There has been a trend blowing through the retro games community for a few months now. I don’t know how it started personally, but the first example I saw for myself was The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, although I am highly doubtful that it was the first example. Rather than playing A Link to the Past as the linear story-focused game that its designers conceived, ROM hackers converted the game into a kind of open-world collect-a-thon by mixing up item locations. Since seeing it in A Link to the Past, I’ve seen it crop up with other games, whether in JRPGs, platformers, or action games.
Randomisers are an interesting beast in my book. They take the setting, mechanics, and quirks of an original game and adapt them for new purposes. Speedrunning strategies, confined to the esoterica of optimisation, are given new life in new contexts. Understanding the logic of the randomiser, the variety of the flags, and how to adapt to one’s toolset are fresh challenges for many.
At the moment, I’ve been digging deeply into the Final Fantasy IV randomiser, Free Enterprise. The charity marathon RPG Limit Break has been hosting a tournament of the game on their YouTube channel, which has inspired me towards streaming it myself and beginning to get into the processes of understanding the randomiser from an inside perspective.
So, Waypoint community, I ask you – what is your experience with randomisers? How do you find them? Do you have any thoughts for what their surge to prominence indicates for our tastes as a broad gaming community?
(P.S. Just as a word of caution, we’re super happy if folks want to make a new thread for a particular randomiser, or discuss them here, to develop the discussion around a particular item. With that said, the mod team do want to make it clear that sharing direct links to randomisers would fall under Rule 7 and is something that we would discourage. Discussion around them is fine, but links is the line.)