Video Game: Billy vs. SNAKEMAN aka: Billy Vs SNAKEMAN
Billy vs. SNAKEMAN is a browser-based MMORPG by Al McMasters (Eleventy Billionth HoCage in game), in which you play the star of a ninja anime (read: Affectionate Parody of Naruto).You start as a lowly genin, dreaming of Awesome. However, as you rise up the ninja ranks, you gain new goals that take you to the Other Side with your reaper friends, to the Awesome-blasted Wasteland, to the mastermind manipulations of The Trade, to the secret reaper war of Monochrome Academy, to the wage-slave purgatory of Burger Ninja, to the infinite Fields of the multiverse as a R00t, to the breakneck delivery routes of the Pizza Witch, and to Kaiju Island on a Hero's Quest.The game's mechanics are based on a system of ability checks, which basically work like rolling dice. Your range is the number of sides on the dice (or rather, the largest number on the die), your strength is the die's minimum roll, and your levels are the number of dice you roll. Generally, Strength is better than Levels, which are better than Range, in an approximately 3:2:1 ratio.There are three primary stats, Genjutsu, Ninjutsu and Taijutsu, and one secondary stat, Doujutsu (the ability to see Ninja Magic) that is only used in certain areas. There are many, many tertiary abilities like Drain (for fighting The Cursed Wave), Piloting, and Flipping Out (Glowslinging).The game can be found online. Please, no editing it into a referral link.
Billy vs. SNAKEMAN provides examples of the following tropes:
The Quest rewards "Letter of Marque" and "Knightmare Mark 86" give all the bonuses of all the items you had to give up to complete their respective quests. The Mark 86 even maintains the Plot Coupon functionality of its components (especially important, because only one of its parts actually does anything other than be a Plot Coupon).
As well as Combo Attacks in World Kaiju, which are gigantic monsters that the entire playerbase fights all at once. Combo attacks require a certain number of players to join in and deal increasing amounts of damage to the monster.
A case could also be made for Villages being this.
Ambiguous Gender - The player character is referred to in the second person except when an NPC is talking about you to another NPC, in which case they refer to you as a 'they'. Additionally in the options screen, you don't choose a gender but instead choose 'What kind of Ninja you are in to'.
Players have a limited amount of stamina a day to performs actions with.
The game structure also seems to encourage and/or enforce this; some areas simply can't be run by repeating them every day, because you'll run out of a resource (most often, money) that you need to get from elsewhere.
This has been further enhanced by the various "mega actions", which save time by multiplying the costs of an action, but multiply the rewards at least as much, usually even more (typically x10/x11).
Artifact Title: Neither Billy nor SNAKEMAN have any real part in the story anymore.
Worth noting: even McMasters has his limits, and has referred to Mahjong as "the worst place to put new content".
Author Catch Phrase: On many, many occasions, defeating a large number of enemies is described with the phrase "as a reaper through a field of wheat" or similar. It borders on being Arc Words.
Awesome, but Impractical - Some bonuses that make progression through the game easier at the cost of slowing it down (The Rack, Lil' Shammy, most of the Monochrome and Pizza Witch Jutsu), while others speed up one type of grinding at the cost of other penalties. (Timmy, EDUT, Nadeshiko and the Jutsu she teaches).
Lethal Joke Bonus - Some Awesome, but Impractical bonuses are obtained during a part of the game that either mitigates the Impractical to nothing, or exaggerates the Awesome to mandatory (most Wasteland Jutsu, The Power of Greass, Shift to Drift)
Ax-Crazy - If you put Euthanasia in a team with anyone from outside her Gameplay area, she will shoot them. In the face.
Badass Grandpa - Triple-H. He also gets a synergy bonus when teamed up with his grandson
Bee Bee Gun - The Tiny Bee weapons. Currently comes in four flavors: Tiny Bee 2.0, Tiny Bee Rifle, Tiny Beezooka, and the original, now Lost Forever, Tiny Bee Pistols.
When you start out, Clone Jutsu, one of the first attacks in the game, will solve nearly everything. This includes cleaning the litter box, catching kunai, healing an injured man, putting out fires, sewing up holes in clothes, safely taking explosives, sneaking past guards...
When you validate your email address, you get "Basic Ninja Gear." The +1 Level bonus you get to your rolls increases the success rate of your early missions dramatically, and it's a permanent upgrade that you will never lose. Yet most players never think to validate their e-mail address until after the buff has gone from extremely handy to just handy.
Pains were taken to limit this to speeding up PvE, but it's still present in the Karma bonuses.
The new Referral Booster takes this even further. 10-20 bucks (depending on how in-bulk you buy Karma) and you can get what would otherwise take 50 referrals or looping to Season 44.
Brutal Bonus Level - The Impossible Mission used to be one of these, back when Monochrome was considered endgame content. It wasn't even possible when it was first added to the gamenote It was added before Monochrome, but required that you have beaten Monochrome. Nowadays, the only challenging requirement is being the leader of a mid-level or higher village at the population cap.
Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit" - In-Universe example: The Kaiju that attack villages are survivors of the losing side of The War That Shattered The World. Worldkaiju are a complete Giant Space Flea from Nowhere that are only called that because they are giant monsters like Kaiju War Forms.
Cap - One of the main perks of looping is improving your level cap. Obtaining certain items also increases your level cap.
Cerebus Syndrome - Everything seems silly at first, right? Get into Glowslinging or the higher ranks of the Wasteland and Monochrome, and watch the humorous parts of the world start to turn very strange. And we haven't even mentioned the Jungle.
Chekhov's Armoury - Any throwaway detail can be brought back up later in a more substantial form, from MC Stripeypants making a blink-and-you'll-miss-it reference to Seasons in a He Knows About Timed Hits, to the Zombieland reference McM put in as soon as he got home from watching the movie.
An extremely delayed one: the Ultra Badger item. It raises your Raijutsu and Kaijutsu ranges by one each, which meant nothing when it came out. Several years later, these stats are used in the Pierce The Heavens part of the Hero's Quest.
Two allies, Proof Reader and Tempest Kitsune, were designed by winners of lots in the Child's Play auction.
Some parts of the game namedrop a random winner of The Impossible Mission. (The "Monument" Wasteland Mission, The name of a particular instance of the "Playerkai" Kaiju)
Some IM Winners are given the opportunity to trade in their Playerkai variant for a Custom Kaiju (with individual stats/drops) as special rewards - often, but not always, for contests, raffles, etc.
And now Robert the Sage has a Customkai for winning the ToraCon Charity Auction.
You can sponsor the game to create a custom sponsor item that any Season 3+ player can get
There was an offer, pay 30$ to help the game creator seal a deal to distribute a Japanese TCG in the states, everyone who bought into it got some awesome bonuses and were also put into a raffle to become Custom Kaiju. Originally, there was only going to be one chosen, but the deal was so popular it made four times the original estimate. Thus, four people were chosen to become Custom Kaiju through the raffle.
Cool Old Guy - In a game that literally runs on awesome, anyone over where ever you place the 'old' line is either this or a Cool Old Lady.
Cosmetic Award - The Enough Already Trophy is earned by hitting season 111 (which takes months of grind), and gives... one point of awesome. Since it is the only trophy that gives less than five points of awesome, and all awesome costs are divisible by 10, that one point can't be spent on anything and thus serves no purpose other than ranking.
BillyTV does give Enough Already some mechanical value if you have an odd number of 5-point trophies or exactly 9 The Elevens.
Crutch Character - Flipper, the first ally you get, is invaluable to genin, but useless to anyone else. This is within a season and not the game at large though; he's actually more useful to high season genin.
Another good example would be Ninja Art: Hottie Regeneration, which gives you +100 Stamina (and +1 Levels), but seals your chakra for 2 day(roll)s so that the only jutsu you can use are ones that don't need chakra.
Failing missions give you a Have a Nice Death that barely lasts a sentence (Wordof God attributes this to stunt doubles.) Player Versus Player provides a more lasting death (Bingoed), but the consequences are limited to locking you out of PVP and village support actions for a while.
This is explained later on. When your character fails a mission and is killed, the Loop system kicks in, sending your character back through the season up to that point. The only loops your character remembers - and thus, that you see - are the ones that are successful, where you don't die and make it successfully through to a new season.
Averted, when fighting phases. Failure gives you a daily stamina penalty (and locks you out of further fighting with Kaiju and Phases) until you dump 300-2000 stamina into getting better.
Death World - The Wasteland, Monochrome Academy. Also The Jungle is later revealed to be this as well.
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything - Players start with levels of 2 in the three core stats (Ninjutsu, Taijutsu, and Genjutsu). It so happens that it's possible to lose 2 levels (by acquiring the Reaper Sword). The result? One player managed to get his Ninjutsu level to 0 by picking up the sword right after looping (which resets your levels). The programmer, however, had thought of this - there is in fact an amount of AP to level from 0 to 1 (500), and even failing missions gets you some AP.
Early-Installment Weirdness - In Anime Versus, the game from which BvS eventually spun off, one of the quests revolves around a Naruto parody called "Billy the Snake Man".
Element Number Five - Varies. In the quest The Five Rings, the titular Big Book of War lists Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Void as the elements; someone crossed out void and wrote in Awesome. In the Elemental Mastery minigame in Worldkaiju, the elements are Fire, Lightning, Water, Earth, Wind, RNG, and Awesome. It's implied there are more out there.
Expy - Every ally except Proof Reader and Tempest Kitsunenote and arguably Olmec, as he supposedly actually is the character he's based on is an expy of at least one existing character.
Eyepatch of Power - Legacy bloodline and the ally Billy who manages to wear another eye patch each time you upgrade him, ending up with three - and no, it's NOT explained what the third is covering up.
You if you decide to follow Mr. Tea and betray Strawberry
The creator has hinted that one of your allies has been planning on doing this from the beginning. The Cave reveals it's Timmy.
Fake Difficulty - Based around the second variety. Most of the game gives you limited chances to succeed even with perfect play and maxed stats, requiring you to hope that the game will let you win. SuperFAIL is probably the best example of this, but Flower Wars, R00t's S-Ranked keys, and Glowslinging can rapidly become this.
Filler - Parodied in the Filler Episode quest, which requires you to accumulate 2000 successes to complete.
The reward? Three themes that, when all turned on at once, allows you to make use of Holiday Mode content without waiting for the right month to come around (does nothing for day of the month based requirements).
With Pets available, your pet can take the place of your summon, allowing the summon to play the part of a Sixth Ranger.
Forced Level Grinding - Oh so much. Glowslinging, Mahjong, Flower Wars, Pizzawitch, WorldKaiju, even Speedlooping for R00t - if there's an area of content, you will have to do the earlier areas over and over again to complete it.
One particularly irritating one is getting Robogirl Lv. 3. When you pick her up, she's apparently a parody of Orihime from Bleach. How are you supposed to guess she's not only usable in Pizza Witch, where none of the other Reaper allies are, but levels up there (aside from a very mild resemblance to Shirley)? There is a hint, but nowhere you'd look for it (the TV Spoiler item in Pizza Witch's deliveries section has the description "she's not a robot").
BurgerNinja, based around working in a ninja-themed fast food joint while actually a ninja, includes 'edible' items such as "greassy burgers". You're limited to a small number of greassy (sic) items each day, but they provide bonuses to your Dou ability. The game is very explicit that you're not very happy about having to eat this gross, greassy stuff (but you have to anyway).
The geassy foods added with Pizza Witch tend to taste better according the flavor text, and give bigger bonuses (while still only counting as a single item's worth of greass intake).
Infinity+1 Element - Two of them. RNG beats all mundane elements; Awesome beats all mundane elements and RNG.
Subverted to good effect. The Trophies page lists a number of possible achievements you can complete, most of which give you Awesome points you can use to buy abilities. However, newer content areas tend to also have secret trophies that are above-and-beyond what you can expect to obtain. Rumor has it that not even all of these have been found yet.
The Trophy page also plays it straight, as, other than the initial set of trophies, most of the non-secret trophies have been listed since months before the area of the game they are obtained in went live.
BillyCon's Cosplay minigame lets you reroll once per level of Combat Sewing you have.
High level opponents in Mahjong and Flower Wars can redraw cards to make them more formidable. You can do the same, but doing so causes you to lose your "No Cheating" bonus, and puts you at risk of getting caught cheating.
Once per Zombja map you can break Rule 17 and "Be a Hero", automatically giving you the best rollable result for one attacknote not counting the flamethrower's special effect; that's still an honest roll.
"This Fist Of Mine" does the same thing with Worldkai, but with a stamina cost instead of a frequency limit.
"Escape Jutsu" lets you reroll what Mission you're assigned, and "Sight Beyond Sight" forces your next Mission to be the same as your last one.
Male Gaze - The Character Portraits for The Rack, Lil' Rack, and Hotsumoto.
Min Maxers Delight - To some extent, the Legacy bloodline. It is by far the best bloodline choice for everything except speedlooping (where Red Eye gets a big +AP% bonus)
The Party House and Robo Fighto, in addition to numerous subtler Sinks. In fact, nearly every kind of currency (see Global Currency Exception has something you can spend it on faster than you can earn it, most often in exchange for stamina.
When ryo is received from a sale in the Marketplace, it comes in the form of MP Ryo. Outside the free 5% pull every day, this can only be converted to Ryo at a 40% ratio. The conversion fee also acts as a sink.
Moral Dilemma - Fate or Destiny, Right or Anonymous, and perhaps most important of all, Pants or No Pants.
More Dakka - The Quest called "The Horde" involves you grabbing a minigun and unleashing ninja death upon random extras. Bonus points for giving you the minigun (calledSascha) afterwards.
Multiple Endings - Some storyline quests have 2 or more versions. Some change depending on the basic bloodline you have this Season (like the mastermind behind the attack on your village in the Jonin exam or the enemy in the tower at the center of the Wasteland); others depend on a player choice (Who you turn on at the end of The Trade, or who you side with at the climax of Monochrome); still others change based on how far you got in previous Seasons (Cici doesn't give you a Grind Core if you've already used one for Item Crafting, building the H.A.R.O. device doesn't require taking apart a Polar Star if you've already made a H.A.R.O. before).
Mundane Made Awesome - So much of it. One of the best examples is Billy himself: His level is directly proportional to how many eyepatches he's wearing.
Billy gets a weird look on his face... and puts on a THIRD EYEPATCH! (Gasp!)
No Backwards Compatibility In The Future - Averted, in Real Life no less. McMasters deliberately uses archaic code to keep BvS compatible with older browsers for people who can't upgrade their computers (playing at school or a library, for example).
McMasters:I know it isn't as pretty / low-load as many other games, but you really can play from anywhere, so it gives an equal footing to Commander T3 and Lieutenant Library.
Numerical Hard - Once you've unlocked The Crank, you can numerically increase the difficulty of Random Encounter style missions for more money/experience.
When the game added MegaMissions, which let you do one mission for ten times the cost and eleven times the rewards, a patch had to be put in place on the Escape Jutsu, limiting you to 500 uses a day (MegaMission uses count as ten) to try and limit the abuse of the missions for farming specific hard-to-acquire items. There's been plenty of others, as well, each put in to try and prevent certain specific Game Breaker behaviors.
The latest 'mega action', Megaarena deserves special mention as apparently McMasters figured out a way to do it with only one line of code.
Billy's auto-win ability and Flying Thunder God Technique (auto-win any one mission a day) don't work on missions with difficulty over 100. This was added in anticipation of the then upcoming Pizza Witch plotline, which features the game's first use of difficulty over 100.
The Recode, when McMasters overhauled the entire game's code from the ground up, included scores of rule patches, both obvious and subtle.
Generally averted in the game as a whole. However, Looping requires leveling one of your main three stats high enough. Taijutsu is the only stat whose higher-rank missions drop Stamina bonuses, making it the best stat to specialize in when speed looping, or when aiming for level cap. Even then, balancing your stats is still better until AA-ranks are unlocked.
Although not a stat, Appetite is one of these. It can be used for extra stamina with food like TACOs, potions and candy, stat bonuses from Pizza, and various other bonuses. Some of these are expensive, though.
Overly-Long Gag - The CAPSLOCK DAY quest, which requires 1111 successes at 11 difficulty (second longest rolling challenge in the game) for a near-useless Joke Item. And it can only be done on October 22 (luckily, Filler Themes make this the 22nd of any month).
Pop Quiz - The quest "Chunin Exam Part 1". "Don't do what that OTHER guy did and just sit through the whole test - that doesn't work anymore."Unless you're Season 4+ and make sure to punch the proctor in the junk whilst shouting "BELIEVE IT!" on the way out.
The questions are subjective (or just nonsensical) to the point of defying deductive reasoning (and change each season!); but (unlike the test that OTHER guy took) you can retake as many times as you want. Unless you just get lucky on the first try. And your allies can help you cheat potentially.
Lethal Joke Character: Billy's actually useful because he literally never gets an answer right when cheating, but is very unlikely to get caught, allowing you to at least rule out one answer per question.
Several quests have hardlocked ability checks where the only conceivable way to pass is to use the proper jutsu (thankfully, each usually has at least two solutions).
The four quest ability checks with only one auto-win jutsu are all 1.) heavily hinted at through a pop culture reference (i.e. you counter the attack that goes to eleven with the Spinal Tap jutsu) and 2.) not so hard as to be impossible to beat normally (if not when you first encounter them, than a Season or two later).
Triple H lvl 2, the final Mahjong ally you get, certainly qualifies. If you ever lose a hand of Mahjong when playing him, even if it's not directly to him, you lose the battle. However, the tile order is set so you can plan out strategies that would be suicidal in any other situation. Specifically, if you play with the express intent to collect Thirteen Orphans, and avoid all other moves, you are almost guaranteed to win via Rising Sun and crush him. However, Right and Left can still win off your discard, so there is a small but real chance of defeat even if you follow this strategy.
Random Number God - The setting's cosmic force of destruction is called The RNG, after this concept. However, this RNG stands for Redheaded Ninja Girl, the identity she assumed when infiltrating ninja culture during The War That Shattered The World
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu? - The RNG can be summoned as a Kaiju. Notably, it's very Cthulhu-like, being the first kaiju to require Doujutsu and constantly reporting a false/gibberish HP value such as "Four-ish / Fish".
Broke Your Arm Jumping Over Cthulhu - Your character's personal encounter with the RNG during PizzaWitch does not end well for you. Enjoy the automatic mission failures until you get the Special Attack Uniform!
Beating content at the minimum Season possible. Completing R00t content used to be only possible at season 4. When an item was released that made it possible at Season 3, people started new characters just to try beating it at Season 3.
The Crank, which jacks up both the rewards and difficulty of missions depending on the setting you choose. Additionally some rewards are only unlocked at certain levels of crank or higher.
The challenge of rushing through Seasons as quickly as possible, called "Speedlooping". It has become somewhat of an art. Reaching higher ranks allows for the faster gaining of levels, but the Chunin Exam, Special Jonin Exam and Jonin Ascension quests have various requirements (total level, jutsu, allies, RXP) that can be gained alongside the levelling. High-end players can get to Sannin, grinding out at least sixty levels along the way, and then loop and do it all again several times in one day.
With enough luck (because of TACOS' 20% chance of an appetite refund) it is theoretically possible to complete dozens of seasons in a day (in practice, the current record is six). However, as TACOS is lost every loop, this is also dependent on the player being either incredibly good at Mahjong, or dropping four hundred thousand ryo every season to reacquire her as an ally.
Phase Battles, with their directly Season-derived difficulty, along with Pizza Witch and World Kaiju increasing incentives for high end players to stay late season for significant periods of time, have increased the need for speedlooping. Speedlooping has effectively become an area of the game in its own right.
Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors - Shows up in Glowslinging, with each attack type being effective against one other attack type and really effective against a second.
Theme Music Power-Up - Encoded into the rules, no less! After completing the first season (or before that, if you get the right Holiday Mode items...), you can start using theme musics - one Opening, one Battle, and one Ending. Each theme provides a different power up. You can get Overworld themes eventually as well.
Too Many Halves - In mid-January 2012, McM broke down what parts of BvS he was working on by percent on the forums. Someone noticed that the percent added up to 110, and the thread quickly turned to explaining where the 111st percent was.
Twenty Bear Asses - Blatantly used in higher-level content. Want to be able to summon a WorldKaiju, and stop randomly failing 1% of your missions? You're going to need to drop over 20 Kaiju Asses on the items you need, plus one of the rarest items in the game. Want the best Mahjong or Flower Wars decks? Be prepared to grind up over a thousand ash-covered tiles or cobalt dust, respectively. Luckily, these items aren't strictly required for progress in the game.
A particularly vicious example is the item Hushed as the Wood. To create it, you need to use up a Kimono of Shadows (among other rarities). Just one small problem: the Kimono of Shadows is a Permanent Item, and the game won't let you get rid of Permanent Items unless you have a spare. So you need to get two of them. And how do you earn the Kimono of Shadows? It's the reward for beating the Bonus Boss of the R00t storyline. So for this item, you have to beat the final enemy of R00t twice. If that doesn't sound so bad, bear in mind, you can fight the boss in question once per real-time month. Lose and that's another month to wait. It's notable that none of the other three Furinkazan items are this much of a hassle.
Ash-Covered Tiles used to be this, being the only Wasteland crafting components that couldn't double as Vendor Trashnote They have to be identified into one of the other types of tile before the NPC vendor will buy them, and then at half the cost of identification. This was fixed by making tiles necessary in large quantities in both Pizza Witch and Mahjong, to the point that 3000 each is now a fair price for them in the marketplace.
Super Potions became one of these for a few months, after TACOs took their place as the best stamina consumable that wasn't either prohibitively hard to get or prohibitively impractical. It had to get its appetite cost cut and its stamina payoff increased in order to restore its relevance.
Smokeblossoms are similar to Ash-Covered Tiles, in that they used to be worthless, but new content (Flower Wars) now requires 600 of them.
Ultimate Gamer 386 - There are 7 players that have so much in-game stuff and are so good at Moon Logic Puzzles and Min-Maxing bonuses that McMasters doesn't make new content with them in mind for fear of said content becoming impossible for anyone else.
Unexpected Gameplay Change - Depending on how you look at it, over half the game could be argued as being one of these, but even the most conservative interpretation of the term includes Glowslinging, Mahjong, and Flower Wars.
First Loser, which has the EXCELLENT 1ST-nTH PLACE PRIZE of a shiny new Kunai. As the name implies, the goal is to come in (n+1) place.
Ash-Covered Runes have a significant chance of turning into Worthless Runes when identified. Unknown Pizzas, Tarnished/Dusty Wheels, and Idol Trash also have Zonks in Cold Pizza, Broken Wheel, and Regular Trash.