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News from January through March, 2010. [Newer | Older]

Saturday, March 27, 2010 by Breakdown

Not All Who Wander. . .

Kicking this update off is a run that obsoletes one of the older runs on the site. It was back in October of 2005 that Astra Piper recorded her Luigi run of the SNES version of Super Mario Bros. 2, and I don't mean that palette swap of Yume Koujou Doki Doki Panic. No, I mean the real Super Mario Bros. 2, more commonly know under the moniker of Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. Now, about four and a half years later, this category is seeing an improvement. Brandon 'Grimslade' Coker took up the challenge of running the game initially deemed too hard for American gamers and the product of his efforts is a deathless run from 1-1 to D-4 in 0:16:38, just shy of 50 seconds faster than the old run.

Next up we have an entry from a runner who has been a regular on the news page as of late. Justin 'UCPro' Salamon is at it again, this time with a return to his speedrunning roots with an improvement to his first published run. The game in question is the WiiWare title LostWinds, and by cleaning up a few minor mistakes in the first publication and the discovery of a new sequence break he was able to shatter his old segmented time of 0:21 with his new 0:18 run in 17 segments. This one got rave reviews from the verifiers, so for all you fans of the game out there this is one definitely not to miss.

And it's another familiar face that rounds out today's update. While it's been a while since his last submission, those who've followed the site for any appreciable amount of time should be familiar with the name Andrew Gardikis. Today he makes his triumphant return to the front page with an improvement to one of his existing Excitebike ILs: Track 1 in 0:00:43.69 to be precise. This brings the total time for the table down to 0:04:08.85. Really only so much to say about this one. I mean, it's an andrewg run, and the fact that the name is synonymous with quality is a fact that shouldn't be lost on anyone.

Thursday, March 18, 2010 by Breakdown

Real Men Wear Green

Inspired in part by dex's last news post as well as by today's first run, I think I'm going to take a little time out to reminisce on how I first came to SDA and started speedrunning. There's really only so much to say about how I found the site. I got linked to the NES TMNT run on some forum, was thoroughly impressed, and thought to myself "I can do that." I thought long and hard about a game I both knew very well and liked enough to play to death (which is sage advice for those of you who are considering taking up the hobby) and settled on Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. After a short period of time looking for strats around the internet I found this site, registered for the forums, and a few months later had completed a deathless run of the game with no Up+A warping in 1:17.15. That was about 3 and half years ago, and that run has gone unchallenged in that time, until now that is. Driven either by a burning desire to have sole ownership of the game page or just a love of the game that borders on the fanatical, Kristian 'Arctic_Eagle' Emanuelson has successfully set the bar higher for this category. By skipping a few of the items I deemed necessary he has chopped a significant chunk off my old time. And while I plan to take care in throwing out superlatives in these updates, I will say that for me this 1:13:05 is one of the most entertaining runs I've seen hit the site in quite a while. If you have so much as a passing interest in this game check this one out, it's awesome.

And for all you Zelda fans out there, we've got one more for you. It would seem that Link is a Hylian very mindful of his future. He knows that this hero business isn't something that'll last forever, and when the bubble bursts on it he wants to be sure he has something to fall back on, so he took the time to learn a trade. What trade you might ask? Why, the noble profession of goat herding of course. Yeah, I kind of doubt that's the motivation behind the goat herding mini game in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, but if it were, as long as Link had Justin 'UCPro' Salamon on hand to coach him he would have a long, stable career in front of him long after the princesses of the world stopped needing saving. All the goats go from loose in the field to in the barn in a very quick 0:00:15.43.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 by dex

The Steed, The Shadow, The Serpent

I hope you'll forgive a little bit of personal rambling, because (in no small part due to the first run today) I feel an irresistible urge to tell something about the way I got to know SDA. To keep a really short story even shorter, I discovered it in 2004, but only dropped by once or twice, thinking "yeah, this is kinda neat", then largely forgetting about its existence. In my defense, I was still young and stupid back then. In any case, the 'breakthrough' happened when I saw a run of one of my favorite games - Morrowind. It being a game of huge proportions, I didn't consider it remotely possible to beat it in less than 15 minutes. Ever since seeing that run, I was hooked. So, why am I telling you this? Because the old, 14 minute and 26 seconds single segment run that impressed me so much, AND the 7:30 segmented that followed shortly thereafter have both been demolished by Janis 'Pendrokar' Lukss' new single segment. Using a bug present in version 1.0 of the game and a plethora of different tricks, he managed to get the time down to 0:04:19. Yes, you didn't misread, 4 minutes and 19 seconds. As impressive as the time itself sounds, it pales in comparison to the video of the whole ordeal. I personally recommend this one.

Speaking of my favorite games... Harri 'Rogston' Väisänen and Esa 'SaunaChum' Kivirinta keep on chipping away seconds in Thief: The Dark Project, a game that encourages the player to patiently hide in the shadows and evade encounter, ideally not having the enemies notice anything is amiss. The duo of speedrunning taffers evidently doesn't subscribe to this philosophy, instead opting for a quicker approach - namely, to do everything they have to do and get out fast enough to avoid registering to the senses of the guards. 7 levels in total have been improved, and a new run (the training level) joins the level table. As usual, these are money runs. There's too many of them to list here (our master thieves have really done a lot of good work), but you can get all ILs here. Curiously, the new total time (0:35:41) is 40 seconds longer than the time before the improvements were uploaded - but before you start wondering how that's possible, let me remind you about the Training run (which adds over a minute and a half to the timer).

Lastly, in a fortunate coincidence that lets me pretend this update has at least a partial theme, we have a new run for another stealth-based game, Hitman: Blood Money. It's an individual level run, as well! Mark 'ExplodingCabbage' Amery has made a New Game+ run, and before you ask, yes, there was a run for this game before - one done by mister Amery, in fact - but he asked for it to be replaced by this new run. ExplodingCabbage switches the Rookie difficulty from the old run to Pro - the hardest of the four difficulties. Using every little timesaver he could think of and straining agent 47 to the limit, he finishes all 13 levels in 0:22:44. Check them out, they're really entertaining.

Saturday, February 27, 2010 by Breakdown

A Bunch of Restless Guys

I've been around this site for quite some time, and in that time I feel I've been exposed to a lot of what SDA has to offer. I've watched a bunch of runs, submitted a few of my own, taken part in forum activities, and attended live SDA events. But today's update marks a first for me in my stay here: my first obsoletion. For the first time in just over three years, my run for the criminally underappreciated NES title Faxanadu no longer has a home on the game list. Replacing it is Rhett 'ShinerCCC' Dobson's debut effort for the site. Through the use of a glitch from the TAS and a much tighter and more difficult route he produced a significant improvement from my old 0:36:24 run with a very solid 0:30:14. If you're curious about some of the finer points of the improvement be sure to check out the included audio commentary. And now that it's happened, I have to say getting obsoleted isn't so bad, especially when it's a great run like this one replacing your old effort. Congrats man.

Next up we have a run on another NES game that too often gets lost in the shuffle. When people talk about 8-bit Konami games it's usually games like Castlevania, Contra, or Gradius that get mentioned, with next to no attention paid to a great little game by the name of Jackal. While somewhat obscure, this game does have its fans, one of whom is Marko "Master-88" Vanhanen. Motivated to see this game have its place on SDA, the Finnish runner persevered through the game's several random elements and performed some tight maneuvering in the production of his "no upgrades with deaths" run. Getting a time as low as his 0:08:54 with only grenades is quite an impressive feat, and I definitely suggest checking this one out.

Lastly, after two less than mainstream games, we finish with the amazingly popular Mega Man 9. Those familiar with this game's history on SDA are no doubt also familiar with the name Mike 'MegaDestructor9' Dickson. He's been the sole owner of the IL records for this title, and while that isn't changing with this update, three of our hosted videos are. The improvements are as follows: Galaxy Man down from 0:01:38.41 to 0:01:38.11, Splash Woman down from 0:01:32.86 to 0:01:31.91, and Wily Castle 2 down from 0:01:56.85 to 0:01:54.43. These runs bring the total time of the table down three seconds to 0:20:13. To the uninitiated viewer 3 seconds over 3 runs might not sound like a lot, but if you watch the runs the level of optimization in them is plain to see. Check these ones out, you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, February 20, 2010 by Breakdown

3 in 1

First up today is an inaugural run for a title from the Nintendo DS. Metroidvanias have historically been riddled with game-breaking glitches, and Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow is no exception to this trend. Runner James 'Aftermath' Downing took full advantage of this fact in the production of his hard difficulty new game + run with major skips in two segments. While the name of the category is quite lengthy, the run itself clocks in at a very quick 0:04:09, and for those of you who spend those four minutes staring quizzically at the screen wondering what exactly is going on, don't fret. Included is an embedded audio commentary to help clear up the finer points.

Next up we have a shining example of a game being beaten far faster than its developers ever intended. If you happen to find yourself a complete, in box copy of Ogre Battle 64 and check out the list of selling points on the back you'll see that it promises "over 50 hours of gameplay." This may hold true for a first time player, but certainly not for the likes of Ben 'simmeh' Boven. Through the utilization of an item duplication glitch and some solid strategies along the way, Ben decimates the developers' estimate, finishing the game in 4:24 using six segments. This one also comes with audio commentary for your listening pleasure.

Now I know some of you are looking at the title of today's update and thinking that three games in one update really isn't anything all that special, and you're definitely right on that point. However, when one of those games has three different full game runs being posted it's definitely a noteworthy occurrence. Such is the case today for Mega Man Zero. In the span of a month Youri 'Elpis TK31' Landweer both improved his own hard difficulty with mission skips run from 0:11:19 down to 0:10:31 and completed runs for two new categories, namely hard difficulty with deaths in 0:22:59 and an ultimate mode run in 0:09:05. No audio commentary for this batch, but you can check the game page for some . . . interesting written comments.

And while this is old news to the forum regulars, it should be mentioned for those of you who don't frequent our fine message boards that we now have the entirety of the footage from our charity marathon available for download. Anything you may have missed or moments you'd like to experience again can now be immortalized on your hard drive. Just head to the schedule page for the links.

Thursday, February 11, 2010 by Breakdown

The Doctor Is In

First up today we have a run for a new category on Trauma Center: Second Opinion. Japanese runner 'szsk' is no stranger to this game. He previously published a normal mode SS run, and while that run is very impressive in its own right, today's offering represents the completion of a much larger task. For this run he's set the sight of his Wii-mote on hard difficulty and completes every mission available in the game, leaving all his patients GUILT free with perfect XS ranks throughout. In short, 100% completion. Oh, and did I mention this was done in a single segment? Completed in 2:34:03, this is one not to miss.

Keeping with the medical theme, we have a new record in an old category for Dr. Mario 64. Kari 'Essentia' Johnson has had sole ownership of the page for quite some time, but no longer. Kevin 'neskamikaze' LaLonde has offered up a new run for the "Classic mode with deaths" category, topping the old mark of 0:38:50 from 2006 with a very quick 0:37:02. To cite our recent marathon, I think many of the viewers (myself included) were very surprised just how entertaining watching a run of this game can be. Check this one out; it's definitely worth the watch.

Last, but certainly not least, is one of the most anticipated runs to come to the site in quite some time. Freddy 'Frezy_man' Andersson is a man who needs no introduction. One of our most prolific runners, he bolsters his own reputation for excellence today with an improvement of one of the more hotly contested titles we have to offer. You may have heard of it, a little game called Super Mario Bros. 3. After logging literal thousands of attempts, the Swede of Speed was able to comfortably beat Andrew Gardikis's time of 0:11:01 with a truly stellar 0:10:48. I think it's safe to say this game has been pushed pretty close to its limits, but the runner himself admits there's still seconds to be squeezed out of it. The only question is who is going to rise to that challenge?

Sunday, January 31, 2010 by Breakdown

Wait, I have to do this again?

Apologies for the delay on this second update of mine, and since it's a little later than I originally intended I'm upping the usual serving size for this one. Yes, the added run is entirely because of me feeling guilty about making you good people wait 10 whole days between updates and nothing at all to do with the fact that we have quite the backlog right now. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

The first run on the menu today is an improvement over a longstanding run on the game list. Zack 'zallard1' Allard is new to SDA, but no stranger to high level play on Star Fox 64. An accomplished high score player, he recently turned his efforts to speedrunning the game. Through the use of a few new strategies and the tightening of some old ones, he was able to take down the old mark of 0:25:45 for the "with deaths" category set by Brett 'Psonar' Ables back in 2006. The time of the new run is a very quick 0:25:16, which he achieved by trusting his instincts and using the boost to get through.

Next up is a new addition to the site also coming from the N64. Star Wars: Rogue Squadron is a great example of one developer improving on the work of another. The first Star Wars game for the N64, Shadows of the Empire, was produced by LucasArts and is generally considered a fairly poor third person action title with two fantastically fun flying levels. About two years later along comes developer Factor 5 with this game consisting solely of flying levels and critics and players alike adored it. One such player is runner Evan K. N. Jankowski who today provides us with a single segment run with deaths clocking in at 1:01:17.

Last, but certainly not least, we have a run of a game that truly changed the face of its franchise. To call Star Fox Adventures a departure from the previous games in the series doesn't really begin to describe just how amazingly different this title is from the ones that came before it. Taking place outside of an Arwing for the bulk of the game, the series moved here from straight up space shooter to a style more similar to that of the 3-D Zelda titles. Whether this was a good move for the series or not is a matter for debate, but what is certain is that runner Justin 'UCpro' Salamon has put this game through its paces. Making use of 100 segments, Justin saves the aptly named Dinosaur Planet in a speedy 4:46. 100 files is a lot, so we have torrents available for the medium and high quality versions for easy downloading.

Thursday, January 21, 2010 by Breakdown

"Hold on to your butts."

Hello SDA viewers. I'm Breakdown and I'll be your updater today, and if you're reading this it means I managed to not break the framework of the site getting this thing posted. But yeah, I'm the new guy on staff. I've been hanging around the site for years now and have been given the opportunity to give a little back, and intend to do so with pride. My only hope is that I can keep the quality of these front page updates up to the standards set by those who have come before me. I truly have some large shoes to fill.

But enough about me, you're here to see some runs, right?

The title of today's update serves the dual purpose of expressing my fear of my technical ineptitude being put on display for all to see as well as quoting one of the more memorable lines from the movie on which today's first game is based. As with most wildly successful movies, Jurassic Park has been ported to just about every console imaginable in nearly every gameplay style imaginable. Really the only thread tying them all together is that each features a variety of dinosaurs that you need to blast your way through in some form or fashion. Today's offering is on the SNES version of the game, which has no shortage of dino blasting, but also has a focus on exploration and item collection to advance the plot. The three man team of Patrick 'ev0lution' Seibert , Frank 'Nokia3311' Jahn, and Nicolas 'ZdadrDeM' Grosmann make their way through this single player adventure in a very efficient 1:02:36 on the PAL version. Sure it doesn't have the length of a Spielberg film or a Crichton novel, but this run is an excellent example of how less can indeed be more.

Vagrant Story is generally heralded as one of the more innovative games Squaresoft ever produced. Lauded by some and reviled by others, it features a deep combat system and an intricate item crafting mechanic. Love it or hate it, though, there is no denying that Yadir 'Riskbreaker Y' Osornio annihilated it, cruising through the game using 13 segments and finishing in just under 2 hours (1:59 to be exact).

Also of note is that we have more videos from our wildly successful Charity Marathon ("Classic Games Done Quick") up and ready for download, commentary included. We currently have up through Strider on the second day ready to go. You can find the links on the schedule page, and keep an eye on that page because there's more on the way.

Saturday, January 9, 2010 by dex

Almost A Clone

Hundreds of Star Wars games have been released since the franchise began its existence in 1977, an overwhelming majority of them not very enjoyable. However, our new star (pardon the pun), Star Wars: Republic Commando, is one of the more notable exceptions, partly due to the fact it puts the old adage 'if you want to have something done right, do it with 3 copies of yourself' to the test by making you the leader of a clone squad. '-Arcadian-' doesn't seem to like being a clone too much, because he's trying to get through the whole experience as fast as possible in this Easy run of Geonosis, finishing in 0:35:41. To compensate for the player character's lack of Force abilities, he used 15 segments, in addition to his own Jedi-like reflexes.

Diablo II: Lord of Destruction is a game that needs no introduction. What definitely needs introduction, on the other hand, is the absolutely insane improvement of the Assassin run by the absolutely crazy Sören 'FraGFroG' Heinrich. Drawing on sinister powers that shouldn't be named, he managed to save over 16 minutes and actually bring this epic game under the magical 1 hour threshold. This 0:58:52 in 33 segments is so crazy, you're really gonna think Sören is possessed. Which actually might not be that far off from the truth: this game is infamous for drawing players in for good, and 'FraGFroG' couldn't evade this mysterious power and had to also make another run. Virtually identical to that 58:52, it abuses a death in the last segment to save a pretty palpable amount of time - 24 seconds, to be exact (0:58:28). Go check it out.

Monday, January 4, 2010 by nate

Charity marathon conclusion

Our Charity Marathon ("Classic Games Done Quick") is now over. We got off to a slow start, but we made up for it: we ran 67 games in just over 55 hours and collected over $10,000 from over 450 people for CARE (and we are still accepting donations for the next few hours). We usually had at least 1,000 viewers on our streams. That's not bad for our first shot at this! There is already talk of another marathon, but nothing is concrete yet, so keep dropping by SDA to stay informed.

Much of the marathon (both game and commentary streams) is already available for viewing on our ustream page. Higher quality versions (with both streams in one video and without problems with sprites disappearing, for example) will follow soon. Right now as I type this I'm burning all 55 hours of video from Mike Uyama's DVD recorder in 2-hour chunks, then copying those DVDs to my laptop's hard drive in preparation for combining with the Flash Media-encoded commentary stream. Syncing the two streams will be the real hard part, but I don't anticipate that will take me more than a few days. Keep checking back, and you'll see that nice version of the marathon available for download here soon. Otherwise, if you don't want to wait, just hit the ustream recordings.

We'd like to thank all our runners and mods, the MAGfest staff, CARE for being willing to try us out, and especially TheSpeedGamers for taking us under their wing for our first run through this charity marathon game they built completely from scratch. You should know that there would have been no Classic Games Done Quick if not for your vision.

Here's to another record-breaking year!

Friday, January 1, 2010 by nate

Last-minute charity marathon promotion

Our Charity Marathon ("Classic Games Done Quick") begins tonight at 6 pm Eastern Standard Time (US)! Please tune in and donate to support CARE's mission to combat world poverty! (The live stream will be embedded right on this very page starting later today.)

If you want to help beyond just donating, you can spam the link to our promo video. (Or, you can download a higher quality version if you want to upload it to your own account somewhere.)

See you tonight!