next year's Omegathon. 1st prize is free entry, accommodation and travel to the PAX of your choice. You'll probably only ever get one shot at playing in the Omegathon so I intend to make mine count. Join me as I chronicle my attempts at training for these 5 games. I'm so goddamn nervous.
Is observing my own pattern of behavior of observing my own patterns of behavior a mental fractal or just navel gazing? Please advise.
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#2
RE: Training For The Omegathon
October 3rd, Wednesday, 1:14 AM

Last Friday the 28th of September I had discovered that the list of games had been published on the PAX Australia website. Knowing that the contestants usually got advance knowledge I begun to panic and unfortunately my fears were confirmed. The games list had been sent out on the 19th of September and it had gone to my junk mail. I hadn't even thought to look. I was now 9 days behind my fellow contestants in preparation for the event. Here I am nearly a week later and I'm feeling better but not great. Here's my current progression on each game:

1. Boomerang Fu
Well this sucks. Round one is a local couch competitive game, by which I mean it's like Gang Beasts or SpeedRunners or Duck Game or Screencheat or Move Or Die. You get the idea. I'm not uncomfortable playing this type of game, that's not the issue. The issue is that this game is unreleased. I will say that again: this game has not been released yet. So, you might think I'd be all ce la vie about this, what can I do about this right? I think that's not a pragmatic approach. There are a couple of things I can do. Firstly I can follow the game's twitter account for any glimpses of information I can glean. Save finding an Australian games journalist to coerce details of the game out of the Aussie developer that's about as much info as I'll get on the game. Secondly I can practice picking up a game I've never played before and playing it for 15 minutes to see how quickly I can adapt to new and different controls. More points if it's a game that requires quick reactions and a controller to play it. Luckily I'm a Humble Monthly subscriber so I have plenty of games I've never played before.
Total time spent practicing: 0 hours.

2. One More Line
This game I feel much more confident in. Supposing I don't lose to what will most likely be 3 other people in the first round this is the next stop. It's a free game for mobile/tablets although you can also play it on Kongregate if you like Flash Game Lag. The premise is simple: rotate around little circles while getting as far as you can along a track. Press on the screen to begin your orbit and let go of the screen to leave your current orbit. Hit the sides of the track while not in orbit or hit one of the circles and you're insta-killed. It's about quick reactions and good forward planning. This game just needs a lot of time dumped into it to get really good at it. So far I'm not and those 9 days I've lost hang over my head. The one saving grace is that I ride the bus to work, so in theory, with discipline, I could have 2 hours of practice every week day. But I also have Youtube on my phone and I'm a serial procrastinator so it's more like I've put two hours practice in, in total. *sigh*
Total time spent practicing: 2 hours.
Highest Score: 140


3. Rat-A-Tat Cat
This is a child's card game based off of hidden information, memory and probability. You have four cards face down in front of you but you only get to look at two of them. Then players take it in turns swapping cards out from a shared deck until one person thinks they have the lowest score among players at which point they'll end their turn saying "Rat-A-Tat Cat". At that point everyone else gets one final turn before everyone reveals their cards. Lowest score wins although this game is often played across several rounds. Why? Because somebody might end it on turn one if they feel they've got a good enough hand. And often that's the right play. Problem is this game relies much more on chance than it does good game play. This is a game I could get screwed over if I just draw bad cards and there'll be nothing I can do. I've played a few games at a local Uni's games night and I've work-shopped a couple of ideas. Nothing sticks. This game seems like dumb luck. This is frustrating. I have more to say on this game when it's not nearing 2:00AM and I intend to do some probability math to help with risk assessment but honestly there's only so much I can do to save myself here.
Total time spent practicing: 2 hours.

4. Worms Armageddon
I never pursued higher education due to my problem with procrastination. It's so bad I nearly got fined by the tax department because I hadn't completed my tax returns in three years. I knew I needed to do it I just... didn't. I don't wanna psychoanalyze myself too heavily here but a big part of it is anxiety. I don't mind telling you folk because it's one thing I feel I can relate to some of you on. Being vulnerable is OK over here at Eagle Time. So what does this have to do with Worms? Well, I've downloaded and installed the game and... that's about it. I spent all evening trying to psyche myself up to practice. I knew I had to do it and I couldn't manage to bring myself to do something I ostensibly wish to do. I'm trying not to let it get me down but it's... hard. Especially considering this pattern of behavior has followed me around since high school, a good decade ago. I haven't even searched for online Worms communities who might be able to help me. If there's one game here I can rely on the experience of other people to help me get ahead it's this game. This is the game I could go deepest on becoming an expert. Putting off getting started only sets me further behind because this is also the game my opponents could go the deepest on too. If I'm not careful I'll become a walking parable. Fuck.
Total time spent practicing: 0 hours.

5. Giant Rhino Hero
This is my ace in the hole. Should I somehow dodge every bullet, climb every cliff edge, befriend every shark and be blessed with the luck of an irate leprechaun I'll end up here and this is where I want to be. The only advantage I have over my competitors is that the list sent out to the Omeganauts and the list on the official website is slightly different. Our list said "Rhino Hero" but the website says "Giant Rhino Hero". What's the difference? Well, Rhino Hero is a dexterity game similar to Jenga. Instead of building a tower of blocks you are building a tower of bent cards. Make the tower fall and you're eliminated. Regular Rhino Hero's cards are smaller than playing cards. Giant Rhino Hero's cards are bigger than a loaf of bread (See link in OP for scale). Rhino Hero is easily obtainable but Giant Rhino Hero cost $150 at the time of production and was only available in limited supply in Japan, Germany and perhaps America, I believe. It's super hard to get your hands on a copy and if you're lucky somebody going to your local convention will bring their copy along. But I've sourced a copy. The gentleman that runs my local game store is willing to lend me his copy for a few days to practice with, once he's done loaning it out to primary school fetes and other events. This will give me a huge advantage in the unlikely case that I make it to the Final 4. I'll bet some competitors won't even realize it's the giant version until it's too late. They won't know what hit them. I've already gone to the games store and played with it there for a little bit.
Total time spent practicing: ~30 minutes.

So there you have it. It's past 2AM now so I'm going to bed. I'm tired and sick to my stomach, nerves and low self esteem to blame. Words of encouragement and advice are always appreciated.
Is observing my own pattern of behavior of observing my own patterns of behavior a mental fractal or just navel gazing? Please advise.
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#3
RE: Training For The Omegathon
Wow, sounds big! The most exciting thing I did this week is find the tv remote. I honestly really hope you win, you’re putting so much work into this and it’s honestly amazing. =0
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