When he's not sleeping, he's gaming.
Mike 'mike89' McKenzie
All the way from Sydney in Australia, Michael 'mike89' McKenzie brings a mixed set of games to SDA. Also known to the community as 'English Mike' due to his dialect being mistaken for that of a brit for reasons unknown, this runner is most known for his passion for sonic games in all kinds of colors.
Interviewer questions are in bold.
Tell me a bit about yourself. Age, location, hobbies and such.
Hey internet-land, I'm Mike McKenzie, better known as mike89. I hail from the great speedrunning wasteland known as Australia (seriously, get on it my fellow Aussies!), I'm 21 years old, and when I'm not speedrunning I like listening to music (mostly classic rock), playing cricket, and just generally having a good time with my friends.
How did you find Speed Demos Archive? What made you want to join?
I think the first exposure I had to SDA was through the initial round of Super Smash Bros Melee videos - I downloaded a few of them and was just blown away. I joined at some point in the middle of 2005 when a good friend of mine, NintenDan, started working on a Sonic Advance speedrun for the site, which ended up being the first game for the franchise on SDA. Later I did a few runs on Sonic 1 and 3 that I submitted to SDA at the tail end of 2006, along with Vectorman 2 and a Banjo-Tooie category that is now banned thanks to the use of in-game cheats.
What runs have you done and what are your future plans for speed running?
Since my initial batch of speedruns in 2006, I have also done speedruns of:Editor's note: The Knuckles run and the co-op run are now available. I also submitted a Sonic Advance 3 run but later self-rejected it, as it had a rather awful death near the end. I've since beaten it by almost three minutes, making that run submittable is my next project. Editor's note: The Sonic 3 Advance run is now available. After Sonic Advance 3 I want to do runs on Rocket Knight Adventures (hard mode), de Blob (which I'm halfway done with), probably improve my Sonic 3 runs further still, and I've recently been playing Splosion Man semi-seriously as well.
Oh really? I have plans for Rocket Knight Adventures hard mode as well. Rivalry?
Well, I hear VorpalEdge and Shadow Jacky are also making plans for that run, so it could get very interesting in the next few months.
What is your history with video games?
I first got into gaming when my uncle sold my parents a Master System and a Mega Drive that he no longer used. The first games I played were actually the Master System versions of Sonic 1 and 2, which are terrible games that no one should ever play. I had a lot of fun with them as a kid, though.
What was/is so bad about them?
The first game has significant lag issues, and you can't jump on a lag frame, which is a big problem throughout the game, but particularly in one level where you have to jump up this waterfall... Then the second one has a hang glider that makes absolutely no sense to control, and you have to use it to progress in the game - a bit like Carnival Night's barrel, actually.
What games do you like to play for fun? Or can you still play all games for fun?
Honestly I've found the speedrunning mindset to be so pervasive that it's hard for me to play games "for fun" - that doesn't mean that playing new games isn't fun in general, it just means that I tend to try to do things quickly and occasionally look for speed tricks, even before I know the layout of any given area.
What game/run are you most proud of?
Sonic 3, no question.
Sonic 3 and Knuckles has been my favourite game ever since I first got it, and ever since I got into SDA I have always wanted to do a run that does this game justice. Finally now, I can say that I have done this - the runs I submitted in 2006 are not very good, but these upcoming ones are much better.
Do you think you will run Sonic 3 again after that?
Honestly I think I will, there are new breaks being found in the game all the time. I completed my Knuckles run in July, and already there are two minutes of known improvements to it. The co-op run has plenty of errors but we didn't really have much time to complete it, I'm hoping that my brother and I can put together a better run of that in the future.
You attended Classic Game Done Quick in 2010, what was the most memorable thing about it for you?
I was very lucky that I got to be part of an awesome event with 20 other great speedrunners and just great people in general. I enjoyed the whole time, but two moments that stand out to me were: a) the reaction from the room when I hit a very difficult trick in Sonic 3 first go, and b) the entire opera scene in Final Fantasy 6. Both just really summed up the mood of the whole event.
Any regrets about the event? Something you wanted to do but did not for one reason or another?
I wouldn't say I had any regrets... With the limited time there were always going to be people I didn't get to talk to as much as I would like, but I knew that going in so it doesn't bother me very much.
Any plans on attending any more events?
Absolutely, I missed out on Awesome Games Done Quick because the money wasn't working out for me, and coming all the way out there from Australia is a big time and money investment. I will definitely be there next year, I enjoyed the atmosphere too much not to!
Would you like to have the last word in this interview?