SDA logo

News from July through September, 2011. [Newer | Older]

Sunday, September 25, 2011 by dex

With a vengeance

Hot on the metaphorical heels of the last update, today we start off with another addition to our ever-growing collection of runs on everyone's favorite vampire series, specifically a self-improvement on Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. Chris 'Satoryu' Kirk decided to improve his old 17:44 after a pretty good run during our Awesome marathon, and ended up chopping well over a minute from the timer. This single-segment 0:16:35 is bound to be a treat to all Castlevania fans. Especially ones that like the good ending of the game.

Another series with a huge fanbase and a huge amount of installments gets a run today, too. Final Fantasy Origins, which, as you probably already know, is the rerelease of FF1 and FF2 for the PS. Lenophis embarked on the grand quest to run the former on easy difficulty, and emerged victorious with this 3:07. Lest you think the difficulty name is an indication that the run was simple to produce, Lenophis provides us with a couple of blooper reels: one, two. Neat. Also neat is that the run includes audio... commentary. You'll see what I mean when you watch it. It's in 23 segments, by the way.

Abandoning the frontier of well known video game series, let's jump straight to well known comic book series. Enter Josh 'Funkdoc' Ballard with a run of the Marvel licensed game, Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage - arguably one of the few tolerable LJN games. Josh expertly, but not effortlessly, guides Peter Parker and Eddie Brock to stop the villain in just 0:22:05. Single segment, no less, because that's the only way you can roll with superheroes of that magnitude in the title.

To round off the whole shindig, a run of a flash game with Braid overtones, The Company Of Myself. James 'Aftermath' Downing plows through the angst and loneliness-ridden plot with reckless abandon, and finishes all the puzzles in just a measly 0:03:27, which I must say is a very impressive time to make a trip through a person's inner psyche. It's single segment, too! Go check it out.

And to apologize for a delay of one day longer than I intended, here's a little something to tide you over: an interview with the Australian Mike, Mike 'mike89' McKenzie. That is a lot of M's in a row. See you next time.

Sunday, September 18, 2011 by Vorpal

Continuing on

Today we've got a couple pairs of runs from the same series, and then another run on top of that. Doubles all around, it seems.

The first set of doubles involves everyone's favorite series, Castlevania. Leading off, we have Symphony of the Night, possibly the most popular of the series. Perennial SotN runner Andrew 'romscout' Schroeder returns and demolishes his old 31-minute time with a rather impressive 0:29:14 improvement, this time featuring no Gaibon fiascos. Unfortunately for Slogra, it's still not his turn. Like all romscout runs, this run features an audio commentary, so be sure to give it a listen. The other Castlevania run this update may not be for the most popular game, but it still features Alucard. Runner 'Persona', an old hand at Castlevania games, has taken on the task of demolishing the other fighters in Castlevania Judgment with gusto, and he guides Alucard through the process of stymieing Galamoth in a sub-minute forty-three seconds. Galamoth is to remain trapped in Dracula's castle for a while longer, it appears.

The second set of doubles involves another long-running series, Sonic the Hedgehog. First, we have a set of individual level runs for Sonic 4 Episode 1, Sega's attempt to recapture the magic of the Genesis titles. 'Paraxade' continues to prove his dominance over everything he attempts and rushes Sonic through this episodes' four zones in a total of eighteen minutes and forty seconds. You may also have heard of Michael 'mike89' McKenzie, our long-time Sonic runner, and his game of choice today is Sonic Advance 3. Despite the puny size of the system, this game takes much longer, and 'mike89' collects all the chaos emeralds and signs a nonaggression pact with Robotnik in a little over an hour and 20 minutes. Considering how often Robotnik's attempts to scavenge from ancient relics backfire on him, I think he should just stick to his own designs.

The Majora's Mask single-segment run is a fairly recent addition to the site, and not many people expected it to be beaten soon. Enter Steven 'ingx24' Brown. After the discovery of a workaround for a game crash (always an interesting thing to read), Steven used the additional means of mobility this opened up, along with other improvements, to reduce the time to a smooth 1:49:33. Also included is an audio commentary, which will gleefully inform you of the precise definition of a hyper-extended super slide. If you're curious.

That's all for today. Hope you enjoy them.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011 by Breakdown

Assortment pack

Crash Bandicoot may not have been completely successful as Sony's mascot back in the PS1 days, but that doesn't mean they didn't try to make him stick. On top of sequel after sequel in the main series, the effort was made to port him and the cadre of characters created along the way to other genres. The first such foray was Crash Team Racing, which is being added to our game list today courtesy of runner Austinn 'Davis' Hallman. Playing on the game's Adventure mode, Austinn leaves his computerized opponents in the dust, cruising to a final time of 1:01:06 in a single segment.

Next up, we're heading outside of my standard updating area for a long overdue posting for that dual screened Nintendo DS thing. Though while the game in question's release date falls about a decade outside my usual comfort zone, at least the source material is well within my standard domain. The run for Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, the DS remake of the original Famicom game, makes its long awaited debut on the SDA front page. Runner Wesley 'Molotov' Corron is the man behind the stylus for this 32 segment endeavor. A lot of planning and an insistence on only the best possible luck is apparent in this 0:13:50 run.

We'll be staying in segmented territory for one more entry today with a new addition to the Mega Man X4 page. Breaking into the low % categories for this title is the two man team of Patrick 'Cremator' Salonen and Dan Enright. Their run with X finishes with a time of 0:42:47 over 13 segments, and definitely serves as proof that these two know what they're fighting for. Sewiously.

Moving along, we have a game and category near and dear to my heart seeing an improvement. We have a new run for the no up+A single segment category for Zelda II: The Adventure of Link going up today. Well, new isn't quite the right word as this run actually predates the one we've been hosting by close to two years. Why runner Jon Fessenden waited this long to submit is a mystery to me, but be glad he did as there is some very impressive play and interesting strategies to be seen in this 1:10:36 run. Truly a treat to watch.

Wrapping things up today, we see the first published run to result from SDA's bad game exchange. And a bad game it is: Castle of Dragon for the NES. Given the game's pedigree, it should serve as little surprise that the man behind the controls is none other than Jacob 'UltraJMan' Ritz, a man who's tolerance for games such as this is rivaled by few. It really shows that a lot of work went into this 0:08:46 run, which is probably a few minutes more than most people are willing to spend on the title period.

Thursday, September 8, 2011 by dex

My delays are augmented

In an ideal world, SDA updates would always be written on time and there would be no distractions interfering with the whole process, save perhaps for the complimentary chicks. Unfortunately, such a utopian situation is rarely feasible, as I've painfully found out after the release of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. A potent drug, despite - if you'll forgive the personal opinion - not being one percent as good as the original DX. So, sorry for the delay. But I digress, and my rambling is undoubtedly incongruous with what you expect from an update, so let's get to the meat and potatoes of this thing - the videos!

Starting off with one of the big modern coop titles, we have a run for the Gearbox Software game Borderlands. William 'Youkai' Welch followed the old adage "if you want something done right, do it yourself" and opted for the single-player route. Reasoning that if he's a loner, he might as well pick the craziest and angriest character on the block - the brawler, Brick - for his (very fast) adventure on Pandora. Not to be confused with the Cameron movie. Mister Welch finishes the game in 2:29:02, using a pretty generous amount of segments - 99, to be exact - to pull off some impressive gameplay. It's the 360 version, by the way.

Next up, we have a splendid little indie platformer, FLaiL. Those of you familiar with this wonderful gem will no doubt remember the extraordinarily high difficulty of the game. Undeterred by this slight hitch, Charles 'Arcanod' Nannan decided to elevate skillfully aiming midair boosts to an artform in his run of the game, which I can amusingly time as 244580 - the score achieved through the runs of all the individual levels. The score actually counts down like a timer, so the higher the score - the better the time. So, now that nobody is confused, go watch the run, and play the game too - both are damn good.

Nothing hammers home the idea that speedrunning is a competitive exercise better than the communities that modern SDA grew out of - the ones for Quake and Metroid. That little hypothesis gets another argument added to the site today, in the form of a 100% run of Super Metroid. Christopher Hill decided that having just one run on this hotly contested page was not enough, and improved the 7-year old run by 'Red Scarlet'. The improvement totals 7 minutes, yielding 0:48, and despite what you might think after reading the phrase '7-year old run', it is a very impressive improvement, as RS was quite a talented runner. The run is on the PAL version, in 6 segments. And congratulations to mister Hill! Hopefully extrapolation is a correct assumption and I will see more SM runs in the near future.

Finally, to round this all too modest update off, a self-improvement of the old NES title The Addams Family by 'ktwo'. Not content with the quality of the run abusing deaths, he decided to improve his old 15:11 by over a minute, getting 0:13:54. Too bad he doesn't seem to wish to improve the no-death run as well, that would be an awesome sight too.

Also, I'd just like to echo Vorpal's words and tell you guys: you rock. A hundred thousand 'bones' is no small sum, and we owe it all to You. Keep on truckin', and see you next time. Hopefully without such delays.

Sunday, August 21, 2011 by Vorpal

I did say "soon"

Unfortunately for you, when I said soon, I meant soon in SDA time, which is equivalent to "before two weeks" in normal time. You see, we have so many speedruns on the site that we approach relativistic velocity and experience time compression. Alternatively, there's a boring explanation involving logistical mishaps, connection problems, and a dash of laziness.

But enough about that. All of today's speedruns are, thankfully, on normal time. And while none of them are traveling the cosmos at near the speed of light, many of them do involve stars. The first treat you have today is a clear of Phantasy Star Online 3. The run itself was, interestingly enough, completed some years ago in 2006, but it made its way to the submission queue only recently. We're glad to finally have it, because it chops a good 20 minutes off the previous time. Please welcome Ryan 'Ryock' Hollatz and his single-segment 3:12 to the site.

Staying true to our impromptu theme, Kirby Super Star also features foreign planets. This time, however, the run is not on the SNES version. Alex 'Anwonu' Morinaga, a familiar face on the forums, went through major difficulty recording a run of a mode unique to the DS remake, Kirby Super Star Ultra. Using Meta Knight, he slashes through the appropriately-named Meta Knightmare Ultra mode in a single-segment twenty-seven minutes and 26 seconds. I must say, reading his run comments, I was tempted to link to the Kirby wiki several times in this paragraph.

Kirby's exploits don't end with Super Star today. Kirby 64 has gotten some attention recently, and Wyatt 'peril1337' Blair set his sights on the previous single-segment 100%. He brings in our second double-digit improvement today, chopping 13 minutes off and finding all the crystal shards in one hour and seventeen minutes. It's always great to see new runners make impressive debuts like this.

Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando has long been a missing piece in a series we already have several runs of. That ends today, with the addition of 'Lapogne36's segmented run in one hour and thirty-eight minutes. Lapogne36 holds comfortably to the standard set by previous Ratchet runners, and employs various major skips and generally breaks the game. He's also a new face to the site, and while that is becoming quite a refrain this update I hope it keeps up. It's always sweet to see names I'm not familiar with.

The final run today is from another 'newcomer', but anyone familiar with Sonic Adventure 2 speedrunning will recognize Felipe 'son1cgu1tar' D'Andrade. He's been breaking Sonic Adventure 2 on youtube and at The Sonic Center for a long time, and now he has a completed hero story speedrun to show off. In a game as random and generally glitchy and hard to run as Sonic Adventure 2 is, a sub-half-hour hero story time is excellent, and 00:29:09 is more excellent still. I have a feeling we might be seeing more from him soon…

That's all the runs for today. If you have a hankering for even more, I'd like to remind you that our just-finished marathon is getting uploaded online at a healthy clip. UraniumAnchor is working overtime, and as of this writing we have 36 runs up, which is over half of the 50-something games we played. That number is counting, so keep checking in to get them as they become available.

Finally, I would like to extend a shout-out to the people who donated prizes. They are all extremely awesome people, and they definitely deserve your appreciation and, in some cases, business. Emily 'MercuryDotCom' Lizzi gave us a large chunk of her time (and because she does commissions, money) knitting a bunch of awesome plushes for us. Lindsey King has consistently been a supporter of our marathons since day 1, donating dozens of awesome drawing and animation cels. She too accepts commissions. The stylish perlers were tag-teamed by Caleb Hart and Mecha Richter, the latter of which can be commissioned at mechaisfly __at__ Kurt Janda generously made a Zelda illustration for us; he's also available for commissions, at sonikku.sama __at__ Last but not least, Magnus 'Souleye' Pålsson gave out some VVVVVV steam codes for our lucky winners.

Give them all a hand for helping make the marathon a success. Until next time.

Sunday, August 14, 2011 by Vorpal

Have I told y'all that you're awesome?

We've had three marathons this year. There was Awesome Games Done Quick in January, Japan Relief Done Quick in April, and Summer Games Done Quick has just wound down. Altogether, people chipped in quite a lot: $53,379.83, $25,800.33, and $21,475.06, respectively. Or $100,655.22 total.

Read that number again. We've raised one hundred thousand minty fresh United States dollars this year, from not just the US of A but all around the world, from doing nothing more than playing video games over the internet. All of that, minus about $1000 in paypal fees, is going straight to charities. And that's not counting Classic Games Done Quick's eleven thousand from a year and a half ago.

If you've checked your email recently, you may have noticed that Allison Gilmour, Outreach Director for the Organization for Autism Research, sent you her thanks. She mentioned that the $20,000 you just raised is enough to fund an entire study by itself, which is a pretty amazing success story, all things considered. And really, it's you who got it done, not us. Yeah, we provide the venue, but it's on you.

Have I told you all how awesome you are yet? SGDQ is a smashing success, and I'm proud to be connected to this, even tenuously. If you donated, give yourself a pat on the back. If you'd like to rewatch the marathon, videos are currently coming online. Bet you didn't think you'd hear this again for a while, but just check the schedule. There's really nothing more I can say, because one hundred thousand.

Catch you next time. Right now it's looking like "next time" is going to be Super Awesome Games Done Quick: Turbo 2012 hi-def remix edition (name subject to change) in January. Until then, we'll just keep posting the speedruns you joined the site for. Next update will be pretty soon, so keep checking back.

Once again: one hundred thousand. Thanks for making this possible.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 by Breakdown

Come for the downloads, stay for the marathon

We are mere days away from our charity marathon, Summer Games Done Quick. We've told you the dates (this Thursday starting 2 PM Eastern), we've linked you to the web page, we've assured you it will be awesome. We've done a fair amount to build the hype, but we're turning it up a notch today with our promo video put together courtesy of SDA member CoolMatty with music from SoulEye.

Now obviously, when presented with a video as awesome as this for an event as awesome as our upcoming marathon, the proper thing to do is spread it around, which we're making simple with these handy download links. So post it to your youtube, share it on facebook, embed it on your webpage, tweet about it, do whatever you can think of to get people to see it. Even if you only have a few subscribers/followers/whatevers, that's still a few more people that will know about this thing, and we here at SDA will greatly appreciate the effort.

And it seems a shame to be posting on the front page without unveiling some new runs. Let's get to it shall we?

For the last several years, one of the highest compliments a run can be paid on our forums is to say that shows a level of optimization similar to that of Mario 1. When someone says that, they are saying that your run is clean to the point of nigh perfection and they don't have so much as minor criticism for it. Well, our first new run today really goes to show that even the most flawless looking run can be improved with enough perseverance, even Super Mario Bros. Truly, the perseverance shows in this latest effort from Andrew Gardikis. I mean really, why settle for beating one of the most widely played games ever in five minutes when beating it in under five minutes has such a nicer ring to it? It gives me great pleasure to post this 0:04:59 run. It's about the most fought for one second improvement you've ever seen. Go ahead and watch, the other runs will still be here when you get back.

Back? Good, because this update is packed full of awesome. The only logical way to follow a run as big as the one in the preceding paragraph is with another run from a nearly equally beloved series, and it doesn't hurt if the run is also absolutely amazing. Well, fortunately for us, we have two new runs from one such series to fit that bill. You may remember that Josh 'Funkdoc' Ballard cranked out some amazing runs from the Castlevania series at both of our last two marathons. If you enjoyed those, you'll be very pleased to learn he turned up his play a couple notches on two of those titles in preparing SDA submissions. First up is the original Castlevania. With a couple new strategies and a high level of polish, Josh was able to take 15 seconds off the incumbent time, finishing in a blistering 0:12:06. And if that's not enough, we're also unveiling a massive improvement to Super Castlevania IV. The reception of the original run for this game was largely positive, but Josh absolutely destroyed the previous mark with an improvement of over four minutes, finishing with a time of 0:35:13. This run also comes with audio commentary.

Finishing things off today we have another big obsoletion that honestly, to me, is a little bittersweet. While we are adding a stellar run to our catalogue, we are regrettably losing one of our best audio commentaries. The hard mode category of Contra III: The Alien Wars gets an improvement today courtesy of Jonas 'Hurblat' Martinsson. While this does mean you can see hordes of aliens blasted to bits at higher speeds than before, it does mean the most operatic of Mike Uyama's commentaries can no longer call SDA home. A high price to pay certainly, but when you consider this run beats the one done by Mike freaking Uyama, you'll realize quickly that it's more than worth it (especially since the old run is only a quick search at away). Do yourself a favor and download the new 0:14:42 run, you won't regret it.

Less runs than usual this update, yes, but this should be plenty to keep you busy the next couple days. Just remember to be here this Thursday for the start of 3 consecutive days of live speedrunning goodness. You won't want to miss it!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 by Breakdown

Variety hour

Jumping right in today with a surefire crowd pleaser. Seeing as how the number of people who have played Battletoads far, far outweighs the number who have actually completed it, seeing it sped through with reckless abandon is always quite impressive. Well, be ready to be doubly impressed as debuting today is not one, but two new runs for the title. First up we have runner 'Baraka' breaking into the PAL categories with his 0:21:36 run using warps. Next, we have a familiar face to game page in Chris 'Shadowknife' Foreman with a 100% run clocking in at 0:33:34. Fun fact about the second run, it was actually completed way back in 2008 about a month after his warps run, but was only just recently submitted. I assure you, it was well worth the wait.

Next we have another NES title with a reputation for difficulty, though to say the game isn't as well remembered as Battletoads is a bit of an understatement. Astyanax is the subject of an improvement today courtesy of Josh 'Funkdoc' Ballard. Through some new strategies (many of which, unsurprisingly, involve lots of lag management) Josh was able to chop close to four minutes off the incumbent time, finishing in a brisk 0:16:47. Also included is an audio commentary to help explain the finer points.

Moving away from the NES for a bit, we have a new run for our (slowly) expanding Turbografx 16 catalogue. Today one of the marquee titles for the console, the original Splatterhouse, makes its way onto the game list. Zack 'zallard1' Allard is man behind the mask for this 0:13:53 run.

If you're anything like me, you think chess is a pretty good game, but it would be made much better if the pieces actually battled to the death instead of simply letting the attacking piece win all the time. Well, such a game does exist: Archon for the NES. Tony 'ZenicReverie' Foster shows off the power of the dark side in this title in his 0:01:01 run.

Rounding out the update today is the work of runner Elijah 'scaryice' Miller. But it's not just one more run for this news post, oh no. Elijah's been busy to say the least, offering up four runs over three games, and a varied selection of games at that. Elijah begins with one of the more bizarre licensed games to ever grace the NES: the mini game driven The Three Stooges. Elijah shows he knows a thing or two about wheelchair driving and Stooges trivia on his way to a time of 0:04:41. Next, he moves to a sidescrolling platformer in Amagon. Making good use of both the "little guy with a gun" and the "muscle bound strongman who shoots laser beams" forms of the protagonist he makes his way to a final time of 0:19:45. Lastly, he supplies two runs for the Famicom exclusive King Kong 2: Ikari No Megaton Punch. Elijah pilots the titular ape through an all bosses run in 0:10:08 as well as a run that just skips straight to the final boss, finishing in just 0:03:34.

And while the giant, colorful banner (courtesy, as always, of Lindsey King. Her stuff is awesome, check it out!) at the top of the page should serve as a good reminder, it's well worth mentioning again that we are just over a week away from our next charity marathon, Summer Games Done Quick, which will benefit the Organization for Autism Research. For those who don't know the drill, starting Thursday, August 4th we'll have streams embedded right here on the front page and will have SDA runners showing their skills on a wide variety of great titles. So be sure to stop by and watch some of your personal favorite games get destroyed live, and maybe donate a little something to a good cause while you're at it. It's going to be a great time, so make sure you don't miss it!

Monday, July 11, 2011 by dex

The scoop

I always had a soft spot in my heart for our first game today. Perhaps it's the fact that it defied the FPS trends at the time, perhaps it was because the game was made by a Polish studio and it's just the patriotism speaking, or maybe, quite simply, Painkiller is a really entertaining game. And one that I never considered all that speedrunnable, due to rampant blocking of the player's path until all monsters in the vicinity are pulverized into demon goo. Arthur 'Artas1984' Lozovskis begs to differ with that assessment and shows just how much you can skip through clever trickery and how fast the fights can really go in his Individual-levels run on the highest difficulty - Trauma. The total time comes to 1:07:22 of some really hasty demon gibbing.

On the opposite side of FPS games, where iron sights and things other than complete destruction of everything reside, we have our next game, Crysis Warhead, the expansion pack to the most interactive benchmark slash predator simulator. Yuri 'xsite' Z., who ran the original game, is back for more trickery with the nanosuit. This time, however, he wasn't able to use the glitch that completely obliterated the previous game, though don't let that fool you - he still has quite a few tricks up his sleeve. Tricks that let him finish the expansion in just 0:26:59, done in 54 segments on Delta difficulty - because highest difficulty levels are always more exciting.

Away from FPS land, we have a couple runs of what might be the least pronounceable game ever, VVVVVV. Joseph Schurig decided to completely dominate the page of this platforming game with multiple runs on multiple different categories: the any% run in 20 segments (finishes the game in 0:15:04), another any% run, but without any of that sissy thing called 'saving' (this is done in 0:15:54), and - to top the page off - a 100% run in 37 segments (0:18:20). Quite a package of nice runs, right there.

Speaking of a package of nice runs, you didn't think this update would be short, did you? Mkt2015's old run of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets got a pretty major update (over 20 minutes of improvement, ending up with 0:47:34) by Bart 'TheVoid' de Waal. Mister TheVoid used a lot more segments, 51 versus 10 segments in the old run to be painstakingly exact, but this is justified by the higher density of tighter tricks. I don't have much else to say about this run, except that the quality is as solid as for anything TheVoid has ever sent in to the site.

One of the few really good three dimensional real-time strategy games is none other than the pioneer of that genre, Homeworld. No doubt helped by the fact the source code for the game has openly been released by the creators of the game (respect to them for that, by the way), Mike 'grndino' Arnold has created a 17 segment space opera for all of you speedrun watchers to enjoy. Go check this 2:06:44 out.

To add to our extensive repertoire of Diablo II runs, we have a run of a yet another spiritual successor of that game (a label that sticks to pretty much every hack and slash), Torchlight. Max Trunck picks the Vanquisher class (basically the game's rogue) to unleash some serious damage and useful glitches in this single-segment run, getting a final time of 0:40:15. The run features audio commentary, all the more reason to check it out.

Finally, if you're a fan of the Star Wars franchise, boy, do we have a lot of Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds material for you. Giancarlo André Rivas De Amat has done individual levels runs for all the campaigns in the game and the Clone Campaigns expansion, and let me tell, it runs for a long time: 9:53:14 normally and 3:12:22 for the mentioned Clone campaigns. Yes, 13 hours of footage altogether. I don't think I need to elaborate any further: check the comments, check the videos, it should keep you entertained for a long time.

Now that the corpus of the update is done with, we have a couple administrative matters to take care of. Firstly, you might remember from earlier updates and some... discussions on the forums that scripts have been banned. Now, it would be a dick move to retroactively remove the already made scripted runs from the archive, but we (as in, the entire staff) think that having them on the main pages might make people think that scripted runs are still accepted. So, the game pages have been updated accordingly, and the scripted runs are all on this page. The look of that page will probably change to be less cluttered sometime in the future, by the way.

Also, you might have possibly noticed a little banner for the summer marathon, cunningly titled Summer Games Done Quick. Check out more details by clicking said banner, or this link.

I think that's all for tonight. See you around.