Floha258: Hi, and first of all, thank you for joining me here for this interview! So, could you please introduce yourself to our viewers and readers?
Ameiii: Hey, I’m Ameiii, with three “I”s! I run NieR: Automata, Otogi [Myth of Demons] and a few other games, and occasionally I do NieR: Automata and Otogi bingos.
Floha258: Alright, so tell us about your history with speedrunning, how did you get into NieR: Automata and Otogi speedruns? What are the aspects of speedrunning these games that you find exciting and particularly enjoy?
Ameiii: Ok, so, speedrunning as a whole… As a child I didn’t really have many games so I would go back through them, play them, and I’d just see how fast I could complete them. And then around 2010, Runescape came out with a new skill that had a timer attached, and that’s roughly when I started speedrunning properly.
I picked up NieR: Automata in 2017… No, 2018. I found that it was a fun game, and it had a lot of interesting movement, combat and a very high skill ceiling, much higher than the other games I’d ran prior to that. And then I believe it was early 2020 or late 2019 that I picked up Otogi. It was a game in my childhood that I’d never managed to finish and I just really wanted to. I gave it some speedruns, enjoyed it… And that’s pretty much it. Now I’m here.
Floha258: Alright, cool! Both of these games have something similar which is that they’re both considered as hack and slash games, so what exactly makes this genre and these games so interesting, especially in a bingo format?
Ameiii: Well, funnily enough, hack and slash is not necessarily a genre that I enjoy over others, it just seems to be one that I find myself speedrunning more often than not because of the complex mix between the movement and the combat, and occasionally there’s… funky routing stuff – I don’t really know how to say that, but… There’s a lot of things you can do with those kinds of games and they tend to match well what I look for in speedruns.
As for bingos, I guess NieR: Automata is a great example, less so Otogi… There’s a lot of quests, it’s kind of open, but still has a lot of hack and slash elements to it. There’s lots of opportunities for optimization, different goals that you could go for… And competitively, it’s one of those games where pretty much anyone can go into it and still have a chance to win.
Floha258: Let us just go into this with NieR… I mean, NieR is kind of like open world-ish so, how does this figure into the bingo in itself?
Ameiii: Ok, so, the open world nature of NieR… It is kind of story-gated. A lot of the quests, you do have to prioritize, taking some story progress to unlock them. Some of them are quite late into the bingo, but when we made the original bingo goals for NieR, we decided to have a mix between quests and weapons and then some alternative goals that wouldn’t necessarily need any story progress, you could just rush off and do them and then get back on the story, but that would leave you behind the other player who was focusing on the later game goals. So, it created a lot of interesting decisions that you usually wouldn’t find in a lot of games.
To focus on side content, or story progression? That is the dilemma bingo runners must deal with constantly. Screenshot from Bingothon Winter 2019
Floha258: It is very interesting to hear, you know, focusing on the progress versus the side stuff, I guess this is a common theme in pretty much every bingo and if I understood correctly, even so in NieR!
Ameiii: Yeah, ESPECIALLY in NieR!
Floha258: I’ve just had a quick check… There are lots of runs for NieR: Automata on the leader boards, like over 100 people! The bingo community in itself seems to be pretty small… I mean, that is considerate – bingo communities usually are much smaller. But I feel like for NieR this is especially small. How come?
Ameiii: I feel like a lot of it comes down to the fact that we have a lot of runners, but we don’t necessarily have a lot of runners that play at the same time. We do have Japanese runners who are very active and take up a large proportion of the current runner base, but… I don’t know. Trying to translate the goals into Japanese when we don’t speak Japanese is a bit difficult!
So, a large proportion of the current active runners aren’t really involved in bingo. As for those who are, a lot of it is kind of the old-timers. Those who have been around a while, played a lot and kind of got tired of the speedruns whereas the people being around not quite so long, maybe picking up the game, they’re more inclined to do speedruns as opposed to bingos. I feel like that’s just kind of a thing with bingos in speedrunning.
Floha258: Good thing that maybe these people that are only just speedrunning could maybe profit in some way from doing bingos!
Ameiii: I guess it opens up a lot of exploration and things that you wouldn’t usually look at. Not necessarily in NieR, because the game is very optimized but certainly other games. Having people poke around in parts of the game that you usually wouldn’t be in for bingo purposes, that can also relate to other categories, so… There’s a lot to gain from that I feel.
Floha258: Yeah, I definitely see that as well with myself and [The Legend of Zelda:] Skyward Sword. I also feel like there is a lot of stuff. If I only look at the Any% route versus the bingo we have, there is so much more to this game. It definitely kind of makes sense, but on the other hand, if you play bingo a few times, I think it opens up a lot of knowledge.
Ameiii: Yes, definitely. There’s a lot of things that I’ve learnt from doing bingo that I didn’t even know in any of my other routing that I did. You know, I’ve ran 98% Quests, 100%, and probably the first 50 bingos I did, I would say at least half of them I learnt something new.
Floha258: Very interesting! So, NieR: Automata bingos seem to be a lot of fun, but have you guys in the community or yourself ever considered making a bingo for the original NieR: Replicant, or Gestalt, or even for the announced remake? I wrote down the COMPLETE name here: NieR: Replicant Version 1.22474487139!
Ameiii: … dot dot dot!
Floha258: [Laughs] I’m sorry, I forgot about the dot dot dot, EVEN if I’ve got it written here!
Ameiii: So, NieR: Gestalt, we’ve had occasional rumblings of “hey, maybe we should do something with this, maybe we could make a bingo out of this!”, but… I feel like that’s one of the games that is SO heavily story-based that there is very little leeway with what you can do as far as bingos go. As for the remake though, we’ll have to wait and see. Being a modern game, even though it’s going to be a kind of remake of the original, I do think it will have a lot of potential for new quests, new interesting things you can do on the side, and that’s all you really need to start a bingo.
Floha258: If it’s going to be more like NieR: Automata… I mean, it’s already a bit difficult for remakes and especially to talk about games that nobody has played yet, but… If it would come to be closer to the style of Automata than the original, would that be something you’d be interested in?
Ameiii: Well I’ve already decided long, long, long ago that the next NieR / Drakengard game I would already speedrun, so I guess bingo just goes hand-in-hand at that point! If it’s viable, we will probably do it. I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t. From the gameplay I’ve seen, the combat is a lot closer to Automata than it is to the original, so it looks promising.
Floha258: Ooh, we’ll be excited about that one! And who knows, maybe we’ll come back in a few months – I actually have no idea when the game releases – and maybe we’ll sit here again, chatting about that game then!
Preparation for hard difficulty? Pff, who needs that! Screenshot from Bingothon 2019
Ameiii: I believe it is April 23rd  from my memory, around there (editor’s note: yes, release date of the remake is April 23rd 2021).
Floha258: Alright, so to close out the NieR segment in here, what is the best thing about NieR: Automata bingos, and what are your favourite memories of it?
Ameiii: For favourite memories, I’ve gotta go with… It would definitely be, I believe it was the first Bingothon that we did with you guys, where there was an incentive to play on the hard difficulty. And none of us were prepared in a way of understanding how to deal with hard difficulty on the bosses, so we all just got destroyed over and over and over again! But in a way, that was kind of charming, thinking back about it. We all go into it thinking “oh, we know what we’re doing!” and then, in typical fashion, the game just throws things that you didn’t expect or the bingo board is completely wild.
As for the best thing about NieR bingos… I would definitely say the best thing about it is just seeing people do different bingos, you always get a different board, and then seeing the wacky routing they come up with… You can come up with a board and think “yeah, this is definitely story-based!” and you have two people racing each other, one will go with story and one will not touch it for like 20 minutes. Just seeing that, it’s nothing that I would have expected going in. It’s always exciting to see the differences in how people look at a board.
Otogi: Myth of Demons
Floha258: Alright, now we are closing out the little NieR segment in here and are going to Otogi which basically, from the gameplay, is kind of the exact opposite of NieR: Automata. You’ve said yourself a few times already that Otogi is much more of a linear game. How does this still work with bingo, and especially in lockout bingo?
Ameiii: Well, I don’t think there’s any way to describe it other than linear. But, there is one little thing to Otogi that is really handy when it comes to making bingos. When you clear one of the 29 levels, you’re able to replay that level. So as you go through them in order you could get up to level 20 and then unlock a weapon through that level, and then go back to a different stage where we’ve specified that you have to clear this stage with this weapon. Each of these will take different amounts of time, it may take getting a bunch of money to buy a weapon or a spell, you may have to go out of your way in certain levels… So you could complete your goal earlier, but it would put you behind the other player. It’s a lot of weighing up what’s worthwhile and what isn’t. That gives an opportunity to create a good lockout bingo board with a game that is very, very linear and has very, very little side content.
Floha258: So it’s basically waging on backtracking versus progress, if I understood correctly?
Ameiii: Yes. There’s options where you can take out a goal in an earlier level, but you have to get lucky with… I believe it’s Curse… Or it might have been Silenced… Where you can complete that on level 3. However, we would usually get all the way up to level 24. If you’re like one goal away you might go back to that level to try and complete it, knowing that you’re behind the other player, and it gives you a lot of opportunities to just throw wild cards up there.
The level system of Otogi: Myth of Demons makes the game very much viable for lockout bingo! Screenshot from Bingothon Winter 2020
Floha258: You’ve already mentioned this recently on your runs or in our Discord server, but so far we have only seen the original Otogi as a bingo… Now the question would be but what about Otogi 2?
Ameiii: [Sighs] I don’t know about that one. Otogi 2 is a very different game. There’s a lot of things that went well in Otogi 1, and looking at Otogi 2 it’s just… You get a sprinkling of the good stuff on a big bad cake that nobody wants to eat. That’s how I look at Otogi 2. So, maybe we’ll make some kind of bingo out of it. There was this little idea I had floating around where we would have a ‘series bingo’, so you’d have a board and you’d have to swap between Otogi 1 and Otogi 2 to complete them. I don’t know. There’s a lot of opportunities there.
Floha258: That sounds very interesting.
Ameiii: The main thing left there is just… one of us has to complete Otogi 2! [Laughs] That hasn’t happened yet!
Floha258: Well, maybe you gotta put some thought into it. Just gotta get through it somehow!
Ameiii: A lot of sleepless nights. [Laughs]
Floha258: Yeah, just basically forcing yourself through this ugly mess of a game!
Ameiii: I usually do that drunk, I must be honest… It’s a guilty pleasure of mine! [Laughs]
Floha258: Ok! [Laughs] Oooh, secrets you only see on the transcript version!
Ameiii: [Laughs] Yeah!
Floha258: Alright, so I will be closing the Otogi block with the same question I had about NieR and that would be; what is the best thing about Otogi bingos, and what are your favourite memories?
Ameiii: Woah… I can’t say there hasn’t been many Otogi bingos! Probably the favourite memory is going into the first one I had with Jecht in Bingothon, having something that never happened before, crashing the game twenty minutes in!
Floha258: Ah, yes!
Ameiii: I was thinking “Hmm, what do we do here?”. Like, we could restart… And then, we did manage to pull it off, but… It kinda put some pressure on it there!
Floha258: We all remember, of course!
Ameiii: I’d say the best thing about Otogi bingos is that it’s just so… It’s one of those games you can relax with. But at the same time, the game will always surprise you. It’s very unforgiving; that would be the term I usually use to describe the game. So we can chill out, we can have a laugh, we can play some bingo, do some speedruns… But then you look away for one second and you’re instantly dead! Or you’ll even be looking at your screen and you’ll die, out of your control, and you’re like “Damn! I’m now 50 seconds behind! I’m going to lose!” but then you see the other person die, and it gives a little warm feeling, so… I like that about Otogi! Jecht, not so much; he’s the other Otogi runner.
Speaking of Otogi speedruns actually, Dalfen came back from a 7-year hiatus recently. So… maybe we could bait him into Otogi bingo one day?
Floha258: Oh boy! The more Otogi, the better!
Ameiii: For sure!
Conclusion and other thoughts
Floha258: Before moving to the concluding segment in here… Is there anything else you want to say about Otogi or NieR bingos that you think I haven’t touched on yet?
Ameiii: Yeah, there is one thing that came up very recently (editor’s note: as of the time of recording the interview, January 25th 2021). I’m not sure if you’ve heard about it but the NieR: Automata game in general has one secret that was unheard of and it recently turned out that you can use a cheat code like 5 or 6 minutes into the game… In usual speedrun time it takes about 6 minutes. And then, you can unlock Chapter Select. Before this we had a lot of story progression tied into bingo, but having the ability to go into the game, unlock Chapter Select and then go anywhere in the game… But, keeping in mind you would be like level 2 so you can’t jump all the way to the end straight away. It gives a lot of room for new goals in NieR: Automata bingos. Like, we would play through the first quarter of the game pretty much, nothing else. And now, we have the entirety of the game, starting from scratch. We only have to set up 5-6 minutes, so it’s definitely exciting, there’s a lot we can do with it.
Floha258: Yeah, that sounds very interesting! Any chance we will be seeing this soon?
Ameiii: So, the cheat code… I think it’s been about two weeks (editor’s note: at the time of recording the interview, on January 25th 2021)… So, the bingo part of it hasn’t really come up. I’m probably going to put out a little notification to most of the bingo runners to start collating some goals.
A long time ago we did have an idea to kind of get a route [B] as 9S bingo going, but it was met with mixed responses. But now that we have the entire game we can make, I don’t know, 2000 goals if we really wanted to! Might be a bit of a stretch, but you’d never have a board that’ even remotely similar to a different one. I reckon that will bring a lot more people that kind of want to go through some content that they wouldn’t usually see. Not a spoiler, but in most of our speedruns of the full game, there are parts of the game in the third segment that we don’t touch at all. We completely skip over it. A lot of runners REALLY like those segments because they use some of the best movement strats and a lot of unique gameplay that isn’t seen elsewhere.
Chapter Select has a potential to heavily change how bingos are done in the future… Screenshot from Bingothon Winter 2020
So that would definitely be very interesting, it’s definitely just the task of finding the amount of people to put in the hours to come up with goals and then narrow it down to the good ones, you know, by seeing how long they take, how big of an issue it is that you start the game so under-levelled; do we have like to count that for the goals? So it could be a little while. Hopefully we can get it for the next Bingothon, fingers crossed. We’ll see, but there is a lot of stuff that needs to be done before we get there.
Floha258: Insert eyes emoji here!
Ameiii: Eyes emoji!
Floha258: That actually perfectly cuts into my first question of the concluding block in here, which would be if there is any bingo and/or speedrunning-related projects that you and the communities are currently working on? What exactly can we be looking forward to?
Ameiii: I want to say there’s a lot going on, but aside from the cheat code stuff that I just talked about… I don’t think there is much going on. There are a couple of people picking up the longer categories, I guess that in turn, that gets eyes on parts of the game most people don’t.
Personally I’ve been playing through casual games a lot, so… Touching NieR, Otogi, all that kind of stuff isn’t something I’ve been doing recently. But with the uptake of the remake coming in April, I think around then will be the time. We always get a rush of new people when a big game releases, and that will be the most exciting time for me I feel. There will be a lot going on, maybe we’ll get some bingos going, we’ll get a lot of new faces, maybe even on the older games. We have the whole Drakengard series which is very loosely tied to NieR that we’ve been considering having bingos for. But they are… They’re an experience, let’s leave it at that!
Floha258: Ok, if you say so, we’ll leave it at that! [Laughs] Any words for those who would like to pick up bingos but don’t know where to start?
Even if your game doesn’t have a bingo card, don’t be afraid to start making your own! Screenshot from Bingothon Summer 2020
Ameiii: Well if you’re in a gaming community that has their own bingos already, that’s perfect, literally just hop in and play! You don’t necessarily have to go against anyone, you can just go onto Bingosync, pull up a bingo board and play. That’s how I originally did it. I went into bingos, I played through them, maybe I’d stream them on the side… It’s a lot of fun just to get into it casually.
If you DON’T have a bingo board for the game you’re interested in, then go into the game and just think of all the things that are fun in the game that you don’t usually do. And then look at all the things that you usually do, and try and spice them up a little. Over the course of, I don’t know, 15 minutes, you can easily gather enough to make a bingo board of two. It’s very easy to do it, all you need is your brain and a bit of free time.
Floha258: Well, that actually concludes our Beyond the Board for this month with Ameiii with three “I”s! So yeah, any last words from you?
Ameiii: Hmm… No. [Laughs]
Floha258: Alright, do make sure to check out Ameiii’s Twitch channel – it’s “ameiii” with three “I”’s! Make sure to also check out the Otogi and NieR: Automata runs we’ve just talked about from the previous Bingothons. It’s definitely going to be very interesting, I myself will be re-watching some of them, especially with the hard mode incentive!
And don’t forget, Bingothon features monthly Beyond the Boards, and you can see more bingo stuff on our Twitch channel, at twitch.tv/bingothon, so thank you for watching or reading this interview with Ameiii, and we’ll see you next month!
And that is it for today’s Beyond the Board! Once again, do make sure to follow Ameiii on Twitch and Twitter, as well as to follow us on Twitch and Twitter as well if you haven’t already. Do know that we currently have multiple events going on with our channel, including the Super Mario Sunshine 1v1 Lockout Bingo League in collaboration with the SunshineCommunity Twitch channel, as well as the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Bingo Bash that just recently started, so you definitely won’t run out of bingo content in the foreseeable future!
With that said, thank you for reading, and see you on the next Beyond the Board!