Summer Games Done Quick 2022

It’s almost time! Tomorrow, June 26, begins SGDQ for 2022, the popular speedrunning marathon, this year benefiting Doctors Without Borders. Their other yearly marathon AGDQ back in January earned 3.4 million dollars, can they top it this time? After two years of remote speedruns, this year it will once again be held in person, with a live audience.

Here is their schedule, and from it, here are some highlights of particular interest to our topic categories of indie, retro, and niche games. Times are given in US Eastern/Pacific, dates by midnight Eastern time.

What to look for? Any games you particularly like, or want to see obliterated, of course. Anything that sounds like it might be a romhack will usually be a good time. Races are fun. Randomizers provide an entirely different kind of challenge to a speedrunning mindset. RPGs and Pokemon games often require some non-intuitive decision-making. Very weird games, of course. New games provide a chance to see people deal with something that’s not been exhaustively demolished, and it’s also cool to see what has been discovered in the short time since its release. And any obscure or rare games you happen to know of.

There are far too many interesting things in the list to call them all out, so, here are three arbitrarily-chosen items to watch for each day:

Sunday, June 26

12:30 PM/9:30 AM: Pre-Show

1:00 PM/10:00 AM: Shadow of the Colossus, PS4, NTA Boss Rush RANDOM

6:58 PM/3:58 PM: Kirby and the Forgotten Land, Switch, Any%

10:10 PM/7:10 PM: Spyro the Dragon, PS, 120%

Monday, June 27

6:41 AM/3:41 AM: Blaster Master, NES, Glitchless (US) Race

9:09 AM/6:09 AM: NiGHTS Into Dreams, Saturn, All Levels Any%

4:03 PM/1:03 PM: The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (2019), Switch, Any% Glitchless Race

Tuesday, June 28

Midnight/9:00 PM[27th]: Silent Hill 4: The Room, PC, Any%

9:14 AM/6:14 AM: Earnest Evans, Genesis, Any% (in 12 minutes)

12:02 PM/9:02 AM – 3:26 PM/12:26 PM: Mega Man Games! Powered Up, Xtreme, Wily Wars and 5

Wednesday, June 29

3:33 AM/12:33 AM: Final Fantasy IV Worlds Collide Randomizer

11:13 AM/8:13 AM: Knuckles Chaotix, 32X, Beat the Game

3:42 PM/12:42 PM: Pokemon Emerald Randomizer, GBA, Evolution Chaos Co-Op

Thursday, June 30

1:17 AM/10:17 PM[29th]: Banjo-Tooie, N64, Any%

3:43 AM/12:43 AM-8:44 AM/5:44 AM: Silly games! DEEEER Simulator, Mi Scusi, Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion, Jimmie Johnson’s Anything With an Engine, Gourmet Warriors, Thunder In Paradise, and Incredible Crisis!

9:08 PM/6:08 PM: Bonus Game, SOUND VOLTEX EXCEED GEAR, 1 player, PC

Friday, July 1

9:01 AM/6:01 AM: Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon, PC, Normal Ending

4:38 PM/1:38 PM: F-Zero GX, Gamecube, Story Mode, Max Speed, Very Hard (yow!)

9:28 PM/6:28 PM: Bonus Game, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Beta Showcase

Saturday, July 2

11:22 AM/8:22 AM: Bloodstainted: Curse of the Moon, PC, Any% Ultimate

5:36 PM/2:36 PM: Kaizo Super Metroid, SNES, Any%

8:31 PM/8:31 PM: Super Mario Maker 2 Relay Race!

Sunday, July 3

12:21 AM/9:21 PM[3rd]: Elden Ring, PC, All Remembrances + possibly as a bonus game, an Any% run

Keith Burgun on Diablo: Immortal

We like the work of indie game designer Keith Burgun here, and he has a new essay up about Diablo: Immortal, comparing it to other free2play and gatcha-style games. Diablo: Immortal, as has been noted previously by our intrepid alien newscaster Kent Drebnar, has been outright banned in two countries for its unusually rapacious loot system.

The piece begins with a long quote from the Diablo: Immortal subreddit that really tears into the game. It states that the game is worst than the standard f2p, calling it the worst example of play-to-win, and liking it to slot machines at the nearby gas station. (A condition that, here in the state of Georgia, is not far from reality. There are video poker machines here all over the place.)

Keith uses it to launch into the damage that gatcha patterns have done to game design in general, that its assumptions have soaked into gaming in ways beyond mere monetization. This include:

Diablo: Immortal’s daily quest report
  • mechanisms like random drops
  • drop odds made explicit in the game’s UI
  • star ratings for items
  • repetitive gameplay designed to entice players to grind away at it to increase the number of drops they get
  • overuse of crafting
  • making quests into a kind of progress treadmill, with explicit UI, requirements and rewards given as a cost/benefit exchange, and
  • having many things in the game “level up” in some manner.

To all of this I exclaim “hear hear!” I would just point out that a lot of these trends in fact originated in MMORPGs. What is a star rating for an item but another form of a colored rarity loot system?

I would even argue that loot itself has become a degraded concept. All of these things are geared towards “releasing endorphins” or delivering “dopamine hits.” If an executive above your team is speaking in those terms, my advice to you is to bail, if you can, you aren’t making the world a better place. If you are thinking like this, please reconsider why you’re making games.

There is more I have to say on this issue, but rather than steal any of Keith’s thunder I’ll let him explain it, and do my own ranting at some other time.

Keith Burgun Games: Diablo: Immortal and Aesthetic Gacha-ism. Images in this post are taken from a gameplay video from Blizzplanet on Youtube.

And this is off the subject but I can’t believe the internet hasn’t made much comedic hay out of a series that can name an ability Hungering Soulfire and keep a straight face.

Nicole Express Presents: The World’s Most Popular Arcade Board?

Awesome retro gaming blog Nicole Express wonders, what is the best-selling arcade board of all time? It’s gotta be Pac-Man, right? It sold over 100,000 units back in the day, and every Ms. Pac-Man machine contains it inside it. But Nicole offers that it may actually be a bootleg board called the 60-in-1.

Image from Nicole Express

The 60-in-1 is often recognizable by its distinctive menu system, but it can actually be set to play one of its games in a stand-alone mode, in which case its menu never appears. It’s actually an ARM board running MAME, which means its games have distinctive quirks. All the information is there, so go acquaint yourself with ubiquitous gray-market arcade hardware!

Link: The World’s Most Popular Arcade Board?

DarkPattern.games

From the site: “Definition: A gaming dark pattern is something that is deliberately added to a game to cause an unwanted negative experience for the player with a positive outcome for the game developer.”

I remember when I was first writing about roguelikes at late, lamented GameSetWatch, it was right around the time of the rise of mobile gaming. It would bring video games to a whole under-served audience, and it did! It would become industry worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and it did that too! And it would all do it fairly, taking nothing from poor players while granting extra perks to wealthy ones who would just pay them a little money, a microtransaction*, to justify their outlay, and, well….

Mobile games are fun, and many of them are inexpensive, at least at first. But frequently, and especially with the whole “free to play” genre, they are full of tricks to try to get you to shell out cash for advantages. A certain nominal fee might be appropriate, but most aren’t in it for a simply nominal fee. Interesting and/or important features will turn out to be locked behind the “premium currency,” which at first seems plentiful but before long turns very scarce unless you pony up with the cash money dollas.

These games want to find themselves a few big whales to be their sugar parents, and at times it seems that they are the true audiences that they chase, with us ordinary plebs left to soak our heads. It’s a lucre-seeking design style that has become synonymous with an entire genre, and it could be argued has done real harm to the whole field of mobile gaming.

Everyone needs to earn a living, but it rankles to be used as the bricks on their road to their pot of gold, especially when the necessity of that premium currency is obscured at the start of the game. DarkPattern.games lays out how these games try to get their fingers into your wallet, and points an accusing finger at those titles that rely on these tricks.

Part-Time UFO is an awesome non-exploitive mobile game! It’s on Switch too! It needs love!

It also points the way to games that don’t. They may cost a bit more up-front, but at least you won’t be nagged repeatedly during your time with them to give them just a little more cash, just a little more, that’s all they need, just a little more cash man, they can stop any time, any time they want….

darkpattern.games (via cosmic owl on Metafilter)

* “Microtransaction” is one of those terms that causes my blood pressure to rise. Who now remembers that the term was originally coined to mean payments of a dime or less, maybe even less than a penny, such as to pay for access to a news article? Now we’re beset with paywalls, the things microtransactions were supposed to save us from, while the term has been appropriated by all these sharks? I mean to tell you, it makes all my neurons sparkle with a communist glimmer.

BREAKING: Marble Madness II now in MAME, video on YouTube

This is not some fan game made to play like Marble Madness, but the real deal, a legendary lost prototype from the Silver Age of Atari Games! Cancelled because of the great arcade fervor at the time around fighting games, meaning little Atari released in that era performed well on test.

Word is that the rom has been released somewhere on the internet, although I do not know where. It had been known that all the surviving Marble Madness II cabinets were owned by old Atari staff or collectors who were averse to allowing the rom images to be released. Whether one of them had a change of heart or, as has been speculated with Akka Arrh, another legendary prototype, they may have been obtained through nefarious means.

Technically the rights are still owned by Warner Media, I believe. I’ve long been amazed that the current rights holders haven’t seeked out the owners of these prototypes and offered them a big payday to dump the roms and release something like a Midway Arcade Treasures 4. Sure, it’d only be a matter of time before someone broke the roms out of such a package, but they’d still sell a ton of units and the prototype owners would be properly rewarded for both maintaining their machines and for lost collector value, and importantly, the games would be out there among people who would enjoy them and be protected against further loss and obscurity.

YouTube: Marble Madness II (Atari prototype arcade game) is now playable in MAME

Around The Wordle In 60 Games

As everyone surely knows by now, in Wordle, you use Mastermind-style clues to narrow down and guess a five-letter word. You get six guesses, but all your guesses must be actual words. There’s a new puzzle every day, but only one. It tracks streaks and win percentages. It became an internet sensation, because of one or more of the following things: it’s fun, it’s simple to understand, it’s a challenge but not hugely difficult, it lets you easily share your victory without giving away the answer, it usually gives you a nice compliment when you solve it, and, especially, it’s completely free and unencumbered by ads, app stores, upsell, or rent-seeking of any kind.

Its creator Josh Wardle made Wordle (hence the name) for his friends to play, but news quickly spread, a lonely remaining example of the good kind of internet virality, the kind that hasn’t been pressed into the service of racism and tyrants. Wordle is so popular that the New York Times bought it from its creator for an amount “in the low six figures.” We’re not sure why they bought it unless they plan to make it a paid service someday, an imposition that its creator had promised would never happen. Maybe once the clamor has died down. For the moment, at least, it remains free.

Now, one of the oldest trends in computer gaming is to take a thing really popular at the moment and to clone it, to some degree of exactitude. A list of things this has happened to includes Pong, Breakout, Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Wizardry, Ultima, Zork, Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Sonic the Hedgehog, SimCity, Myst, Super Mario 64, Everquest, Minecraft, Flappy Bird, and Undertale, among others.

So it has happened, is happening, and shall continue, for a while, to happen with Wordle. Wordle and its progeny are popular enough that it’s become one of those subgenres of internet article, to round up a bunch of Wordle-inspired things and present them, all in a bid to gain some of that sweet Google-juice.

Well, never let it be said that we here at Set Side B aren’t immune to a bit of audience pandering! Here are the best of the Wordle-likes, that I have found at least.

N-Plus-Fivele

These are Wordle, but moredle.

x2

Dordle is two games of Wordle at once. You get seven guesses. Your guesses go into both puzzles. Its creator is on Twitter, they’re cool!

Not enough? Tridle is three games of Wordle at once; you get eight guesses.

You want still more? Sure, we’re all adults here. Quordle is four games of Wordle at once; you get nine guesses. You’ve probably picked up on the pattern here by now.

Beyond that? Absolutely, why should we be bound by the rules of the past? Octordle is eight games of Wordle at once, with 13 guesses.

You’re not yet satisfied? So we stray still further from divine grace. Okay, then, Sedecordle is 16 games of Wordle at once, with 21 guesses.

Even more? Let the angels weep then. Duotrigordle is 32 games of Wordle at once, with 37 guesses.

What? More, even than that? Why not, let’s abandon all the laws of heaven and earth. Sexaginta-Quattordle is 64 games of Wordle at once. It’s slightly more forgiving than the other versions, giving you 70 guesses instead of 69. Once you get to this scale, Wordle’s whole nature changes. After you use a couple of spare guesses to get some info about the words en masse, your aim is to try to correctly guess one word per turn, and use the information revealed by those guesses to solve the others.

x1,000

This brings us to Kilordle, 1,000 games of Wordle at once, with 1,005 guesses. This may sound just like an exercise in extremity, but some care was put into it: the puzzles you’re closest to finishing are sorted to the top, and solved ones are removed entirely. Also, you can get more than one word on a guess, since you’re awarded credit for words you have all green letters for. When you get near the end and single guesses can eliminate 20 words or more, it almost feels like a clicker game. When playing in bulk like this, your strategy tends to change to the general case: using every letter in every position in as few moves as possible. I’ve seen someone mention winning in as few as 75 moves this way, and a computer program probably could do it in even less, but writing software to play Wordle for you is discarding one of its chief virtues: that you don’t have to think too hard about it.

The Case of n=1

If you just want more than the daily Wordle, Wordle Unlimited (which I’m amazed hasn’t had its name changed) can provide that, as can WordPlay, and Word Master, and wordle.gg.

There used to be at least two sites that let you play past Wordle puzzles, but the New York Times requested they be taken down when they gained ownership of the original game and name. Boo, hiss!

If you want to play locally at a command-line, and have one of a couple of scripting languages installed, you can try wordle in Ruby or wordle-cli in Python.

HONCH?!

But what if you want to play in Urdu? Urdle. Chinese? This. Swedish. French. Or, without using the letter E. Or maybe one where the answers are all ludicrous misspellings of the word HORSE.

If you’re having trouble with basic Wordle, the New York Times has a bot that will look at your previous games and offer advice.

Mutations

These are Wordle, but changed, or with a special focus.

Hello Wordl lets you decide how many letters are in the answer. The daily game decides the number of letters for you.

Hurdle is a series of five Wordle puzzles. When you guess the answer to one, it becomes the first guess of the next. For the last puzzle, all four previous answers are automatically your first guesses, giving you two tries left.

Star Wordle‘s answers have a Star Wars theme, but you can still guess normal words to help with narrowing it down. Another version of the concept is SWordle. Along these lines is Lordle of the Rings. Wizarding Wordle, to Harry Potter.

Taylordle answers all refer to Taylor Swift in some way. Byrdle answers all relate to choral music. Gordle answers are all hockey players. Basketle answers are basketball players. Bikle, for cyclists.

Queerdle answers are from four to eight letters and are always LGBTQ+-related; guesses can be any word of the answer’s size. Phoodle has food and food-related answers, but guesses can be normal words. Lewdle has crude answers, and by default only accepts crude guesses, although this can be disabled. Similar to that is Sweardle.

Squabble is online-based battle royale multiplayer Wordle, where correct guesses become attacks against other players, and incorrect ones cause you damage.

Absurdle changes the answer behind the scenes to be as difficult as possible. You still only get six guesses. Another version of the idea, which lets you decide on the word length, is Evil Wordle. Adverswordle plays a bit like that, but with the computer guessing and you giving it clues to matching a secret word you come up with, and can change if you want, so long as you don’t contradict yourself or make it impossible.

Luckle changes the answer behind the scenes to be as easy as possible. You get six guesses, but they won’t matter.

And now, it falls to my weary shoulders to inform you of the existence of Letterle. At least you get 26 guesses.

Variations

Like Wordle, but with extra stuff added.

Crosswordle gives you two words, that are related and cross at some point.

Waffle is Wordle, but with a grid of six words, and instead of guessing on a blank board, all the letters are given, but scrambled. A move consists of swapping two letters. You get 15 swaps; a perfect score is 10 swaps.

Scrabwordle gives you fewer guesses (depending on player-selected difficulty), but gives the secret word’s Scrabble score as a hint.

Squardle… okay, this is going to require some explanation. Squardle sets aside one of Wordle’s chief virtues, simplicity. It’s still fun, but a subtly different kind of fun. It has a grid like Waffle (see image of solved game to the right). You make guesses, but in turns, and along two lines at once: your first guess is along the top row and left column (DWELL and DROSS in the image). You always guess the same word in both. You’ll get clues along both lines based on your guesses (the small letters in the image, which accumulate as you guess). Yellow letters mean the letter can be found somewhere along the same row, and red letters are along the columns. Orange letters mean one of that letter can be found both vertically and horizontally, along both the row and column. Green letters are in the right place, as in Wordle. Notably black letters, the B and N in the shown puzzle, won’t be found anywhere, even in other words.

After you make your first guess, the second guess works the same way, but through the vertical and horizontal center (EVICT and OPIUM here), and the third guess hits the right-most column and bottom row (LEMUR and SATYR). After that, the guesses cycle through these three sets of positions.

Because of the increased complexity and your inability to make a guess over the whole puzzle at once, Squardle gives you ten guesses, you get an extra guess every time you get a word right, for up to 15 guesses in all, and, if you completely solve both the words at a given row/column pair, it’ll be skipped in rotation for the rest of the puzzle. If your head is swimming after all of that don’t feel bad, it’s definitely more complicated than Wordle, and it demands more from you. But, once you get underway, with careful thought the puzzle is still doable. For those who master it, there is a more difficult version, Weekly Squardle, with a total of ten words and starting with only six guesses.

Inspired-By

Not really like Wordle at all, but they still have daily puzzles.

Heardle challenges you to guess songs from a snippet. With each wrong answer the snipped gets longer. Those like me will be hopelessly lost.

Worldle has you guessing a nation by its shape; the hints from incorrect guesses take the form of facts about the nation. Similar to that is Globle. And, down in Flaggle Rock, you guess the flags of countries and territories.

Who Are Ya? is a similar concept, but with portraits of football (a.k.a. soccer) players.

Framed asks you to guess a movie from stills, doled out one per guess.

Mathdle wants you to complete arithmetic number sentences. Nerdle is similar, as is Mathler. There is also Primle, where you have to guess a prime number. Also, Primel.

Subwaydle is of interest mostly to New Yorkers, challenging you guess a route between two given subway stations. MTRdle is the same, but for Hong Kong’s subway system.

Poeltl is basketball players again, but with game-related clues instead of the usual green/yellow/white letters.

Semantle tells you how close semantically, as judged by an algorithm, your guess is to the hidden word. There is no guess limit, but it’s very challenging, and guess counts of over 100 are frequent. Make sure you read the directions, as you might not be prepared for what semantic closeness means. Pimantle is the same idea, but with a cool visualization.

Redactle picks one of the top 10,000 most-notable Wikipedia pages, blacks out all but the most common words, and reveals them as you guess what they are. You win when you uncover every word in the page title. Like with Semantle, you aren’t limited in guesses but it’s still very hard. If the answer is outside your interests, you might end up making 200 guesses or more. This is one of those games where there’s a bit more to it than you might expect: the articles are in a monospace font, so you can reliably tell how long the blanked-out words are.

It predates Wordle so it’s not really inspired by it, but if you have a New York Times subscription you can play Spelling Bee, which asks you to come up with as many words from a set of seven letters as you can, provided they all contain a given key letter. You get more points for longer words, and a rating based on what proportion of that day’s maximum score you earn.

Is all this not enough? Is your lust not sated? This seems to be a canonical list of Wordle deviations, divergences, and disparities. And here is a chart to mark our journey together:

Universle

Ancient History

Wordle 1.0

Did you know that wordle was once a term for a kind of word cloud, created by Jonathan Feinberg? There was a wordle.net and everything! It had a Metafilter post in 2008! It had a trademarked name! It was popular!

No one seems to remember it any more. Its site is dead. It was last seen alive in 2020. Finding out more is very difficult now because of the search static produced by its massively popular successor.

The existence and forgetting of first-Wordle should serve to remind us all: Internet fame is beyond fleeting. Wordle is known and beloved now, and since it’s owned by the New York Times is probably on track to staid, Jumble-like ubiquity. But these variants are not going to be around forever. Enjoy them while you can, for it’s just a matter of time before their domains all become just another tool in some nefarious SEO outfit’s Google-gaming schemes.

Sleep Baseball

We here at Set Side B are about computers, and we’re about games, and we’re about the intersection between the two, which happens by accident to include Northwoods Radio Sleep Baseball, available as individual files, and also through Google and Apple‘s podcast systems.

People have remarked about the powerful soporific effects of having a baseball game playing on the radio when you’re trying to fall asleep at night. But there are several difficulties with using baseball for sleep-producing: there’s not always a game on, when the game’s over there could be any loud thing on afterward, and there’s always the chance something exciting might happen that would rouse you from your repose and briefly cause you to care.

Sleep Baseball solves all of these issues. The games played are not on a radio but on your phone or computer, as audio files. The Sleep Baseball league is entirely fictional, so there is no actual drama. And the announcer is pretty relaxed and low-key, as are all the ads (for fake products and businesses), so you don’t have to worry about sudden bursts of interest.

If you’ve followed Sleep Baseball before, you should know now that they have recorded their third game, and have recorded some new ads. If you had gotten tired of the same game and events between the Big Rapids Timbers and the Cadillac Cars, it might be of interest to you to give the new recordings a try. Sweet dreams!

Link Roundup 4/27/22

“We scour the Earth web for indie, retro, and niche gaming news so you don’t have to, drebnar drebnar!” – your faithful reporter

Gavin Lane of Nintendo Life: Playnote gets a Flipnote Studio-style art app.

Jay Peters of The Verge, also on Playnote. Its makers wonder if its seasonal distribution model will be appreciated by purchasers of its becranked yellow joybox.

Ollie Reynolds of Nintendo Life: UbiSoft to shut down server support for a number of older titles.

Florence Ion (cool name!) of Gizmodo: Google Play is getting data safety settings.

Ollie Reynolds of Nintendo Life, again: Lego to release a huge new Super Mario set.

Thomas Whitehead of Nintendo Life (lot of items from them today): Game Freak to offer employees option of four-day workweek. Awesome!

Wes Finlon of PC Gamer: Moneyfarm Square-Enix unveils a new $11,600 statue of Terra from Final Fantasy VI riding Magitech armor that caused series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi to basically go WTF. Remember, back when he designed the first game in the series, Square was facing issues whether their little game development operation could survive.

“Master Blaster,” if that is their name, at Sora News 24, on Sega trying to bring eSports into Japanese high schools with a Puyo Puyo Boot Camp. “Listen up maggots, you’re going to spend the next hour setting up combos and fighting Draco Centauros until you get it right and I don’t want no backtalk or I’ll bust you down to facing Nohoho again!”

Rhys Wood of TechRadar: An Elden Ring demake for Game Boy is in the works.

Luke Plunkett of Kotaku: Super Mario movie delayed, Miyamoto promises it’ll be worth the wait. Aww, it’s just like that apocryphal quote often attributed to him. This reporter is overjoyed, the last one ended on that cliffhanger, Daisy was back from Dinohattan and needed Mario and Luigi’s help again, no doubt because of some scheme hatched by Koopa. I wonder how they’ll manage to bring Dennis Hopper back from the dead to reprise his role?

Alana Hauges, also from Nintendo Life: Sega plans to delist classic games from some platforms (but not Switch) in anticipation of the release of Sonic Origins.

And Ryan Dinsdale of IGN tells us Sony is creating a game preservation team, of which this reporter can only say, IT’S ABOUT FREAKING TIME.

SpelunkyRL

Well that certainly is a wholesome activity we all can approve of!

It’s almost a tradition by this point, to take some preexisting game and give it the roguelike treatment. We’ve seen MetroidRL, CastlevaniaRL, MegamanRL, ZeldaRL and others. Those in this list were all made by Slashie, a prolific developer in this sphere.

Well, his most recent experiment in this mode is SpelunkyRL, taking concepts that Spelunkly itself borrowed from roguelikes and borrowing them right back. What the game gains is a strong emphasis on situations and using what’s at hand. You only have five health points, and they don’t heal naturally. Most enemies move only every other turn, but if you attack them they get a counter-attack. You have a gun with six bullets that does high damage, but it’s a good idea to save your shots for when they might be needed.

You can pick up pots, corpses and even stunned enemies, which don’t go into your inventory, but remain in hand and can be thrown at attackers. Instead of food, there’s a “DooM” counter to keep you moving. There are also altars for sacrificing enemies to Kali, which work in a NetHack/ADOM kind of style. And there’s even some atmospheric music and sound effects so you don’t have to smack bats and snakes in silence.

It is an interesting thing to play around with, and on subsequent games you can start with alternate character classes Rogue (extra health and bow) or Tourist (bad at fighting but has a camera and 2000-gold line of credit). It will be a reasonably entertaining use of your time, I’d say.