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Messup434 Profile
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Re: ANW 14


Thanks for the writeup as always.

The Spring Forward Tag seemed to be the most promoted in advance, so curious that it was done first. I guess that's one reason they decided to split it, too. It's good to hear about a more unique challenge, but I agree it'll probably return for the next five years and be old.

Is the Spider Flip Gauntlet basically a mega Spider Trap? Poorly-named if so, I was about to give some credit for reviving a really old obstacle.

The Dipper thing is an example of something that made me go "Wow, great, original idea!" three years ago that has now been milked to death. The show seems to be growing increasingly scripted, doesn't it (I can't speak on this season but feels like more stuff is planned). Of course they will only ever give the last runners perfect scores, they need to leave room for "improvement" so someone can at least theoretically beat them. This is yet another reason the event is flawed.

Striding Steps wasn't one of the original five skills challenges, think it appeared starting the second skills competition. But I agree, still surprising it's been kept around so long.

From what I gather, this episode seemed to be an attempt to revamp the All-Stars by eliminating the course running (which I approve of, I think competitors should only get the one shot at the actual course), culling the events and leaving the more... involved competitions. If that makes sense. It seems they want the challenges to have multiple people involved at once - not things like the Salmon Ladder/Warped Wall/distance laches as it originally was.

It's not a horrible idea, but it takes yet another step away from the spirit of the show.

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27/Jun/22, 5:14 am Link to this post    PM Messup434
 
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Re: ANW 14


Quote:

Messup434 wrote:

Is the Spider Flip Gauntlet basically a mega Spider Trap? Poorly-named if so, I was about to give some credit for reviving a really old obstacle.


No not Spider Trap at all! It's basically lumberjack climb and spider flip combined. You start going up one side then you flip to the other then flip back and so forth.

Quote:

Messup434 wrote:

It seems they want the challenges to have multiple people involved at once - not things like the Salmon Ladder/Warped Wall/distance laches as it originally was.


You know I hadn't thought about this at all but you're completely right. Other than Big Dipper Scripted Mess it's all head-to-head now. Honestly I do miss the old Mega Wall and Supersonic Shelf but I guess you can't keep doing the same thing forever... (that's a cue to scrap the dipper round!)


Edited by Takeshi1, 27/Jun/22, 1:21 pm
27/Jun/22, 1:18 pm Link to this post    PM Takeshi1
 
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Re: ANW 14


S14 E1/2 Review

I'm reviewing the first two heats as one considering their similarity. For what it's worth I preferred the first episode. I'll mostly be reviewing obstacles because there are only a few notable events I want to mention.

The course:
• Shrinking Steps
• Rollercoaster (NEW) (1) / Overpass (2)
• Domino Effect OR Serpent (NEW)
• Carnival (NEW)
• Salmon Roll (NEW) (1) / Piston Plunge (NEW) (2)
• Warped Wall

Rollercoaster - a downscaled Double Dipper with a Bar Hop at the end. I liked this one which is unusual for modern-day ANW 2nd obstacles - it was fast & reactive, not too upper-body focused.

Overpass - still don't like this one, it shows everything wrong with obstacle 2s nowadays: slow, upper-body focused, not visually appealing. Think it's just in for an episode so hopefully won't have to see it again

Domino Effect - simple but effective, not a mind-blowing concept but works very well, nice to watch, I like it.

Serpent - a bit of a mess, think spinning Log but split into lots of smaller spinning segments and in a zigzag with the corners held up by chord of some sort. Much harder than Domino Effect so I don't know why anyone would choose it but some did.

Split Decision as a whole isn't good in ANW. Putting two balance obstacles next to each other doesn't provide much of a decision - you just choose the easier one. I remember back in 2017 when NW France did their Split Decision as heats obstacle 1: you'd choose between a balance (eg. Prism Tilt) and a typical 2nd ob (eg. Big Dipper) - it worked really well because the obstacles catered to different skillets but were similar difficulty. It's a shame ANW didn't follow that format.

Carnival - one of the most bizarre obstacles I've seen. There's a ball in a chute that rolls towards a slot "3", which drops a nunchuck for you to lache from. If you want an easier hold you need to navigate it into slots "2", dropping an inverted Y hold, or "1" dropping a T bar, by tipping the chute it rolls from further up. If you miss all 3 chutes it drops a cliffhanger hold. Honestly I thought I'd hate this more, admittedly I don't want it to come back ever but it worked somehow.

Salmon Roll - the obstacle 5s this year are SO MUCH better than last year's. I didn't like any of last year's but I like both the ones this year I've seen so far. So this one is Rolling Thunder but it's got Salmon Ladder rungs inside which you jump to in order to rotate the cylinder. It works really well, really like it.

Piston Plunge - another very good obstacle, much more simplistic than obstacles generally are now and I like that - it reminds me of an old-school obstacle 9. You simply catch the top of pistons and they drop a little on axis. A couple of them have slopes on the top to force catching them in particular orientations. Nice obstacle but not that entertaining so I think just being in one heat is good.

Overall good: Rollercoaster, Domino Effect, Salmon Roll, Piston Plunge
Overall bad: Overpass, Serpent, Carnival

So everything else now! The two heats I've seen so far have been about the right difficulty. Interestingly the first 2 parts have significantly less profile pieces - a couple runs start without one and profiles are shorter. I thought this was a new positive change but then part 3 onwards reverts back to the old. Also I'm sick of most of the teens whether that's a rational opinion or not!

Notable moments I remember:
• James McGrath returning with a fantastic run, beating the Mega Wall. He then proposed to Allysa Bierd (she said yes) - there was another proposal too later in the episode (cringe!)
• There was a very strong performance from a female teen (forgot her name oops) - she beat the wall and in typical ANW style they declared her the "YOUNGEST FEMALE EVER TO BEAT THE WALL!!!" and next week we'll probably have the youngest person ever owning a three-legged dog to get up the wall
• Jessie Graff returned: she picked Serpent at split-decision and FAILED so she's out! Allysa Bierd and David Wright failed here too.

Overall it's typical ANW but preferring it to last year so far due to better courses, better aesthetics and having an audience - which I've realized genuinely does make a big difference.

Edited by Takeshi1, 28/Jun/22, 1:32 pm
28/Jun/22, 12:15 pm Link to this post    PM Takeshi1
 
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Re: ANW 14


Episode 3 Mini-Review

More brief this time as not as much to add.

The course:
Shrinking Steps
Rollercoaster
Log Runner / Burn Rubber
Kickboards (NEW)
Salmon Roll
Warped Wall

Log Runner vs Burn Rubber is the worst split decision yet - they're essentially the same!!

Kickboards was a nice concept but I think it was clunky in execution. You kicked a board up to lache to a disk hold. Then you did it again but to a more difficult hold. Maybe it was a bit long-winded for my taste or something but it felt very meh to me.

One thing I really noticed this heat though was the focus on other people rather than the actual competitors in the intro and profile pieces. I know that always happens but this episode felt more saturated than most with those kinds of stories - to the extent that I noticed on a show that already does it to the point of overkill.

Kaden Lebsack actually got his full run shown, he cleared, as too did Jesse Labreck. Most notable competitors (Jamie Rahn, Ethan Swanson etc.) got the fast-forward treatment but still did well. In fact, a lot of clears this week's got FF'd. Really nothing else notable, very bland episode on the whole I felt.

EDIT: ok this review was a couple days after watching and I forgot something I wanted to mention. There was a fast-forward segment where they edited Matt and Akbar into dogs "Mutt" and "Akbark" and made them do commentary in dog voices. This really did happen. (I did include the picture but it was far too big and I don't know how to resize it lol so you'll just have to trust me!)

Edited by Takeshi1, 5/Jul/22, 3:52 pm
5/Jul/22, 3:11 pm Link to this post    PM Takeshi1
 
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Re: ANW 14


Quote:

Takeshi1 wrote:

(I did include the picture but it was far too big and I don’t know how to resize it lol so you’ll have to trust me



If you still have it, please include the picture. Don’t worry, if it’s huge it’ll just amuse me more lol

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Keshi Heads
5/Jul/22, 11:42 pm Link to this post    PM Messup434
 
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Re: ANW 14


Image

Edited by Messup434, 7/Jul/22, 7:20 am
6/Jul/22, 10:56 pm Link to this post    PM Takeshi1
 
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 emoticon Thank you! I decided to resize it after all (hope you don’t mind the edit) because it WAS huge, but it’s annoyingly still a tiny bit too wide emoticon

I had forgot what we were talking about when I opened this just now and it was the funniest thing to open it up to this pic with no context. If you want to imagine the full effect, pretend I didn’t shrink the image by 75% emoticon

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7/Jul/22, 7:24 am Link to this post    PM Messup434
 
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posticon Re: ANW 14


I did warn you it was HUGE haha (and oh dear I managed to get the smiley in the header rather than here lol, once again showing off my alternative tech skills)!!

Episode 4 Mini-Review

The course:
Shrinking Steps
Shattered Panes
Log Runner / Despicaballs
Kickboards
Final Frontier
Warped Wall

Finally got round to watching this one. It was a minion takeover episode but I was fine with it, didn't shove it down our throats as much as they have in the past. Editing similar to previous episodes. The course was decent apart from Kickboards being slow.

Shattered Panes - completely different to anything we've seen here before. Leaned into more of the parkour/freerunning skillset. I like this one a lot. Nice to see something that doesn't involve laches or moving bars in position 2.

Despicaballs - a sponsored obstacle with rotating balls in pivoting sockets. Sounds like a recipe for disaster but was actually a good obstacle. I can see it coming back unsponsored in future.

Final Frontier - similar in a way to Cane Lane, was somewhat janky and very difficult. At first I found it difficult to follow but after a while I got my head around it. It does seem too difficult and I'm not sure it's entertaining enough to return in future seasons but it isn't overly bad.

Notable moments:
• Due to obstacle 5 difficulty there were fewer clears (8) so more clears were shown in full. Field also didn't seem as strong so that could have contributed.
• Record number of females advancing in the top 30 - 7 in all.

Edited by Takeshi1, 19/Jul/22, 10:35 pm
19/Jul/22, 10:20 pm Link to this post    PM Takeshi1
 
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posticon Re: ANW 14


Thanks as always for the review. What you said about the Final Frontier is interesting as I have only seen a bunch of positive comments on it. I did catch a clip on Facebook though and I thought it was a bit confusing - but overall it’s decent. Also notice themed obstacles (irregardless of sponsors) appear to have become the rule rather than the exception.

I haven’t even watched this season and I am still sick of the Spinning/Broken Bridge. They seem to have become the lazy answer for balance obstacles which sucks.



I also read something interesting where someone recognized a sound clip in a recent episode, and it turns out it was an audio clip from Kacy’s finals run on the Ring Toss. I find it interesting that they recycle such old clips - I never even considered them having an “audio bank” in the first place but if I had, I would’ve figured it would only encompass the past few years. I guess using really old clips allows it to go less noticed anyway. Just thought that was interesting.

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20/Jul/22, 9:43 am Link to this post    PM Messup434
 
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Re: ANW 14


Quote:

Messup434 wrote:

I haven’t even watched this season and I am still sick of the Spinning/Broken Bridge. They seem to have become the lazy answer for balance obstacles which sucks.


Are you foreshadowing here..? I've only seen the first 4 eps so far but I was aware there was meant to be hanging balance obs being in semis (again!) - I think they're a good obstacle concept but when they come back year after year (and in the same places) I get sick of them.

I think Spin Bridge has only missed 2 seasons in all (albeit this orientation was introduced in 10 onwards) and Broken Bridge I don't think has missed a season since it was introduced in 8. Diamond Dash as well has stayed longer than it deserves.

I agree the show really struggles to come up with new balance obstacles. I know Split Decision last year seemed like a way to bring back old obstacles to disguise the lack of new ones but I feel this year they'd have been better off with only 1 balance obstacle like pre-13 so then they wouldn't have to reuse so many. They could have had 2 Serpent episodes, a Domino Effect one and two Despicaballs ones. Then had things left like Burn Rubber that could have been used for semis. Rib Run could've come back too - it's strange it only got one season but maybe it was hard to reset?

Very interesting what you said about the Kacy sound clip - never really thought about them keeping sounds other than that awful fake audience one.


Edited by Takeshi1, 21/Jul/22, 11:38 am
21/Jul/22, 11:33 am Link to this post    PM Takeshi1
 


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