Friday, December 25, 2009 by dex
Three Wise Men
Let's start off with Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne - because nothing capitalizes on the Christmas spirit better than murder and violence (exhibit number 1: Die Hard). Johannes 'KroKus' Lindell improved 4 times from the individual level table. My old p2c3 was beaten by 2 seconds, so it's 0:00:16 now (and good riddance, my run was actually pretty weak). Johannes also knocked off 4 and 3 seconds from p2c4 (0:00:22) and pro3 (0:00:53), respectively. However, the greatest time gain is without doubt the p3c4 run (Vinnie's Used Car Lot), where sarou's old 4:18 was obliterated by exactly a minute (0:03:18). All those combined are in fact enough to drive the total time under 20 minutes, specifically down to 0:19:52! Good show, good show.
Another game equally famous for its cheery atmosphere perfectly fitting the holidays is Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. Thanks to the numerous differences between the PC and PlayStation versions of the game, Luciano 'LucianoRX' Matyak's single-segment of the PC version is significantly shorter than Carcinogen's run, clocking in at 0:49:35. Reasons for the time gain range from mundane - the PC run is on a lower difficulty and not an A-rank run - to more sophisticated, like the ability to skip some animations that are unskippable in the PS version. Those differences of course mean the old run is not obsoleted.
Finally, we have the epic ending to the epic story (and the not so epic update) - Legacy of Kain: Defiance. Defiance does well at wrapping the story up (and at using the characteristic, faux-Shakespearean dialogue), however does so at the grave cost of sacrificing gameplay. It also has what might be one of the worst camera systems ever designed - so bad, you're likely to consider it the real villain after just a few levels. That did not scare away Paweł "carosh" Małczyński, who took it upon himself to prove that you can get through the game with speed and style, and generally succeeded, as shown in this segmented 3:09.
So, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and good Life Day *hurgh* to you all.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009 by mikwuyma
Similar to last year, we'll be doing a video panel, and you can see the list of clips here.
Don't worry, you won't be left out if you can't come to MAGFest, because we will be hosting our charity marathon, Classic Games Done Quick, a 2-day marathon with 72 games mostly on NES, SNES, and Genesis that will be streamed right here on our main page. Like any good marathon, we will be raising money for charity. The charity we're raising money for is CARE, a humanitarian organization dedicated to fighting global poverty.
If you want to help us out at SDA, you can get the word out. Go to this topic for more information on how to help us.
Thanks go to Lindsey Layne King, The Speed Gamers' official artist, for creating the great (or as Earthworm Jim would say, "GROOVY!") banners on our marathon page. You can find her work on The Speed Gamers' website and her Youtube channel.
Thursday, December 17, 2009 by Enhasa
As a tennis enthusiast and a sucker for goofy games and ideas, I admittedly might be more interested in Wesley 'SD2' Bester's Mario Tennis: Power Tour speedrun than most viewers. But hopefully you'll dig it too. Although they do like sports, I don't know if the Takahashi brothers (founders of Camelot) ever envisioned that they would one day best be known for Mario sports instead of Shining games or even Golden Sun. Maybe that's why this particular installment is actually a tennis RPG, feeling like an odd combination of Mario Tennis, Golden Sun, and yes, Pokémon. Our latest in SDA's proud tradition of runners named Wesley chooses Clay (the character, not the surface) and aces his way to a single-segment Singles 1:14:55 on Easy. He even provides a handy box score at the end of his comments.
Sunday, December 13, 2009 by Enhasa
Once upon a time, there was a speedrunner named Andrew Gardikis who was downright ecstatic. He had just finished beating Jim 'vgmrsepitome' Hanson's Rush 'n Attack run in 0:09:53! Or so he thought. After careful timing, it turned out he had only tied Mr. Hanson's time. If you think you know where I'm going with this, I probably just crossed you up; Jim Hanson himself is the one featured in this update, returning to the scene of his first speedrun. The grenades he got in stage five account for five of the twelve seconds saved in this 0:09:41. The other seven come from minor optimizations, which is especially impressive given that Jim nailed his run in only ninety minutes of attempts. Jim is a shrewd man, having set a very manageable personal goal of one run on SDA per year, meaning this one was gravy.
Thursday, December 10, 2009 by Enhasa
The Legendary Adventure
Before diving into today's games, I would like to inform you of the next masterpiece from SDA's One Tenor. Mike Uyama had business in the great state of Pennsylvania, so he stopped by to visit Chip 'Breakdown' Vogel. The ensuing Ristar audio commentary was practically inevitable. It's one of my favorite yet, and not all of that is due to the game in question.
My apologies if you were tricked by the title and expected the PS2 game, but today's Rygar speedrun is on the European version of the original NES release. Most runners choose either NTSC or PAL versions of games to run — physical location usually has quite a lot of say in that — but Kristian 'Arctic_Eagle' Emanuelsen blazes his own trail and tries his hand at both. Spurred by both a bounty and an old rejection, Kristian battles through the game in 0:28:38, over a minute faster than previously done. This joins his 0:24:59 NTSC run, but there are too many minor version differences to fairly compare the two. Don't worry, you still get to use your shield as a weapon in both!
You don't get to use your shield as a weapon in Sonic Adventure, but you do get to use yourself as a weapon, which I guess counts for something. While I'm dispensing version info, today's speedrun is on the DX Director's Cut version for GameCube. That shouldn't be a surprise, really; the Dreamcast gets no love, and all of our other Sonic Adventure runs are on GameCube already. The speedrunner known only as 'Bertin' has shaved two seconds off the time of the shortest category, Super Sonic. His 0:01:52 with deaths replaces a run by Andres 'Mad Andy' Montalbetti, who is perhaps now as mad as ever. The improvement comes from a faster Perfect Chaos fight, which is a bit like saying a Sonic Spinball run was improved by faster pinball sections.
Sunday, December 6, 2009 by LLCoolDave
Now even more free
I'm very pleased to announce: Speed Demos Archive is now accepting runs on Freeware games. Before we get to the celebration ceremony you may want to have some history on this change. One of the original rules when the site expanded beyond Quake was that games had to be professionally published to be considered for SDA. It made sense at the time to stop poorly made and short games from being submitted. However, this was also about the time that Cave Story was released and showed the world that quality gameplay could be had for free, and since then, several other free games turned out to be well suited for speedruns. At the same time, the videogame industry is changing with a lot of small companies making professional quality titles on a budget and publishing them on their own. And then we have titles such as Dink Smallwood that were once published but have been available for free for over a decade now, but technically still meet the original requirement. To make it simple: There seems to be no reason to exclude some games from SDA for arbitrary reasons, so the decision was made to drop the rule.
So what does that mean for you as a (possible) runner? As long as what you pick qualifies as a game in some way we are likely to accept it now. This includes Flash games as well, although there are still some technical issues with their inconsistent framerates.
The beforementioned celebrations are, of course, three brand new runs on Freeware games. First of all we have Tower of Heaven in 0:02:03. Tower of Heaven is a short platformer that constantly adds more restrictive rules you have to respect (or die). Because a speedrunner doesn't waste time doing silly things such as walking left or touching walls, Maciej 'groobo' Maselewski had no trouble plowing through the game quickly.
Next we have some early holiday spirit with Merry Gear Solid: Secret Santa in 0:02:18.14. A parody of the popular Metal Gear series, this game involves sneaking through a building as Santa avoiding children that are up much too late. Bart 'TheVoid' de Waal did a good job optimizing the game, although groobo already pointed out some minor improvements. With a sequel to the game announced for this December you can be sure to see more Christmas espionage on SDA soon.
Lastly we have a very special run on an outstanding game, Iji. Daniel Remar has started working on this game at about the same time SDA has moved beyond Quake, and only finished at the end of 2008, taking longer than many million dollar professional titles. It's an action platformer involving some RPG elements and there's really no way I could describe how great the game is in a single paragraph. If you like games at all (which I know you do if you read this), do yourself a favor and play this. It's just that good. What makes this run special is that it is the first run on SDA by the game's creator. Daniel uses all his detailed knowledge on how the game works and hours of playtesting in order to beat it in an amazing 0:27:18 on normal difficulty. The run is very well optimized and planned and uses some pretty neat small timesavers throughout. There's still plenty more difficulties and game modes left, so I'm sure this is not the last we see of this game on SDA.
Monday, November 30, 2009 by Enhasa
My Heart Will Go On... A Plate!
Another game with a bad ending, at least for DK fans, is the original Donkey Kong. After his brilliant Donkey Kong Jr. text commentary — oh yeah, and the run was good too — Ray 'Croc-Doc' Cullen has made another house call for its predecessor. Just like last time, Ray bucks the trend and includes entertaining text commentary and informative audio commentary. There's even less of it this time, however, since this run takes only 0:01:05. Previously
manning aping the page was Giel Goertz's 0:01:22 on the European version. The only real improvement was one jump on the second stage, but Giel still decided he would rather bow out of the game page.
Last but not least, we have a self-improvement by the famed Mega Man speedrunner, Mike 'MegaDestructor9' Dickson. He has destructed his prior Mega Man 3 Anniversary Collection run by nine million fold. Okay, that's not true at all, but his nickname isn't MilliDestructor7 or anything. I'll save you the math and tell you that his 0:32:42 has fallen thirteen seconds to 0:32:29. Mike estimates that choosing the Anniversary Collection over the NES cartridge saved him about four minutes. If that wasn't helpful enough, he also goes through and details exactly where he gained or lost time compared to his previous run. So read that, if you would.
Thursday, November 26, 2009 by dex
The fast and the 4rious
Speaking of zombies, there's a game developer named Sigma Team, famed for creating the aptly named Zombie Shooter. To further prove they have a knack for original and mysterious names, they created Alien Shooter: Vengeance (hello, clever segue!). Guessing what that game is about is left as an exercise to the reader. If you're having trouble envisioning what could be its focus, you should watch Patrik 'Cremator' Salonen's segmented run. He doesn't waste time, only the monsters in this 0:32:19 on Normal difficulty. If action game runs keep flowing in at this rate, we'll run out of monsters to destroy soon.
Also of note, Enhasa made a little mistake in the last update. Tales of Vesperia is not actually the first dual-play run - there was Adam 'No1 Inparticular' Young's run in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. (Editor's note: This is what I get for being away on "sabbatical" at that time.) Also, I'm pretty sure there's some sort of capital punishment for the title of this update. Oh well...
Monday, November 16, 2009 by Enhasa
Majora's Mask; Multiplayer Mayhem with Mark, Michael, and Marcus
It's the triumphant return of the acclaimed Twilight Princess runner, Daniel 'Jiano' Hart. He's taken on the normal category for The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, for which Peter 'pyh189' Yeh's time of 3:37 in 18 segments has stood since the middle of 2005. With the benefit of many new discoveries and Daniel's renowned dedication, it was eventually realized that a high-level run including all the tricks was indeed possible. So it was that this run — originally targeted at two and a half hours — ended up pushing two hours flat, with a final time of 2:03:04. And oh yeah, that's single-segmented. Check it out for yourself and be amazed! It's remarkable that so many advancements could be occurring all at once nearly ten years after its original release, but the Majora's Mask community isn't done yet, and perhaps sub-two hours is in the future.
It's also the triumphant return of 3/4 of the four-piece motley crew that previously speedran Tales of Symphonia. Their breakup was not fueled by drug addiction or solo careers but by Mark 'Peebs97' Peebles and Michael 'Flip714' Dix going off to college during the making of this Tales of Vesperia run, with Marcus 'DaBlueDragoon' Dix and Tyler 'ukm101' McDaniel still in high school. After having to restart the run twice due to unfortunate miscues, with a different lineup each retry, the final roster for this 43-segment New Game Plus 7:34 was just 3M. Once again, the group tag-teamed to write both informative summaries for each segment and some extremely entertaining off-beat comments too. This game isn't even built for dual-play, but Michael decided to play with one controller in each hand anyway. So not only is this a multiplayer run, but SDA's first ever dual-play run as well!
Thursday, November 12, 2009 by Enhasa
Pochi and Nyaa
It's too bad there isn't a character named Nyaa in Sunsoft's Journey to Silius. Yes, I looked. This is even the case in the original Japanese version, Raf World, and in the unreleased prototype that was created before Sunsoft lost the Terminator license for the game. No matter. We'll make due with Jay McCray, the protagonist. Jay is masterfully controlled by 'ktwo', whose run on the European version finishes in just 0:13:48. That's more than enough time to format a floppy disc containing evidence that terrorists were behind an "accident" that destroyed an entire space colony. Don't forget to scroll your screen for advantageous sprite limits!
Saturday, November 7, 2009 by dex
The keeper of tombs
Shaun 'MMAN' Friend made an improvement to one of his old runs - and by old I do mean old, after all, 2005 was a while ago. It seems it was in dire need of improvement, as the new, 2009 run of Tomb Raider III is over 24 minutes faster. Shaun speeds through the third installment of the series about the Indiana Jones inspired adventurer and her bountiful bosom in 2:04:10. This palpable upgrade is done at a slight price - the number of segments increased from 19 to 27, but that's hardly a crime when the time saved reaches levels this significant. The runner mentions his plan for improving another of his Tomb Raider runs from 2005 - lets hope his work will keep being this entertaining.
Saturday, October 31, 2009 by Enhasa
The Old New Thing
First off, we have old Sonic the Hedgehog, brought to us by the Awesome Australian himself, Mike 'mike89' McKenzie. He once held the Sonic the Hedgehog record on SDA, and once again he holds the Sonic the Hedgehog record. Particularly clever readers will notice what I did there with the hyperlinks. That's right, Mike did not take back his Genesis Sonic record but instead staked out a new one on the Sega Master System and Game Gear game. This run will look quite different to those of you who have only played the Genesis version. It's also a bit shorter, as demonstrated by Mike's 0:11:08 with deaths. I know I'm highly impressed.
Then we have new Super Mario Bros. Actually, the game is matter-of-factly titled New Super Mario Bros.. But what happens when the game is no longer so new? Will it then be a misnomer? Also, will Nintendo follow up with a Newer Super Mario Bros.? You've got questions; Jordan 'Greenalink' Greener has the answers. Here is a 45-segment 100% 2:26:20 to prove the point, produced naturally on his trusty DS. This uncontroversial work was inspired by a very controversial work by someone else at another site. By the way, Nintendo has already pulled out all the creative stops with the title of New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Trust me, Jordan is ready.
Monday, October 26, 2009 by Enhasa
It's on like Donkey Kong
David 'marshmallow' Gibbons has been under some real fire as of late. Another of his speedruns from 2004 goes down today, as newcomer Austinn 'Davis' Hallman has beaten his Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble Hard 100% in 1:51 by fifteen minutes. Hard mode has one key advantage, incidentally: you start each stage with both monkeys, which saves you the trouble of finding a DK barrel. Whereas David's run uses 11 segments, Austinn's 1:36 uses 58. The astute reader might notice that this equates to one segment per stage. If all this segmentation makes you dizzy, don't worry, Austinn also provides a Hard single-segment any% in 0:51. At SDA, you can have your cake and eat it too.
The other Donkey Kong game in this update is Donkey Kong Jr.. (The first period is part of the game's title, while the second one marks the end of a declarative sentence.) Did you know? This is the only game in history in which Mario is the bad guy. I was overjoyed to learn that this speedrun was done by Ray 'Croc-Doc' Cullen, who delivers with some of his trademarked awesome text commentary — if you want solid information, you'll just have to listen to the audio commentary. Ray chronicles the tale of a wee ape youngling in diapers who is endlessly ravaged by thoughts of revenge. It'll take you longer to read this harrowing tale than it will to watch the run, which clocks in at a svelte 0:01:28.
Thursday, October 22, 2009 by Enhasa
Today's other featured runner will have to rely solely on his nickname, as 'sinister1' has requested that we remove his true identity from the game page. So all I am at liberty to say is that this man has beaten his own Double Dragon II: The Revenge run. Thirty-nine seconds shorter, and still with deaths, this 0:11:22 is filled with an even larger number of flying knees per second. But that's not all! He brought along a best friend, Joe 'jprophet22' Corbin, and they churned out this two-player 0:12:13, also with deaths. Now, you may be wondering why this run is slower than the other one, but after watching just a bit of the added lag, you'll see.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009 by Enhasa
Needless to say, this update is dedicated to the popular run 'n gun series. First we have Contra III: The Alien Wars, which has been attacked by more than one runner. Neither of them took down Mike Uyama but instead added new categories. Fresh face Kyle Halversen has a Hard difficulty 0:05:24 with deaths. Percentage-wise, this has to be the run on SDA that cuts the most time through death abuse, and it's all due to a peculiar exploit that will be very familiar to fans of Battle Garegga. News mainstay Jeremy 'DK28' Doll continues his relentless assault with two low% runs: 0:15:59 with deaths and 0:16:11 without. Simple arithmetic will show you that deaths save much less time in this case.
As you can see, low% is a popular Contra category because truly nothing is more manly than taking on hordes of baddies with no shirt and only your trusty peashooter to keep you company. And no man is more manly than the Swede of Speed, Freddy 'Frezy_man' Andersson! He has improved the low% time previously held by the aforementioned Jeremy 'DK28' Doll. It's a big one too, as 0:12:48 is now 0:11:34. Do you remember the any% Contra audio commentary, produced by a band of merry miscreants? Did you wish sometimes that everyone else would just shut up for a moment so Freddy could actually give insight into the game itself? Too bad, Mike Uyama traveled all the way to Europe just to ruin your day.
Friday, October 16, 2009 by Enhasa
Super Deadly Boy
Here's another familiar name. Give a warm welcome back to Jeff Feasel! Tom 'rdrunner' Votava's Deadly Towers 0:43:10 was long held to be a speedrun that might stand forever. It wasn't that the run was unbeatably optimized, but rather that the game is considered so bad that nobody would ever want to put in the time or effort or mental status to beat it. I suppose after you've conquered only good games such as Bionic Commando, Gauntlet, Adventures of Lolo, and River City Ransom, you too might give in to your sicker perversions and come away with the long, dark 0:33:56 of the soul.
Let's lighten things up with some Paperboy. Oh wait, this is the most twisted of all today's games. It's the inaugural speedrun for Yadir 'Riskbreaker Y' Osornio, who will soon be a familiar name in the news. Extra! Extra! Read all about how he intentionally crashes his bike, vandalizes homes, and generally acts like an all-around Johnny Knoxville. Yadir brakes for no man, canine, grandma, reaper, or graveling in his 0:10:50. This speedy recklessness is sure to earn him a promotion, demotion, or some other type of motion altogether. Watch the run and see what all the commotion is about.
Sunday, October 11, 2009 by dex
The dark night
Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast is one of Bioware's most known RPG games. It's also a game containing a lot of bugs. And if there's anything speedrunners like, it's bugs that dramatically speed gameplay up. With the application of some refinements to the earlier runs, both the single segment and the multi segment categories have been improved. Curiously enough, not by one person - Julien Langer submitted a self improvement to the segmented run on normal difficulty (0:14:36 in 12 segments, knocking off almost 2 minutes), and Benjamin 'Beenman500' Culley applied Julien's tricks in a risky single segment run on the normal difficulty, finished in 0:18:29, 6 minutes better than before. Torrents: segmented, single segment.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009 by Enhasa
Here's my mega plan
The second of these would require more explanation, but it was Chris 'Satoryu' Kirk who did this run of Mega Man Maverick Hunter X. So you can just listen to his fabulous audio commentary instead. Gone is his old 0:42:52 in 13 segments from 2006, and in its place is this shiny new 100% 0:37:01 in 15 segments. This is the fourth iteration of this run for Chris, so one could say he is a wily old veteran.
Saturday, October 3, 2009 by Enhasa
Mario the Plumber
What kind of party is it? A Mario Party. Who's invited? Everybody! That's right, before Nintendo became the undisputed party game company, they started it all off with the also fittingly-named Mario Party. And unlike WarioWare, these mini-games can be completed at different speeds by different people. Kevin 'neskamikaze' LaLonde took advantage of this circumstance and pumped out a 100% Mini-Game Island run in 0:45:45 and nine segments. Cower in fear as Mr. LaLonde valiantly fights through assorted mini-games in order to set up an ultimate showdown with none other than... Toad.
Thursday, October 1, 2009 by Enhasa
Baby ate my dingoes!
And then we have the seminal Bonk's Adventure, starring the titular cavebaby who bonks enemies with his massive forehead. PC Engine fans everywhere will be saddened to learn that this is a run on the Game Boy port. Don't put away your winky smiles just yet, because this version displays its own brand of charm. Rob 'Mickey Mage' Whitener is back with a one-minute improvement over a previously rejected run. After adjusting for Super Game Boy usage, this one rescues Princess Za in 0:18:53. Incidentally, I have learned that "za" is not a valid word in Scrabble, but I suppose that's why you need to challenge that sort of thing.