Fun:A Cautionary note about golden strawberries

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A Cautionary note (February 22, 2018)[edit | edit source]

A Cautionary note about golden strawberries

I do not believe that it is statistically possible to get every golden strawberry without using assist mode, or cheating in some way. I kinda think that Maddy Thorson was trolling us by putting these strawberries in the game, and having no way to tell if someone is using assist mode just by looking at the screen footage. I think she knows full well that it's impossible, and the whole thing is little more than a social experiment to see how many people will cheat and then try to pass their work off as legitimate. There is no achievement or reward for getting these strawberries. You don't unlock a special ending where Theo chips a tooth on the gold strawberries in your pie. You do get a stamp of a gold strawberry on your save file if you succeed in getting all 25 gold strawberries. But PC players have already learned to hack their save slot to manipulate these stamps - including removing the assist stamp.

Certain youtubers who shall remain nameless claim to have gotten every golden strawberry legitimately within a week of the game's release - even going so far as to say that it was fairly easy to do compared to other games they've played. Having carefully inspected their videos and held extensive conversations with them and hearing their conflicting stories about why they were forced to use an assist mode enabled save to make their videos, but did not have an assist mode enabled save slot to show at the beginning of the videos, I am 100% certain that these are doctored videos made by nerdowells.

That's not to say these people aren't good at the game. Even making a doctored video to look like you got the gold strawberries without cheating requires a tremendous amount of skill at the game. Please do not take this as a personal attack against anyone for their videos. Rather, consider this a cautionary note to you. Do not take these videos as proof that it's possible to get these strawberries and decide that you too are going to accomplish this, because if soandsoyoutuber can do it, so can you. I have yet to see a legitimate video that convinces me that it's possible. In the hunt for clicks and subscribers, youtubers sometimes deceive their audiences and end up wasting their time.

If you're going to attempt these golden strawberries - understand that if you want recognition for the feat, you're going to have to make sure that you have proof that you're not cheating. If you're just doing this for your own personal sense of self-satisfaction that's great. But nobody is going to believe that you got all the gold strawberries if you tell them that you did. Don't even attempt to tell people you accomplished this unless you have video to back it up. Do not play on an assist mode enabled save slot, and then expect people to believe that you just didn't use any assist options. Play on a non-assist enabled save slot, or don't bother. Show the full experience, from title screen to level. Play with the game clock turned on. Pause the game on occasion so that people can see that you don't have assist mode available in your options. Play with the original music on. Don't make up some excuse about how you had to turn the music off because it was distracting. Anything to make it difficult to doctor the video. And even that might not be enough. The only surefire way to prove you did this is to livestream your accomplishment.

But more importantly - think long and hard before you even attempt this. Is it really worth it? People aren't going to believe you unless you show proof, and that proof is going to be difficult to produce. You're unlikely to be able to monetize a legitimate video because it will contain copyrighted music. You're not going to make money doing this.

Don't let an ambitious youtuber vying for clicks trick you into wasting your time. Understand before you begin that it's probably an impossible feat. If you understand this and you still want to go for it - good luck. I sincerely hope you can prove me wrong.

Follow-up post by burqawitz, the original author of A Cautionary note (August 12, 2018)[edit | edit source]

I'm comfortable with what I wrote. View it within the context it was written. There have been many youtubers who were caught cheating to get these golden strawberry runs. I was merely warning you of the difficulty of achieving this feat.

And I still wouldn't recommend it. The youtubers who have accomplished this feat have spent 8 months of their life playing this one game constantly. It's a good game, but...

They have likely doomed themselves to severe health issues with arthritis and tendonitis in the future. Even after just playing through the B-Sides and C-Sides for the game, it took a week for my hands to recover. I literally broke several dishes, because I kept dropping things because of the tendon damage I took getting through every stage of this game.

It's an unrealistic accomplishment that generally should not be attempted by the average gamer - and what I wrote is still as true today as it was the day I wrote it. If you want to attempt this feat and have anybody believe you, you better at the very least be live streaming the event, because if you just come along and tell someone you did this, they're not going to believe you without proof.

Another follow-up post by burqawitz (August 15, 2018)[edit | edit source]

Apologies for a long post. Don't feel obligated to read it if it's too long.

The issue is - I haven't watched any of the newer videos claiming to have gotten the strawberries, and I really have no desire to. I've moved on to other games, and am quite busy with other work, both with my youtube channel and other guides I'm writing.

Frankly - people immediately accepted Horheristo's video without question when he first claimed to have achieved this feat only a few days after the game was released, until I came along and pointed out the inconsistencies in his video. Nobody even thought to question the validity of his video before that. And my comments were only up for a couple of hours on his channel before he deleted them, but it was enough to get anyone who cared talking about why the video was fake.

I acknowledged in my original writings that I might be wrong and that it might be possible to get these strawberries, but that the videos I had inspected at the time of writing turned out to be faked.

Now - even if somebody live streams their video, because of the nature of this game, that doesn't eliminate the possibility that they cheated. With this game, you could use scripting software to write a script that would play a level flawlessly for you at the press of a button. There is absolutely no RNG in this game. None. Which means scripting software could allow you to cheat through the whole game and it would be completely undetectable over a live stream.

The way scripting software works is, you run the software while you're playing, and it records the inputs you make on your controller as you're playing the game. Then you press a single button and it repeats those same inputs. So in the case of Celeste - particularly if someone is playing on PC, which seems to be the platform of choice for people making these runs - You play as far as you can without dying, and then you record your inputs after you die, then go back and delete the last input where you made a mistake. Then you play again, once again recording your inputs, but this time you start by running the script from last time. You take over from where you made your mistake on the last run. Now you're guaranteed to get as far as you got last time, and then if you get a little farther, you re-record the input. Each time you make a little progress, but once you've cleared one challenge in a level you're guaranteed to always get that far the next time. And you just keep going until you've completed a script that will get you through the level flawlessly. You can even go in and edit the inputs by hand if you had something where you were close, to tweak the timing on a jump for better results.

Once you have the script complete, all you have to do is run it in the background while you're livestreaming. A single button press starts your sequence which could potentially take you through the entire game flawlessly. Then all you have to do is sit back and pretend to be playing the game.

This type of things is commonly used to cheat for speedruns on more complex games, but because of the RNG involved in most games, you can only use scripting to get through the first few seconds in any given area. You walk into a room in a FPS game and instantly headshot 3 enemies standing in the room with lightning fast precision before they can react. Then after that, you don't know what is going to happen so you have to take over and play legitimately.

But since Celeste has no RNG, you could use it to get through the whole game if you wanted.

It's not the youtuber's fault. It's kind of a flaw in the game. The way this game was designed, it is very easy to cheat, in various different ways. I believe it was an intentional flaw. I think the devs wanted people to cheat. I think they believed that having impossible videos out there would only improve the game's success, making people want to try to compete with the impossible feats they see online, keeping people playing the game for longer.

To really know if someone did this legitimately, you would have to have actually watched the person play in person. To be reasonably sure, it needs to have been witnessed by someone reliable with no affiliation to the person playing.

In short - I'm skeptical.

That doesn't mean that I'm insisting that nobody who claims to have done this is legitimate. They very well may be. I just have no desire to turn my life into one of debunking - or validating - other people's gaming achievements. I didn't like debunking the videos that I debunked. I don't want to create rivalries with other youtubers and get them mad at me. I debunked horheristo's video using a pseudonym. But it's not something I want to commit myself to, going around and risking having some youtubers figure out who I am and doxing me or something for catching them cheating.

And I certainly don't want to challenge any of the people who claim to have done this feat. I haven't even watched any of their videos for close to half a year now. They may very well be legitimate. However, if I watch them and find that they cheated, then I'm put in a very tough position that I don't want to be in. Then I have to come back here and argue with people in the comments and explain to them why these videos are fake, which could get people mad at me.

I'm already uncomfortable with the fact that horheristo's video was brought up in these comments, but it became rather obvious who I was talking about without me ever mentioning the name and it didn't take long before somebody posted the exact video I was referring to.

Worse yet, I might find it inconclusive. I might find that it is possible that the people were running scripting software and there was no way for me to tell. And then people would be even more mad at me for not being willing to admit the legitimacy of videos that I also couldn't legitimately debunk.

So I'd rather just stay out of it.

It just means that at the time I finished writing for this game, all the videos I had seen claiming to have done this were fake, and I don't have the time to continue monitoring every video done on this challenge to try to determine if they are legitimate.

What I wrote is as legitimate today as it was when I wrote it. Just because somebody made a youtube video of them doing this, doesn't mean they did it legitimately without cheating - even if they livestreamed it.

I wrote "Do not take these videos as proof that it's possible to get these strawberries and decide that you too are going to accomplish this, because if soandsoyoutuber can do it, so can you. I have yet to see a legitimate video that convinces me that it's possible. In the hunt for clicks and subscribers, youtubers sometimes deceive their audiences and end up wasting their time."

And what you've done is to take a video from soandsoyoutuber as proof that it's possible to get these strawberries, and not only that, but suggested that because you saw a video of soandsoyoutuber doing it, I should remove my warning that says that just because you've seen a video you shouldn't take that as proof positive that it can be done.

That's exactly what I was warning against. And the warning is still valid.

Use your own judgement. If you think they did it legitimately - great. That's your judgement.

But I would advise against attempting this, and I wouldn't assume that it can be done just because you've seen a video of somebody claiming to do it. There were videos of people claiming to do it 4 days after the game released. Even if somebody did do it legitimately - I still wouldn't recommend you doing it. I think it's a waste of time. I think it's a medical risk for tendon damage. I think you're unlikely to feel a lot of pride in the achievement vs the time you would have to spend to do it. And you're going to have trouble getting people to even believe you when you tell them you did it.

I've had a lot of people on my youtube channel tell me they were going to get all these strawberries, and I always tell them that if they make videos of them doing it I'll gladly post them on my channel where they'll get a lot of views and be able to be monetized, and I'll give them all the ad revenue for the videos. Everybody tells me they're going to do it - and then I never hear back from them.