Author Topic: What compels a 1CC?  (Read 6335 times)

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Funbil

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What compels a 1CC?
« on: January 13, 2024, 02:56:40 PM »
I've been thinking lately about the different reasons non-shoot-em-up players might pick up a game and convince themselves to 1CC it. After all, we're not all natural-born shmup freaks – in my experience, getting into this style of game has to be a pretty active effort. Investing so heavily in a single game requires deliberate dedication. Where does that dedication come from? This is what I've been wondering lately.

I've been asking my personal friends who don't usually play STG why they do play the ones they play, and have since been going around the different forums I visit asking the same thing. With this being a Touhou forum, I'm especially interested in what compelled some of you to dive into this style of game. Do you play other STG besides Touhou? What was your first STG, and was that the same as your first 1CC? How do you decide which games to pick up, and then how do you decide if you want to spend the time and energy 1CCing it? For anyone who hasn't 1CC'd a game yet, what aspects would you look for in a game you could imagine yourself 1CCing? I'd love to hear any and all perspectives on what anyone looks for in a game.

For me personally, I've noticed I tend to spend the most time with games that are fantastical. Kiki Kaikai, Panzer Dragoon, and of course Touhou being my favorite franchises, along with other individual games like Mushihimesama, Magical Chase, or Harmful Park. For me, the creativity of the presentation is what draws me in. I love an imaginative game. At the same time, the mechanical richness of a series like R-Type and Darius or games like Battle Garegga also compel me, though I find myself spending less time with those – and I usually only uncover that depth in gameplay after being directed towards it by someone else. Games purely interested in its design and less in its atmosphere (not to say R-Type or Darius are not atmospheric – they absolutely are – just not in a way that especially grips me), while of course being "better games," are usually trickier for me to swallow unless they're really good. Maybe it's a bit like wrapping a pill in cheese to feed to a dog :cirnotan: In this way, I could absolutely see myself 1CCing a game like Metal Black or Crimzon Clover, but I'd be much more willing to put that time into a game that retains similar mechanical depth while also presenting itself in more expressive ways like Magical Shooter Putchin Pudding. For example, some games I have managed to 1CC are ones mentioned above such as various Kiki Kaikai games and Mushihimesama. I've attempted to 1CC games like Ketsui but they tend to not hold my attention for as long.

With this being a Touhou forum, I wonder how many of your experiences are similar to mine? Did we all come for Touhou's interesting presentation and stay for their CAVE-like mechanical depth? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

williewillus

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Re: What compels a 1CC?
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2024, 05:49:22 PM »
Do you play other STG besides Touhou? What was your first STG, and was that the same as your first 1CC?

Touhou was my introduction to shmups, and like many others EoSD normal was my first 1cc.

How do you decide which games to pick up, and then how do you decide if you want to spend the time and energy 1CCing it?

Presentation, music, the challenge of danmaku, and getting the "fully intended experience". This is also the same reason I initially tried improving to play on lunatic if possible, because the patterns are at their fullest and most beautiful on that difficulty.

Touhou, more than most arcade-y shmups I think, are very presentation-heavy -- when I start a game of Touhou (or a Touhou fangame), there is a certain way in which the patterns and music unfold that make it very....theatrical? Orchestrated? I enter a flow state that's a completely different experience than playing for example Mushihimesama which is mostly just raw "let's dodge!!". I actually made a video about "danmaku and music syncs in Touhou" a while back, and I might come back to the topic in the future with another video or maybe a video essay or Touhoufest panel. I haven't found another STG series that has the same vibe.

As for why 1cc, I think the simplest answer is that you get to save your replay and watch a good ending if you 1cc, and get a bad ending if you don't. It's the mark of actually "clearing" the game instead of just playing it for fun.

As for which games I pick up, I play pretty much every mainline Touhou shmup (STB, DS, VD, and ISC still in the queue). I also play a lot of the higher quality fangame shmups, some of which have closely emulated or even mastered ZUN's orchestration and presentation techniques. Examples include the Kaisendo games, a variety of Chinese fangames such as Elegant Impermanence of Sakura, Blue Devil in the Belvedere, Shining Shooting Star, Abyss Soul Lotus, Fantastic Danmaku Festival 1/2, etc.

CyberAngel

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Re: What compels a 1CC?
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2024, 06:39:44 PM »
While not my first shmup, the game that sparked my interest in bullet hell stuff for real was Dodonpachi. Then I looked into other CAVE stuff, and that eventually lead to hearing of Touhou. That was when I started to take these games seriously and practice for 1CCs, starting with EoSD and onwards. Nowadays, besides Touhou, I play some more CAVE games and a few similar doujin titles. I barely look at any new stuff, having a few dozen games to revisit once in a while is enough for me to have fun when I'm in the mood.

I'd say both aesthetics and gameplay are important for me in a bullet hell game. The former is what's likely to catch my eye and make a game memorable, and the latter determines how much staying power they have. There are some CAVE games that I've dropped because I wasn't enjoying their mechanics, and I never tried some Touhou games seriously specifically because of their looks or music (1-5 and 17-19 respectively).

The main incentive for me to come back to bullet hell games time and again is, undoubtedly, scoring. Going for pure survival is important at first, but sometimes the games show their true colors when you get into more intricate mechanics. And you don't always have to be good at raw survival for that. It's pretty rare for Touhou, but for arcade shmups there's usually quite a bit of competition even among those who haven't even gotten a 1CC. Another important thing for me is having freedom to chose how you want to play. That means choosing both between survival and scoring approach (or rather being able to mix the two at your will), and between grinding for 1CC and just being able to credit feed for a casual ride. (Which is why ZUN still deserves a punch for TH10-12 continue system.)

HartWurst

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Re: What compels a 1CC?
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2024, 10:24:38 PM »
I've only really played Touhou, but I've occasionally played Ikaruga. My first 1cc was Imperishable Night I believe, I did it on easy first and then on normal. The main reason was just because it was my favourite Touhou game at the time, so whenever I'd want to play sometime I'd just start playing. And eventually, that led me to get a 1cc. The same thing has happened for EoSD, I found it fun and eventually I played enough of it to end up with a 1cc.

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Re: What compels a 1CC?
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2024, 04:53:34 PM »
For what it's worth, I went for a Normal 1CC because people said it's challenging. And boy, was it ever. Took me months to get it. But point is, if I didn't want to test myself against something difficult, I woulda stuck to listening to the soundtracks and arrangements.

williewillus

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Re: What compels a 1CC?
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2024, 07:18:58 PM »
For what it's worth, I went for a Normal 1CC because people said it's challenging. And boy, was it ever. Took me months to get it. But point is, if I didn't want to test myself against something difficult, I woulda stuck to listening to the soundtracks and arrangements.

But it's so worth! The game soundtracks sound their best when experienced with the patterns, and I feel like people who just listen without knowing what parts of the game go with specific moments in the music are missing part of the experience.

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Re: What compels a 1CC?
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2024, 07:27:31 PM »
It's definitely something worth experiencing, I was enthralled by stuff like IN final A, Yuyuko, or Satori.

williewillus

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Re: What compels a 1CC?
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2024, 07:58:41 PM »
Yeah definitely. Satori's fight and Byakuren's fight synced to the music is absolute bliss (it doesn't help though that to get the sync you have to basically play perfectly no miss no bomb)

Re: What compels a 1CC?
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2024, 12:53:44 AM »
My motivation for 1CCs are mainly just getting the good ending, some Touhou bad endings are dark, I don't really want Reimu to be hung on a cross or be stuck in Makai for eternity. When I play a new game my objective is to mainly get a no miss no bomb run on hard even though it can get frustrating for me at times.

Touhou strikes a good balance between gameplay and story, if you want either one, they provide an ample amount. Gameplay isn't really a priority for me with Touhou games, it's more of an afterthought, the more appealing part (to me atleast) are the cute girls.
Titles like STB or Hisoutensoku have a lack of story and characters but they make it up with really fun gameplay.

The games that have the better story and characters give the better overall experience but I'll always prioritize replaying the ones with better gameplay.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2024, 12:57:57 AM by degradingwindow »

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Re: What compels a 1CC?
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2024, 08:14:29 AM »
I don't really want Reimu to be hung on a cross
Where does this happen?

CyberAngel

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Re: What compels a 1CC?
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2024, 01:25:50 PM »

Re: What compels a 1CC?
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2024, 03:47:16 PM »
Where does this happen?

Bad ending 3 where Reimu lost to Mima, needed to train and Marisa decided out of the kindness of her heart to help her. What a nice friend.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2024, 08:14:29 PM by degradingwindow »

Funbil

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Re: What compels a 1CC?
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2024, 04:39:04 PM »
Thanks for all the great replies everyone! Just as I hoped, this has been very insightful. If anyone else still has experiences they haven't shared yet, by all means, please keep them coming.

The main incentive for me to come back to bullet hell games time and again is, undoubtedly, scoring.

What qualities do you look for in a scoring system? You mentioned CAVE, who are known for their elegant and unique scoring systems (Ketsui comes to mind), but I wonder if there are any other kinds of scoring systems you appreciate besides theirs. For example, I LOVE the scoring system in Ninja Princess, yet I never really hear anyone talk about it. It's simple but effective.

it was my favourite Touhou game at the time, so whenever I'd want to play sometime I'd just start playing.

What was it about Imperishable Night that made it your favorite? Was it the character swapping mechanic, the spell cards, the atmosphere, the character designs, something else? Imperishable Night does all these things excellently, so I'd love to hear more about what resonated with you the most.

My motivation for 1CCs are mainly just getting the good ending

This is interesting to me. So for games that don't have any kind of alternate endings, do you not feel the need to 1CC them at all? You might be the first person I've ever heard of to play shooting games for their story, heh heh – which isn't even remotely a bad thing! That's an extremely unique perspective. I think it's amazing that so many people can appreciate the same games for such different reasons.

CyberAngel

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Re: What compels a 1CC?
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2024, 06:47:25 PM »
What qualities do you look for in a scoring system? You mentioned CAVE, who are known for their elegant and unique scoring systems (Ketsui comes to mind), but I wonder if there are any other kinds of scoring systems you appreciate besides theirs. For example, I LOVE the scoring system in Ninja Princess, yet I never really hear anyone talk about it. It's simple but effective.

I prefer ones where you have more flexibility when to go for score and when to stick to safe scenario. I like to work out routes and strategies on my own, adding scoring tricks bit by bit where I feel comfortable enough. So something that relies wholesale on rigid routing, like Dodonpachi, is probably something I'll never really score well in. Until I do like a hundred runs or something. Though those games are still fun enough for pure survival, with 2 loops and all.

(But funny enough, I do like one game that has a similar scoring system - Eden's Edge, a doujin title by x_x. Though full-chain routes are a stuff of legends in that one. Supposedly, someone did manage a perfect run, but there's no videos or replays as evidence anywhere.)

Anyway, for scoring systems I like, truth be told, I only put enough time in to be somehat decent in TH8 and aforementioned Eden's Edge so far. But stuff like Espgaluda, Ketsui and some other Touhou games do look promising enough and I'll definitely be revisiting them in the future to see what I can accomplish.

HartWurst

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Re: What compels a 1CC?
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2024, 07:08:31 PM »
What was it about Imperishable Night that made it your favorite? Was it the character swapping mechanic, the spell cards, the atmosphere, the character designs, something else? Imperishable Night does all these things excellently, so I'd love to hear more about what resonated with you the most.
The biggest thing which got me into IN was how easy it was on Easy mode. It was nice to just turn my brain off and play without thinking much, but I also really wanted to see how they would make those spell cards harder. So I started playing on Normal and found it fun spotting the differences between normal and easy and trying to see how far I can get. Though all the things you mentioned helped a ton. Especially the Last Word mechanic, as it gave a mini-goal to each stage on top of just getting through with no misses or bombs. It really made the earlier stages a lot more fun, since even if I could get through without much effort, aiming to get enough time to reach the last word was pretty fun. Basically what I'm trying to get at is that IN was just a really fun game, fun enough to keep me going until a 1cc

Re: What compels a 1CC?
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2024, 07:35:26 PM »
My first Experience with Shmups was an Adobe Flash game that I can barely remember the name of. I still remember having fun with it.
As for why specifically Touhou? A combination of reasons. First I take writing and lore way too seriously, let me explain:
When I was preparing my (now abandoned) Minor Existence Quest, I wanted to get all aspects of the lore and world of Touhou as accurate as I could and I decided that also included playing all the games and seeing all the possible dialogue along with the other external media. I was also a fool and played EoSD first. I still did it but there are some regrets.
Second, I like playing games. Shmups are fun to get through and Touhou in particular being the first ever one to give a name to specific bullet patterns (Spell Cards) made it very easy to chunk and make tactics to execute and succeed.
Third: A test of my skill. Challenging myself is important in everything, playing through EoSD on Lunatic was an... experience, and I will not forget it.
Overall, I stick with Touhou for Mechanical depth and lore, but I would be lying if I didn't say that the presentation can be amazing and make me stick around on a specific Spell Card for longer than necessary.
My favourite game in the series is Imperishable Night. But for non-Danmaku examples it's Hisoutensoku because I'm heavily biased towards any game where Tenshi is around and/or a playable character.

Re: What compels a 1CC?
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2024, 10:33:33 PM »
This is interesting to me. So for games that don't have any kind of alternate endings, do you not feel the need to 1CC them at all? You might be the first person I've ever heard of to play shooting games for their story, heh heh – which isn't even remotely a bad thing! That's an extremely unique perspective. I think it's amazing that so many people can appreciate the same games for such different reasons.
Even if there isn't an alternate ending I still try to 1CC games. If I beat a game too easily, I can't really appreciate the story that much. I want to feel the pain of going through the same stage over and over (I swear I'm not a masochist) so when I finally get to the story portion I get a deeper satisfaction because I worked for it. If I want the story handed to me on a silver platter, I would just go read a book or watch a movie. ZUN said in an interview once that he makes the story in order to justify the gameplay but to me I feel the opposite, the gameplay is what justifies the story.

The only way you could satisfy both audiences is by having difficulty settings. Difficulty options in games are a great way to satisfy both the people who want more gameplay and the ones who want more story. If you just want the story, go through easy mode but as I said above, I don't really see the charm in blasting through a game without effort. I always try to play games on the highest difficulty possible not because I'm really good at videogames (I'm not) but because I simply want a fuller experience. Although I make some exceptions with games like Touhou were the highest difficulty is really hard, I have limits.

My first Experience with Shmups was an Adobe Flash game that I can barely remember the name of. I still remember having fun with it.
I had a very similar experience. Although Touhou is when I started playing shmups seriously,  my first shmup experiences came from playing games either from shady websites or even shadier games my aunt used to get me, I think it led to my poor Windows XP having over 20+ trojans but at least I had fun with them, maybe one day I should try digging them up from my old hard drive or search history.