Apr 16th, 2010, 03:48 PM
I beat Viewpoint...and it took me 8 years.
Well not straight through. I would get frustrated and have to come back to it. I had a Neo-Geo the year they came out. I still own it with 13 cartridges, and Viewpoint is simply timeless. Even with a PS3, X-box 360 and Wii in my living room, I still break out the Neo-Geo from time to time.
I bought Viewpoint the year it came out. I was 16 years old and saved for months to purchase it(my parents never bought me a single video game...ever). It reminded me of Zaxxon as well so I had to have it. The game required an almost Zen understanding of its environment. I felt like I was in training for some higher level of consciousness during my play time. I would make it through the first several levels, get frustrated, move on to the next new game, and accept defeat. I did this through high school, and when I moved away from home, Viewpoint got tucked away for what I thought would be forever. That is, until I made a friend who shared my passion and skill level for gaming.
At the age of 24, I had a 16 year old friend who was the son of a co-worker. We both enjoyed gaming so I started introducing him to the older games I enjoyed. When I started telling him about how hard the game Viewpoint was, he simply didn't believe me. I popped in the cartridge and we began playing. By the end of the day I had made it back to level three. He learned from my patterns and made it to the same point. Then we hit the wall that is level four.
When the game came out, there was no internet. Since I only knew of one other person who even owned a Neo-Geo, finding strategies was literally impossible. There was nowhere to get strategies in 1991, but in 1999 we had the internet. I did a quick search and found several web pages talking about Viewpoint. No one had claimed to see past level four, and several forums even suggested levels five and six don't exist, since level four must be unbeatable. This set the stage for an obsession. We simply had to beat Viewpoint.
We began playing every day we could. While one of us played, the other analyzed and then tried applying what we saw on their turn. Eventually we started consistently making it to the caravan near the end of level four(a series of trailer like enemies that move around, blocking your path if you choose the wrong spot to hide in, crushing you). That spot was chaotic, and death was swift. I decided the best way to beat this dead end was to pick it apart. I hooked up an old VCR and started recording level four. Eventually we got that caravan down to a science.
The boss for level four was truly several steps above the previous three. We spent weeks on that crazy four headed totem. Once he fell, we cheered so loud my wife was startled from her sleep. A few hours later we had both beat him a second time. At that point, we knew this game was going to fall.
Level five went quickly. As a matter of fact, the first time boss four was beaten my friend went straight to the level five boss on the same turn. I have only beat the last boss twice. My friend did it three times. The following year we were bragging about how that game got spanked. We decided to play it again, for old times sake. After a lot of stumbling, we made it past the fourth boss again. One of us got to see the start of level six on a last life, but we realized the skill required to beat Viewpoint fades far quicker then gained. I don't know if I'll ever beat it again, but as long as my Neo-Geo will turn on, I'll come back from time to time to earn my humility.