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Tuesday, March 3, 2015 by Vulajin

Community news: healthy competition

Hello everyone, hope you've had a good week! Time for another look around the world of speedrunning. This week's theme is competition!

The last several weeks have been golden for Max 'coolkid' Lundberg, who has been tearing up the NES classic Mega Man. On February 13, he claimed the classic any% record from 'Nudua' with a time of 19:28. Fellow Swede Daniel 'Dxtr' Eriksson challenged him with a 19:24 of his own, but 'Coolkid' was not to be outdone, so he set three new records consecutively. He's now the only runner with a sub-19 time: an 18:55 that deserves a watch. And maybe a rewatch. (Shoutout to 'Slaughterhouserock' for the Mega Man tip!)

Meanwhile, 'Altabiscuit' has been working hard on Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, and the results have been truly impressive. After 'Bubbles6411' recently tied his record at 1:24:17, 'Altabiscuit' came back to achieve a run that he could only describe as "insane": a 1:20:12 with extremely solid luck and execution. Still, my gut tells me some new time saves will be found in the future. After all, 'Altabiscuit' remains dedicated to this game, and we've all seen what he's capable of doing to it.

Finally, we have an update about an underrated SNES RPG, Lufia 2: Rise of the Sinistrals. This game is impressive because of the depth of RNG manipulation possible, and the precision and consistency required to pull it off. Just this morning, 'HappySquid89' claimed the glitchless record with a time of 3:43:13, breaking the mark of 3:43:59 set 20 minutes prior by 'eLmaGus'. Both of these runs follow on the heels of 'FeralPigMan''s 3:44:00, achieved just a few weeks ago. There's still plenty of room for improvement, so expect to see these runners continuing to chip away at this time.

Now for some SDA-related news! We're currently in dire need of volunteers for "pre-release check," or PRC. PRC is a process that every run on SDA must go through before being published. It's pretty straightforward - it just involves spot checking videos of runs that are ready to publish, verifying that they have the correct aspect ratio, don't have any obvious defects, and that they actually play back properly. If you're interested in participating in this essential process, we'd love your help! Please send a PM on the SDA forums to 'Vulajin' to offer your services. Thanks a ton!

(As always, remember to submit tips for future community news updates using this form!)

Bonus: looking for some live RPG speedrun action? We've got you covered! The third edition of the SNES Final Fantasy relay race will be happening this Saturday, March 7 at 10:00 AM EST. Four teams of speedrunners will compete to complete Final Fantasy 4, 5, and 6 back-to-back-to-back, with live commentary provided by RPG community members. A bonus race of either Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, Earthbound, or Lufia 2 will take place on Sunday, with the game determined by the race winners and viewer voting. You can catch this event on the RPG Limit Break Twitch channel.

Saturday, February 28, 2015 by IsraeliRD, Vulajin & UraniumAnchor

Bias

Here at SDA, we do not give preferential treatment to any specific runs or runners, regardless of who they are. That said, today the three of us bring you a fair, neutrally-minded selection of runs.

Matan 'IsraeliRD' Weissman: My favorite game is Marble Blast Gold and I've played it for a decade now. I have enjoyed watching the community grow and even more how hardworking the speedrunners in the community are. Today I'm proud to present to you a massive 72 levels improvement over the last run from 2011 for a total time of 0:14:04.117, a 25.523 seconds improvement. There are lots of extreme path optimizations, brand new pathways, a blind edge-hit and the utilization of a new glitch that completely breaks some levels. We also have 14 runners, and they are: 'Xelna', Stewart 'StewMan46' Inglis, Ji Hoon 'iMacmatician' Chun, 'Asuul', Trevor 'm2mm4m' Davidson, Jonathan 'Sporlo' Hynes, Mason 'Nihahhat' Langenderfer, 'Kalle29', Gabriel 'Powerjohn25' Inocencio, 'Regislian', Remy 'Dushine' Dushime, 'BlastedMarble', Moshe & Henry 'Sonic Warrior1' Mullhall. As with the previous run we have two audio commentaries (only in the All Levels videos) and a new set of bloopers which you can download here. Oh, and we are already working on the next update :)

'Vulajin': I've loved Bastion ever since it came out in summer 2011, and I've been speedrunning it since August 2013. I've invested over 1000 hours in this game, and my crowning achievement thus far is a 0:12:40 (14:10 in community timing) which I'm proud to be able to show you. Like any good speedrun, I can't take sole credit for my accomplishments. Since I picked the game up, a huge number of new runners have contributed their efforts to help shave over 2 real-time minutes off an already blazingly fast speedrun. In particular, credit for this latest run must go to 'Astifwerg' for the Ura invasion skip and 'HaosEdge' for the Lunky drop strat. I can't overstate the depth this game has for speedrunning, and we continue to discover new time saves on a regular basis.

Benjamin 'UraniumAnchor' Cutler: We now have a run for Knytt Stories which got rejected multiple times including a great contender for best rejected run. Nonetheless I just got accepted for completing the tutorial run in 0:01:11. Short runs are obviously the best because they're the kind of thing you can knock out in like one day. Anything longer than that is a waste of time. No, I don't have carpal tunnel, why do you ask?

Stay tuned for our next fair, balanced update in a few days! ...why are you looking at us like that?

Thursday, February 26, 2015 by IsraeliRD

Today is Zallard1 Day

Feel free to take a few punches to celebrate.

Zack 'Zallard1' Allard LOVES Punch-Out!!, and he had sent in quite a lot of improvements:

The Doc Louis SS and both MTPO ILs also have audio commentaries.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 by Vulajin

Community news: Races, records, and glitches, oh my!

Hello again, everyone! It's been a couple weeks, and speedrunners never rest, so we have a bunch more updates to bring you from the community today.

We'll start with some race events happening on SpeedRunsLive. This Saturday, Feburary 28th, at 1 PM EST, an NES marathon race will take place, featuring 20 classics being played back-to-back by anyone who's mad enough to do it. You'll be able to watch the progress of the race on 'InfestedRiche''s Twitch channel. Meanwhile, signups are ongoing for Mystery Tournament #6, in which competitors race mystery games unknown to them prior to race time. Past Mystery Tournaments have been extremely popular, and this edition already has 132 entrants as I'm writing this. The signup period for MT#6 ends on Friday, February 27th, and the tournament begins on Friday, March 6th. (Shoutout to 'ZenicReverie' for the heads up on these events!)

It wouldn't be a normal day in the speedrunning community if some records weren't taken down. Within hours of my last post about Super Metroid, 'Behemoth' took back the any% record with a time of 0:43:12; however, just this week, Matt 'zoast' Thorne stormed back with a 0:43:04. In Secret of Mana, 'StingerPA' tipped us off to a new record in the "1-player 2-controller" category, a 1:58:22 by 'Yagamoth', improving the previous record by 19 seconds. These two are unquestionably top runners of this game, and their skill is evident in their co-op record of 1:54:36, which they completed in the practice room at AGDQ 2015. Turning to a more recent game, the popular indie action platformer Shovel Knight saw a new any% record of 0:46:07 by 'BustahWuff', eclipsing the previous mark of 0:46:41 by 'Capndrake'. With runners like '3ngag3', 'MunchaKoopas', and 'Mystakin' also working on this game, and new content coming soon from the developers, this is a game with a bright speedrunning future.

Let's talk about Final Fantasy. As we have learned from Final Fantasy 4, stairs break everything. Recently, 'welcotar' discovered that stairs in the original Famicom Final Fantasy can be used to achieve arbitrary code execution, and 'TheAxeMan', 'Inzult', and 'Gyre' have since been making it their goal to reduce this game to a smoldering wreck. Between forcing bosses to run away, glitching themselves all four orbs of light, and warping directly to the credits, they have gone through several methods to achieve this goal. The final result (for now!) is this 0:07:20 run by 'Gyre', and even though most of it is stairs, I suggest that you just go watch it and enjoy the payoff.

Before I end this post, I want to quickly plug two things here at SDA. A big part of our mission is to spread knowledge about the process of speedrunning. To that end, we have a Knowledge Base wiki which we wholeheartedly encourage everyone to use and expand upon. Recently 'Arctice' has been working hard to build a KB page for Bastion, and I think it serves as a great example for other games. On the submission end of things, we have been using a public verification process for nearly the past two years, where submitted runs are posted in the Public Verification forum and any SDA member may verify the runs for AV quality and play quality. Currently, we are having a major influx of runs in public, and we'd love your assistance participating in this process. Going forward, we only expect the number of public verifications to increase, not decrease.

We'll have more community news again in the future. I just want to remind everyone that our ability to cover news that's relevant to you is only as good as our knowledge of what you want to see. Make sure to submit tips about newsworthy events in the speedrunning community! We'll give you a shoutout in the news if we publish your tip. Thanks again!

Saturday, February 21, 2015 by IsraeliRD

Run right for justice!

Actually you can go left as well. Shit.

Wario stars in his own side-scrolling adventure in Wario Land: Shake It!. Trouble is brewing in the Shake Dimension as the Shake King is taking over, and Wario is sent to help out. Mike 'mike89' McKenzie tackles the game and completes it in 1:26:10, Single Segment. This is a 1:08 minutes improvement over the previous run, which was segmented.

Changing the W to M, and from bold and fancy graphics to the old NES days, we have Chris 'cak' Knight sending us a big improvement to Super Mario Bros. 2. The old warpless run from 2005 gets a huge update as 'cak' improves the run by 4:37 minutes, down to an incredible 0:21:59, Single Segment.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 by IsraeliRD

Sequels, Reboots and PJ.

Please take safety precautions before proceeding with this update.

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link features lots of side-scrolling action and brings in new features to the series, some which were dropped instantly. Link needs to find the Triforce of Courage in order to awaken the sleeping beauty, Zelda. Neil 'PresJPolk' Stevens doesn't want to go through all the different palaces in this game, so instead he uses Large Skips to beat the game in 0:18:57, Single Segment.

Return to Castle Wolfenstein began the reboot for the Wolfenstein series. In it you get to shoot Nazis, Undead, robots and more, which is essentially what the series was about beforehand, but just better looking. 'TheLDer' gives us some good action with plenty of shortcuts as he improves the previous run by 3:29 minutes, to a run time of 0:33:29, in 26 segments on the I Am Death Incarnate difficulty.

I remember talking to Patrick 'PJ' DiCesare about his 0:28:59 Single Segment Spider-Man and the X-Men in Arcade's Revenge and was going to use that as helpful information to encourage you to watch it, but then I realised how much of a Patrick 'PJ' DiCesare game that was: it crashes or randomly softlocks, levels cannot be beaten and bosses may be invincible assuming they spawn, enemies can regain health when you hit them, controls and hitboxes are terrible and above all else Patrick 'PJ' DiCesare managed to go to a wrong door and lose 5 minutes right at the end. No wait, that's a different game I'm thinking of on that last point.

Saturday, February 14, 2015 by IsraeliRD

You know what day it is?

Saturday. Duh.

Sam Fisher loves going in stealth, sneaking in on his targets while wearing his skintight black rubber suit, and showing them a good time... for 5 seconds while choking them to death ever so quietly. Some people like it rough. The first game in the successful Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell series sees Sam Fisher travelling around the world doing secret assassina-- missions for the NSA. Michael 'CotySA' does a superb job of finishing the game in 0:56:20, using 24 segments and playing on the Hard difficulty.

Nothing says you love somebody more than punching them in the face. In Streets of Rage 2 the mysterious Mr. X kidnaps Adam and his henchmen ruin the lovely mood for everybody. 'galedog' takes the RNG to a date with some favorable(?) results, but at the end of the day he gets 0:26:35, Single Segment while playing as Max.

Digimon has been absent from our gamelist despite the series' popularity. Giving it some love is runner 'Sparsie' by bringing us a run for Digimon World, which tells the story of a human sucked into the Digimon World and is tasked to save Digimon that have gone feral. Probably from a rabies bite. Either way that did not stop 'Sparsie' from completing the game in 1:29:47, Single Segment.

You can never be alone with Leisure Suit Larry: Love for Sail!, a game that is *only* rated Mature on the ESRB rating. Larry just got dumped (as usual) and had joined a cruise ship with the aim of getting lots of sex and winning a competition. Everyone gets a score card with a selection of various events that are being held, from bowling all the way to a machine that tests your own sexual prowess. With the winner getting to spend an extra week on the ship and in the romantic Captain's cabin, Andrew 'Bigmanjapan' Bondarenko helps Larry to mostly cheat throughout the competition in a brisk 0:31:51, Single Segment. If you hold one of the original game copies, I highly recommend you grab right now your CyberSniff 2000. I also recommend watching this run while eating 'Quiche de Larry'. Just sayin'.

On an unrelated note several people keep telling me to have Dune 2000 posted again because of my undeniable love to it. Screw you too.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 by IsraeliRD

Bomberman

We just made the NSA watch list.

Silent Bomber sounds like a clone of Bomberman. The protagonist doesn't shoot, but instead throws bombs, stacks them to create chain reactions, has limited amount of bombs he can throw, upgrade bomb limit/range/power and so on. Long story short, Jutah has to destroy the space dreadnaught Dante by bombing anything in his path before it blows up his planet. 'burningsteel' does the job in 0:34:32, using 14 segments.

Onto other Dante-s that aren't planet-destroying spaceships, we have a run for Devil May Cry, like the original DMC, we on the same page? Good. Playing as Super Dante, 'ahuynh' produced a Single Segment run clocking at 0:39:31, a 3:42 minutes improvement over the previous run.

Lastly for everyone's favorite blue bomber is Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge. Given a grayscale makeover Mega Man confronts Dr. Wily's robot masters, which he already defeated on the NES (MM 1&2), as well as a new 'Mega Man Killer' robot. Daniel 'Tremane' Schwab colorfully beats the game in 0:18:51, Single Segment, a 2:11 minutes improvement.

Saturday, February 7, 2015 by IsraeliRD

A Wildlife Adventure

I got the tranquillizer, let's go!

Rabbits make a return to the front page with BomBun, where 'The Barrel' takes control of the titular rabbit. The building he's at is about to explode and he has 10 seconds per room to escape. 'The Barrel' Whizzes throughout the 10 rooms in 0:00:23.

Wally Bear and the NO! Gang has you playing as a bear on a skateboard, but rather than stop a giant robot you avoid wildlife enemies who want to hook you on drugs. I can really sum it up with this review article title: "Video game gives kids 'Bear'-able drug lesson". Runner 'darbian' scoots to victory in 0:06:23, a 39 seconds improvement.

Actually skateboarding is becoming old around here, so let's freshen up with (Razor) Freestyle Scooter. It's almost the same as any Tony Hawk game except with scooters and a giant robot capturing your friends. Runner Dan 'DanE' Söderhäll does all the cool moves to complete the game's many objectives and save everyone in 0:11:59. The ending cutscene is so bad it's hilarious.

Little Big Adventure 2: Twinsen's Odyssey is the successful sequel to the first game, where Twinsen has to save his planet, Twinsun (totally creative) from an alien invasion (the creativity is strong here). Runner Timo 'TimTehGamer' Räisänen tackles the problem with actual creative solutions and beats the game in 0:48:22, in 42 segments. This is 33 more segments than the previous run from 2006, but cuts the time down by an impressive 33:07 minutes thanks to new glitches, routes and luck manipulation.

Thursday, February 5, 2015 by Vulajin

Recognizing the community

Here at SDA, we're aware that speedrunning is far more than just the runs that get published in our archive. It's an ongoing process of attempts, new personal bests, competition, and cooperation. It's a community that comes together to raise money for charity, or just to have fun and show off our love for our hobby. It's the sum of a huge number of contributions from a huge number of individuals. Going forward, we'd like to recognize more of that spirit by periodically recapping what's going on in the community.

We'll start with an update about an extremely popular speedrunning game, Super Metroid. Those of you who follow this game closely should be pretty familiar with Matt 'zoast' Thorne, who is generally regarded as one of the top runners of this game. Recently, he reclaimed the any% record with a time of 43:31, surpassing the previous mark of 43:46 set by 'Behemoth' in October. These runs use a risky Phantoon-first route which used to only see use in tool-assisted runs. If you have only watched our published SM run, you should definitely watch these. Don't hold your breath that this record will last, though, as both of these runners remain dedicated to this game, along with other top runners like 'Kottpower'.

Another popular SNES game to have gotten a lot of attention recently is Super Mario World. Through the combined efforts of a large number of individuals, notably 'Masterjun' and 'Nathanisbored', a method to warp into the credits by utilizing arbitrary code execution was discovered. For some time this was only thought to be possible in a TAS, until 'Jeffw356' created a real time-viable setup and performed it on emulator. 'SethBling' subsequently managed to verify it on console, and then further runners (including 'Nathanisbored', 'Dram55', Andy 'Carl Sagan' Diamos, 'Dotsarecool', and 'p4plus2') contributed more optimizations. The current record for completing the game using this warp is a shocking 1:52.5 by 'Dotsarecool'. This run has represented a significant effort by an entire community of runners - you can read more about how it evolved in this Pastebin.

If you watched Awesome Games Done Quick this past month, then you're probably hankering for more live speedrun marathon action. Don't worry, we've got you covered. Coming up next weekend (Feb 12-16), the good folks at SpeedRunsCentral will be having their second charity marathon, benefiting the Children's Miracle Network. If that's not enough for you, we also have RPG Limit Break, an RPG marathon taking place May 12-16 and benefiting the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Our friends across the pond will be holding their annual European Speedster Assembly from June 28 through July 5. And of course, Summer Games Done Quick will take place July 26 through August 1, benefitting Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders). Obviously it can be hard to keep track of these dates, and there are also a ton more small events going on all the time, so here's a handy calendar of events that you can bookmark.

Hopefully this will just be the first of many updates in this style in the future. We want to make sure to cover the news that's relevant to you, the community. As such, if you'd like to tell us about something newsworthy, just use this form! If we publish a tip you send us, we'll make sure to shout you out in the news post. Note that you'll need to be logged in on your SDA forum account to submit a tip, and we may not be able to publish every tip sent to us.

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