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News from January through March, 2008. [Newer | Older]

Saturday, March 29, 2008 by Enhasa

Treasure Box

Upon hearing that this update is themed around cult developer Treasure, you may either frown with confusion or squeal with delight. But first, an announcement.

I'm not Bill Maher, but it's time to unveil some New Rules. We have gone back and rewritten the rules, FAQ, and submission pages before we begin recruiting translators to spread the good word of SDA in other languages. If you want to discuss any of these changes or have something clarified, please use this thread. There are a decent number of changes, so it would be wise to read up.

Tyler 'MrMonkeyMan' Needham, superior shmupper and Treasure superfan, delivers an incredible 66-second improvement to his old Alien Soldier run. The new time is 0:10:31, which still gives you ample time to ponder life's mysteries, such as why Seven Force does not actually have seven forms in this game. Personally, I devised a scheme to sneak a mention of Tyler's superb Iwanaga videos into the update.

The runner formerly known as Megatherium has returned. Mandela 'spacedemonebu' Shabazz, superior smoker and Sega superfan, has a run of Guardian Heroes in 0:32:47. Mandela plays as Ginjirou and takes the Golden Silver end path. Gunstar Heroes fans will be happy to learn that Golden Silver is back, while ninja fans will be happy to learn that Ginjirou is a ninja!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008 by nate

Metroid 2002

I am pleased to announce a total of six (6) new runs on the Metroid games released in 2002.

In the Metroid Prime department, Besmir 'Zoid' Sheqi brings his distinguished speed running career to a close today with two runs on this site and three additional ones via M2K2. First, Zoid unleashes what he calls "definitely my best Speed Run of my life [...] even better than my 1:03"100% in 1:24 (torrent). In 21 segments Zoid shaves a remarkable 4 minutes off of Bartendorsparky's groundbreaking 1:28. Watch it now. (As an aside to the historically inclined, this run is in the same category as Radix's famous 1:37, which launched modern SDA way back in November of 2003.)

Zoid next brings in some love for his old PAL with single-segment 100% in 1:39 the European version, the first run in this category. It seems that few people really have a good idea of the differences between the original North American version of the game and this European ("PAL") version, so be sure to check out Zoid's comments for this run if you find yourself wondering what is going on. Most of us agree that the changes in the PAL version make the game less fun to run (and to watch), but at least with the PAL TV standard you get decent brightness, color and contrast for free!

Finally, for dedicated Metroid Prime fans, Zoid offers two so-called Natural Route runs, as well as his own (non-record-breaking) low percent effort. Read about them in the Metroid 2002 news.

The Metroid Fusion side of things has been quiet for a long time—the last run on it was done in November of 2004! Kirk 'BioSpark' LaBuda bursts onto the scene today, applying knowledge of the game he gained in the TAS world to achieve 0:48 (torrent) in a single segment, which beats the previous single-segment (0:51) as well as the segmented time (0:50). You know you're a serious contender when your run wipes out two others. Not content with today's level of carnage, BioSpark is resolved to destroy the single-segment 1% record next. He anticipates an improvement of over ten minutes. I'll see you there.

Saturday, March 22, 2008 by Enhasa

Something New

And now we have three runs on games that are new to SDA. These games were all released in consecutive Novembers from 2003-2005, a useless fact which I am sure nobody has ever pointed out or will ever point out again.

The first game, released in November 2003, is Mario Kart: Double Dash!!!!!! (The first two are part of the game's title, the extra ones are for enthusiasm!) Benoit 'TJazZ' Boudreau snakes his way to a blistering 0:29:07. Those of you who are afraid of snakes are advised to wait until the release of Mario Kart Wii. By the way, I would like to add that TJazZ drives at speeds no man can know.

It seems rare nowadays that a PC RPG can be less popular than its pen and paper or tabletop counterpart, but such is the case with 2004's Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines. (You may notice that our blurb for this game has probably set some sort of SDA record for length.) Bryan 'kn1ves' McKiernan has a 15-segment run as a Tremere in 0:56:33. This is actually Bryan's second attempt, as a huge sequence break was found by TheVoid after the first submission.

The wild and mostly inexplicable success of Neopets apparently gave birth to some video games that had, by contrast, a very tame and explicable lack of success. One of these games is 2005's Neopets: The Darkest Faerie. Alex 'AquaTiger' Nichols is the runner and 4:25 is the time, done in one glorious segment. Alex's run spent quite some time in verification purgatory, but as you can see, now it has ascended to a better place.

Thursday, March 20, 2008 by Enhasa

Something Old

First in today's set of three improvements to old single-segment runs is Ian 'B'man' Bennett's run of the Tanker episode of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty with 100% dog tags on Extreme difficulty in 0:18:15. Did you catch all of that? Good. Adnan Kauser once held this record with a time of 0:23:06, but as you can see, Mr. Bennett shows mercy to no man. Snaaaaaaake!!!

The next improvement on our docket is Kristian Emanuelsen's self-betterment of Shadow Warriors. I know just what you're thinking: "Cool! Yet another game with ninjas!!" I'm very sorry to disappoint you, sir, but this is simply the European name for Ninja Gaiden on the NES. "Well, that's super, Ninja Gaiden is always awesome!!!" Yes. At any rate, Kristian's 0:13:32 represents an improvement of 16 seconds.

Every word I write is but a moment longer before you watch Freddy 'Frezy_man' Andersson's Contra in 0:10:24.

Sunday, March 16, 2008 by Enhasa

We missed you too

Today's update features runs of two relatively obscure NES platformers that I only recently discovered but deeply love just the same.

Josh 'LigerOfFortune' Styger is back with a vengeance. He has a run of Taito's brilliant Kick Master in a terrifyingly appropriate 0:13:37. Josh utilizes a wide variety of kicks since this game is too awesome for lame old punches. There are some RPG-like features such as experience, magic, skills, and branching paths, which afford Josh the opportunity to make minor mistakes such as healing unnecessarily before the final boss. PLANNING? LIGER NO LIKE PLANNING. LIGER SMASH PLANNING!

Speaking of planning, the other game today also features a surprising amount of planning for a stage-based NES speedrun. Let's give a warm welcome to SDA rookie Chris DeRosa. His weapon of choice is Sammy's Ninja Crusaders and his mission time is a ninja-quick 0:05:51. Ninja Crusaders is a game about ninjas who can turn into animal forms. (But please do not worry, they can also turn back into ninjas.) They can also work together in co-op mode, and two daring players can even have a ninja riding a tiger. I know, it sounds just too good to be true.

Thursday, March 6, 2008 by Enhasa

It's not easy being greasy

This will be an unusual update in that all of the runs involved are segmented and on the Easy difficulty setting. Wimps? Maybe, but even if so, fast wimps.

Aleš 'Ewil' Horák has completed a new run of the brilliantly named (excluding the subtitle) Driver: You are the Wheelman. He has a run on the PC version on Easy in 1:04:16 to go along with Sean 'ZhouTai' MacDonald's run in 1:48:22 on the PS1 version. The two runs cannot be readily compared, since the PC and PS1 versions have inexplicable timing differences, but Ewil assures us that his run is indeed superior. Ewil also appended the 13 segments of his run into one file for each of the five chapters, because he is a nice guy and has you, kind viewer, in mind.

The other run in this update adds yet another game to our ever-growing list, Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, for the popular triple threat combo of GameCube, PS2, and Xbox. This speedrun was produced by Patrik 'Cremator' Salonen on Easy in 0:59:04, and no, Mega Man is not in this game. If perhaps you like the Baldur's Gate world but don't enjoy brutal abuse of the helpless Infinity Engine, perhaps this action RPG run would be for you. Patrik's run is in 21 segments as the Archer, but if you watch this run, you would swear there was a hidden Jumper class.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008 by Enhasa

Square: Past and Present

It's a battle between old school and new school Square games, and the winner is you.

First, we have a single-segment run of 2006's Kingdom Hearts II. Daniel 'Axel_Ryman' Fitzgerald adds his 4:52 (torrent) on Beginner mode to Asa 'spikevegeta' Tims's existing 4:39 in 16 segments, also on Beginner mode. This is a pretty favorable comparison for Daniel, whose run is now the longest single-segment any% speedrun on all of SDA. In the future, he would like to bring his time closer to the rest of the pack... or possibly even lose this distinction altogether, if you know what I mean.

Before I drop this next bombshell, refer back to Mike's news post on January 17 and you can probably guess what is coming. In my defense, I had no idea that the timer runs while idling over your save slot in the loading screen (!), which cost me a great deal of time. But I think Mike's comments are probably more accurate: "Enhasa: You suck. Period."

There is a time when the run that made you famous gets destroyed, and all I can say is, "At least he did a good job of it." Robin 'Deign' Reigstad, SDA newcomer but TAS superstar, has annihilated my old run of 1991's Final Fantasy IV by an unbelievable 51 minutes for a time of 3:05 (normal and high quality torrents). I think that, objectively, this accomplishment is likely the best console RPG speedrun on the entire site, so I will stop blabbering and you can judge for yourself.

Friday, February 29, 2008 by Enhasa

So soon?

Today's update is naturally exciting so let's get right to it!

Cody Miller's run of The Adventures of Batman & Robin was originally supposed to be included in the previous update of 2D sidescrolling goodness, but Cody decided to re-encode this run as well as his Portal run. In the end, he obsoletes Steven 'Bartz' Brooks's prior run by a substantial 4 minutes and 54 seconds. Yes, there is death abuse in this 0:51:29, but it still would have beaten the old run by over 4 minutes without death abuse.

Bart 'TheVoid' de Waal has an even bigger improvement for us today with his 13-segment run of Enclave on the Dark side in 0:20:22. Bart plays on Hard instead of Easy, and still manages to demolish Nicolas 'Kahless_GOA' Deußer's run by 10 minutes and 25 seconds. Most of the improvement comes from some new shortcuts and not bothering much with collecting Gold. Bart truly encapsulates the poor gamer ethos many of us are sadly familiar with.

This update just keeps on building steam with the triumphant return of Freddy 'Frezy_man' Andersson. After an extended hiatus, Mr. Andersson proves that he is still on top on his game with his new run of Contra in 0:10:33, an improvement of seven seconds over his old run. This marks the fifth iteration of this highly competitive record, which started two years ago with Tommy 'tmont' Montgomery's run in 0:11:25. We have come a long way in that time, so download this run and see the fruits of this labor for yourself.

Frezy_man gets yet another mention in this update since some of his money will soon be flowing directly to Jim 'vgmrsepitome' Hanson's bank account. Jim has conquered the bounty of Mega Man 6 with his run in 0:38:23. The natural order of the world has been restored, as now all six Mega Man games on the NES have speedruns to their names. As you watch this run, you must understand that Jim's NES simply could not handle the pure awesome involved, a phenomenon that also occurs to many humans who come into contact with him.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008 by Enhasa

2D Sidescrollers

I have always enjoyed the 2D sidescrolling genre, but my appreciation has only doubled since joining SDA staff. Such speedruns are usually single-segment, relatively short, and don't require torrents, all of which make my life just that much easier.

We've tracked some strange records in the news posts before, but browse our full game list and see which game sticks out — literally. The appropriately-named Rob 'Mickey_Mage' Whitener has contributed the longest line in our game list with his run of Mickey Mania: The Timeless Adventures of Mickey Mouse in 0:21:54. This was the first game that David Jaffe helped design, and incidentally it features 100% less naked women yet 100% more Steamboat Willie than in God of War.

Unable to compete with such a tremendous feat in running games with long subtitles, Blake 'Evil_Guru' Adams will simply have to settle for being the one responsible for obsoleting Dominic 'DAMURDOC' Legault's Battletoads & Double Dragon run. This 78-second improvement clocks in at 0:22:05, and once again we ignore the timer in this game because it is inaccurate. I assure you, Blake gives the most stirring praise possible when he says "you guys don't suck."

The last run in today's update is from my good friend and SDA compatriot, Mike Uyama. Mike has gone back to his speedrunning roots and has improved his very first run, a 100% run as X in Mega Man X4. His new time is 0:49:13, which is now within two minutes of his Zero time. Those of you who read his comments for the infrequently asked questions, stage-by-stage breakdowns, and future runs discussion will be terribly disappointed this time, I might add.

Sunday, February 24, 2008 by Enhasa

100% Cotton

It seems these days that no news post would be complete without a run from Josh 'LigerOfFortune' Styger, who insisted that his run be at the top of this update. Today he has a run on the original SotN, Natsume's Shadow of the Ninja, in 0:12:37. You might think that this is just another ninja game but silly rabbit! There can never be enough games with ninjas.

Next we have an improvement of 22 minutes to the previous Lunar: The Silver Star record, for a new time of 3:13. Elijah 'scaryice' Miller takes down his old run in a single segment compared to the 10 segments from before! He does this mostly with the introduction of a glitch that allows characters to cast a spell and still use the remaining attacks in the same turn, which is quite handy as you could imagine.

Finally we have a behemoth of a run: 100% Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Daniel 'CannibalK9' Burns has a 100% run on the PC version, utilizing 23 segments, in a flat 9:00. Personally, I think someone has to be mentally disturbed to produce or watch such a run, but here at SDA we know our viewership well. So here are normal quality H.264 and normal quality DivX torrents just for you.

Thursday, February 21, 2008 by Enhasa

The run is a lie

Not content with bringing you merely one Portal run, instead we present two runs of last year's critically acclaimed puzzle FPS hybrid. Whether you prefer PC or console, segmented or single-segment, scripts or no scripts, we have just the run for you.

First up is SDA rookie Robin 'Ekelbatzen' Schoenborn with a beautiful run on the PC version. Robin's run is in 19 segments and uses scripts for such maneuvers as bunnyhopping and wallclimbing. This level of optimization and precision allows for a final time of 0:15:38.

Then there is also an Xbox 360 run by Cody Miller of Halo 2 fame. Cody's run is single-segment and obviously doesn't use scripts, because it can't. Those of you who prefer your runs au natural might want to take a look at this version in 0:24:37.

We also provide choice in A/V quality and distribution method. In addition to the usual direct download links, we also have insane quality H.264, high quality H.264, normal quality H.264, and normal quality DivX torrents for the PC run and high quality H.264, normal quality H.264, and normal quality DivX torrents for the 360 run. And once again, thanks for choosing SDA.

Monday, February 18, 2008 by Enhasa

Bounty Hunter

No, not Samus, our very own Sattik 'Tiki' Ghosh! Freddy 'Frezy_man' Andersson, everyone's favorite Swedish speedrunner, has placed hundreds and hundreds of $US on the line for runs of several NES games. Check those out, and also check out our full list of bounties if you feel like turning your hard speedrunning work into a little cash!

Tiki's time on Mega Man 3 is 0:37:41 and joins Frezy_man's time of 0:45:08 on the PAL version. Be sure to check out Tiki's comments (ghostwritten by yours truly), deemed the greatest comments of all time by popular consensus.

The other run we have for you today is yet another Josh 'LigerOfFortune' Styger special. This time he has a run of the other NES G.I. Joe game, G.I. Joe: The Atlantis Factor, in a speedy 0:09:50. Josh ignores everyone except for General Hawk because, like Josh himself, he is a Real American Hero. (Josh has just informed me that he is actually Canadian.)

Thursday, February 14, 2008 by Enhasa

Serious Combat

First on our slate, we have some individual-levels improvements to a truly manic shooter, Serious Sam: The First Encounter. Playing on Serious difficulty, Bart 'TheVoid' de Waal has improved Hatshepsut, Suburbs, and Sacred Yards by a combined 55 seconds. He joins legendary awesome guy Drew 'stx-Vile' DeVore on the table and brings the total time down to 0:52:55. Because these are individual-levels runs, TheVoid wasn't obligated to include comments, but I'm sure you can figure out what he does on your own.

If you live outside of Japan, you may have never heard of our next game. But trust me, Namco's Ace Combat is a wildly popular series of flight/combat sims in its native Japan. Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe has completed a run of Ace Combat 04 on Very Easy difficulty in 2:29:30. His next goal is to run Ace Combat Zero, so be sure to watch out for that if you are a longtime fan or a new convert.

Finally, some administrative business. I went back and updated the game list to include all the different platform releases for each game. If you have ever wondered why Final Fantasy 7 wasn't listed under PS1, Prince of Persia wasn't listed under PC, or Knights of the Old Republic wasn't listed under Xbox, you can now once again sleep easy at night.

Monday, February 11, 2008 by nate

the beginning of the end

If you asked the tireless Besmir 'Zoid' Sheqi, he would tell you that his new single-segment 1:06 (torrent) in Metroid Prime is "beautiful," and I am inclined to agree with that assessment. You may recall that Zoid also holds the segmented any percent record, 1:03 — a mere three minutes or 4.55% faster than the single-segment run he has lovingly prepared for us today. In a game like Metroid Prime, three minutes can be—and very often is—lost on only one trick. This run is the final product of countless hours of dedication to Metroid Prime: when everyone else left for greener pastures, Zoid remained dedicated out of his love for the game.

Joining the 1:06 today in the category I named is Zoid (who else?)'s single-segment 100% in 1:29 (torrent). Please read his commentary for the full details, but I will give you advance warning that you will feel Zoid's frustration with the ... difficult nature of this game more than once during this run. What Zoid knows well is something I learned only after joining SDA: when things backfire miserably, the proper response is to try again immediately with renewed insight and vigor and not to stop until the job is done. As Voltaire said, le mieux est l'ennemi du bien, and this run is as good as it gets. But how many better runs were lost only a few minutes before the end at the trick we darkly call Early Newborn? Out of such nightmares was wrenched this snapshot of tenacity.

Zoid has already completed five other new runs of Metroid Prime, three of which aren't even meant for SDA (watch the M2K2 News for info on those). Unfortunately, he has decided (probably for the last time, given his life goals) that he can no longer give up the time Metroid Prime speed running requires, and so these seven runs will close a long and dignified chapter in the history of our beloved game. The irony here is, of course, that Zoid has simply innovated himself out of a job: he found our Metroid Prime ripe for the picking and made an exquisite meal of it—one in which we can all share. He has not, however, ruled out moving on to other, less demanding games.

Since I captured Trebor Selbon's 23% in 1:38 way back in December of 2003, I have striven to achieve the highest quality picture and sound when freeing speed runs from their primitive VHS prisons, and I believe today's digital releases punctuate my progress.


Friday, February 8, 2008 by Enhasa


Why watch last year's Hitman movie or the upcoming Max Payne movie when you can watch far more interesting speedruns instead?

Daniel 'Shido' Lee and Max Payne both appear in this update, but the seemingly obvious linking of the two would be incorrect. Instead, Shido has laid waste to Tim 'Exinex' Juliar's individual-levels run of Hitman: Contracts. An incredible 15 minutes has been sliced off the old time, resulting in a total time of 0:23:28. Shido uses a variety of tricks to achieve this time, so be sure to read his commentary for your edification.

Two acclaimed runners team up to improve the individual-levels run of Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne. Tomi 'sarou' Salo and Karol 'dex' Urbanski have obsoleted a combined ten levels by a total of 70 seconds, with more surely on the way. The individual-levels time now stands at 0:21:07. dex and crew have made it a goal to achieve sub 20 minutes, so let's wish them luck!

Here at SDA, we are all about speed. In addition to these gaming speed improvements, Nate has also improved the download speed from our server because he's cool like that. Happy downloading!

Monday, February 4, 2008 by Enhasa

Single Segment Speedruns

Today we have three new runs for those of you who believe that real men (and women) do it with stamina!

Stephen 'yoshifan' Chan has seen fit to provide SDA with a Hero side run of Sonic Adventure 2 in 0:32:05 to complement Peter 'petrie911' Montag's run of the Dark side in 0:33:42. Perhaps one day, yoshifan and petrie911 will duel it out to determine who shall prevail in the ultimate battle between good and evil. (Currently, good has the lead by about one and a half minutes.)

Josh Styger has pitched his tent on the news page and simply will not leave. His latest run is the NES G.I. Joe in 0:21:29. As you watch this run, you may be reminded of a certain other run 'n gun series featuring a brokesauce spread weapon. You would also be correct in assuming that Mr. Styger has had previous experience in this regard.

Finally, we have what is sure to be a popular improvement to a run of a popular game, complete with normal quality DivX and H.264 torrents. Chris 'Satoryu' Kirk has improved Adam 'Lucid Faia' Sweeney's run of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night by six minutes to reach a time of 0:37:50. This massive improvement comes primarily from a new "shielddashing" movement technique and a glitch to skip the Richter fight.

Satoryu also bends over backwards to get the Crissaegrim, a decision that others have vehemently challenged. However, Satoryu currently has the best time, and the way we handle talk on this site is to back it up. If you think you have the skills to beat his run, we would love for you to try! Fostering debate and competition is just one of the benefits we enjoy here at SDA due to our policy of serving videos.

Thursday, January 31, 2008 by Enhasa


Hello, I'm new to this. Please be gentle! As DJ Grenola's successor, my goal here is to try to do a fraction of the good work that he did. But this update is not about me. This is about a milestone in this site's history.

First we have the continued dominance of all things SDA by Josh Styger. His single-segment run on the NTSC version of Mega Man 5 in 0:44:12 joins Freddy 'Frezy_man' Andersson's PAL version run. Josh came through in the clutch by finally writing comments, which, as the legends say, take as much time and effort for him to create as the runs themselves. The sheer number of runs that Mr. Styger has been producing might remind us of someone else...

Those of you who are relatively new to this site might not know the name of Damien 'Dragondarch' Moody, one of the most prolific runners in SDA history. Yet, his most recent run dates back all the way back to August of 2006. What happened? Well, almost two years ago, Dragondarch started plans for his biggest project yet, a run of a certain classic RPG. But the going was tough. Had the master met his match? Irresistable force met immovable object, and after immeasurable toil and trouble, the results speak for themselves in this 3:24 (3:11 until loss of input) run of Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals.

I don't know if I will ever be able to say this again in however long I work here, so... this is my favorite run on all of SDA. Seriously. (What a day to join, huh?) In addition, Lufia II has the honor of being the 400th game with a run at SDA. In commemoration of this event, we have created normal quality DivX and H.264 torrents for Dragondarch's triumph. Enjoy.

Monday, January 28, 2008 by nate

three hundred ninety-nine down, one to go

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank DJGrenola one last time for all his work on M2K2SDA. I have to date met far too few people like him: ridiculously dedicated, unbelievably polite, infinitely forgiving, and most of all willing to talk with me about anything I had on my mind. Yes, others can do the work he did here at SDA, but they will not do it as well as he did it, and they can never replace the friend I found in him.

Drawing ever closer to the decimal deity of "400 games with runs", I have for you today two runs on two games new to SDA: S.T.A.L.K.E.R. in 0:17:18 by Mirko Brown and Rune in 1:36:09 by Bart 'TheVoid' de Waal. Both games find themselves at home on your PC (or Mac).

Mirko notes in the comments for his S.T.A.L.K.E.R. run that the "developers promised a huge game but you can still finish it in less than 20min". Indeed, game developers should tremble before the might of SDA (and then hire us for enormous wages).

Mike Uyama commented that the Rune run's comments seem excessively long, but that he didn't mind this time, as Bart handled the HTMLization of them himself, freeing Mike to continue in his quest for a new run of Mega Man X4 (and to work on bringing you more runs!). Bart also cares about you, the viewer: he has appended the run's 49 segments to one file for your downloading convenience.

Thirdly and lastly today is a new run on the 16-bit classic Zombies Ate My Neighbors, this time on its SNES incarnation: Giancarlo André 'gia' Rivas De Amat contends with the unforgiving SNES D-pad for 0:35:38, beating the game almost four times more quickly than Tom 'rdrunner' Votava did after saving all victims. Sorry, cheerleaders, but speed is king!

Saturday, January 26, 2008 by DJGrenola

See You Next Mission

It was Radix's famous Metroid Prime 100% 1:37 that piqued my interest in completing games quickly, which in turn led to my involvement with this site. It is fitting, then, that my own improvement to the any% segmented category on its sequel — Metroid Prime 2: Echoes — will probably mark my departure from front-line service.

This is not my first attempt at this game. My previous speed efforts have both been low% runs not valid for publication here owing to their use of out-of-bounds glitches (although, of these, I believe my 17% from Summer 2006 is probably the best run ever produced for this game). However, the practice I received and skills I acquired in working on these made this attempt possible.

Those hoping for the trademark audio commentary I produced last time are going to be disappointed — I simply don't care enough any more to waste time on frivolous embellishments — but I have written down most of what I know about this game in 20,000 words' worth of text comments. Hopefully they will give someone the ammunition they need to beat the time I achieved here; vanquishing me by one minute would be easy, and by two should still be possible with current tricks.

The new record is 1:38 in 22 segments (both normal quality DivX and H.264 torrents are available), five minutes faster than the previous run.

I won't clutter the news with information about the video, but one important idiosyncrasy bears explanation: This time I've split the videos at the Emperor Ing / Dark Samus checkpoint. Previously, runners have used this checkpoint to achieve fast final boss fights without time penalty, and then edited the videos together afterwards. This seems somewhat deceptive, so I've made it explicit this time by leaving these two boss fights as separate videos, as they were played.

My involvement here has spanned an eventful 16 months. There have been some fun moments, like being interviewed for Edge magazine; getting our product shown at PAX 2007; and spending six months raytracing a music video. Unfortunately, it has mostly been stressful, never-ending toil that has left me angry and upset, and adversely affected my relationships with people. I think I've been selfless for long enough, and I'd like to thank those who finally managed to convince me that this was the right decision. I wouldn't rule out my continuing involvement with peripheral site projects, or helping out again at some point in the future, but for the time being I think I've done more than enough.

I'll leave you with this thought: You can always go faster.

Thursday, January 24, 2008 by nate

this is not about me

Yes, this news post will be considerably easier for many of you to read than my previous ones were.

But even inside of M2K2SDA I'm no stranger to capital letters, especially when I'm writing a formal announcement, e.g. the 2004 ban on unlicensed emulation—or this news post.

I feel that using capital letters makes me seem condescending to the people of this community, but because my job on this page is simply to introduce new runs and then send you on your merry downloading way, it doesn't seem like there's much room here for me personally. Penny Arcade notwithstanding, I should stop treating the SDA news like my blog—or so they tell me.

At any rate, if I am going to write the majority of the news updates from now on, then I figure that I (most of all I!) shouldn't sacrifice SDA's mass appeal for my own personal idiosyncrasy.

But enough about me. :)

Heading up today's new releases is Charles Griffin's complete set of Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz individual-level runs (h.264 torrent). For those of you who don't know, this is the Wii version of Monkey Ball, and, as such, it utilizes the motion-sensitive Wii controller to literally control the stage on which your monkey rolls. This makes Charles' runs, which verifiers approved with extreme vigor, all the more amazing, and (if your computer is fast enough, anyway) I hope that you will check out at least one of the High or Insane Quality videos, as I bought the game specifically for capturing Charles' records (transmitted to me as save game data) at full resolution and full framerate (60 FPS!). Now I transmit to you pure badassery in an elegant package, and you say "Thank you, SDA!"

In other individual-level news, Sam 'TeNFoLD' Blair has improved four of his/the five Ratchet and Clank 3 Qwark Vidcomics runs, chopping off a total of 42 seconds. Sam punchjumps his way to 0:01:38 in Pirate Booty!, 0:01:49 in Arriba Amoeba, 0:01:31 in Shadow of the Robot and 0:02:42 in Deja Q All Over Again.

The last run I have for you today is not individual-level in nature, but when you find out what it is, I am sure you'll forgive me: God of War 2 on Titan in 3:07:25 (divx avi torrent / high quality h.264 torrent). Li 'shenminiu' Lihong brings us the first run on one of the most hyped games in recent memory. I hope that everyone will seed their chosen torrent as much as they can so as to decrease the inevitable strain on our download server during the first few days of this highly anticipated run's release.

wednesday, january 23, 2008 by nate

stronger and stronger

grenola's quite understandably getting a bit jaded with this whole ~45 step "updating sda" thing, so i thought i'd help out a bit today by posting some stuff. you'll note that there are no internet archive download links for the runs i'm presenting to you today; this is because i really can't stand the horrid complexity archive adds to every update, and so i have spent the last few days building up our download server to handle more concurrent downloads. of course, if that server goes out, then so does the content, but i've got my fingers crossed, and i'm not suggesting i will never upload these runs to archive (sooner or later i'll get on that). it's just that when it comes down to it, i'd rather update the site with one mirror than not update it at all, and i'm sure most of you would agree with me on that.

first up today is dominic 'damurdoc' legault's massive improvement on baldur's gate 2: shadows of amn. dominic was able to power through the game in 0:47:49 (h.264 torrent) this time thanks to, among other glitches, a good old-fashioned integer overflow bug, resulting in the replication of thousands of gems for dominic to sell. at sda, we make programmers look like morons so their testers don't have to!

oh wait, that's supposed to be the other way around.

next up is a 38-second improvement (0:25:15) to level 1 of the original star fox without using warps. this is the same runner's effort, a nicholas 'sir vg' hoppe production. check nicholas's comments for the full details, but among the sources of improvement we find some clever controller trickery resulting in every metroid fusion player's dream: the ability to skip through briefings more quickly. if only this same trick worked in every game with unskippable text!

last up is a 0:05:43 run as aliens versus predator 2: primal hunt's predalien. this single-segment run by tomi 'sarou' salo beats the segmented one by peter 'kibumbi' knutsson by 42 seconds — no small sum for a run this short! yes, we missed the chance to release this run at the same time as avp2 came out in theaters, but the run is much better than the film, so you'll forgive us.

Thursday, January 17, 2008 by mikwuyma and DJGrenola

Back In Time

mikwuyma writes:

There is a time when the run that made you famous gets destroyed, and all I can say is, "At least he did a good job of it." No, it's not a Mega Man game, or my babies, but Contra III: The Alien Wars had 53 seconds destroyed by one Josh Styger. Marvel at Styger's 0:16:07 as I am forgotten by the wayside, that is, until you have a run to submit.

Now the next game makes me wonder what is wrong with Mr. Styger. He decided to run a game called Low G Man: The Low Gravity Man, a game with a title so bad, you don't even need to make a joke about the title and it's still funny. You might think good gameplay saves the game from such a parodic title, but you would be wrong. Anyways, Josh Styger jumps, shuffles from side to side, and thrusts his way to a low time of 0:15:32.

DJGrenola writes:

A little while ago we finally worked out how to time Super Mario World runs consistently. Adam 'Lucid Faia' Sweeney waited for us to finish our bungling and then immediately pounced by submitting a two second improvement over the video by Andrew Gardikis I posted back in November. Below 11 minutes we go; Lucid heads up the Star Road in 0:10:59. If you're familiar with Lucid's prior work, you shouldn't need telling that this was performed without saving.

Some time ago, Radix instigated the policy of refusing to allow submissions until sufficient verifiers were found to validate a run. At over two years old, though, this 10-segment relic predates that rule, so it's been stuck in the queue waiting to be verified ever since. Somehow, Mike eventually found the right combination of willing and able, so I'm proud to brush the cobwebs off Ben 'Mkt2015' Fichter's 1:09:54 attempt at the PC version of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets — although we did have to borrow Hermione's Time-Turner to actually locate the video files.

The posting of this video represents something of a watershed for me personally; when I started helping out here, my aim was to try to get the queue cleared. I didn't envisage spending more than a few months, but it has taken over a year and the posting of videos on more than one hundred new games to achieve it. Finally, though, the last of the old submissions has gone up — I can see myself retiring pretty soon.

Normal quality torrents follow.

tuesday, january 15, 2008 by nate

i love the smell of speed runs in the morning

first off today ian 'b'man' bennett brings us a run on a twist on the old text-based adventure genre: uplink. b'man brings down the internet in 0:20:12 (hq h.264 torrent), which nets him the bad ending. (it then took him several hours to get the internet back up so grenola could post this update.)

next is a very glitchy run of pokemon blue by thomas wennink. thomas blazes through a game many of us have spent far too many hours playing in only 1:26 (divx torrent / h.264 torrent). this unbelievable time is accomplished only with the help of many insane glitches, which places the run firmly in a different category. however, it's still great fun to watch, as ash suddenly develops a godlike control over his environment and spontaneously generates a mew, whose level he then changes to 100. on top of that, passing through random walls is shown to be almost as easy as it was in the old school 2d sonic games. don't forget to check out thomas's comments for explanations of all the glitches he used. sometimes glitches are explained (or even discovered) on the sda forum, as well, so you might want to browse around there if you haven't already.

now, before you ask "who farted?", let me give you the answer: not me. and normally you wouldn't believe me, but this time i have an alibi: i'm posting our first run on abe's exoddus, the second game in the oddworld series. michael 'poesta' hannema blows through the game in 1:52:25 (divx torrent / h.264 torrent), like b'man, getting the bad ending.

... maybe i should ask b'man to bring down the internet again to let it air out in here.

before we asphyxiate, i have one more run for all you faithful: metal gear solid 3 in 1:28:07 (divx torrent / h.264 torrent) by merlin 'take-chan' medau. this segmented effort joins take-chan's earlier single-segment run (both eu extreme, fox hound rank), resulting in a mgs3 totally dominated by the german master (the new run beats the previous one by adnan kauser by 1 minute and 39 seconds). not yet satisfied, though, he promises to take down his own single-segment time next—argh, where are our gas masks!?

sunday, january 13, 2008 by nate

akemashite omedetou

there have never been more runs in the queue than there are right now. i blame at&t for changing my home ip address so i couldn't get in to my machine to work on sda stuff while i was visiting my family for a very long xmas break.

well ... playing fire emblem 10 all day long might have had something to do with it, too. but it's pretty hard for grenola to post stuff if i don't encode or upload anything.

so let's get to it.

speaking of working at a distance, our last update originally included a botched encode of jim hanson's latest ninja gaiden run. actually, the encode was fine, but the a/v sync was wrong, so if you were fast enough to download the run in the few minutes it was available, then you saw a "badly dubbed hong kong martial arts film" effect with enemies screaming in 8-bit agony quite far from their actual times of death. i have corrected the issue, and, as a liberal arts major through and through, i promise never again to rely on my math "skills" to resync audio — especially if i can't easily check my work. grenola's original update text for this run follows in its entirety:

Next up is a twenty-five second revision to NES Ninja Gaiden, played by the inimitable Jim Hanson — regular readers will realise that Jim is no newcomer where the Ninja Gaiden games are concerned. Jim sinks Josh Styger's record from July, achieving 0:13:08 (divx torrent / h.264 torrent).

new today is harvey 'drkhades' nguyen's 4d run of star ocean 3. drkhades synthesizes enough orichalcums to plow through the game in 3:50 (divx torrent / h.264 torrent). verifiers had nice things to say about this run, placing it above the pre-existing one. i haven't played the game myself, but from what i can gather, pulling off such a good time at this higher difficulty was quite harrowing.

and last in today's opening salvo is james 'luigikart64' bertolli's 2:19:43 100% (really 120%) single-segment run of spyro the dragon (divx torrent / h.264 torrent). lk64 engages in a bit of speculation near the end of his comments, inviting some intrepid soul to best him by over 20 minutes, yielding a sub-2 hour segmented run. though he admits such a run "might just be fantasy", we all know that m2k2sda converts fantasy into reality on a daily basis. now do it again!