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Wednesday, April 23, 2014 by Radix

My apologies for this bullet list

We have a run of Alex Kidd in Miracle World in 0:14:24 by 'ocelots1990'. This is 20 seconds faster than the previous run done about a year ago.

The first submission for the game Bugdom 2 is a single-segment in 0:17:09 by 'Newtmanking'.

There is a single-segment 100% submission for Donkey Kong Jungle Beat in a time of 0:58:20.40 by Zack 'PiePusher11' Maher. Note that this run got better times than so many of the individual level 100% runs from a table, that the table was removed.

The first submission for the game Addams Family, for Game Boy, is with large-skip glitches in a very quick 0:01:30 by Dave 'bangerra' Janssens. The runner complements the programmers, who left an obviously intentional shortcut right into the final level.

Next up is a submission for a game so obscure it's not even on GameFAQs, Wolfschanze 1944. Carsten 'djcj' Janssen completed it on blitzkrieg difficulty with large-skip glitches, in 29 segments, in 0:19:44.

Another new game submission, Runner 'gammadragon' did Might and Magic VII: For Blood and Honor in a time of 0:37:41, with 23 segments.

Last up we have a new category submission on Resident Evil 2 PC version. William 'Smallvillecs' Júnior got a time using Hunk of 0:01:59.66. We already had a Hunk run on PS2, but I'm sure the times are hard to compare because of loading.

Friday, April 11, 2014 by LLCoolDave

The distinct smell of fresh rain on dry ground is called petrichor.

No time for introductions, getting flooded with runs.

In fact, the first game of the day probably needs no introduction. Grand Theft Auto 3 pretty much defined the 3D sandbox murder-em-up genre and has been a fairly popular title for speedrunning for a while now, so it's not a big surprise that a new run of it ended up on the frontpage today. This submission by 'Eidgod' finishes the game in 1:11:57, improving the old run by... precisely 0 seconds?! Unlike the old run, Eidgod however decided to forego any safety saves and deals with the randomness of traffic and AI driving patterns in a single segment that just happens to clock in at the exact same time as the old segmented run. Quite the coincidence.

Thief II: The Metal Age is a game that takes a less manslaughtering approach to dealing with opposition, instead focusing heavily on stealth, tricking the AI and taking a slow, deliberate approach to 3D gameplay. This poses an interesting dilemma to the speedrunner, as hiding behind a conveniently placed crate or pillar does not clash well with the concept of going fast. Joe 'SocratesJohnson' Lunde has managed to find the perfect balance, sometimes by blatantly disregarding basic concepts of physics such as not being able to operate a key through a solid wall. The result is an impressive time of 1:02:09 in a single sitting.

Lyle in Cube Sector also involves thievery of the worst kind. Lyle finds himself punished for his rather short sighted real estate purchasing habits, having his cat stolen right outside his house inconveniently located in a rather uninhabitable and unfriendly place. This sets in motion a Metroidvania style adventure involving coloured blocks scattered throughout the world being (ab)used in rather unusual fashions. The game has gained speedrunning attention ever since its release, but this marks the first time one of them has made it to SDA with 'Gliperal' besting through the game in a catrescuingly quick 0:14:52.

With a little stretch of your imagination, the gap between cats, otters and weasels is small enough for us to make a seamless transition to the next title, as long as you're willing to play along and look away while we redecorate the set and then act as if nothing happened. Doing so we transition right on into Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, one of the many PS1/PS2 era 3D platformers that have been immensely popular among speedrunners in the past couple of years. Stephan 'Freak4games' Toews is one of them and he brought a massive improvement of over 16 minutes to SDA's show and tell today, clocking in at 1:23:44 in a single segment.

While we're on the subject of beloved franchises, let's move on to Ghost in the Shell. This popular cyberpunk anime series spawned a game of the same name that, unlike many popular media adaptations, actually features an original storyline and well designed gameplay that involves being able to relatively freely cling to walls and ceilings. Alliteration expert Zachary 'Zastbat' Zimmerman manages to avoid disorientation for 0:25:34 to stop the evil Zebra 27 (I think the proper cyberpunk name should be Zebra 3³) from his evil scheming.

Against our statistical expectations, this update doesn't just feature one but TWO whole popular media adapted games that have survived the transition without turning into the usual pile of unenjoyable garbage that's associated with that phrase. Admittedly, the source material for Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth is a tad older than the previous entry, but arguably even more well regarded by its fans. Despite being stuck in development hell for years the end product is a finely crafted survival horror that manages to completely forego a HUD for atmosphere. Unfortunately, the programming has suffered some as the player can simply lean through a wall to grab a lock on the other side of it. Patrik 'Pafi' Varjotie properly abuses these oversights for a slight mockery of Lovecraftian horrors lasting 1:38:27, a foolish endeavour that hasn't ended well for anybody else in the past.

Dead Space 2 is a horror game of a different kind, tingling a different part of your spine than the Old Ones but is no less efficient at doing so. This particular game offers a Hardcore difficulty option that very much deserves the title, limiting your saves to a mere 3 across the entire campaign. Sahail 'Tenshouha' decides to one-up this challenge further, electing to not make use of any savepoints at all and just rushing through in a single segment of 2:14:40. Spooky.

Finally, with a complete non sequitur of a segway: Bionic Commando. No, not the NES classic, the 2009 game of the same name, which is actually a sequel to the remake of the NES game that WASN'T simply called Bionic Commando. This naming scheme is just utter bullshit. Nevertheless the game at least features the well known grappling hook for movement and asinine dribble for a story line. Frontpage regular Sean 'MURPHAGATOR!' Murphy took on the challenge of not accidentally swinging outside the level boundaries and dying, finishing the game in a mere 1:05:46.

This ending paragraph has no real connection to the rest of the update.

Monday, April 7, 2014 by ShadowWraith

GETCHER RUNS HERE! DON'T BE SHY, PLENTY FOR EVERYONE!

Merry Monday to you guys. I've got some more sweet speedruns for you to enjoy.

You may remember that a little while ago we had a marathon called AGDQ. At this marathon we had a gentleman known as 'CGN' completely murder F-Zero GX, known to be an incredibly hard game. Well, it turns out that he's pretty good at the other F-Zero games too. He went and improved the Port Town 1 stage of F-Zero X by 1.381 seconds, bringing the time down to 0:01:01.371 and taking the total table time down to 0:43:07.510. What a beast. If you haven't watched his F-Zero GX run yet, you really really should.

Next up, Super Mario 63. Contrary to what the name might tell you, this is not the prequel to Super Mario 64, and all similarities between the games end with the protagonist being called Mario. It is, in fact, a fanmade 2D platforming flash game, and Jeffrey 'I have no name' Bardon - you liar, you have a name, I'm on to you - ran through it single-segment in 0:11:35. Maybe this time Peach will finally stop getting herself kidnapped. We can only hope.

Kick Master is a simple game. As the name implies, you're a master of kicking and you use your kicking ability in the best way possible: on everything ever. Of course, there's more to the game than that, such as RPG elements and collecting plot devices, but nobody cares about that boring stuff. Ethan McKee saw things my way, utilising his legs of steel and bringing us this 0:13:03 single-segment run, an improvement of 34 seconds over our previous run. The astute among you will realise that this means that the run time is no longer leet, but we must all make sacrifices in the name of progress. Such is life.

Xardion (also known as Super Attack God Xardion, what a metal name) is one of those side-scrolling mecha games that are all the rage these days. As you might expect from that, it's also originally Japanese and thus the translation work in the game is terrible. Unique among side-scrolling games of this type is the backtracking feature added in to prevent you from beating the game quickly. Hah. Resident 'o' guy (check the run comments) Justin 'Zerst' Kvithyll decided that being a Super Attack God struck a chord with him and improved our previous run of this game by a little under 6 minutes, for a final time of 0:27:09. Also one of the robots is a cat. Cat robot best robot.

I love the Gauntlet games. I recently played through a Gauntlet-like game called Hammerwatch with some buddies of mine and it was tons of fun. I haven't played Gauntlet Legends, but from what I can see it captures exactly the kind of mindless gameplay that the previous games in the series had and for that reason I think it looks pretty sweet. Also apparently you can kill Death in the game, which is pretty damn cool. Anyway, 'Boyo003' also shared my affection for this game, providing us with this 1:40:50 single-segment Expert difficulty run. Good stuff.

International Track and Field is one of those games I don't have much to say about. It's just a bunch of sporting events. They don't even include Wife Carrying, for shame. Regardless, 'Chris-X' overlooked this grave oversight in the inclusion of REAL international sporting activities and created this 0:08:31 single-segment run on Hard difficulty on the PAL version. They didn't even include bog snorkeling. What a joke.

Last up, another Resident Evil game, this one going by the name of Resident Evil Code: Veronica X HD. The plot of these games confuses me greatly and is probably incredibly nonsensical to those of you who do understand it in its entirety, but suffice it to say there's probably a bunch of zombies, overgrown mutant creatures and a smarmy dude with sunglasses involved in this game. 'sshplur' cut through the bullshit and brought us this 1:41:14 single-segment run on the japanese version, presumably for the faster text speed. I feel like my updates may not be doing the Resident Evil series justice, but there's only so much "because viruses" reasoning that games can throw at me before I just stop caring about them. Eh.

Sunday, March 30, 2014 by Breakdown

There was something I used to do...

Yeah, it's been a while. But let's skip the pleasantries; I have runs, lots of runs.

I remember a few years back posting funkdoc's run for the original Castlevania and stating something to the effect that it was a healthy improvement to a run I thought was really good to begin with. Well, here we are again. Runner 'kmafrocard' went in hard on this game and chopped 18 seconds off the incumbent time, grabbing the final orb at 0:11:48. So yeah, a healthy improvement to a run I thought was really good to begin with. Check it out.

Let's keep the classic Castlevania train rolling for one more paragraph here. The black sheep of the original trilogy, Castlevania II: Simon's Quest has been getting some attention from the community as of late, and as a result we have the inaugural submission for the deathless category for you today from runner 'FuriousPaul'. It takes him 0:43:48 to reassemble and then again disassemble Dracula, defintiely worth a watch.

Moving on, we've got probably my favorite game of the last decade in Super Meat Boy. Runner John De Sousa brought no small amount of innovation to the any% category on this one, and has done on the PC version what only a small handful of people have done in pretty much any game: cut the Exo, and by a healthy margin no less. His time of 0:18:24 is a full minute's improvement over the previous run, and that run blew minds when it hit. So yeah, pretty good to say the least.

We'll move on to the only actual new game being added to our list today, and it happens to be another one my favorites of recent years. Though in runs, my favorite part of playing Bastion casually (the narrator) is decidedly minimized, the large skips category more than balances this out with letting you see the game get broken all to hell. Runner 'Vulajin' is very adept at breaking this game all to hell, as evidenced in his 0:15:09 run on the PC version. Not bad for a Kid.

When the first batch of games based on Jurassic Park were being planned out, somebody at Sega definitely demonstrated good judgment when they threw out the idea of "Let's let them play as the dinosaur!" Truly, the Raptor mode was the big draw of the Genesis version of the game when it came out, because who would rather play as a middle-aged paleontologist over a big, fast, scaled death machine? Count runner 'Lecorbak' firmly in the big, fast, scaled death machine camp as he liked the mode enough to run it. He blazes through the Raptor stages in a very quick 0:02:50, over forty seconds faster than our previous run from way back in 2005.

As long as we're on the subject of the obsoletion of really old runs on the site, we're retiring another one today from all the way back in 2004. Road Runner's Death Valley Rally was one of Tom Votava's early barrage of submissions back when SDA made the jump from Quake running site to speedrunning site ten years ago. A handful remain on the game list to this day, but this is one more being picked off, this time by runner 'Lenophis'. It's a healthy improvement as well, just over two minutes faster than the incumbent time, clocking in at 0:23:40.

I'll be honest, I don't have much interesting or witty to say about Crash Team Racing. It's a kart racer, you go fast, you get power ups, there are cool shortcuts and glitches, and it makes for a pretty interesting run. Davy 'Lechanceux100' Menan demonstrates this with his single segment Adventure mode run on the European version of the game, crossing the final finish line in 0:56:53.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 by ShadowWraith

Update? Update.

Hey it's me again, and I've got some more sweet speedruns for you today. Take a look!

I love Devil May Cry. While the plot may be paper thin and the voice acting questionable at best, the combat is fluid and fun and the artwork and enemy design are top notch.. 'ahuynh' has shown himself to be an absolute monster at the game, with this segmented normal difficulty improvement to our old run from 2005 joining his previously submitted SS Super Dante run on the site. He saves a little under 17 minutes, with a final time of 0:41:33. That's right, I said 17 minutes. Go watch it.

Anodyne is one of those pixel art style indie games that are all the rage these days. This one is a top-down adventure game involving a dream world, Zelda-esque puzzles and combat and - if the speedrun is to be believed - walking through walls into random jumbles of textures. Pretty brave gameplay decision right there, and Darren 'lifning' Alton makes the most of it with this 0:04:51 single-segment run through the game. Oh, wait, you mean the clipping isn't intended gameplay? Well bugger me. Who'd have seen that coming?

I've wrote a couple updates for Resident Evil games before, and I always have trouble with them. It's not that the games aren't compelling at all, it's just that I have no idea what goes on in them, and Resident Evil 2 is no exception. Zombies, evil megacorporations with questionable names, terrible voice acting and knife combat abound in this run by 'Carcinogen'; a single-segment run using Leon on the 'A' story in 1:06:51. What else can I say about this game... the final boss looks scary? I guess that's pretty cool.

If any of you have played the original Prince of Persia game, you'll know how bloody hard it is. The combat was clunky, the traps were fiendish and the level design baffling at times. The remake cleverly titled Prince of Persia Classic alleviates some of these problems and adds a little more depth to the gameplay, and is actually quite fun to watch. 'Jaguar King' went ahead and did this 0:12:46.02 single-segment run for us, and having watched it myself, I can say that the play quality is pretty darn high. You don't need to take my word for it though, the link's right there.

Final Fantasy IV (Final Fantasy 2 for us non-Japanese chaps) is a game I find myself drawn to. From a speedrunning perspective, the only downside to it is the rather lengthy block of grinding towards the end of the run (which has been cut down quite significantly with recent strats, thankfully), and the fact that the end boss is a colossal jerk. That said, I'm clearly not the only one with some affection for this game. Shawn 'obdajr.' Nakashima is probably the best FF4 speedrunner I know of, so I'm sure you guys will find this run a treat to watch. It's 3:24:33 long, by the way, so make sure you set some time aside for it.

Next up, Secret of Mana. A game that is apparently based around trading weapons back and forth between party members and then hitting things for 900+ damage. This run is a single-player single-segment affair, with resets, in 3:16:24 by a fellow named 'Crow!'. I wonder if he wants people to vocalise the exclamation mark at the end of his name? Hmm.

Finally, Dragon Warrior, the game that spawned the JRPG genre. It's almost 30 years old at this point, and people are still playing it today. Kind of blows my mind to think about it. At any rate, Eric 'Lhexa' D'Avignon adds the game to our listings with this segmented 4:47:36 run through the game. Good stuff.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 by nate

from father to daughter

in the late summer of 2003, we were trying to skip the boost ball in metroid prime. my friends and i were trying to beat the game without collecting this item - just to see if it could be done.

there were still three places where it was required to progress. the game's developers hadn't intended for boost to be skippable, so there was a lot of doubt that someone would solve those problems.

kip said, "i think it will happen if it's pushed hard enough."

"if it's pushed hard enough" - as though anything were possible in this world if it's pushed hard enough.

and then it was.

i was looking at the list of marathons on sda's wikipedia page this morning when i remembered something mike uyama said recently: "we raised the big million for PCF, which I didn't think we would hit when the event started," "the event" of course being awesome games done quick 2014, sda's most recent marathon. the total raised from this event was more than the total from all of our previous marathons combined.

this has been a thing for agdq. but i think there was a lot of doubt this year about whether the exponential growth would continue. after all, in this world, there are some things that just aren't possible.

the answer given to me in the summer of 2003 was to build our own world. in other words, boost wasn't skipped on its own. it took people pushing. a million dollars didn't appear on its own. if you took part in the event - organizing, running, watching, donating, spreading the word - then you were pushing. you created this world in which a million dollars was raised in a week to prevent cancer.

who knows what will happen now. i'm told that we raised enough to fund several studies. in the past, one study like this found a new vaccine.

but i think a lot of us did it just to see if it could be done.

we will keep pushing.

Monday, March 10, 2014 by UraniumAnchor

Chapters and Volumes

It's been just under a year since I made a news post for the front page, one in which I said that I looked forward to the day that one of the community's charity events surpassed the 7 digit mark for money raised. Two months ago I got to sit in a room packed with spectators witnessing the finale of AGDQ2014, where the million dollar mark was hit during the final half hour of the final run. You couldn't have scripted a better ending. And with SGDQ2014 less than four months away I can only imagine where these events will take us in the future. I've had the good fortune of being able to attend all but the original *GDQ, and helping run the events are consistently high points of the year, even if they do leave me exhausted for days afterwards.

I'm a somewhat newer face to this site, having only registered on the forum some time in 2008. I don't recall exactly when it was that I started visiting the site, but I do know that in the years prior to that, I got a chance to watch a speedrun of the original Castlevania in 13:13 (still available on Archive!). That video stuck in my memory for quite some time, and while it's since been surpassed by quite a margin I consider it the first real speedrun video I ever watched, and it stood for quite some time. These days competition for well known games (and even some not so well known games) has ramped up to the point where runs previously thought nearly unbeatable can be improved by significant margins, either through the discovery of new tricks or simply grinding out attempts until your fingers bleed.

The speedrunning community continues to grow larger, more and more gamers are joining the fold. Inevitably some leave, but that's just how things are. The community fosters friendly competition, or simply assistance in finding and refining new tricks for whatever somebody's favorite speedrunning game might be. New tricks are discovered even on some of the oldest games, and sometimes there's a mad scramble to be the first to figure out if it's something that can drive the time even lower.

Ultimately, though, video game speedrunning is all about the enjoyment of seeing just how low you can push it. Whether you have a dozen viewers on your 3am stream watching you grind out an obscure NES title or hundreds or thousands of people watching you try to shave off those last few precious seconds, or even frames, the common thread is seeing those green splits finally turn blue when the timer stops. Or whatever color scheme you happen to prefer.

Here's to ten more years, and maybe a few more after that.

Sunday, March 9, 2014 by Flip

Never hurts to offer

I discovered SDA back in 2006, after being linked here from GameFAQS. I'm ashamed to admit that for months I thought the name of this site was "Speed Demons Archive." I've always been a bit of a speed runner, even if I didn't really know what that meant before stumbling into this little corner of the internet. I was fascinated that this many people shared my hobby of playing games fast. I'm serious, folks, dozens of people were posting on the forums every day!

I was immediately sucked into all of it. I couldn't get enough speed runs. I finally submitted my first in 2008. Initially it was a big deal - the first multiplayer console speed run on the site. Before that, multiplayer speed runs only existed in the Quake section of the site. I was led to believe that old people lived there and I wasn't to go sniffing around. Only a joke. Well, mostly a joke.

Despite having a run accepted, I was still hungry to contribute to the site in whatever way I could. I looked for ways to help out, and found an opportunity in the Trading Post board. I offered to create a Master List of all the offers in all the threads (back when this was relatively do-able), and Mike green-lighted it and made me a mod over that board. All I did was offer to help where I thought I could.

That action, the offer to help, really defines the rest of my time here. When updates were getting scarce and people were calling for more staff, I just let Mike know that "Hey, I've got some free time on my hands, and I know quite a bit about games" and voila - next thing I know I'm helping write updates and alleviating some of the pressure on then-updaters Breakdown and dex. This went on for some time until Mike let us know that he planned to step down from his administrative duties (submission through verification). Nobody seemed eager to jump on it, so again, "I've got some free time, I'm on SDA basically all day anyway, and I wouldn't mind learning a new job." As most of you know, that "free time" I advertised was not to last, so eventually puwexil was brought on to take some of the weight off of my shoulders, and I focused purely on verification for some time. In all of my time here, I was never motivated by power or fame or the killer salary, I just wanted to help my favorite website be as great as it could possibly be.

Nowadays, that "free time" is a luxury I don't have nearly as much of, so I kick back on the sidelines and watch SDA unfold before me. It blows me away how far we've come and how much we've grown in the time I've been here. I'm so proud of all of the administrators and all of the users of this site for cultivating a welcoming, open community for new speed runners to find their legs and learn to love this strange hobby we all share. Although my time here may one day been seen as simply a flash in the pan, I'm very proud of my small part in helping the site grow, and I'm so excited to see where it's going. To everyone who has ever been a part of this site, thank you for an amazing ten years.

Saturday, March 8, 2014 by Vorpal

Progress

I wasn't sure what to write when Mike asked me to say something. I wasn't sure whether I would say anything, since I'm not an admin anymore. I was a bratty teen when Radix's 1:37 metroid prime 100% was posted. It's been 10 years, and I'm still bratty, but I've progressed from arguing over whether TASing is cheating to actually speedrunning. That's a pretty big improvement, so maybe I should say something after all.

I've been around for longer than I want to admit, but I haven't been running for that long. I mostly just watched videos. I did a couple bad runs, ultimately I think just to prove to myself that I could. One of them has since been beaten by 17 minutes, so you can tell I didn't find the process rewarding.

Now? This particular competition slash performance art has finally got an audience, and it turns out that playing to the limit of your ability is kinda fun. Speedrunning has matured to the point where impressive videos get streamed every day like it's nothing, and I've met some pretty cool people along the way.

Thanks for the memories. I hope my actions at SDA helped people enjoy the hobby. As for the next 10? Surprise me.

Friday, March 7, 2014 by LLCoolDave

A Decade of Speedrunning

Most of you probably don't know much about me outside of these updates and a couple of slightly awkward and unnatural camera appearances at AGDQ events. Despite not being a well known public figure of our community I've still been around for almost 12 years now, witnessing the rise and growth of this pastime activity from a barely known aspect in the gaming world to something that can glue a hundred thousand of you fans to the screen for a week twice a year. This is my story of how we and I specifically have come to be where we are today.

The year is 2002 and the release of Metroid Prime is on the horizon and my anticipation for what would ultimately turn out to be my favourite game of all time created some new found interest in what is arguably one of the best games of all time: Super Metroid. It's a game I had some great memories of from my childhood but ultimately never owned myself and the friend I used to play it with had moved away a year ago. Lacking a local store that dealt in retro games (and yes, the SNES already was a retro console a decade ago. Welcome to feeling old.) I turned to something I had discovered fairly recently: Emulation, which had brought me many afternoons of intense Tetris Attack multiplayer action in between Windows ME freezing for no good reason during the previous winter. It's hard for me to tell whether I first discovered all the sequence breaking and knowledge about the game preserved on the GameFAQs message board (when GameFAQs wasn't the desolate wasteland it has now become) or Smokey's ZSNES input record files of his speedruns, but those two were my first real exposure to speedrunning.

The times Smokey achieved were in the 0:37 game time range, some of them with saves, some of them in a single segment setting, and all of them riddled with playback and syncing issues. The concept of short time attacks on racing games and the likes was not new to me, and I had just recently picked up competing in the single player stadium events on the freshly release Super Smash Bros. Melee but running a full half hour game was still an impressive feat to me at that point. It took another half a year for me to meet what would eventually become the core of metroid2002 and the modern day SDA as the EU release of Metroid Prime was massively delayed compared to the US release. By the time I finished enjoying the game all by myself and got into the sequence breaking aspect of it most of the major things about it had been discovered already. Nevertheless, #metroid-online was where I first started getting into contact with nate, Radix and a lot more other people you probably don't know or care about I could namedrop right now.

Although Radix' 1:37 100% run is often credited as being the first speedrun with widespread exposure people seem to often forget that CalFoolio made a couple of newspapers and online gaming media sites with his any% half a year prior to that. The next part of the story is probably best told by nate himself. It's hard for me to tell if the recent exposure of specific speedruns had brought people to record runs of games they liked or if it just had gotten people who already did so more attention, but it's probably fair to say that early 2004 is where speedrunning started to take off. There's a lot of contributing factors to that. For one, the recording of game footage for private use had started to become both technically feasible and popular, with PC's becoming powerful enough and video encoding sophisticated enough to use Fraps without massively straining the CPU and HDDs any more, capture cards becoming affordable and DVD recorders starting to gain a foothold in private households. On top of that, the spread of broadband internet was in full swing and made sharing video files on the internet a realistic proposition.

As much credit as we attribute to the early pioneers of our hobby we shouldn't forget that influence the general environment had on its success. It's not like speedrunning popped out of nowhere around 2004, in fact a lot of games have a heritage that reaches back further than that. Before that point in time though both the production and consumption of speedruns required a considerable amount of dedication from people, resulting in fairly isolated communities around individual games with a relatively low focus on audio-visual content. Once those external factors shifted and SDA provided a generic, non game specific meeting point for speedrunners in 2004 is when things started to flourish. Nevertheless, the speedrunning scene was considerably different back then.

For one, high quality video files were a rare sight in 2004. YouTube and Google Videos were still a year out in the future, and it probably took another 2 or 3 years before their general video quality started to be comparable to early day SDA encodes. Most gaming videos back then were relatively blurry, low framerate encodes to squeeze down filesize in an era where the word megabyte still had a meaning on the internet. This is arguably the major contribution to SDA's success in the early days: A focus on high quality, not just (and looking back at the early content, some may cynically say none at all) on gameplay but especially on the actual video recording of the run. This is the first time speedruns became consumable by the general public. Although there were leaderboards for various games before then and TwinGalaxies tracked speed records for all kinds of games, part of what made them disappear since then is the fact that the service they provided was ultimately useless to anybody not actively involved in the competition. The mere statement of fact of a certain time being achieved is irrelevant if you don't understand the context of it. The recording of speedruns finally managed to provide a context to the general public by making the record relatable. Watching the run unfold made it easy to compare it to your own experiences playing the game and draw your own conclusions about the run. In a day and age of watching 1080p YouTube videos on your laptop tethered to your mobile phone on a train this may seem very distant to some of you, but trust me, hosting high quality video files free of charge on SDA was a big deal back in the day.

Speedruns themselves were also rather different then. Outside of games with a dedicated community most speedruns were single person efforts, where all the research was frequently shouldered by the runner himself. Contrast this with today, where even games with only one active runner frequently have a group of people who contributed to it in the background with routing, glitch hunting and the general benefits you gain when multiple views can converge on a single product. The time commitment to speedrunning was also often times a lot smaller than what we are used to today. It wasn't unheard of for SDA submitted runs back then to be completed in two weeks, from conception through trick finding into practice and the actual recording and segmented runs were mostly the norm. If your standards of gameplay quality aren't as exceedingly high as they are today and you are only willing to commit so much of your time to finishing a run, splitting it into smaller chunks is certainly the most efficient use of your time and will overall lead to a better run within these constraints you set for yourself. The view that the mere act of segmentation should require a significantly more polished execution was something that only developed over the course of the last decade, originally it seemed that taking a save point was widely regarded as a worthwhile cost if the time lost was reasonably easily offset by spending less time perfecting a much longer section of the game. Speedruns weren't solely optimized over purely ingame mechanics, the meta aspect of the effort put into it played a much larger roll than it still does today.

As a result of this, that was the age of very prolific runners. With a relatively small community and a lower standard of effort expected in a speedrun, this is where some of the runners with the widest range of games and speedruns popped up. Today most runners are mostly known for a game or two, but in the early days of SDA it was rather common for people to simply be known as speedrunners, with a wide range of titles and runs under their belt and on the gamelist. The run I want to highlight today is from this era by one of the speedrunning pioneers named SnapDragon. There are a lot of worthwhile gaming feats he achieved that still stand up even today, but for some reason the one thing that always stuck with me in the back of my head was something that very much doesn't: His 2:09:56 run of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. If you haven't watched that run, please be aware that I can't recommend it. That time has been beaten by over 20 minutes at SGDQ 2012 and the run really doesn't hold up on any standards today. More on why I picked this run in particular if I don't want you to watch it later on.

As the community grew, so did the expectations of execution in the speedruns it produced. Once there was a critical mass of speedrunners for actual competition on more games to become a common thing the effort put into a speedrun grew exceptionally quickly, and by proxy the standards for non competitive runs rose in accordance. For games with save features we entered an era of very optimized hyper segmented runs and changes to the SDA rules with regards to death abuse and out of bounds tricks opened a whole can of new categories and tricks to be explored. Strangely, this is also when my personal enjoyment of actually running a game started to plummet. At first I thought this to be caused by me simply not being good enough or dedicated enough to produce a high quality speedrun, but I think I understand this issue in a much different light today. Again, more on this later.

Then streaming happened, and it changed everything. Not only did it lead to our now bi-annual Games Done Quick marathons, the largest exposure of speedrunning to the uninitiated public these days, it also massively influenced the way we consume and produce speedruns. Before people started to stream their speedruns, what the consuming part of the community got to see in the end were finished products, meticulously crafted paintings in a gallery, carefully arranged, all the false starts and poorly composed ones cast aside to a garbage bin where nobody would ever see them. With streaming, viewers could watch the painters in their atelier for the first time as they carefully placed their brush on the canvas, slipped and started anew. The focus shifted from the mere finished product to the process of creating it, with all the uncertainty and excitement of what was still to come being shared by the runner with their audience right as it happened. This definitely started to cast a different light on our hobby. As a result, the types of runs that were desirable to learn and produce shifted. Segmented runs make for a bad streaming experience, with constant resets over seemingly negligible mistakes, a rather short segment that's being played over and over again with small variety and a seeming lack of progress for the viewer. Suddenly, long single segment runs started to become the de facto norm of speedrunning a game and these days segmented runs are a rare sight for the most part. Live streaming leads to different types of runs being popular amongst viewers, and so the focus of the community has shifted rather dramatically in the past 3 years.

There's another interesting development that streaming brought upon us. The years leading up to the rise of twitch.tv had seen a stronger and stronger focus on more and more optimized speed runs as that's ultimately the only thing the audience got to see and experience. With live streaming and commentary being an integral part of our community now there is room for people who can act as entertainers that use speedrunning as a mean, not the goal of their performance and several of the more popular members of our community these days have grown famous more so for their commentary and interaction than solely the gameplay they produce. Speedrunning has been lifted from a passive form of entertainment where the runner and audience are mostly disconnected and only interact through the medium of the speedrun itself to a performance art where runner, audience and the speedrun interact and intermingle in ever more exciting and interesting ways, and this is where I feel we stand today.

Speedrunning is art. There's no other way for me to view it, as it serves no direct function or purpose, it doesn't directly improve any aspect of our lives and the final product isn't particularly useful in and of itself. The only use to be gained out of it is the experience felt while watching or producing a speedrun itself, whatever that may be for each individual. Although most of us probably view it as a fairly low-brow form of entertainment instead of a high art I still feel there's quite a bit to be gained by viewing it through those eyes for a moment. What I find to be particularly curious is the relationship between artist and art in speedrunning. There is no doubt that speedrunning is a very constrained canvas for expressing ones thoughts and ideas, even more so than just regular gaming. Not only are the things one can do in the game fairly limited themselves, the overall goal of doing things as quickly as possibly strongly constrains the artist even further. What a speedrun expresses is then mostly on an emotional level. The excitement, anxiety, uncertainty, relief, pressure, surprise and sheer panic runners frequently feel throughout the course of their run are relatively easily projected onto a viewer through the mere actions of playing the game and a mutual understanding of the general context of those actions. Furthermore, given their own experience with the game in question a viewer may feel all of these and many more emotions at potentially entirely different points in the run than even the runner did. Frequently, people who have spend time running a game themselves get excited at very different points in a run than viewers that have never seen a speedrun of that game before. It is in this contrast and conflict of experiences and emotions of the artist and experiences of the viewer where I see most of the artistic value in a speedrun and where I personally seem to gain most of my enjoyment of them.

Realizing this is what got me to understand my discontent with speedrunning I felt a couple years ago. The strive for more and more optimized times got me to focus on the entirely wrong aspect of speedrunning for myself. I was so obsessed with producing a nearly optimal run that I stopped enjoying the process of potentially getting there. Speedrunning had stopped being about myself and was focused on some abstract concept of a perfect speedrun. No segment I did was good enough, no jump precise enough, no frame lost considered acceptable. What I had completely missed was measuring my progress on myself, not the frame counter in VirtualDub. The act and goal of speedrunning, I feel, is ultimately about oneself. I think we should try to see the competitive nature of speedrunning less between runners and more about the runner with himself. What good is it really to be able to say 'I am the best at this relatively meaningless task'? What good is it to measure exactly how many frames off an optimal run we achieved? We should stop tracking our progress as our failure to live up to these tasks and rather treat it as the advances we have made in ourselves. Don't try to be the best runner at a game the world has seen, don't try to produce the most optimized run imaginable. Try to be better than you were a day ago, a week ago, a month ago. Try to think positively about the experiences you gain in the progress, both for speedrunning and in more general terms. And try to share those experiences with others so they can gain from them as well. This doesn't just hold true for speedrunning but life in general: Don't try to be the best person one can be, be the best you can be and then go out there and improve on that even further.

This is why I picked that particular run earlier. When I first watched that Prince of Persia run it certainly impressed me, mostly due to the low standards surrounding it at the time. I was impressed by the dedication of playing through a relatively hard game in a continuous 2 hour chunk while remembering what to do almost everywhere along the path. Granted, most of that was because I hadn't really seen much quite like it at the time, but the run stuck with me for entirely different reasons. It's not very optimized at all, it even contains a rather costly death right at the end (a rather impressive feat in a game where you can rewind time) and a lot of mistakes along the way, it misses several tricks that were probably rather easy to discover even back then if one had spent more time looking for them and in general it seems rather sloppy from today's point of view. Even as a product of its time it really doesn't stand out as something remarkable when viewed on this axis alone. What it is though, is entirely unmistakably SnapDragon's run, and his personality and experiences with the game shine through at every point. He choreographs fights not in the most theoretically optimal way but rather the way that works best for him. The execution clearly shows parts that he is rather good at and parts that cause him trouble. It's a very personal experience, and I can always compare that to my experience with the game and gain something from that. It is very much a work of a specific artist, with all his flaws and insecurities and strengths and knowledge being projected onto a 2 hour movie file.

Contrast this with one of the runs I am well known for showing a dislike to: the Half-Life Half-Hour run from a couple of years ago. Disregarding the issue of using scripts that are no longer allowed on SDA and mostly disliked in the community as a whole the run is also very heavily segmented. The average length of a segment is less than 10 seconds, and probably considerably less once you factor out the parts where nothing much happens at all. And where there is action, it is chopped up in chunks so small that there is no room for any aspects of the runner to sip through. The entire product is shaped by the merciless dictation of objectively being the fastest possible run and as a result feels very much lifeless to me. In a sense, it doesn't much matter who ultimately ended up recording the segments on that particular route because you would be hard pressed to tell the difference anyway. That's the curious curse of the speedrunner: The better a run becomes objectively, the less important the artist himself seems to be. This is part of the reason why I think streaming became so popular, in both the producing and consuming parts of the community. The live performance of a speedrun allows more room for the run to be personal and gives a better canvas for transmitting the contrast of experiences and emotions I consider so important for the enjoyment of a run from a runner to their audience, and via immediate chat feedback there's also a path in the other direction.

So this is the thought I want to leave you with today: A faster time doesn't always make for a better speedrun. Strive to challenge yourself with your speedrunning goals, not others. There's so much more to our common interest than the mere objective time displayed at the end of a run and if there wasn't, SDA surely wouldn't have grown to be what it is today. And with that, off to another ten years.

Thursday, March 6, 2014 by dex

We should be able to make some candles out of all this wax

I got introduced to this site by a happy accident, back when I was a 14 year old. Yes, I'm basically a baby. I read a column on SDA in a Polish gaming magazine. It was around the time of the 15 minute Morrowind run being released. I vividly remember visiting the only friend that had any sort of a broadband internet connection - also a Morrowind fan - and blowing his mind by showing him the (in retrospect rather bland) intelligence stacking trick to make incredibly powerful potions. I was instantly hooked, though I wasn't really too active until I managed to nab an actual internet connection in my own home. That is not to say I wasn't doing speedrun related stuff at the time - the update before the Morrowind one was the old Deus Ex run. I remember sitting there and thinking "hey, I think I can do this better!" About three weeks later I did a 1:10:xx run for my own enjoyment, and then promptly decided never to publish the subpar-quality recordings. Only after taking a plunge into Quake running a year and a half later did I decide to actually record something that people would actually enjoy watching.

Because that's what speedrunning means to me at its core: making something that others will enjoy first and foremost - the nerdiest artform imaginable. It's a display of ability and capability, of patience, of cunning and, yes, of improvisation and efficiency, and my favorite runs always combined all these into a seamless, evocative video. There are of course a lot of other great aspects to speedrunning as a whole - the thrill of the fight for improvement; the cheer of achieving success - that make it an amazing hobby, but it always went back to the entertainment aspect for me. That is, until the Marathons showed that not only are we amazingly fast, but also amazingly kind. It's been a pleasure to help this site along and be a small part of something that grew to being so amazing, and all thanks to you, Dear Viewer and Dear Runner.

I have been asked to pinpoint some runs that embody speedrunning to me, so here goes. I must mention the Quake speedruns, for some of them are truly spectacular. Any run by the likes of Thomas Stubgaard, Jozsef Szalontai or Mathias Thore is a marvel to behold, but the prize must, in my mind, go to Peter Horvath's e1m3 all kills+secrets easy run - one minute of what can only be described as poetry in motion; or a tapestry intricately woven with bunnyhops and perfectly placed grenades. I really love the European version Extreme run of Metal Gear Solid, it is insane how good it is for a single segment run. I also enjoy the runs of the Metroid series in general, though I probably would point to Hotarubi's Super Metroid run from 2006 as my personal favorite.

I may be mostly inactive nowadays, but I still keep a watch on the main site, and hope to see even more fantastic runs. And thanks to everyone for sticking around with us.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 by ShadowWraith

No slowing down.

My introduction to speedrunning was completely unrelated to SDA, and in retrospect, about as unlikely an introduction as you can get. One day back in 2004, I was looking at the torrent-serving website Suprnova and stumbled across a torrent for a speedrun of Doom II, which completed the entire game in 14:41. It blew my mind, to say the least. Doom II is one of my favourite games, I played it regularly with my friends over LAN way back when, and watching this guy completely demolish the game was like sweet ambrosia to me. After a solid google, I then stumbled across the archive.org page for Speed Runs. I ate that shit up like I was a starving man at a free buffet. It still wasn't enough for me. I started dabbling with my own speedruns, completing two of a custom mission pack for Unreal Tournament (the video files are still out there on archive.org somewhere). It wasn't until two years later, when someone actually started competing with me over this completely random mission pack that I found out that SDA exists. The rest is history.

What started out as a hobby I did to entertain myself has turned into... well, it's still a hobby and I still do it for entertainment, but SDA means so much more to me than that. It's an amazing community with amazing people, and almost every single interaction I've had with it has been amazingly positive. Now, following on from what the other updaters have done, I thought long and hard about what I thought would be the best run to highlight for you guys to show you what speedrunning means to me. It's not really a hard choice for me. Drew 'stx-Vile' DeVore's Doom II Nightmare SS run in 0:29:56 is probably the most impressive run on the site for me. Nightmare is so much harder than Ultra Violence (for reference, I'm pretty good at Doom II and I've never beaten the game or even gotten past level 4 on Nightmare without dying), and watching this run almost 10 years after it was made still gives me chills at how well played it is. It may not be the world record anymore - it was beaten by 17 seconds by Henning Skogsto in 2009 - but to me it still embodies everything I view speedrunning to be.

If that's not to your tastes, then there's also former updater dex's realistic difficulty segmented run of Deus Ex in 0:43:20. It's also pretty old and the route is outdated at this point, but it's an incredibly optimised run and the amount of research and time dex put into the game produced something very impressive to watch. It may not have the overt in-your-face difficulty that the previously linked Doom II run had, but the tricks that are included made me shake my head in disbelief the first time I saw them.

Happy anniversary SDA. I hope the future years will continue to be as amazing for you as they have been for me.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 by Breakdown

Has it really been that long?

I became aware of SDA and speedrunning in general back in 2006. While randomly surfing around the GameFAQs forums I stumbled upon a link to a speedrun of the original NES Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The time of 19:32 has since been beaten, but this was the run that opened my eyes to the concept of speedrunning. I was already into things like RPG challenge quests and other limiting way of playing through games to breathe some new life into assorted titles. I viewed speedrunning similarly, but as something that could be applied to just about any game out there. I took to it quickly and never really stopped. Over the next few years I had three runs accepted to the site (one of which still stands) as well as few done on emulator either just for the heck of it or through one the tournaments run on the forums over the years. It's a hobby I've had trouble explaining to people outside of it, but one I've enjoyed immensely. SDA as a whole is largely responsible for that enjoyment, and for that I am grateful.

A lot has changed from 2006 to now. The community was a fraction of the size of today with nearly all communication running through the forum. It was a time when if a game had two people playing it, that was considered heated competition, and nearly all gameplay was done in the privacy of your own home while hoping your VCR didn't eat the tape that had The Run. And as for The Run, the lack of competition on most titles made the standards largely depend on the individual's definition of "good enough." Now, the community's grown exponentially, top games have seas of players and trick finders constantly pushing the times down further and further, and we've reached a point where doing attempts without streaming just seems odd. Things have changed to say the least. This hobby's been pushed more and more into the spotlight, and the attention its receiving is awesome to see. Millions have been raised for charity, stars have been born, hell, a few people are currently successfully making a living off of this. Ten years back, that all would've sounded crazy, but here we are. Really makes you wonder what the next decade holds.

While it'd be foolish to solely attribute the current state of things to SDA, it would be equally foolish to deny the role the site has played in speedrunning reaching this point. For years, we were THE destination for speedrunning, no other site out there had such a similar and narrow focus. These days, other option exists, but SDA still fills a unique role as a center for speedrunning knowledge and home to an ever increasing library of high quality game footage. And with that library rapidly approaching a four digit games total, we're showing no signs of slowing down.

Happy anniversary SDA, here's to ten more.

Monday, March 3, 2014 by mikwuyma

From a small start

I've been a part of SDA since September 2004, and to say a lot has happened since then is an understatement. The games covered on the site have gone from less than a 100 to over 900, two console generations have passed, and we've managed to raise over 2 million dollars for charity.

Speaking of two million, I remember the goal for our first charity marathon, Classic Games Done Quick, was a lofty $5,000, an amount that many people doubted we could reach. This amount might seem tiny, especially compared to how much the marathons have raised in four short years, but this was before Twitch existed, and this was our first marathon. When we ended up raising $11,000 for CARE after 50 hours of gaming, we were ecstatic, not only because we smashed our goal, but we actually managed to pull off a marathon.

I would like to highlight Jonas 'Hurblat' Martinsson's Contra III: The Alien Wars hard mode run because I used to run this game, and I considered my 0:14:59 hard mode run one of my best runs and thought no one would be crazy or stupid enough to try and beat it. Stage 1 kills over 90% of attempts alone. Well Jonas not only beat my run, but beat it quite handily, using new strategies that I never thought of, and had even tighter execution than my run. Seeing this run was when I realized that almost anyone run can be beaten, as long as someone is willing to try (and attack aggressively!).

Sunday, March 2, 2014 by Radix

A word from the founder

Hi folks. This week the updates at Speed Demos Archive will be a little different. We wanted to have some thoughts from the people who have volunteered their time to work on this site over its many years. It's been 10 years since the oldest post on the old news of the main page.

Before the main page was the main page though, SDA was accepting runs on the great game Quake and it continues to do so. Although the submissions have certainly dwindled from its greatest days, last week we received a demo from Daniel Magnusson. He ran the entirety of the shareware episode, Dimension of the Doomed, on Nightmare skill with 100% kills and secrets. The previous submission in this category was nearly 10 years old, also by Mr Magnusson. The new submission is a time of 11:14, a 17 second improvement. This download is only a demo file which requires Quake to watch, but you can just download the shareware version if you don't already have it.

SDA began its movement beyond Quake 10 years ago when I posted a small selection of speed runs on "other games", that I'd gathered over the previous months. I opened up submissions at that time, and the verification system began. Now we have runs on 972 games and many more in the queue to be posted soon. I don't have to be a math whiz to calculate that's 97 new games per year on average.

These days you can find dozens of people streaming speed runs at all hours of the day on twitch or other sites, and some may wonder why bother submitting to SDA, when you'll just stream a better run tomorrow? Personally I think it's because SDA is a superior site. You won't find any ads here or poor quality videos. I don't like browsing youtube when I want to watch something, I prefer a site I can trust. Thanks to all the runners who have made this site what it is, and thanks to all the future runners who will help make it what it will be.

Here's to the next decade - thank you.

Thursday, February 27, 2014 by ShadowWraith

There are games about sheep and I wasn't informed?!

Continuing with our theme of more-than-the-usual-number-of-runs-per-update... Yeah, no more explanation needed.

So, first off, Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance. Probably my least favourite of the GBA Castlevania offerings, mostly due to the music being somewhat painful to listen to (though I am assured that I am somewhat alone with that opinion). The gameplay is kind of stale too, BUT! There are some things about the game that make it pretty good for speedrunning. Things such as being able to rebound off of a wall-mounted candle and clip through the floor. Unsurprisingly, the ability to do this allows for some interesting shortcuts when navigating this particular incarnation of the castle. Tobias 'Charleon' Nerg is someone with a more tolerant (or more discerning, I'm not sure) sense of hearing, and he has braved the awful screechy music to bring us this rather glitchy mess of a run. It's using the Maxim character, using large-skip glitches (i.e the candle bouncy wall clippy stuff) and it aims to kill all of Dracula's boss lackeys, and it does so in a rather impressive 0:14:09. Just enough time for his buddy Juste to walk in, notice the carpets don't match the upholstery and walk out in disgust. The big pansy.

Vigilantism is somewhat of a hot topic. On the one hand, we have the unfortunate situation in Mexico (current events woo), on the other hand, it gives us wonderful game concepts; such as Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne. Hot on the heels of the run from last month, 'Kotti' has brought us a single-segment run of a similar category - Dead on Arrival using Resets - for a final time of 0:38:42.

Continuing with the topic of vigilantes, there's no more famous than Batman. Indeed, the Caped Crusader/Dark Knight/Poncy Git In Rubber is possibly the most successful less-than-legal crime fighter, so what better way to celebrate his achievements than to speedrun a game about him? Jason 'honorableJay' Feeney seems to have the same idea as me, plowing through the ranks of the felonious and the lawless with his trusty batarang, fists of steel and poor sense of style, in the somewhat lackluster game Batman Returns. Oh well, they can't all be winners, however don't let that stop you from fanboying/fangirling over the run we have for you: a slick 0:13:01.

I'm a big fan of the Terminator films. Watching the T-1000 melt into puddles of a mercurial substance and then reform into the badass robot we know and hate captivated my imagination like not much else has. That's why I'm tickled to bring you this run of Terminator 2: Judgement Day for the Game Boy. 'iast' has proven himself a worthy ally of the human race, demolishing the game in a fairly brisk 0:08:02.

Sheep, Dog 'n' Wolf (also known as Sheep Raider in NA, a far more amusing name if you're from Wales) is a game I am completely unfamiliar with but the name strikes me as an incredibly bad idea. For one, wolves tend to eat sheep, and for two, dogs don't really like wolves eating sheep, so you end up with a giant mess of terrified sheep, hungry wolves and angry dogs. Regardless, Dan 'DanE' Söderhäll manages to make sense of the madness in this game, with this IL table totalling 0:56:59 across 18 levels. I might have to check this game out just to see if it can live up to the expectations the name provides me.

We're not done with 'DanE' yet though. Him and (I'm assuming) his brother Martin 'J.Y' Söderhäll teamed up on the PAL version of the game Spec Ops: Ranger Elite. Using teamwork, friendship, possible help from animal compansions based on the name of the game, and a good amount of segmenting (11 of them), they completed this 0:20:54 run of the game. (Note: Run probably doesn't include animal companions. Unfortunately)

Last, but not least, Wario Land 3. Wario decided to crash his plane somewhere in the woods, get sucked into a music box and it's up to Mike 'mike89' McKenzie to get him out of it. Spoilers: He does. You can watch him do it if you click on this IL table totalling 0:42:52 across 25 stages.

Well, that's it for me for today. Stay frosty.

Friday, February 21, 2014 by LLCoolDave

Ceci n'est pas un titre

Update: The Mighty Bomb Jack Best Ending run now features audio commentary as intended.

Apparently the larger scale updates of the past month have not helped us much in clearing out the queue so we'll handle this the only way we know to: Continuing to throw runs at you guys seven at a time until we finally catch up on the backlog. Without further ado (which is quite frankly a rather odd phrase as it is usually followed by explaining intent instead of actually getting to the action the statement intends to move on to as quickly as possible, dragging out the expository part even longer than it has any right to be and delaying the thing it tries to focus attention on even further), let's move on to the runs.

David Heidman Jr. has become well known for his love of Contra and quirky Indie platformers. It's the latter that gets him on the frontpage today with a submissions of Super Ninja Warrior Extreme ... no wait, that was 3 weeks ago. This quick return to the news post by Mr. Heidman is due to his submission on Super Adventure Island, a title which classifies as neither Contra nor Indie. Unfazed by my previous, erroneous classification of his skills he beats this game in a quick 0:17:39 and thus earns prolonged exposure on the front page.

The current SDA run on Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins has stood for over 8 years. It is no surprise that a lot has been found in the game since then. 'LaPlacier' demonstrates the current state of the game with a well executed 0:26:37 improving on the old time by over 5 minutes.

The Fancy Pants Adventure is a game most of you will probably remember from playing on a school computer years ago, if you managed to access any of the Flash game portals back then. Despite being coded in an era where Flash games were most known for being rather poorly made (as opposed to today, where good Flash games exist but probably should not have been made in it in the first place) the game is surprisingly solid in its mechanics. James 'cooopercrisp' Mernin plows through the first World in a quick 0:02:30.30 and straight on through to this news post.

Castlevania games have a strong history in speedrunning, but there's a classic title in the series that is very easily forgotten. Haunted Castle is an Arcade only entry into the series that received a very late, Japanese only PS2 port that is essentially just an emulator wrap. 'Jaguar King' fills this Castlevania gap on SDA with a time of 0:11:55 in a rather impressive manner. Unfortunately, there are still more titles in this series that are missing runs, including the MSX2 only Vampire Killer. So get to it, this update is suspended until you finish a run of that game.

Due to the temporal disconnect between me writing this update and you reading the previous paragraph, I unfortunately have no way of verifying that you've actually finished the task I set out. As such I have to politely ask you to stop reading until you've recorded a run of Vampire Killer. Everything else would be cheating! Moving on we have an improvement to Little Nemo: The Dream Master by 'HavocProdigy' with a new time of 0:24:44. Pedantic readers may notice that this time is higher than that of the old run, but after accounting for differences in cut scene length between the otherwise identical Japanese and North American releases of the game the new run is about 30 seconds quicker in actual gameplay.

Mighty Bomb Jack is, in fact, the mightiest of all Bomb Jacks. Unfortunately, that's probably the most remarkable thing about this game as it has otherwise squandered good mechanics with very uninspired level design. This didn't stop Dag 'ktwo' Cato from running the game and giving us two runs to post today: First there is the Best Ending run in 0:12:06 and in addition we also have a pure any% run in 0:06:57 for those that prefer a shallower story experience.

Let's end today's update with a word association game. I say speedrun, you say ... Harvest Moon? That wouldn't have been MY first choice, but Alex 'Anwonu' Morinaga seems to think differently and provides us with a run of Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon which at least features swords in addition to hoes and plows and taming wolfs to bypass walls because clearly that's how farming works. The end result is a 0:54:08 with large skips.

If you got to this point in the update without submitting a Vampire Killer run I'd like to reiterate that you are a cheating cheaty face. Cheater.

Saturday, February 15, 2014 by ShadowWraith

Speedruns all the way down

Hello to you good gentlemen and, indeed, good ladies. I've had a hard weeks procrastinating but it's about time you guys had some new speedruns to peruse. So be better people than I and don't put watching these off for several days, would you kindly?

As the title of the update suggests, we have some Turtles games for you. First up, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, for the NES. A presumably smooth gentleman known as 'Whitman_Price_' decided it was time to update one of the dusty ancient runs (2006, Darn. I feel old now as I remember when that was posted) we have in our game list, obsoleting the Death Abuse category for this game by a little over a minute, for a final time of 0:18:21. Of course, it's single-segment as you would expect from this game, and I'm going to assume Shredder gets what he deserves in it. You don't need to take it from me though, the video is right there. Go on, you know you want to.

Enjoyed that? Good, because we have some more Turtles for you. TMNT (the 2007 game) is a game that didn't get the best reception on launch, but that didn't stop Nicholas 'Sir_VG' Hoppe from speedrunning the challenge maps, and indeed, did not stop him from improving his previous submission! I've created another handy dandy bullet point list of the improved times for you guys to click on.


Not the largest of improvements, certainly, but every frame counts, especially with level times this low. This brings the final time down to 0:04:41.34.

So. Tables. You like them? Good, have another. 'Freezard' is back with more StarCraft: Brood War IL updates for us, which means you get another table to look at.

For Terran:

And for Zerg:

Some rather significant savings in this table. This brings the final time down to 2:21:59, almost 18 minutes faster than before!

With those HTML monsters out of the way, I'm happy to present to you a run of my favourite games. MDK is a game where you have a sidekick dog with six arms that flies a bomber spaceship, you have a parachute made out of whips and there are such items as the World's Most Interesting Bomb and the World's Smallest Nuclear Bomb. If that doesn't sell the game to you, I don't know what will. Regardless, Romain 'Spocky' Picot saw the virtue in this rather silly game, and has done us a great justice in submitting this 0:39:17 run, featuring out-of-bounds skips aplenty. In fact, the first thing I'm going to do when I post this update is watch this run, and if you have any taste at all, you'll probably do the same. Probably.

For a more traditional speedrun experience, you could always try this run of Resident Evil 2. Zombie horror games aren't really my thing, not enough six-armed dogs you see, but if flesh-eating mutants and titanic constructs of flesh and teeth are your thing, this will probably be yours. 'FierceKyo' chose the Claire A game mode on the GCN version for his run, finishing with a time of 1:08:46, an improvement of 0:07:39 over the PS2 version of the run.

Gothic is a game I can only describe as 'broken'. I remember doing an update for the 100% run, with a final time of almost 3 hours. The any% run I have here for you is considerably shorter, a mere 0:16:28, featuring as you might expect from such a short run of such a long game, large skips and resets.

Finally, a less broken addition to our game list. Divinity 2: The Dragon Knight Saga, the sequel to Divine Divinity (what a name), is a reasonably standard action-RPG that reminds me a little of Drakan mixed with Diablo. Also you can turn into a dragon, which is pretty cool. Anyway, not much else to say about this run, other than that the runner is Patrik 'Pafi' Varjotie and his final time is 2:17:53, single-segment of course.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some more procrastination to procrastinate. Until next time!

Friday, January 31, 2014 by LLCoolDave

7/7 would watch again

Quick question: What are the 7 best things about this day? I'm fairly certain that being woken up at 8AM by your flatmate sorting glass bottles won't quite make it but I have seven more suggestions that might just get on your list.

David Heidman Jr. has become well known for his love of Contra and quirky Indie platformers. It's the latter that gets him on the frontpage today with a submissions of Super Ninja Warrior Extreme, a game so underground that it doesn't even have its own Wikipedia page. As my extensive research capabilities are exhausted by plucking a game name into a search bar I now have unfortunately run out of things to say about this title so I'll just have you ponder something entirely different while I announce his final run time. 'Penguin Sandwich'. 0:08:12

Journey to Silius has long been on the list of games that deserves a proper marathon run and NTSC SDA submission. Luckily, 'ZakkyDraggy' delivered on both of these with a 0:11:17 run clocking in a mere 9 seconds faster than his marathon run earlier this month. If you're a fan of 8-bit run-and-guns this is certainly something you need to watch.

Gone Home is one of these first-person interactive story games that have been popping up in the past couple of years which are closer to visual novels than traditional games. 'your name here' (No, this is not a placeholder. If you want your name to appear here you have to submit a run of your own.) apparently didn't get the memo and treated the title as an ordinary game to run. As a result, he manages to completely ignore the entire storyline while still managing to spoil it for anybody that hasn't played it yet, all in a mere 0:00:48, which might be a new upset fans/minute record for SDA.

Tabletop RPG players unanimously agree that the Ravenloft campaign setting is one of the most intriguing places in the lore of D&D. 'gammadragon', however, seems to disagree as he skips past the entirety of Ravenloft: Stone Prophet to finish in a whopping 0:00:58. There's a reason there is no speedrunner class in AD&D after all. Roleplaying is just no fun if you don't bicker about the exact number and lengths of ropes to buy in a shop.

The Resident Evil series has devolved into games with incredibly silly plots, good controls and bad settings. I'd like to take some time to remind you of where it originally came from: games with incredibly silly plots, bad controls and good settings, such as Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. Jake Tabor has taken the task of narrowly evading zombies to the extreme and produced a highly optimized run on the PC version in 0:45:10, over 4 minutes quicker than the old run while increasing the difficulty to hard. I'm slightly concerned Jake himself has been infected with a performance enhancing virus, so if he asks to bite you you should politely decline, just to be safe.

Sean 'MURPHAGATOR!' Murphy has started to take up a regular spot in these updates, usually accompanied by some 8-bit beat-em-up game you quite frankly should not play for yourself. This time he has branched out slightly with Wurm: Journey to the Center of the Earth, a 8-bit cross genre game you quite frankly should not play for yourself. In his own words, 'Wurm attempts to be 4 games in one, and falls flat on its face in all 4 game types,' so if you want to watch the tragedy unfold in all its glory, you'll have to expend some 0:27:54 of your time.

While we're on the subject of 8-bit beat-em-ups, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game is something that's actually worth playing and so 'Whitman_Price_' did just that. And he did so fast, improving the old time by almost two minutes to achieve a 0:33:59. COWABU-... What? I have to pay how much to licence that?

Now I'm left with a sudden inexplicable craving for pizza.

Monday, January 27, 2014 by ShadowWraith

The Little Push

As LLCoolDave mentioned in his previous update, one of the downsides to having a marathon is that while the site sleeps, speedrunners don't, and we inevitably build up a significant backlog of runs we need to post. Hence, the next few updates will be heavier on the run count than previous updates have been. Rather than bore you with more verbiage about why this update is larger than its brethren, I'll just get to the part where I throw runs at you.

Patrick 'PJ' DiCesare appears frequently on our front page, and for good reason, as he seems to be one of the few speedrunners that doesn't suffer from chronic procrastination, seeing as he tends to actually complete his projects. His newest addition to our game list is Castlevania: Harmony of Despair, playing as NG+ Charlotte on Hard difficulty. His IL table totals 0:11:01.30, which is fairly quick considering that Charlotte is one of the two characters who does not possess a jump kick, in a game where jump kicks are 90% of the movement tech. Maybe we'll see some other characters pop up soon? Maybe?

Another gentleman I have had the pleasure of posting several runs for is Evgeny 'anarki' Gladkiy, and he has brought us some more Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne related deliciousness. This run in particular is a Dead on Arrival single-segment run, with a final time of 0:43:08, over 3 minutes faster than his previous submission. If vigilante angst is your thing, this is the run for you.

Call of Duty was the first in a line of realistic military first-person shooter games that have unfortunately come to dominate the FPS market. However, while the newer incarnations of the series are all the same recycled pish released year after year to milk people with no taste out of their hard earned money, (opinion mine) the original couple games were actually pretty fun to play. 'gndz' has completed a single-segment run on Greenhorn difficulty, with a final time of 1:43:48, which is about as much time as it took me to decide the recent games weren't worth playing.

RPG speedruns are an interesting breed. They're either an endurance test where menu skills and rote memorisation are king, for single-segment runs, or a demonstration of just how badly you can break the game over your knee if you reload enough times, as in segmented runs. First off, a single-segment run for you. Kingdom Hearts is fairly interactive as RPGs go, so execution is definitely a factor, and Daniel 'Sonicshadowsilver2' Tipton nails it with this 5:33:35 monster of a run.

As far as segmented RPG runs go, a perfect example would be this Final Fantasy 7 run. 'Kynos' has spent what I can only imagine to be a significant amount of time pummelling this game into submission (literally), cutting nearly a full hour off our previous best time with this 54 segment 6:44:49 showing. Whichever you may prefer, it is my solid belief that both types of run are worth watching.

To round out today's update, I present to you two runs of Blaster Master by our very own Benjamin 'UraniumAnchor' Cutler. UA continues his domination of the game with improvements to both the deathless and death abuse categories, with times of 0:38:49 for the deathless run and 0:32:53 for the death abuse run, improvements of 2:34 and 4:06 respectively. Sophia would be proud.

Speaking of which, for those of you who might have missed the awesomeness that was AGDQ, or those of you who want to relive those magic moments, UraniumAnchor has been hard at work getting high quality encodes of the marathon runs up for you. They're popping up HERE, and there's already a decent number of them available. So what are you waiting for?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 by LLCoolDave

Sleep

Let's start today with a small riddle. What does the SDA queue have in common with the SDA staff in the past two weeks? It didn't sleep. There's tons of runs to be posted and most of us are still recovering from the two least relaxing weeks of vacation days in our years. As such, my usual thematic(?) updates are on hold until there is time to actually write them again. Instead, today's update comes with a 5th bonus run bundled in for your pleasure. Let's get right to it.

Mike 'mike89' McKenzie is a well known name around these parts. Gaining fame as 'English Mike' at CGDQ this Australian has vowed to quit speedrunning at least twice now. Considering his comeback features an excellent 0:15:18 full game run of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 as the titular Sonic alongside an improvement to the Wing Fortress IL with a time of 0:01:44 I can hardly wait for him to quit again.

The Tomb Raider series has always been an excellent choice for speedrunning as every single instalment to the series is broken beyond belief. However, the speedrunning scene for those games has always been a bit isolated from the rest of the community. I hope that the recent exposure of Tomb Raider II can change that. Not only has the game been featured in the most recent AGDQ, 'MMAN' has also finished up a new Glitchless Single Segment run with a time of 1:43:56. If you want to see what this game looks like when a runner lets it behave roughly the way it was intended to, this is just the run for you.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past has become a rather popular game for speedrunning and a lot has changed since we last featured it on SDA. Anders 'adde' Hed blesses the front page today with a Single Segment time of 1:26:19. When the runner himself describes his route as 'skipping all extra safety' you know you're in for an hour and a half of butt-clenching fun.

Pokémon Puzzle Challenge is the pointlessly branded GBC release of the Panel de Pon puzzle mechanic of shifting around blocks until you are three hours late for work and the pizza in your oven has set your kitchen on fire. Chains and Combos have to be carefully planned out to beat each foe in the fastest time possible, and 'CardsOfTheHeart' has done just that, clocking in at 0:16:06 on intense difficulty.

As our final entry for the day we return to the recently featured Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. Japanese runner 奥村 'jibupo' 亮 decided that having a single run for Luigi on the game page just wasn't enough and added a 0:37:58 run through all the levels of the SNES version to it. The Lost Levels is famous for turning the basic mechanics of holding right and jumping occasionally into something that is surprisingly hard to beat but 'jibupo' makes it seem like the easiest thing in the world.

On that note, it's time for me to go back to AGDQ recovery by going to bed at 2PM. I'm not quite sure yet how that's supposed to fix my sleep schedule, but it seems like a very reasonable idea to me at the moment.

Thursday, January 16, 2014 by Radix

Another awesome event!

Awesome Games Done Quick 2014 has concluded, and what a success. We raised over $1,025,000 for the Prevent Cancer Foundation. As is tradition for us, this more than doubles last year's number.

A huge thanks is due for the more than 18000 donors, the hundreds of runners and fans who attended the event, and the dozens of folks who helped with setting up and run the event. We couldn't have done it without you.

Although it will be some time until we have individual encodes of the runs from the event, you can find the videos at our twitch archive in the meantime.

On a personal note, for a long time I thought maybe speed running could achieve the kind of popularity that deathmatch had back in the late 90s. I had visions of stages of players competing in races while an audience watched in awe. Last week at AGDQ 2014 I walked into the room about to start a Mega Man X race and my jaw dropped. The room was packed, full of people waiting to watch two runners do exactly that. I didn't expect one of them to be shirtless... but the rest was pretty spot on. Thanks again everyone, for making that vision I never told anybody about, come true.

Sunday, December 29, 2013 by Breakdown

You mean I have to follow that?

Let it be said on the front page: that last update was awesome. I have no amazing literary rendition for you today, but I do have some new runs. That counts for something, right? Right?

With a name like Unepic, you're really not sure what to expect from the game. Is the title to be taken at face value, or is it like that one friend everybody has who's always going on about how stupid/ugly/whatever they are in the hopes you'll correct them? I've made it a point not to research this game prior to writing this paragraph to keep the intrigue intact, but you can be sure that even if this is some sort of paint drying simulator, that the run we're posting by Maik 'Onin' Biekart gets that paint dry really, really fast. The only way to dry paint, of course, is single segment, and he makes use of resets to save time (sun manipulation maybe?) on his way to a final time of 0:45:23.

Next up, we've got runs on two cartoon based games. First is an update to our existing 'Difficult' run for the SNES version of The Lion King. It's been a long time since there's been a submission on this one, with the previous run dating all the way back to 2006, but runner 'Allbeert' is letting us knock the dust of the game page today. The new run times in nine seconds faster than the old, 0:16:44 to be exact.

Second of the cartoon games is one of those games where you sort of wonder how the property became a game at all. In the early 90s, games were definitely being marketed to a younger crowd, and how a company would think kids would beg their parents for a game based on a cartoon show that enjoyed the height of its popularity in the 60s is beyond me. However, whether or not I understand the reasons why doesn't change the fact that The Adventure of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends was in fact made and is fair game for speedrunning. Taking advantage of this is runner Brian 'Boxfat' Ringeisen, who pilots Moose and Squirrel through their sidescrolling 8-bit adventure in a brisk 0:04:57.

We'll close out the new runs today with a rare occurrence of the Gamecube's bongo controller seeing use in a speedrun. Given the games made that were compatible with that contraption, many of you no doubt have already figured out we have a run for Donkey Kong Jungle Beat for you today. The runner slapping the skins on this one is Zack 'PiePusher11' Maher, who now has a single segment effort to go up alongside his IL table from before. The time of the run is 4/4 at points, with all manner of other speeds thrown in as well, but the one we track on the site is 0:55:24.91.

To close things out today, we have a friendly reminder. As I type this, we are a mere one week removed from Awesome Games Done Quick 2014. I somehow doubt this is news to regular visitors to the site (though exciting nonetheless!), but there's loads of people out there who may not be aware, and this is the critical time to change that. So I encourage all of you to talk it up in your streams, plaster it over your facebooks, blow it up on twitter, and spread around our promo video (put together by CoolMatty with music by mistermv, thanks guys). We have download links if you'd like to host it yourself, or just point them to the youtube upload below.

One week. Get hype!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013 by LLCoolDave

A Speedrun Carol

The run was dead. There is no doubt whatever about it. The health bar drained, the game over screen flashing, the timer stopped, the game reset. The run was as dead as a door-nail. Scrooge McPflug put down his controller in disgust and left for the kitchen. When he got back, a window was flashing in the bottom right corner of his laptop screen.

"How are attempts going?" inquired the window.
"The usual, 4-3 is a pain," answered Scrooge.
"Got a sub 24 yet?" the window continued.
"Haven't even finished a run in days," said Scrooge.
"Maybe you should take a break. UraniumAnchor is consistent on 4-3, maybe you should get in touch with him," it noted.
"Bah!" typed Scrooge, "Humbug!"

He closed the window only to reveal a different one underneath.
"Hey man, was wondering if you could tell me how to do that ladder skip on 5-2," the window asked.
"Why would I?" Scrooge replied.
"I can't seem to get the height to clear the gap," the window insisted.
"Isn't there a youtube video of the stage?" asked Scrooge.
"Yes, but I can't figure out how to get the height to make it," said the window.
"That should be plenty enough help. Have a nice day," typed Scrooge and closed the window.

Scrooge had already left and picked up his controller when the window flashed up again. "But ..." it said, but no one was around to read it. It was about time to take back this record. And so the evening went by and as the light outside grew dim so did the remaining space on the DVD recorder. Exhausted from fruitless efforts he tucked himself into bed quite frustrated that night. "I'll get you tomorrow, UraniumAnchor, and beat your stupid run," he thought while rolling around restlessly. "I'll get my record back, I swear," he ranted on as he slowly started to drift away.

"Scrooooooge" a voice called him in his dreams. "Scroooooge" "What is it?" he mumbled back. "Scrooge, there is something I need to show you," the voice demanded. Scrooge turned over and opened his eyes. The revelation that he was alone in this house struck him at the same time as the sight in front of him. At the end of his bed stood, or rather floated, a semi translucent pixelated figure. Despite the blocky appearance the outlines of the figure were hard to determine as it slowly bobbed in the wind streaming through the open window. "Wh-what are you?" Scrooge stammered. "I am the Ghost of Speedrun Past," the figure replied, although the voice did not appear to origin from where its body could be seen. "Come with me, quick. We gotta go fast," It was not the type of voice you disobey, so Scrooge got up. "What an odd dream," he muttered. As the spirit grabbed his hand, his vision blurred into a large black space in front of which giant white letters began to form. "Hey!" exclaimed Scrooge, "I recognize these names. This is Quakenet #qdq!" "Watch closely," demanded the Spirit.

*** Scrooge (~scrooge@66.75.229.207) has joined #qdq
<Scrooge> Hey guys
<Scrooge> I'm having trouble with the nade jump on e3m3
<@Morfans> Hi Scrooge
<Scrooge> I can't seem to place it right from the start.
<@Stubgaard> oh, that's fairly easy
<@Stubgaard> don't move and aim at the silver key symbol to the right of the door
<@Stubgaard> that should get it into a good spot every time
<Scrooge> thanks, I'll give it a try
*** Quits: Scrooge (~scrooge@66.75.229.207) (Signed off)

"Heh, can't believe I ever had trouble with e3m3. That trick is quite easy," Scrooge remarked. "How about this?" the voice said and the letters started shifting and swirling around before coming into alignment again.

<Scrooge> I think I got it consistent now
<Paratroopa1> what?
<Scrooge> the Omega Pirate onecycle
<Scrooge> turns out he never spawns in the pool closest to you
<_Tim_> sweet
<Scrooge> and he never appears in the same pool twice
<Paratroopa1> ah, good stuff
<_Tim_> that's a great find
<Scrooge> so you can perfectly predict where he's going to show up after the first time

"Ah, #metroid. Those were the days," Scrooge reminisced, "We found so many tricks there. They don't make games like that any more these days." "I must go now," the voice remarked, "for I was only paid for eight lines. But this does not mark the end of your journey." Before Scrooge could utter another word, the pixelated spirit was gone, and with it the text. Where the letters just stood one could now see a gigantic "Now Loading" logo. After some time had passed, another voice made itself known. It was deeper, smoother than the previous one and appeared to come from all directions at once.

"Show yourself!" demanded Scrooge. "I am right here," the voice replied, "you must be looking at me from the wrong angle." And surely, the spirit became visible as it turned in front of Scrooge McPflug. It was much more defined than the previous one, with a clear structure and facial features, although the very border of its body still appeared to shift in and out of existence. Notably, the mouth seemed to move slightly out of sync with the voice. "I am the Ghost of Speedrun Present. Follow me." A white door opened in the middle of the still spinning logo. First the spirit stepped through, then Scrooge followed. Once his eyes had adapted to the light, he found himself standing behind someone sitting at a desk. The screen showed an all too familiar view while the speakers filled the air with a well known jumping noise.

"That's Max 'coolkid' Lundberg, I recognize him. He's been running Quake for quite a while now," Scrooge exclaimed. "Look," the spirit said, "we came right in time." And as Scrooge turned back to the screen, coolkid stepped through the final teleporter and exploded Shub-Niggurath into thousands of pieces. The console read: "Total Time is 13:00.78979" (YouTube) "That's an impressive run," Scrooge remarked, "he's a really talented speedrunner." "Yes, the work of dozens of people culminated in this run." the ghost replied. "Yes, but he is the one that performed it at the end," Scrooge countered. "Come," the ghost said, "there is more to see." His arm twisted through his back to point towards the white door in the room.

When Scrooge moved through the frame again, his vision blurred completely. When it began to form, he found himself in a living room. "Something's strange about this place," Scrooge noticed. "It's French. That's not why we are here though," the ghost retorted, "over here is Guillaume Scholtès." "Is that Tony Hawk's American Wasteland?" Scrooge inquired as the onscreen character flailed wildly in the air before dropping out of the level completely, "I used to play that a ton. This game is so broken." "He doesn't know it yet," the ghost stated, "but he will get a time of 0:05:16 later this evening." "That's a mighty fine time," Scrooge remarked, "He surely put in a lot of time discovering all these tricks and refining that route." The spirit sighed and urged Scrooge towards another white door. "We've got elsewhere to be. This split is red already."

As they stepped through the door, they found themselves in another living room. "This is Phil 'inzult' M," explained the spirit. "He's about to get a new record." Link appeared to walk inside a wall and then confronted Dark Link. "Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is quite a competitive game," Scrooge noticed, "Impressive for someone to get a record in this game." "0:09:42, New Game+ with large skips. Quite the time," the ghost said. "But do you think he figured this all out on his own? Discovered all the mechanics himself, found all these glitches himself?" "No, but ..." Scrooge retorted. "But what? Come, time is running low." And so they stepped into the door again.

They emerged in another room. "This is Tiny TJP," the spirit noted, "He started running and streaming recently. Look, he's playing a familiar game." The TV screen showed the inside of Samus's visor, underwater in the Tower of Light. Tiny TJP hugged the wall, jumped but didn't quite make it to the top and plummeted back down into the water. This repeated itself a couple of times. "You have to let go of L," shouted Scrooge, "and move a bit further to the right." Tiny TJP came short again. "You can do it! Just a bit to the right." The spirit tapped Scrooge on the shoulder and pointed at the monitor to the side. A Twitch chat window was open, the only text in it as follows:
Skillmast0r69: noooooob
Skillmast0r69: ur sooo bad
Skillmast0r69: ill go wathc a real runner Kapap
"My journey ends here," the ghost proclaimed, "but you still have a stop ahead of you." And like before, the spirit vanished at a moment's notice, and with him the world he had created. The "Now Loading" logo was spinning again in an otherwise featureless black void.

A third spirit plopped up right in front of Scrooge's eyes. It was well defined and with life-like detail, but still bore the aura of indiscreetness right around the edges like the other two did. "I assume you are the Ghost of Speedrun Future?" Scrooge inquired. "Ghost of Speedrun Yet To Come," the threatening, all engulfing voice boomed back. Those were the only words it'd say. It simply pointed to a new door that had appeared inside the logo, only this time one could see right through to the other side. Scrooge entered and the spirit followed. They emerged back in the room he had last left. "I wonder how Tiny TJP is doing." The spirit pointed at the screen, and Scrooge followed the lead. "Oh, the Twitch viewercount is at almost 1500! He seems to be doing really well," Scrooge noted. Then his eyes caught the actual game feed. "Is that League of Legends?" he pondered. The spirit nodded. "What happened to your speedrunning ambitions, Tiny TJP?" Before he could find an answer the spirit had already dragged him through the door into another chatroom.

They were moving past the floating letters at a breakneck pace so Scrooge could only catch a glimpse of the discussion: "Turns out UraniumAnchor took back the record within a week." "Yeah, heh, serves him right." "That new 6-3 route he kept blabbering on about? Gotta love how they found an improvement to that within a day." "Yeah, this great new thing he kept secret for months and then he didn't even optimize it, hah" "I heard he wanted to quit speedrunning for good" "Good riddance, couldn't stand that guy anyway." And then they stepped through another door.

The room was large but lifeless. The rows of chairs were neatly arranged and barely occupied. The large banner on the back wall had come off partially and all one could read were the numbers "2016" in crude hand coloured black ink on plain white cardboard. In front of the chairs 3 people set on a red couch. "How did you miss that jump?" "That's not an easy trick, okay?" "Sure it is, you're just bad at this game." "If you're so great then why don't YOU get a sub 48 100% time?" "Well you haven't shown any proof that you got that time either!" "So? It's not optimized yet. I'll show the route once I got an optimized run." "You missed that jump a SECOND time?" The bickering was interrupted by a voice from the sideline. "Hey guys, we just got a whopping $20 donation!" The two people in the audience looked up from their laptops to give a short round of applause. "No!" cried Scrooge, "This can't be. Tell me this isn't how it's going to be. Surely we must be able to change things. Tell me, are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only?" The ghost stood silent. "Ghost!" Scrooge cried, "I promise I will change my ways. Don't tell me this is inevitable." The spirit still stood unfazed. Scrooge dashed at it fists raised, but the Ghost of Speedrun Yet to Come simply pushed him back when he came close. Scrooge fell and knocked himself unconscious.

When he came to he found himself in his bed. The alarm clock conveyed that he had spent a mere hour asleep but Scrooge felt energetic and renewed nevertheless. When he got back to his keyboard the chat window was still open. "The trick is to let go of jump before you switch weapons," Scrooge replied. "Holding jump during a weapon switch kills your upwards acceleration." Then Scrooge went to Twitch and found Tiny TJP streaming. He was currently trying the Furnace bomb jump with little success. "Hey, you know there is an easier way to do this?" Scrooge typed. And then he spent the rest of the night teaching Tiny TJP all he knew about Metroid Prime. And when he contacted UraniumAnchor about 4-3 the next day, they exchanged ideas and little shortcuts and eventually found a new large skip. Because that's the true speedrunning spirit.

Thursday, December 19, 2013 by LLCoolDave

Speedrunning Monthly 12/13

Hello dear readers and welcome to the final edition of Speedrunning Monthly for 2013, and what a year it has been for speedrunning. We've already seen several major breakthrough on the field of high energy particle speedrunning this year, most notably the experimental verification of the existence of Raneions, a particle theoretically necessary to explain the observations of bad RNG that exceeds the limits of classical speedrunning theory. On top of that we are now capable of producing and maintaining significant amounts of antiparticles to conduct more profound experiments on those in the coming years. We also close out the year with what looks to be a very impactful theoretical paper on death-warping theory.

It is a well known fact that the speed of screen scrolling in a vacuum is a fundamental speedrunning constant and the quantum effects that cause the scrolling speed in an actual medium (i.e. a game) to appear slower than that have been well understood for almost two decades now. Nevertheless, the recent experiments conducted by Sean 'MURPHAGATOR!' Murphy are quite remarkable. In an elaborate setup his team managed to suspend a thin layer of ionized Heavy Barrel on a solution of NES at near absolute zero temperatures. In these conditions screen scrolling is slowed so much that it can even be directly observed by the naked human eye. Furthermore, these specific conditions barely affect the speed of character movement, which MURPHAGATOR! has measured to be almost twice that of the perceived speed of screen scrolling. In ordinary conditions the speed of character movement is several orders of magnitude smaller than the speed of screen scrolling and while systems of superscrolling have been observed in the past, this experiment marks the first time such conditions have been upheld on macroscopic timescales. In particular, they have managed to sustain the superscrolling state for 0:19:07. Read all about this experiment on pages 18-21.

Spelunking characters were first postulated in the late 60s when the building blocks of the supersymmetry theory of videogame entities was developed. As the antiparticle to the action hero they react violently on any contact with floors, spikes, bats, rocks or waterfalls and as such can not exist for any extended period of time in our natural speedrunning world. Previous experiments have only been able to produce spelunking characters in isolation and for short periods of time. The team around Dandy J has been working on creating and sustaining larger quantities of the elusive antiparticle for quite a while now and finally had a breakthrough just earlier this month. Colliding a beam of Spelunker with a stationary plasma of NES at an energy level of 12.1 Giganolans was found to not only provide an environment in which low energy spelunking characters are formed, they also turn out to be fairly easily separated magnetically from all other byproducts of the collision before they can react. Using this setup they have managed to produce spelunking characters well in the six digit figures and sustain them for up to 0:06:10. This now opens the door for large scale experiments on these antiparticles and firmly move them from the realm of theoretical speedrunning to experimental speedrunning. Exciting times to live in. Pages 34-45.

On the cosmological side of speedrunning, 'Festival-Temple' et al. have published the results of their three year long survey of the cosmological background radiation at the super-duper humongous telescope. This background radiation was formed in the early stages of the universe when Zone of the Enders particles first formed and thus turned the universe from an opaque mess of subgame particles to a translucent stage that is accessible to us today using more and more powerful telescopes. Previous measurements set the origin of this radiation at 0:33:05 after the big bang but the new data collected by the team around 'Festival-Temple' have dated the creation of this background radiation back to 0:32:32 after the big bang. Although this difference may seem fairly minuscule to the layman, this early period of the universe was dominated by PJon interactions, a subgame particle responsible for exchanging glitches between games and the major player in game corruption we experience today. However, the PJon levels we measure today and the new data collected at the super-duper humongous telescope are fundamentally irreconcilable with our current theories about the early stages of game formation in the universe. It is currently unclear whether our theories need to be revised or if there is an error in this new data. Several teams are currently trying to recreate this experiment but due to the nature of cosmological measurements we'll likely have to wait at least a year for these results to stream in. In the meantime, a graphical representation of the data collected can be seen on pages 91-113.

The Jurassic Park conundrum is a well known problem among theoretical speedrunners. In essence, the radioactive SNES isotope of Jurassic Park has been measured to decay at a much faster rate than theory would predict. This experiment has been recreated successfully dozens of time and is a well established part of experimental speedrunning. However, this rate of decay has proven to be inexplicable in the existing framework of quantum-chromo-thingamajigging. The lower bound for the half-life of these isotopes has been established to be 1:02:36 within QCT, significantly longer than the actual measurements. Dr. 'LeonPowPow' has just published a paper using recent ideas of superstring death-warping theory to explain this phenomenon and derived a half-life time of 0:46:45 which closely matches the actual experiments. These methods extend beyond the specifics of Jurassic Park and he additionally identified further games were similar differences to QCT should occur. As most of these isotopes are within the reach of modern particle accelerators, this proposes, for the first time, a set of experiments that could be used as direct evidence of death-warping theory, an elegant theory of the speedrunning universe that had so far been unable to make predictions at energy scales that are accessible to experimental speedrunning. Pages 132-152.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 by ShadowWraith

Unthemed updates are fine too

Hey guys, me again. Writer's block is a bitch and I need to get this done yesterday, or I am a jerk, and I don't want to be a jerk, so... stream of consciousness update anyone?

First up, The Operative: No One Lives Forever. From what I can tell about this game from my brief perusal of the wikipedia page, you control a female secret agent that looks like something out of an Austin Powers film, so I automatically like the game because Austin Powers is hilariously British. That said, some runners who may be a little more mature than I have seen this game on its merits and thus, made a speedrun of it for you to watch. 'Warepire' and 'ymh' completed the game in 61 segments in a fairly brisk 1:18:16.5 (I'm amused that the game tracks to deciseconds here), which is a little bit shorter than any given Austin Powers film, so I'll give this one my star of approval, though I'm assuming it doesn't feature an amusing tent cutscene halfway through. Oh well.

Mirror's Edge is a game about a lady that does parkour and espionage in a dystopian future, which already sounds like a good time to me. I wonder what a Fallout type game would look like with parkour? Probably pretty crappy, what with the lack of buildings and stuff. Nevermind then. Anyway, Filip 'Zubmit' Sahlberg took it upon himself to perform several of the hardest jumps ever to get this time, single-segment with resets on the master race version, 0:34:49 on the clock at the end.

Patrick 'PJ' DiCesare is somewhat infamous around here for breaking things. However, in Rad Raygun's case, it wouldn't be fair to blame him for this run, since the game is already broken. I'm told you are able to literally walk through walls in certain cases, without any kind of setup. That said, a broken game leads to a broken speedrun, and PJ does not disappoint with this 0:08:18 all-bosses run.
That said, not all games PJ plays are incredibly broken (at least before he plays them), only most of them. A notable exception is Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts, a game where collision detection on terrain works more than 50% of the time and the most you need to worry about glitchwise is your cart becoming possessed and crashing on level 2 after giving you the wrong items in chests. Thankfully, none of that happens and we have this 0:36:07 run for you to enjoy. So go ahead. Enjoy it. Or we'll send the debt collector after you.

ALSO! I have been informed by our resident encoding badass UraniumAnchor that all the encodes for Summer Games Done Quick 2013 are done! They're available HERE and UA was nice enough to include a torrent for those of you who want it all. So while you're enjoying the other runs, feel free to enjoy these too.

Friday, December 13, 2013 by LLCoolDave

Buy three, pay three

Oh, hello there! May I help you? Just looking around? Sure, have a go, I'll be here if you need me. Feel free to shoot me any questions you may have.

I know you said you were just looking, but I couldn't help but notice your interest in this fantastic 0:25:11 Dark Souls. Beautiful thing, isn't she? What, boss souls? Well, to be quite frank, no, not really. This one had the Kiln glitch applied, but I assure you that's a perfectly normal procedure. Yes, she has had a couple of resets, but you know what they say? Resets give a run its character. You know, this model even comes with a rare spider shield! And you know what, this particular one was previously owned by 'Treynquil' so there's some prestige to that. Haven't heard of him? Oh well guess this one just isn't for you then. But I think I have a very good idea of exactly what you are looking for then. Just follow me over here.

There it is, a 'CnEY?!' brand DLC Quest. One of my personal favourites, and judging by our sales I'm surely not alone in that opinion. Got this one in last Tuesday and I assure you it won't be on this lot any more next week, so you better get it while the getting is good. Yeah, it's the bad ending model, but the differences really are just cosmetic, beneath the hood it's just as good as all the other releases. The asking price for them is usually in the four-forties but guess what? Just for you I'm willing to knock off a a couple of seconds. How's 0:04:24 sound, if you take it right here right now? Yes, it's a bit short, but in a hectic city like this, having a short speedrun is only going to benefit you in the long run. No, there are no extras on this, but that's the beauty of the whole thing. You know how all these other runs come with features such as skipping cutscenes, climbing walls, clipping through doors and quick killing bosses that nobody ever REALLY uses, right? But you still got to pay for all of them. With the DLC Quest, all you pay for is the very basic stock and then get the accessories that you personally need on top of that. Don't spend anything on the things they say are useful, customize it to your needs and you will save BIG TIME. No, not your thing?

Oh, you're more of a blaster type of guy. Well, I wouldn't have guessed that, but to each his own. Here at Speed Deals Associates Ltd we have just the right thing for everything. How about over there, this will surely tickle your fancy. A Japanese import Mega Man X3, a rare sight this side of the pond. People will surely gaze at this if you show up to a party in it. See this Zachary 'zewing' Ewing label? That's a sign of quality if I've ever seen one. And this one's the real deal, all the pickups, full 100%, no expenses spared. Sure, it will set you back 0:46:16 but it's definitely worth at least twice that. And I'm sure you won't find another one like this anywhere else in town, so we'd be stupid to sell it that low. But guess what, there's the sign, so that's the price and we'll have to deal with it if you decide to pick it up right now before we can change it. Still not quite what you are looking for?

Ah, you're actually looking for a 3D run, should have said so right away. How's the exotic flair? You like that? Great, then this one is surely going to hit home. It's actually reserved for our very special customer Justin 'JMC4789' Chadwick but guess what, for you I'll make an exception and sell it anyway. Don't worry, I'll deal with JMC4789 if he comes back to pick it up. Quite frankly, between you and me, I don't think he's getting back to it, so you don't have to worry about it. We're really proud to even be able to offer this, it's a rare thing someone gets rid of a Japanese Mega Man Legends before running it to the ground so getting a used one in this condition is a chance you shouldn't pass up. See, it's even the coveted normal difficulty single segment model. How much? A meagre 0:49:48. Deal of a lifetime, if you ask me, and quite frankly you should because I do this for a living so I know what I'm talking about.

Hey, get back here. We've still got over a thousand runs in the backyard you haven't seen yet. Surely there will be something perfect for you. Come on, man, I've got kids to feed.

Sunday, December 8, 2013 by ShadowWraith

Breaking News

I'm ShadowWraith with the SDA News, good morning.

The war with the Collectors is over. Commander Shepard has returned aboard the Normandy from the galactic core of our galaxy with news that the Collector threat has been completely eliminated. We were unable to reach the Commander for further comment, although we have recieved a video log of the entire Mass Effect 2 mission, courtesy of Dustin 'hokorippoi' Hanks, although we are somewhat puzzled by the video file only being 2:02:15 long. However, we are assured that there are no breaks in the video. Like all other supplemental videos, you can watch it after the weather report, and if you so prefer we also have them available to view for you online.

An investigation into the use of soup cans and other various household items has shown that they can in fact be used to create viable working rocket ships capable of achieving escape velocity, sustaining human life in space, and indeed, visiting other planets and civilisations. Arturs 'Xarthok' Demiters has produced a short documentary on the eight-year-old boy genius Billy Blaze, titled Commander Keen: Keen Must Die!. It's 0:01:59 long and like all our other special reports, available to view on our website.

Team Plasma is a contraversial organisation, their modus operandi has been hotly debated, but we can now report that they are no more. After somehow engineering a fortress, codenamed Pokémon Black, that was able to rip the mountain that the Pokémon League stood upon out of the ground and lift it into the sky, their plan to dominate the world through misuse of pokémon was foiled by a pokémon trainer called 'Vulajin', and impressively enough, it took them a total of 3:30 to do it. They'll be available for comment later on in the programme.

In other news, treasure hunter diva extraordinaire Lara Croft has returned from her trip through Peru, Egypt and Atlantis, where she was reportedly searching for an artifact called the Scion. According to a trustworthy source named 'MMAN', she encountered fierce resistance along her journey from wolves, bears... dinosaurs and creepy exploding mummies? We have a 1:27:59 long special report prepared on her escapades, titled Tomb Raider, and you can catch it after the weather report.

Now over to LLCoolDave with todays weather report.

Thursday, November 28, 2013 by Breakdown

Giving thanks

As those of us in the States enjoy National Food Coma Day (you may know it better as "Thanksgiving"), we're supposed to take a moment to reflect on the things in our lives for which we are thankful. While new speedruns to watch on SDA likely won't top anybody's list, it's definitely a nice little bonus, like the whipped cream on your pumpkin pie or the gravy on absolutely everything else on your plate. Plus, all of the runs in today's update are completely new to the site: three new games, and a new category on a fourth. Let's see what we've got, shall we?

Some of you out there will no doubt be watching some football this Thanksgiving, but if that's not your thing we've got something for you that will fill a similar amount of time while that turkey aroma starts permeating through your household. We're kicking this update off with one of the better received comic-based games of recent years, Batman Arkham Asylum. In addition to being generally well liked, it also makes for a damn entertaining speedrun, and I'm happy to present you today with the efforts of runner Sean 'DarthKnight' Grayson. He's done a single segment run on the game's hard difficulty to go up alongside his existing easy run. It clocks in at 2:08:22, perfect for filling the time while you're waiting for the turkey thermometer to pop.

Thanksgiving is also a time for looking back and keeping traditions from the past alive. Runner 'HavocProdigy' is definitely keeping the old 8-bit stylings going, and you should be thankful for that, because the run he's put out on the early NES game Milon's Secret Castle is something to behold. He navigates the complex castle at an impressive clip and save the queen in an amazingly fast 0:10:43.

When giving thanks, it's also important to sometimes to reflect on things that have not happened. For instance, you can be thankful a book you enjoyed hasn't been turned into an awful, awful video game. This is something I regrettably cannot say, because Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes of the Lance is a thing. However, we can all be thankful that we won't be responsible for producing SDA's first run of the game, as Dag 'ktwo' Cato has fallen on that sword for us. If you've played this one, I'm sorry, but it will enable you to truly appreciate just how ridiculous this 0:05:19 run really is. Regardless, check it out.

Lastly, sometimes you just need to be thankful that the heroes of Greek mythology are protecting the world from its villains and assorted other threats. Yes, as per usual, my themes start running thin towards the end, but you do have one more run to watch in Herc's Adventure, definitely something to be thankful for in and of itself. Direct those thanks to runner Benjamin 'Chfou' Desmoudt, who blasts his way through a wide assortment of mythological baddies on the European version of the game in 1:19:01.

That does it for new runs today. Happy Thanksgiving internet, and as a friendly reminder, Awesome Games Done Quick 2014 is just over a month away. Are you feeling the hype yet?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 by LLCoolDave

The Life of Speedruns

Ssh! Be quiet, I think we found some. There, behind those bushes. Marvellous, looks like we encountered a whole family. Let's sneak up closer to get a better look. That's some beautiful speedruns we got here. Look at those bushy tails on the mother! Snow white tips, deep orange fur, that points towards a healthy diet indeed. That's one beautiful Sonic 3 & Knuckles speedrun if I've ever seen one. They are a rare sight these days so let's make sure not to scare them away as we approach further. Looks to be a pretty quick one, I'd say it measures about 0:25:27. I remember when Adrian 'HDL' Perez first told me about these Tails single segment runs but I didn't expect to run into any out here. This is certainly the quickest of them I have ever heard of.

And look at those younglings. Some shiny, spiky blue hair and dashing around their mom at an impressive pace. These got to be some of the fastest Sonic 2 ILs ever captured on camera. If we study their fur patterns closely we should be able to classify them exactly. I'm no expert on the subject, but it looks to me that these are Chemical Plant 1, Aquatic Ruin 2 and Death Egg. You'd have to ask Mike 'mike89' McKenzie or 'Paraxade' to make sure, they've written an encyclopaedia totalling 0:14:46 pages on this subject. And there they dash off, what outstanding form and haste they show. These are surely going to grow to be some magnificent speedruns in the next year or two. But what could possibly have spooked them like this?

That's a loud roar. Get behind that tree, quick. Good, we should be save here for now. That's the noise of a mighty predator speedrun right there. Definitely a Kong run by the sound but we'll have to see it to know what it is exactly. You can hear the rustling of the underwood as it approaches but its prey has long since fled. We should be able to get a peek at it right around there any moment now. And there is a glimpse of the dark brown fur, and between the leaves you can see the red of its trademark tie. That certainly looks like a Donkey Kong Country 3 run to me, Virtual Console single segment if I were to hazard a guess. These fierce hunters can grow up to 0:43 in size and mostly prey on small ILs and some segmented speedruns. Marc-Alain 'MorKs' Bouchard had an impactful encounter with one of them just recently so we should better get out of here before it spots us.

Okay, this should be far enough, I can't hear its roar any more. Too bad we couldn't get an even better shot of those Sonic runs, but I can already spot another interesting specimen under that tree. That looks like a Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back speedrun to me. If you look at the ears you can see that they are very pointy and triangular. This is a typical sign of the Large-Skips category, which isn't native to this island. They were initially imported from the United States as pets in 0:12:21 by Matthew 'ElectronAvenue' and have spread around fast since then due to a lack of natural predators. Hunting them for food earlier this century has brought their numbers down close to extinction again but it looks like they have found a save home around here as I can see two more in the distance, just about there.

And on that note we shall end today's episode of The Life of Speedruns. We have still not succeeded in finding any signs of the elusive Ocarina of Time but we'll check the caves of the Northern Nolan Mountains next week. Until then, keep a look out for exotic speedruns in your area. You can never know when you'll run into interesting ones even in your backyard.

Friday, November 15, 2013 by ShadowWraith

Call now on 1-800-SDA-ROXS and recieve a free coupon to download any run of your choosing

Hey there guys! ShadowWraith here for todays SDA update, the fastest, easiest, safest way to get your fix of our latest speedrun records, GUARANTEED! Just read through the post, click the links and you'll have the finest speedruns the internet can provide. But don't take it from me, see for yourself!

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "That's some pretty big talk. I wonder if he can back that up?". Well feast your eyes on this; a European Extreme Foxhound rank speedrun of Metal Gear Solid 3 HD. You fancy yourself a stealth connoiseur? Think you've seen it all? Well 川元 'Hikari' 英則 knows all the tricks in the book, and most of the ones on the bathroom walls, too. You want guns? We got guns. You want CQC? We got CQC. You want a painfully obvious female lead that will end up backstabbing the protagnoist at the end of the story? Check. You want a chronically diarrhetic incompetent guard? Well, not this time sorry, but we have something better! You get to beat up an old man! What's not to love? "Oh ShadowWraith!" I hear you shout. "What's the final time? Tell us!", you cry. Well sit down or otherwise secure yourselves because we don't wanna be responsible for your injuries. You ready? 1:14:27! Crazy right? Well I hope we haven't blown your minds completely yet, because we've got more amazing speedruns for you guys coming right up.

Lego Racers is the greatest racing game this side of the toybox. You want fast cars? We got fast cars. You want powerups that'll make Mario cry with envy? We got them by the boatload. You want custom made lego roadhogs? Done. Easy. With the help of Tad 'RabidJellyfish' Cordle, we're happy to bring you 12 IL runs of fast paced block car action. Want to see what happens when you shoot a pirate in the face with a rocket? With this run you can. But wait! There's more! As a special bonus when you watch this speedrun, we'll throw in some Large Skip Glitch ILs with it, absolutely free! That means you get the full 12 regular levels, plus 6 extra bonus runs, in the low low time of 0:21:35.59!

Once in every lifetime comes a speedrun so great, so revolutionary, that it really does redefine the way we get runs done. The run we're talking about here is one of those, and it's of the game Dungeon Keeper 2. DK2 is no ordinary run. It uses Possession Kiting Technology to deal with all types of enemies, with unmatched safety, speed and precision; previously this technology has only been available in the game's prequel. But why listen to me talk about how great this run is? Anthony Malmgren worked hard on this run, and we really think you guys will enjoy this. The time? 2:14:03. Possessing Dark Mistresses has never been so much fun.

For those of you who prefer a more light hearted affair, don't be disappointed, because you're going to love this. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a game I'm sure all of you are familiar with, and for good reason, because this run is the tits (and I'm not just saying that because it features Hermione). Watch awestruck as Menno 'Menno888' Rijsselberg takes control of everyones favourite prepubescent wizardling Harry Potter and demonstrates his mastery of Alohomora, Glacius, Expelliarmus and whatever else takes your fancy. Sirius Black? More like Sirius Whacked. You-know-who ain't got nothing on this kid. Just sit back and relax as our hero kicks evil butt in just 1:27:38. So what are you waiting for? Click the link, and you'll be done watching faster than you can say Wingardium Leviosa.

Saturday, November 9, 2013 by Radix

Remember remember the 9th of November

I would like to present to you for your entertainment this weekend, a run on a game known as Metroid Prime. Charles Griffin worked some time to provide you the following run I'm sure. Unfortunately, he hasn't sent us any comments yet, but maybe they'll come eventually and we'll know for sure.

Charles's single segment run clocks in, on the game's timer, at 0:56! This is 10 minutes faster than the previous single segment run we had up, and five minutes faster than the segmented one. Save points, who needs them? I definitely remember the days when many folks thought this game would never see a run below one hour - and I was one of them. Speedrunning certainly likes to prove people wrong though.

In other news, we're now less than two months away from Awesome Games done Quick 2014. Are you hyped yet?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 by Breakdown

Standard issue update

No crazy theme this time around (though I must say the last few updates have been enjoyable reads, props to my updating compatriots). We're going quick and to the point on this one, so let's get to it.

Brave Fencer Musashi is one of those games I played way back when and kind of forgot about, but when I'm reminded of it I remember it fondly. Today, I have been reminded of fond memories thanks to the efforts of runner 'ShortCircuit'. Whether or not the rest of you have similar thoughts on this game, I do encourage you to take advantage of this chance to either relive it or see it for the first time in condensed form via this single segment run in 2:49, an improvement of over an hour to the previous segmented run.

Next up is Dash Galaxy in the Alien Asylum, a game I've personally tried hard to forget about over the years. The speedrunning community, however, doesn't seem to want to let me do that, as I was surprised to have to update about this game so much as once, let alone twice. Yes, we have an improvement of 28 seconds to the existing run for you today courtesy of runner Adam 'KHANanaphone' Ferguson. While my hate for this game runs deep, I will admit there's something cathartic about seeing it absolutely destroyed, so I do recommend checking out this 0:06:18 run, complete with suicide button tech.

"NES hard" is a term that gets thrown around a lot, but few current developers really strive to put it in their games these days. Developer Sivak didn't just embrace the concept, though, he embraced the medium as well with Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril. Speedrunners, however, aren't generally the type to shy away from a challenge, and runner 'Airrider' took the game's Unfair difficulty setting and said "Let's do this." The result is a 0:45:07 single segment run, really serving to show even the toughest nuts out there can be cracked.

We'll finish things off today with a run that's sure to get the average Yahoo commenter frothing at the mouth. "But it's cheating!" they say. "The game should be played normally!" they say. Well, we say seeing a game broken to pieces is pretty damn awesome, and that's definitely the case in Tobias 'Charleon' Nerg's Maxim run of Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance. If you're a likeminded individual (or like getting angry), you really should check out this run that finishes before a first time player has had a chance to get comfy with the controls. Final time is 0:00:45. No, that's not a typo.

Tuesday, October 28, 2013 by LLCoolDave

A Day at the Races

Hello and welcome to the third sesquibicentennial SDA Derby. There's mere seconds until one of the two-hundred most prestigious horse races of the week will be under-way and the crowd is already bursting with signs of slightly elevated levels of expiration.

And there's the sign and off they go. Right out of the gates Dag 'ktwo' Cato leads the pack on Adventure Island. Although he is an experienced jockey, this is the first time he rides this North American breed at one of these events. The 6/5 gallop has pushed the horse with the number 0:37:21 ahead of the competition initially but it looks like the rest of the field is closing in as we head into the first corner and three horses are head to head now.

And Rockman 4 takes it on the inside! This Japanese breed has seen strong performances in the past couple of years but has reached new levels ever since 'Checkers' has taken the reins. At this rate it looks like it could very well breach the best time of this season at 0:38:22 today as the race is blistering fast after the first quarter mile. Rockman 4 is still in the lead as we head up Nolan Hill but Adventure Island manages to keep pace as the rest of the field is slowly falling behind again.

The lead remains unchanged as we're halfway up the hill but Darkwing Duck is slowly climbing up the ranks in the main bulk. Jonathan 'Joka' Karlsson is determined to improve on his performance at the last SDA Derby and is aiming for a finish of 0:12:57 today and it looks like he and Darkwing Duck are in great shape with this lightning quick uphill section that put them on the front of the pursuers as Adventure Island and Rockman 4 still jostle for the lead as we turn around the last corner and onto the final stretch of the race.

Gosh and Gollies! Hold on to your monocles gentlemen as Anticipation is making a run for it from the midfield! Adam 'KHANanaphone' Ferguson is putting the spurs to Anticipation Very Hard and they are making a wild dash for it. Anticipation passes Darkwing Duck as Adventure Island is slowly falling back. The super high pace from the start is taking its toll now and Adventure Island can't keep up any more. Anticipation takes Adventure Island and the gap to Rockman 4 is closing fast. Only a couple dozen yard left in the race but Rockman 4 is losing ground. Three lengths. Two lengths. Anticipation has pulled head to head on the final moments and pulls out in front as they cross the line! 0:07:57! What an incredible time, what an incredible race.

The crowd is exasperated. Frenetic moustache twirling. Fastidious pocket watch reading. A mild flurry. I've never seen an audience this excited at one of these events. This was truly one for the books.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 by ShadowWraith

Dinner is served

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the SDA restaurant. Today, I shall be your waiter, and we shall be serving you a delectable selection of delicious speedruns prepared by our most experienced speedrunning chefs.

As an appetiser, we present this speedrun of Bomberman 64, lovingly prepared in a single sitting by our cuisine artist known only as 'footbigmike'. He has gone above and beyond, finding the most succulent and choice strategies for your consumption. No need to pace yourself here, the run is only 0:24:33 long, so hurry! Do be careful though, if you have a delicate stomach. The food can be quite... explosive.

The soup of the day is our Japanese themed special, that we have named Yakuza 3. The soup contains three different gameplay modes, all expertly woven together, plenty of inaccurate stereotypes about Japanese organised crime and other things that the more eccentric of you might pick up on as you enjoy it, prepared in the PAL regions in a single-segment, at Extra Hard levels of heat, with some breadsticks on the side. The chef who has created this masterpiece is a gentleman known as Sergio 'Holy_3051' Frances, and this course of the meal will last approximately 2:41:34. Approximately.

Continuing with the organised crime theme of your meal, the main course: Mafia. This dish of Italian origin, containing herbs and spices that we have elected to keep secret, is prepared from a recipe handed down from father to son dating back to the 1930s, featuring hints of bootlegging, extortion, arson, assassination and other assorted nastiness, carefully sliced into 92 pieces for your enjoyment. The man responsible for bringing you this meal is known as 'Chris-X', and it took him a mere 2:56:00 to create this meal for you. I trust you'll enjoy it.

For dessert, we've decided to go with a somewhat spooky themed dish, appropriate given the time of the year. Dead Space 2 will, however, not be served with lit jack-o-lanterns or any other silly Halloween paraphernalia, though if you wish to provide your own we will not stop you. Craig 'osey889' Kean spent a great deal of time sculpting your dessert into the perfect image of Isaac Clarke, 2:25:51 to be precise, done Casually in a single sitting.

We hope you enjoy your meal. Compliments should be directed to LLCoolDave.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 by Breakdown

With a better route, Columbus could've totally cut the 1492

And with better planning on my part, a Columbus Day themed update would've actually hit on Columbus Day. We'll have these things, and just think, it could've been a Labor Day theme if I really wanted it to be. This seems downright timely by comparison.

Date appropriate or not, if we're running with the Columbus Day theme, the fact our first run is Super C is fairly appropriate. Fun fact (that isn't really a fact): Red Falcon and his alien hordes came to this planet on three spaceships, but were blasted to oblivion with heavy artillery in an insanely quick 0:13:16 by David Heidman Jr., two seconds faster than earlier reports suggested. Definitely more exciting than your average history lesson.

Keeping things loosely tied to exploring the unknown, we've got a new run for Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. Runner 奥村 'jibupo' 亮 has given the SNES Luigi category a facelift with a healthy improvement to the previous run, cruising through the new worlds (well, if you consider a US release of 1993 "new") in a brisk 0:16:07.

Of course, many see Columbus Day as a bit of a throwaway holiday, but it is a solid indicator that Halloween is right around the corner, a day where running around in your pajamas and throwing a seemingly limitless supply of candy around is perfectly acceptable. In that light, the new run for Little Nemo: The Dream Master is a glove fit for this update, and a pretty awesome run to boot. Playing on the Japanese version, runner Jonathan 'Joka' Karlsson dispels all the nightmares and puts things right in Dreamland in the time of a barely satisfying nap, 0:23:50 to be exact.

And since we've shifted to Halloween, our last entry today feels ever so slightly less shoehorned into the theme. Everyone either has been or has known someone who decided to be a superhero of their own creation for Halloween either due to a desire for originality or the lack of funds to get an official Super/Bat/Iron/Whateverman getup. Those individuals probably feel right at home playing Prototype, and while I'm unsure if runner Joshua 'Stormknight' Grant has ever rocked such a costume on the 31st, it's clear he's right at home playing this game as well. You can see what I mean by watching his 1:59:12 run on the game's Easy difficulty in 24 segments.

Saturday, October 5, 2013 by LLCoolDave

Alternatives

I want to start off this week's update by stimulating the creative areas of your brain. With a small Gedankenexperiment, if you want to call it that, and I know you do because early 20th century German philosophical loan words are ALL the rage right now, right? In any case, I want you to imagine a parallel universe that is very much like our own, except for two very minor differences.

Despite just being minor differences, they would still have a strong impact on your life. For one, your breakfast cereal would be a slight bit less enjoyable. Oh, and this site wouldn't exist. Nor would any of your gaming consoles. You'd have to spend your free time on such nonsense as reading books, visiting friends and solving the daily crossword puzzle that insists on syzygy being an actual word. The two differences in this parallel universe are that nobody ever took a second look at cows and kept on milking goats and that the first game of this update actually managed to finish off the gaming industry instead of just massively crippling it. We're of course talking about the infamous E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600. Unlike most kids during Christmas 1982, runner 'DSmon' doesn't actually consider the idea of a clumsy alien stumbling into massive pits and very VERY slowly floating back out by stretching its neck to make for one of the worst games of all time and has thus provided us with a quick run in 0:00:53, even beating the tool assisted run for the game. Now let's quickly leave this nightmare of a parallel universe.

Instead, let's take a look at Kirby Super Star Ultra, the DS rerelease of one of my favourite SNES titles. Instead of following the story of our beloved fluffy vacuum salesman, Alex 'Anwonu' Morinaga was much more interested in the tale of the first character so broken that it had to be banned from Nintendo's party tripping simulator. His new run on Meta Knightmare Ultra mode clocks in at 0:26:00.76, beating his old time by almost a minute and a half. If you insist on me making this pun, this run does indeed not suck.

Duke Nukem is one of the biggest, baddest asses out there, afraid of nothing except for small ledges, stairs and slight bumps in the level design. For several years the IL table of Duke Nukem 3D had been dominated by a single name, but plenty of things have been discovered in the game since then. Alex 'pogokeen' Dawson is the first to bring the world's squishiest action hero to the front page again, improving the time on 'Toxic Dump' by almost 1.7 seconds to 0:00:33.29. We have taken this opportunity to retime the old runs to be more in line with SDA guidelines and be more consistent across versions and with regards to replay playback and live play while also adding in sub-second precision. This puts the entire IL table at a new total of 0:20:45.50.

The final entry for today is Mega Man Legends 2, a pretty large detour from the classic Mega Man formula of unforgivable platforming level design and 2 second boss fights. Instead, Capcom decided they wanted to follow a story that is slightly more intricate than 'Dr. Wily Evil! Kill!' and opted for a 3D Action Adventure game instead. Justin 'JMC4789' Chadwick tackled this RNG infested run superbly in 1:24:53, slightly over the Mega Man standard of roughly half an hour. Notably, this game is well known for ending on a cliffhanger that was never properly resolved.

And on that note, it is finally time for me to announce

Thursday, September 26, 2013 by ShadowWraith

NO! NOT THE WATER! YOU FIENDS!

I generally don't try to theme my updates, but the games I have for you today practically demand it. If you can guess what the theme is before the end of the update, you can have a cookie. So, let us begin.

First up, we have the (somewhat) legendary Drakkhen, famous for its constellation monsters, pots and pans robots and dragonkin with questionable accents. Through some interesting abuse of game mechanics involving killing half the party and using the dead person to murder everything, as well as standing still in a room for several minutes to gain levels, Damien 'Dragondarch' Moody averts the destruction of the world of man in 0:34:32, leaving him just enough time to pull the tattered corpses of his fallen party members out of the moat he dumped them in before the celebratory victory ceremony.

Next, a game that needs no introduction - assuming you've been around SDA for longer than a year - but for those of you who have not, I shall introduce it for you. Lagoon is one of those Zelda clones that falls somewhat short (quite a lot, in fact) of the game that inspired it, but that didn't stop Patrick 'PJ' DiCesare from tackling the issue of... muddy water? (I honestly don't really understand the plot of this game at all, you don't do anything with any water in the game), bringing us this 1:28:52 masterpiece. However, I take issue with the toothpick the protagonist is armed with being called a 'sword'. It's just not. Oh, and the game has audio commentary. You should listen to it.

Third up, another SNES RPG for you guys. Illusion of Gaia is a game about a boy who can turn into a grown adult complete with a REAL sword (get out Nasir), or a blue version of the flame guy from the Fantastic Four. He is tasked with saving the world from a comet which will bring bad luck with it. Adam 'puwexil' Dunn does not approve of superstitious celestial objects, however, and decided to beat up the naughty comet as fast as he could, while still snagging all the loot along the way in this 2:17:20 100% completion of the game. Also, one of the NPCs has a pet pig. Why? I have no idea.

Finally, a game that is somewhat infamous in certain circles for having the most irritating escort quest type system imaginable, Resident Evil 4, or 4 Resident Evil, depending on whether you look at the box art, is the story of one man's journey to rescue the daughter of the POTUS from some random hick villagers in somewhere that very very closely resembles Spain, but is clearly not Spain. Well today, that man is Bartolomeu 'blaze8876' Penkal, and with a combination of roundhouse kicks, heavy weaponry and being able to ignore the protagonists name being screamed at him in the most ear piercingly irritating way possible, he completed a run of the game in 1:45:48 on the PC version, in 16 segments. Honestly, the President can't have given that much of a shit about his daughter if he only sent in one guy with very little support, but that's neither here nor there.

So, did you guess the theme yet? It was games with terrible plots! What, you want a cookie? I never said it'd be me who'd give you one. Just go play that new Cookie Clicker game. I hear it's all the rage now.

*snorts*

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 by LLCoolDave

Speedrunning: Not vehicular manslaughter

According to social media this week, being a PC gamer right now is akin to being woken up way too early by your alarm clock, smacking your head straight into the wall because you forgot you had moved the furniture yesterday, stepping onto a piece of Lego as you slump out of bed, noticing you ran out of coffee and finally realizing it is your day off when you get stuck in a massive traffic jam on the interstate. As such, we at SDA would like to dedicate this update to the poor people unable to experience the latest release in the marginally justifiable road rage simulator genre by celebrating the PC speedrunning scene instead. Go keyboard!

Our first entry of the day is a rather bizarre one. Although the First-Person Shooter genre has had uncountable entries in recent years that placed the player in a war torn Europe, most of these were set in the 1940s. World War I seems to be a far less frequently visited setting for your average historically inaccurate shooter, presumably because the resurgence of Imperialism, a century worth of treaties and alliances and a lack of clear good and bad guys make for a less engaging backdrop than a simple plot of 'Kill ALL the Nazis!'. NecroVisioN not only chooses to set itself in 1916, it also does away with any pretence of realism by pitting you against Zombies, Vampires, Demons and the rulers of Hell themselves. Despite the slight discrepancy between the story told in this game and his high school history book, Arthur 'Artas1984' Lozovskis ploughs through this revision of European history in 13 individual level runs, summing up to a time of 1:03:04. I recall the real affair taking a tiny bit longer than that.

The next game on our list is about an ordinary earth person being pulled into a different world filled with magic and mystical beings. Despite the remarkably similar synopsis to our previous game, I am actually talking about the Action-RPG Nox here. Although this title is being overshadowed in general memory by Diablo II, which was released around the same time, this gem of the past is very much worth a play and has generated some new-found speedrunning activity just recently. Thus, it is no surprise that Anders 'Pjoxt' Örndahl has decided to revisit his old run as the Wizard class and improve it to a time of 34:06. In the meantime, Maik 'Onin' Biekart has picked the Warrior class at the start, finishing this branch of the game in a swift 36:29. In both cases the very first segment involves passing through a solid gate with a trick intriguingly named 'Apple Bump'. That certainly was enough to get me interested in watching these.

Next up is Drakan: Order of the Flame, one of, if not even THE best game in the classic Dungeon Exploration/Dragon Dogfight hybrid genre. Patrik 'Pafi' Varjotie cuts the old time more than in half by skipping large amounts of the gameplay out right. How? Flying through the air by continuously blocking with your sword (which seems like a rather impractical mode of transport if you might as well just mount a dragon) and forcing said giant dragon right through solid objects. First apples, now dragons. Is there anything that still respects the sanctity of physics and collision detection? The final result is a single segment time of 24:17 in the newly established large skips category.

Lastly, not to be outdone by the previous games' realistic display of the world as we know it, Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne is to real police work like a tsunami is to a water fight in your backyard blow-up swimming pool. This gaming adaptation of film noir is one of my favourite PC game series (or rather, was, until May Payne 3 happened, but we'd rather not talk about that) as it combines a dark and gritty narrative with excessively over the top slow motion gunfights into a giant ball of pure awesomium. Therefore I am quite pleased to see that Evgeny 'anarki' Gladkiy improved two of the New York Minute individual level times by a combined 24 seconds, namely 1-5 Max's Apartment Building continued and 3-2 Return to Vlad's Restaurant. This brings the full table down to a time of 18:34.050.

And on that note, I might just have to go and undust my XBox 360 now.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 by Breakdown

Locked and loaded

We'll pull out the big guns right at the start here with an update to a game from the beloved Mario series. The warps category for Super Mario Bros. 2 is getting a facelift today, and how. Seeing as how this game is all supposed to Mario's dream, it nice to see runner Chris 'cak' Knight pull some Inception-level weirdness in this 0:08:32 run. Check this one out, it won't disappoint.

Next up we have a run featuring guns mounted on spaceships. I know that's enough to get me interested all by itself, but some of you might need a little extra push. How about if I told you we have an improvement of over four and a half minutes to our previous Star Fox Assault run? This healthy improvement to the Bronze difficulty setting clocks in at 0:41:08 and comes courtesy of runner Zachary 'zewing' Ewing, and if the comments are any indication, there's more on the way, so keep an eye out.

Canonically speaking, the next run features a duo that has quite the aversion to guns. Yes, the heroes in the Genesis version of The Adventures of Batman & Robin would rather use assorted bat-themed objects to dispose of their enemies, but they get the job done in hurry. This is especially true when they're piloted by Colin 'Musashi1054' Darczuk. He's rounding out the improvements in todays update with an over 90 second betterment of our existing run for the game, saving Gotham from its colorful cast of villains in a brisk 0:49:51.

So the last run is Glover for the N64. I guess the protagonist could hold a gun, maybe. Really the whole gun theme I have going starts to fall apart here, but by many accounts the game's controls may have you reaching for one. This affliction, fortunately, did not get the best of runner Bryan 'Crankeey' as he pushed the time down on this title all the way to 0:36:34 prior to submission.

And with that, I've emptied my clip. See you next time.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013 by ShadowWraith

Always a day late

My updates recently seem to always come a day after I want them to. I'm not sure whether that's just because I'm a slacker or not. However, I'm just going to assume that it's because my grasp of the passage of time is somewhat inhibited by my desire to go fast. Speaking of desires to go fast (segue ahoy), here's some speedruns for you.

Mega Man games have been a mainstay of speedrunners for years, with their impressively difficult platforming action and abuse of invincibility frames to do things that the game really doesn't want you to do, and Mega Man X3 is no exception. Austin 'Auchgard' Caldera chose to tackle the 100% category for this magnificent game, improving our current (8 year old, I should mention) run by 3 minutes and 19 seconds in this 0:49:07 single-segment affair, fast enough to confuse even the blizzardiest of buffalos. It's about time, I'd say.

Side scrolling beat 'em up games are also a prime target for speedrunners, with this site featuring the likes of Golden Axe, Double Dragon and some of the Final Fight games. Sean 'MURPHAGATOR!' Murphy, previously (in)famous for his Kageki submission that was featured quite prominently here a few months ago, has chosen to turn his attentions to a more deserving game; Final Fight 3. His attention comes in the form of single-segment runs of the game using every character on Expert difficulty. The times are as follows:

If watching random mooks get kicked, punched, bodyslammed and piledriven is your thing, these are the runs you should watch. I heard there may be infinites too. Maybe.

Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories is a game that I don't think fits into the traditional speedrunning subset of games. I guess you could put it with the other JRPGs, but the card-based combat system is a little weird. That said, pretty much every game can make a good speedrun (with a few notable exceptions that shall not be named *coughheavynovacough*), and this one is no different. Ben 'Ghostwheel' Hartman took it upon himself to prove it, bringing unto us this 3:02:18 tribute as testament to this fact. And we applaud him for it.

Last, but certainly not least, we've got another speedrun from our resident heartthrob Jeff 'Feasel' Feasel, this time on the NES game Willow. I'm assuming this game is based on the events of the film, having never played it myself, but you can't go wrong with top down RPGs, as Zelda, Crystalis et al. will confirm. The run itself is a single-segment run that completes the game in 1:18:27, a solid 15 minutes and 47 seconds faster than our previous best time, and also a fair bit shorter than the film itself. But then again, that's what we come here for, right?

Monday, August 26, 2013 by LLCoolDave

Tom Clancy's SDA Update

Most people regard the 8- and 16-bit consoles to be the home of the golden era of platforming. The early 90s also played stage to a plethora of fantastic platformers released for your then impressive 50MhZ i486 (that's 479 more i's than contemporary CPUs!) PC. Unlike the NES classics, these games sadly don't get nearly enough love in the speedrunning community.

Arturs 'Xarthok' Demiters however seems to remember these days fondly as he has submitted runs for two episodes of the classic Commander Keen series. Not only did he improve the old run of Marooned on Mars by 6 seconds to 0:03:52, he also came out ahead in his competition with Cosmo on The Armageddon Machine with a time of 0:02:31 by wrong warping past 9 stages. That still leaves 4 episodes uncovered on SDA, so get to work guys.

If you should find yourself in a real hurry and unable to spend the better part of a 12th of an hour on either of the previous runs we can provide you with an even shorter run this update. Originally a minigame in the Might & Magic series, Arcomage was later released as a standalone title. Paul 'LagDotCom' Davies blazes through this turnbased strategy card game in a lightning quick 0:00:14, obliterating the opposing tower in a mere 4 turns and 6 seconds faster than his previous record.

Skipping ahead another decade of PC gaming we get to Rosenkreuzstilette Freudenstachel, a Doujin Mega Man clone best known for having a name that seems to be impossible to properly pronounce unless you wear some Lederhosen and had Weißwurst for breakfast. Not fazed by this collection of letters indecipherable to the English thinking mind, 'Senovit' adds his time of 0:33:58.25 as Pamela to the gamepage. Surprisingly, this run does not beat the current record for longest filename on SDA.

For the final entry of the day, Tom Clancy presents Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, as endorsed by Tom Clancy. Although prominently featured in the title of the stealth game series, the famous espionage author seems to have had roughly the same amount of involvement with the game development as he has had with this particular update post. He didn't even write any of the tie-in novels to either of them! ('SDA: The Updatening' should be available on Amazon shortly, so keep an eye out for it.) Runner Michael 'CotySA' saw through this ploy of corporate branding and punished the game by breaking it. Hard. Despite adding in 3 additional extra missions over the old IL table, this run improves the total time by a massive 22 minutes to 1:13:02.

Thursday, August 22, 2013 by Breakdown

A low sodium alternative

We've got an eclectic selection for you today. Let's skip the pleasantries and just dive in.

We'll start off with a little something for all the Assassin's Creed fans out there. The Lost Archive DLC for Assassin's Creed: Revelations has received the individual level runs treatment from Francois 'Fed981' Federspiel. Going the New Game + route, he deals out all the death in the DLC pack's 7 memories in just 0:27:45 total time.

Dying in a game to pick up some time is pretty standard operating procedure amongst speedrunners, but it's not too often you find a run featuring the game over screen as a legitimate strategy. Well, we have one such run today in Crash Bandicoot 2. Playing on the European version, runner Peter 'PeteThePlayer' Tissen makes good use of the screen most of us consider failure, and it's in no small part responsible for the final time of 0:41:30, just over five minutes faster than the standard issue death abuse run.

It's been a long, long time since we've had cause to knock the dust off of the Little Big Adventure game page, but we've given an excellent excuse to draw attention to this cool little isometric RPG thanks to runner Michael 'CrimsonxxMana' Davies. He's done a single segment run of the game to go up alongside the segmented effort from years past. Final time is 1:28:11, check it out.

We're bookending the games portion of this update with IL tables, because bookends are classy, and we're a classy establishment. And while I'm sure you're here for the class, I imagine you won't mind being able to watch runner Wouter M. 'WMJ' Jansen absolutely wreck every track in Penny Racers while you're here. Total time for the table of 9 tracks is 0:12:49.88, enjoy.

One last point of note, we've recently rolled out a piece of new policy that's sure to please fans of old DOS games. It's no secret recording these on their original hardware is a nightmare, so in a effort to make submissions on some of these old classics more realistic for most, we've decided that SDA will now allow the use of DOSBox and virtual machines for games that have no real alternative methods for recording. A big win for the old PC enthusiasts out there certainly. Now, there are some caveats and stipulations with this, which are gone over fairly thoroughly in this thread, so be sure to read up before rushing off to record.

Monday, August 12, 2013 by ShadowWraith

Gotcha

Now that we've had a chance to chill out after the amazing event that was SGDQ, I feel comfortable posting a new set of runs. Also this isn't late because it's totally Sunday somewhere, right? Rather than bore you with some preamble about how certain game mechanics in certain games I may or may not be drilling for marathon purposes can go suck an unnamed appendage, I'll just get right to it.

VVVVVV is an awesome game, from the block colours, pixel art style and oldschool style music. Jared 'FieryBlizzard' Klein brings us updated versions of his VVVVVV runs, which I shall list for you using these handy bullet points. Woo, html!

T.R.A.G.: Tactical Rescue Assault Group is a game I have never heard of before. Wikipedia calls it 'Hard Edge', but I haven't heard of that either, but I'm told the game is like Resident Evil except anime, minus the zombies. That said, we have a run of it now! Dylan 'CavemanDCJ' Jock completed a single-segment run of the game in 0:56:49.

Final Fantasy IX, being my favourite of the PSX era FF games, is also a really long game. The games I speedrun tend to max out at an hour long tops, which makes the fact that someone was able to do this monster in a single sitting mindblowing. Tristan 'Caracarn' Helwig is a much more determined man than I, and did exactly that. His 9:05:45 single-segment run now stands as the longest single-segment run we have on the site, and is a solid testament to how determination and stubbornness can overcome fatigue and boredom. And the urge to pee.

Gothic is a game I have heard of and have played, albeit briefly. The game wouldn't run very well on my old rustbucket PC back in the day so I didn't get far, but from what I gathered the game has a very Elder Scrollsy style swords-and-sorcery RPG feel to it, although it doesn't have the same level of freedom or enormous open world as those games. However, as is generally the case in these games, Gothic is hilariously broken, as 'Blubbler' can attest. His 2:48:08 100% run (in 306 segments) features an amusing amount of infinite jumping and some out-of-boundsy shenanigans, and is probably going to be an amusing watch for most people. Maybe not Severance levels of hilarity, but definitely entertaining.

In other news, our very own Mr. K is hosting the Contra Conference on his stream. It's a week long (August 9th-August 17th) meetup of the greatest Contra speedrunners. If that's your cup of tea, and it's certainly mine, then head over to his stream here, and enjoy the show! As of right now, I'm watching what appears to be Contra 1, except someone has destroyed the cart graphics so everything is funky looking. It's pretty awesome.

Saturday, August 3, 2013 by LLCoolDave

A personal touch

The time right after a charity marathon is always one of the hardest. Not only do you have to cope with the fact that it's over and you've completely ignored the rest of your life for a week, building up a huge backlog of things you ought to have done days ago, your body also reminds you of the fact that you've not spent nearly enough time in bed the past days. However, if you somehow have enough energy left to watch more speedruns right now, I've got just the right thing for you.

Dungeon's & Dragon's has been adapted to the video game format a countless number of times with varying levels of success. The Temple Of Elemental Evil is very closely modelled on the 3.5 rules but can not avoid the fundamental issue of all its brethren: The Dungeonmaster is rather bad at adjusting to the player. As usual for this genre, Maik 'Onin' Biekart completely bypasses the main plot and even ignores the evil archdemoness Zuggtmoy, ending the game in a quick 0:04:40 sitting by stealing her jewels. He may be a good speedrunner, but I would look elsewhere for your adventuring business.

The general consensus on Jet Force Gemini is that it's actually quite a neat and unique game that should have gotten more attention, a statement which is usually followed by everybody immediately forgetting about the title again. As such, it is not a big surprise that it's been 9 years since this Nintendo 64 game last showed up on our news page. Adam 'Jimmie1717' Lehman decided that the run by then prolific David 'marshmallow' Gibbons was a bit outdated and improved on it by 42 minutes in game time, clocking in at 2:39 in a single segment.

Our final entry for today is particularly close to my heart. Long time followers of SDA may be aware that the current run on Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast is held by yours truly, a record that has been outdated since pretty much the exact moment the run was done. Since then I've spent considerable amounts of time actively not improving on that run. Procrastinating once again paid off in full force, as Gustav 'recon' Jensen picked up the slack and crushed my run with an astonishing 0:42:27 in a round 100 segments. Not only is that an improvement of 24 minutes, the difficulty has also been increased to the highest level of Jedi Master, halving the amount of health available for all these crazy stunts. There's also been some activity for single segment runs of this game recently, so maybe we'll see one of those on the front page in the near future..

And on that note, it is time for me to go to bed. 3PM local time is a reasonable time to go to sleep, isn't it?

Thursday, August 1, 2013 by LLCoolDave

A million reasons to be proud

When I first got into speedrunning a decade ago, it was a niche hobby. A couple of guys on a message board, exchanging times and on rare occasions even a video of a run. Even in the broad world of gaming, almost nobody had any idea what you were blabbering on about. Things have changed a lot since then.

In the past week we peaked at just over 51 thousand viewers, and at least 20 thousand of you had joined us for every single moment of the Summer Games Done Quick marathon. You were there through all the highs and lows of the event, the good and bad ends of marathon luck, the Manchicken, when we were running up and down stairs, breaking world records, killing animals (by popular demand), beating Ganon on a single heart and many more memorable moments.

And time wasn't the only thing you were incredibly generous with. $255,160.62 in over 10000 individual donations to Doctors without Borders is the current count on our tracker, and with that we have now surpassed the magical $1,000,000 mark for money raised by SDA charity marathons. These are numbers that would have seemed unbelievable to teenage me starting speedrunning. In fact, these are numbers that still seem unbelievable to current me.

It's impossible to sufficiently thank everybody that has made this outstanding success a possibility. Thank you to everybody involved in organizing this event and keeping the stream running most of the time. Thank you to all the runners putting on over a hundred hours of entertainment for us all. Thank you to The Yetee and the 6 artists for providing us with 7 marathon themed shirts and raising $11,600 for SGDQ. Thank you to mistermv for organizing the French restream of the event and all the commentators involved with it. Thank you to everybody that provided us with great prizes for the event. Thank you to every single person out there watching the marathon, telling their friends, spreading the word and donating to such a worthwhile cause. And thank you to everybody else I couldn't fit into this post.

There were so many good runs at this event that it was just impossible to watch everything. (Damn, you, pesky little thing called sleep.) But fret not, some helpful people on Reddit have assembled a full list of timestamped links to all the runs in the twitch archives for easy rewatching. And as usual, high quality encodes of the entire event will be uploaded in a couple of weeks.

If you are a newcomer to the speedrunning community, don't be afraid, most of us don't bite. Be sure to check out the SDA Forum for discussing games and runs as well as SRL for speedrun races for all skill levels. Welcome aboard.

Despite all that's been achieved there is no time to rest. Awesome Games Done Quick 2014 is in the early planning stages, so if you're interested in keeping up with the development or even participating yourself, be sure to check out the marathon subforum in the upcoming weeks when we are starting to shape ideas for our next big event. If you can't wait that long, regular SDA updates will resume this weekend and the Happy Tails Marathon is happening in just two weeks, raising money for the ASPCA.

To another million.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 by Breakdown

The hype, it is palpable

July 25th is approaching rapidly, and with it the start of Summer Games Done Quick. Yes, we are less than two days removed from five consecutive days of live speedrunning goodness. Undoubtedly, most of you reading this are already well aware of the event (though if you happen to be in the dark about it, just click the banner at the top of the page for details and a full schedule of the games), and are waiting about as patiently for this thing to kick off as a small child in the back of a car on its way to Disney World. Well, don't fret, we've got some new runs today to help tide you over until Thursday.

It's been a long, long time since there's been any mention of the N64's GoldenEye 007 on the front page here at SDA. The game does still have an active community, though, and one of the very best players saw fit to give our game page a facelift. Runner 'Rayan Isran' offers up a single segment run on Agent difficulty, clocking in at a ridiculous 0:18:51. Give this one a watch, it's not GoldenEye how you remember it.

It has not been that long a time since the last mention of Half-Minute Hero here on the front page, but as long as runner Jim 'Dowulf' Dobler keeps cranking out high quality runs for the game, we'll keep posting them. Today's offering is a new category for the game page: the Evil Lord 30 mode, and given the amazingly short amounts of time the game give you to complete your objectives, it should come as no surprise the speedrun time is something ridiculous like 0:02:23.77.

Next up, we have a little something for the tactical RPG enthusiasts out there. Valkyria Chronicles gets an improvement today courtesy of runner Wesley 'Molotov' Corron. After lots of number crunching and multiple sacrifices to the RNG gods, he put together an impressive 2:21:10 run over 23 segments, an improvement of just over 20 minutes over the previous entry.

Wrapping things up today, we have some good, old fashioned, zombie killing action. Who doesn't like that? Judging by the sales number on Resident Evil 4, most people do, and those number give me confidence this last run will be well received. It's a new game + Normal difficulty effort on the Wii's European release by Robert 'Sunblade' Brandl and clocks in at 1:34:26 over 16 segments.

That does it for runs today, so hopefully those serve to whet your appetite for the awesomeness that will be SGDQ to come. Just remember this Thursday starting at noon MDT (the schedule adjusts to you timezone, so no converting necessary with just a glance), you know where you want to be. Whether you want to watch on our twitch channel (with cool new subscriber emotes) or off the marathon page, that's a matter of preference. Just make sure you're watching, you won't want to miss a minute.

Saturday, July 20, 2013 by ShadowWraith

Hello Hello Hello!

Hi! It's me again! I'm here to bring you some more fantastic speedruns! Oh don't give me that look, you know you want to see them. Why, just take a look at this Zelda II: The Adventure of Link run! It just so happens that Zelda II is my faaaaavourite Zelda game ever, which is why I'm so totally stoked that John 'Pro_JN' Nurminen has done this delightful single-segment any% run for us! Oh the time? It's 1:01:21, I know, totally crazy right? That's like, 6 minutes faster than the time we have right now! Fabulous!

If that doesn't tickle your fancy, then I may just have the run of your dreams (oh lord that pun) right here! Little Nemo: The Dream Master is so surreal, that you might think you're dreaming when you watch this run! If you like watching the personification of everyone's inner child sticking it to those mean old nightmares that plagued you growing up (I'm looking at you, boogieman), then go ahead and click this link. It's a 0:25:38 run through the game, single-segment (I'm told it's actually rather hard), so tuck yourselves in and get ready for some excitement, courtesy of Johnathan 'Joka' Karlsson! Oh, and as you're probably curious, it improves our existing run by just shy of a minute and a half!

If you're looking for a more real experience, something a little grittier, then perhaps you'd prefer an update to our Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne IL table. Our resident timer IsraeliRD has gone through all the old videos and timed them down to the millisecond and replaced the times with those, and we have 9 new level runs for you! But enough of my silly rambling, just check out these links!

This brings the total time for the table down to a miniscule 0:18:58.740!

For those of you who liked that list I made, I've got another for you! A smaller one though, but no less important! Super Punch-Out!! is the middle sibling of the Punch-Out family, and like it's older brother Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, it has been seeing a fair bit of activity recently. D.J. 'Akiteru' Rideout went ahead and updated three of the ILs for us! Wasn't that nice of him! Here you go!

This brings the total time for the table down to 0:02:17.90! Now, those improvements may seem small, but all three of those ILs now match the TAS time, and I think all you know how awesome that is!

Also, Summer Games Done Quick is less than a week away! Make sure you stock up on food, drinks and comfortable seating, because in five days you'll definitely be needing it!

See you around!

Saturday, July 13, 2013 by LLCoolDave

The more things change

Hi, I'm LLCoolDave and some of you may know me as that German bloke. Vorpal's recent departure from SDA duties has left the SDA Updater Bobsleigh Team down a man and in deep peril. I'm not sure how much use I will be on the track but I'll try my best to at least fill the gap on the frontpage.

The little nametag above this post isn't the only thing new today as all of the games below are new additions to the archive. Ultima Underworld II: Labyrinth of Worlds is not the first entry to the popular RPG series we have featured on this site, but we're still a long way from covering the entire Ultima universe (hint hint). 'gammadragon' blasts through this first person adventure in 16 short segments with deaths, finishing on a time of 0:22:38 using popular techniques such as breaking a potion so you can drink it multiple times or killing yourself on a fireball frozen in time. Britannia is a strange place indeed.

Fredrik 'Edenal' Lidholt stumbled on the SNES run and gun Super Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi at our last AGDQ marathon and has been hooked ever since. As a culmination of his efforts you can now watch him stop the Emperor's evil plan of ruling a galaxy that was previously unable to handle a civil war with democratic means (how evil!) in a quick 0:32:06 in a single sitting on easy mode. I've always felt people misidentified the evil guys in the Star Wars saga.

While we're on the subject of war, Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen features the struggle of the Liberation Army's uprising against the Empress Endora. Unlike other emperors mentioned earlier, her army doesn't have access to a planet destroying weapon so nothing can stop Tony 'Brootus' Robertson on his single-segment 2:10:24 march to the best ending, collecting a full 100% ingame completion on his way.

As our final entry for today we consider a game that made a big splash in the early days of the Nintendo 64. Wave Race 64 was one of the first titles released for the console but it remained popular and well regarded for several years. The advanced water physics and tight track layout makes optimizing ones runs a difficult task, but somehow Japanese runner 'FireHawkRise' did not get the memo. He rushes through all the tracks back-to-back in a single sitting seemingly at ease, finishing in a superb 0:53:17. That's a nice move!

If all this change and fancy new stuff has been too much for you, how about something tried and true as a finish: charity marathons. Summer Games Done Quick 2013 is happening in less than two weeks and we've just finished up our promotional video for it. If you've enjoyed our past showings (and I sincerely hope you did), spread the word and trailer on your favorite social media network and let your friends know about it. Get hype!
And if you already are hyped to the brim and today's runs just aren't enough to cover the time to SGDQ, fret not. Our friends at the European Speedster Assembly are holding their own charity marathon starting this Monday and lasting all the way to next Sunday. That's a full 140 hours of charity marathon you can watch while waiting for the next charity marathon to start! What a wonderful world we live in. Just don't forget to sleep occassionally.

You may now refer to me as that German bloke that writes updates.

Sunday, July 7, 2013 by ShadowWraith

It's coming

Before I jump into the new runs we have for you today, I'd like to remind everyone that Summer Games Done Quick 2013 is a mere two-and-a-half weeks away! Four days of fantastic speedruns by fantastic speedrunners making probably less-than-fantastic jokes, so for those of you who love our marathons, get hype! For those of you who don't, get hype anyway! Hype is good! Hype!

Now that you're all excited for awesome speedruns (or terrible jokes), what better way to spend your afternoon than watching some? Here's some new stuff for you.

Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back is one of those N64-PS1 era collectathon platformers that seem to be all the rage recently, and as far as I'm aware, it's one of the more popular ones, and indeed, the best of the three Crash Bandicoot games. So to celebrate its assured popularity, here's two runs of the game for you:
First up we have a single-segment any% completion of the game by 'ElectronAvenue', in a blazing 0:46:35.
On top of that, we have a single-segment 100% run for you by Robert 'MrBean35000vr' Chadwick in an equally scorching 1:20:50.
Both runs are on the PAL version of the game.

BioShock is an interesting game. On the one hand, it's almost a complete rip-off of System Shock 2, a game which left me trembling with terror on many occasions on my first playthrough (this is in no way a bad thing), and on the other hand, the player character doesn't understand how to store food and will eat everything and anything he can get his hands on. I'm told that the sequel is even worse in that regard, as said food is many many years old by that point, but I digress. Alex 'Blood Thunder' French has shown that he possesses both a formidable backbone and a mighty stomach as he braves the watery depths of Rapture in this single-segment 0:52:20 blast-through of the game, allowing himself to be slaughtered many times over in the interests of going fast (In other words, death abuse ahoy).

Speaking of games that may have been terrifying in a past incarnation, we finally have an entry on the site for one of the Dead Space series of games! Dead Space 3 may not be as frightening as its' two prequels and it probably doesn't have any of the food related hilarity of the BioShock series, the game is still speedrunnable. Demonstrably so, as 'Tenshouha' demonstrates for us here. Rather than slog through the main game, he (or she) tackled the Awakened DLC missions, delivering unto us this admirable NewGame+ 0:33:36 run on Hardcore difficulty, which from what I understand from hearing some associates of mine talk about the game, may involve ladders, switches and backtracking. But done fast, you see. Because this site is about speed. Hence the name. Yep.

I'll get my coat.

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