Welcome back to Shacknews Close-Up, a returning feature dedicated to spotlighting the faces of Twitch, YouTube, and other new media channels in video games. Join us as we get to know some of the people diving into various channels of video games, be they informative, artistic, entertaining, or otherwise.
Even before Super Mario Maker gave Mario superfans the opportunity to create incredible levels and expert players a chance to play them, there's been the Kaizo Mario community. This community cropped up near the end of the past decade, where incredibly difficult stages were crafted with old-school Mario engines. These stages are not for the faint of heart and only a select few can complete them. Think "Super Expert" in Super Mario Maker and go a little farther.
Some of those expert players have built a following and among them is David "GrandPOObear" Hunt. He's built his reputation as a speedrunner, a super expert Mario player, and has built a loyal fanbase on Twitch and YouTube, where viewers watch him conquer some of the toughest Mario romhacks in the world.
Weeks after his appearance at Summer Games Done Quick (where, among other runs, he took part in the Super Mario Maker Blind Race), Grand PooBear took part in a niche, yet epic accomplishment involving Super Mario Bros. 3 and... the old Nintendo Power Glove, of all things.
I just became the (as far as I know) the first person in the World to beat SMB3 with the powerglove, all motion controls. I am extremely proud of this completely worthless accomplishment pic.twitter.com/ZuW0OnS8sC— GrandPOObear ALG (@GrandPOOBear) July 18, 2018
For those who don't remember, the Power Glove... it's so bad! And no, I'm not being cute and quoting Lucas from The Wizard. The Power Glove is a bad peripheral. Covered by online luminaries like "The Angry Video Game Nerd" James Rolfe in the past, this peripheral is bogged down by a series of issues. Among them being, it's often not responsive.
I wasn't sure why GrandPOObear decided to take this challenge on. Why would he put himself through this? But I had been wanting to revive the Shacknews Close-up feature for a while and this seemed like as good an occasion as any to reach out to the People's Speedrunner. So I chatted with GrandPOObear about his accomplishment, the Power Glove, Summer Games Done Quick, his origins as a streamer, and also his affinity for New Japan Pro Wrestling's Bullet Club.
Shacknews: What made you want to take on this challenge?
David "GrandPOObear" Hunt: Well, it's something that I had always wanted to attempt ever since seeing The Wizard as a kid. I always thought it would be impossible to actually finish the game with it, so I joked with my Twitch chat that if I ever hit 3,000 paying subs, I would make an attempt at it. I honestly thought I wouldn't be able to get past the first stage, but after a few hours, got it down enough where it went from "this is a fun one-off" to "Oh, s***, I actually think I might be able to do this" and started taking it a bit more seriously and thinking about a route that would allow me to overcome the controller's shortcomings.
Shacknews: When did you first see The Wizard and what kind of impression did it leave on you when you first saw it?
GrandPOObear: Man, I was young. I don't remember the first time seeing it, but I do remember renting it about every weekend as a kid. My sister is 10 years older than me and she worked at a video store from the time I was four until she was done with high school. So I got to rent a movie and a game every weekend. I always picked a new game, but If I couldn't think of a movie to rent, I always fell back to The Wizard. It's actually kinda funny how much that movie impacted me. I really love everything about it, to the kids kinda being on their own and doing well, to the older brother taking care of his special needs brother, to them hustling people in arcades. I always wanted to go to a diner that had an NES setup with Ninja Gaiden you could play while waiting for your food. Plus Mario 3 was my fav game, so to have a movie that culminated in a Mario 3 showdown was just the coolest thing to me as a kid.
Shacknews: What's your honest impression of the Power Glove?
GrandPOObear: The Power Glove is, no joke, the worst way to control video games. It's inaccurate, touchy, random, and only reacts 1/3 of the time. That is not a joke! It also works on soundwaves (I don't get the 80s tech) which seems to be an issue when I have my phone near me. It's impossible to just stay still, as the neutral area is seemingly non-existent, and worst of all it has this black foam that stains your skin while you wear it. I use the Rad Racer settings (it has 12 different programs as they call them for different games) and to move left with those settings, I have to rotate my arm in a way that it really shouldn't rotate, which causes elbow pain.
I will say the button that is triggered by the index finger, though, isn't completely unusable.
Shacknews: What was the toughest thing about this challenge? Was it mostly the limitations of the Power Glove itself?
GrandPOObear: By far, the Power Glove itself is the hardest part, and by extension of that, menuing and overworld movement. I got pretty good at finding a spot where the glove would basically hold left and run, which allowed me to do some speedrun strats that I knew would make the non auto-scrollers easier for me, but just getting to the levels and not using items I would need was extremely difficult, as the Power Glove will just randomly input B, then A if my breath was too deep.
There is one level in World 8, the Airship, that requires some standing still moments, and due to how hard that was I finally broke down and decided to play three extra levels to get a P-Wing and allow us to fly over it, instead of doing the normal Any% route. Accepting that I would need to get that P-Wing was pretty difficult, too.
Shacknews: Are there any particular stages that gave you a lot more trouble when you used the Power Glove?
GrandPOObear: Totally! All the levels in World 8 were very difficult. The Airship requires you to get full running jumps from a standstill point, has lots of flying wrenches around, and is just difficult for anyone, no matter how often you have played it. We had to P-Wing that one. [World] 8-1 was really difficult too, as you generally have to do a duck jump. The final level requires some very precision jumps across lava that were not easy to navigate.
Overall, I would say each level besides 1-2 and 8-2 took about an hour each to figure out how I could get through them with the Power Glove's limitations.
Shacknews: Can you see yourself taking the Power Glove to other old-school Mario games? Would you give something like The Lost Levels a shot?
GrandPOObear: 1000 percent! I actually would really like to do a Warpless Mario 3 run next, then take it to at least Mario 1 and Lost Levels. Honestly, [SMB] will be super easy now that I have a good feel for it. Lost levels will take some time, but at its core, it's a much simpler game than Mario 3. Mario 2 USA might be the hardest, as it requires a lot of B button presses, then holds, which doesn't really register too well with the glove.
I also want to try Punch-Out one day and maybe some sort of shooter, like Contra or something. Really depends on how far the community wants me to take it.
Shacknews: I want to touch on Summer Games Done Quick for a second, particularly the Super Mario Maker Hard Exhibition. What about Lord Pickle King's level stood out to you and made you want to run it during the stream?
GrandPOObear: Well, it was more his style of level that I really wanted to show off. The rest of the guys made their own, and I knew we would have some [Super Mario World] and [New Super Mario Bros.] stuff to show off, but not any SMB1 style. So basically, I went to the flashiest SMB1 level creator that I knew could make me a level in a quick turnaround and got that amazing level in return.
LPK is really great at taking the limited style of SMB1 in Mario Maker and making these really cool, complex, "Holy crap, look at that!" levels. We are very lucky in the Maker community, as we have so many really amazing minds still creating mind blowing levels two and a half years after the game had its last meaningful update.
Shacknews: How did you first get started on Twitch? And also, how did you get started in the Kaizo Mario community?
GrandPOObear: During most of my adult life, I was a snowboarder as a career. Almost six years ago, I got hit by an out-of-control skier, spent three months in the hospital fighting for my life, then another year in Physical Therapy. The next winter rolled around and I realized I was spending all of my time playing games alone, while my friends were out on the mountain. I had no one to talk to during the day and was getting stir-crazy.
One day, a snowboarder friend of mine told me about Twitch. I ended up watching like seven hours of Halo and instantly decided that if I am going to be playing games all day during recovery, I might as well see if someone wants to hang out with me while I do it.
Shacknews: Any advice for newbie streamers that are looking to start up a channel of their own?
GrandPOObear: Best advice I can give is have fun. I spent three years streaming and never broke 20 viewers, then all of a sudden I started playing the right game and people started to notice. Success will not happen overnight, and can't happen if your not on and consistent/reliable. Don't expect it to become a job. Have fun, engage within your games community, and see where it goes.
Shacknews: Having reached the end of the interview, wanna give a quick shoutout to the Young Bucks and the Bullet Club?
GrandPOObear: It's no secret I am huge fan of The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega! The Elite is 'one sweet' group of dudes. I wish Kenny would take notice of speedrunning, but he seems to only dig fighting games. [laughs] As much as I love them though, I have to give a shoutout to Current NXT North American champ and awesome Fortnite duos partner Adam Cole. (Editor's note: BAYBAY!) He takes number one in the GPB fav wrestler Power Rankings, just slightly above the Bucks and Omega. I love all the crossover with wrestling and gaming lately and really hope it continues.
Twitch is honestly a lot like pro wrestling, in that if you are not over with the fans you aren't gonna make it. I hope to see more guys embrace the platforms the way the Bucks, Kenny, and guys like Tyler Breeze recently have.
Enjoy this feature? Join the conversation and let us know in the comments! Also, any personalities across YouTube, Twitch, Hitbox, and other content creation channels you'd like to see covered? Let us know that, too, or reach out directly on Twitter at @Ozz_Mejia and leave some suggestions.
Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Shacknews Close-Up: GrandPOObear and the Power Glove
I love the Power Glove. It’s so bad.
That is crazy, he probably has life ending Carpal tunnel syndrome now.
This was a great article