Saturday, December 31, 2011 by Breakdown
Said it once before, but it bears repeating
Pretty awesome, huh? Huge thanks to SDA member Cool Matty for putting it together and Grant from Metroid Metal for letting us use the track. Now, with the marathon mere days away, I have a humble request for all of you reading this: help this promo video do its promoting thing. Link people here to see it, or even better, download it and upload it to any corner of the internet you can. Twitter, youtube, facebook, whatever: if you're helping to spread the word about AGDQ you're doing all of us at SDA a great service.
Seeing as we're inside of a week away from 5 consecutive days of live speedrunning goodness this update will be a little lighter on runs than normal. Not to worry, though, as what they lack in quantity they more than make up for in quality, and incidentally all these games will be featured during the marathon to further keep the hype train rolling. Let's get to it, shall we?
There are few games out there than have seen the same amount competition and scrutiny from the SDA community in recent years as Super Mario 64. New tricks have been discovered, routes have been modified, and a dedicated group of runners have been driving each other to lower and lower times. Truth be told, all this attention has really made some of the runs on site show their age a bit, but today the game page is getting a facelift courtesy of two submissions from runner Mike 'Siglemic' Sigler. For starters, he submitted a run for the currently absent 70 star category that clocks in at a brisk 0:49:43. If that weren't enough, he's also provided us with an improvement of over 20 minutes to our 120 star run, finishing with a time of 1:48:05. Of course, the competition on this game didn't stop dead when these runs were submitted and faster times have already surfaced elsewhere on the internet. Is an improvement to either of these runs going to make its way to SDA? Time will tell.
Sticking with Nintendo properties for the time being, we have a new run for the first generation of the Pokémon games. Pokémon Blue gets its first single segment run on SDA courtesy of runner Mark 'werster' McKenzie. Mark gathers up the requisite badges, takes them to the Elite Four, and shows the rival his grandfather never had any faith in him in a very quick 2:04, just 5 minutes behind the red version's segmented time.
Wrapping things up today we have some news for the game that started it all at SDA: Quake. While this is old news to those of you who frequent the Quake news page, for many of you this is probably the first you've heard of the newest installments in the Quake done Quick series. A lot of time, effort, and tiny optimizations from many members of the community culminate in the release of the any% Quake done Quickest in 0:11:29 and the aptly named Quake done 100% Quickest (2 guesses on what category, first one doesn't count) in 0:48:00. If you're a fan of the game, genre, or speedrunning in general you owe it to yourself to check these out, they're that good.
That should be more than enough to tide you good people over until Wednesday, January 4th, at which time this space will be occupied with a stream window that'll have all the live speedrunning you can handle. Be here, you won't want to miss it!
Wednesday, December 28, 2011 by dex
We interrupt your broadcast
Because an update with just the promo would be a little bare, here's a couple runs for your viewing pleasure. The Polish western-themed shooter Call of Juarez got some attention from Evgeny 'Camo' Eliseev, who decided that reliving the glory days of the (fictional) Wild West was not something he wanted to do for any extended period of time. So instead he blasted through the game in just 1:21:46. The run is on Easy difficulty and in 82 segments, but don't let that fool you into thinking it ain't a big deal, 'cause nothing is an easy feat when done in a western.
Meanwhile, in more modern times, Mihail 'horned' Petrov decided to go through some infiltration action in I.G.I.-2: Covert Strike. Yeah, I know that title looks weird, blame the developers. Anyhow, Mr. Petrov did not think the whole 'stealth' thing was really all that important, and instead went for the strategy of rushing through ranks as fast as possible - a decision we at SDA are always delighted to see. The resulting time is 0:58:44 in 19 segments, and as someone who knows how unforgiving this game can be, I have to say: damn good work.
That's all for today (I told you there would only be a couple games!). Stay tuned for the marathon!
Friday, December 16, 2011 by Vorpal
Wherein my preferences are made clear
For a long time, Clue's 3-second run was considered an unbeatable run, a masterful confluence of game choice and outstanding improv detective skill. All this remains true, even as many runners searched for a game that could be completed in 2 seconds or fewer. Clue was never beaten. But a crucial detail was overlooked: there's also a PC version. Joining the existing run is a run clocking in at a solid 0:00:01, or one second flat, executed by Ace Dick Ellis 'Chrno' Watson. I rather suspect this time will stand for a while...
Metal Gear Solid has enduring popularity despite people's propensity to only actually like one or two games in the series, but Metal Gear Solid 3 is probably one of those games. We have two runs for you today, both done by ﾃ･ﾂｷﾂ敕･ﾂ・ε｣ﾂﾂ'Hikari'ﾃ｣ﾂﾂﾃｨﾂ仰ｱﾃ･ﾂ可・(Hidenori 'Hikari' Kawamoto), and both segmented runs on the European Extreme difficulty. One clocks in at 1:23:37 and achieves the Fox Hound rank, the other at 1:38:42 and achieves the Kerotan rank. I'm sure you'll enjoy both of these solid improvements.
It's been a long time since the SNES Prince of Persia has graced the SDA front page, but Benjamin 'UraniumAnchor' Cutler couldn't let that stand. This time he's completed a set of training mode levels, which come out to a total of 0:03:03. Unfortunately missing from the SNES version is a loud, booming voiceover commanding you to pick up axles and bring them up to the top; after all, everyone agrees that all training segments would be improved by such a thing.
It's been an even longer time since one Mr. Michael Uyama has completed a run, but retiring does have its advantages. While his current time is eaten up by marathon practice and a rather peculiar Genesis gem called Sub-Terrania that some jerk inflicted him with, Mike managed to complete a run of Sunset Riders beforehand. Join the pink cowboy Cormano as he struts to a solid 0:18:19. You may also be delighted to hear that this run features not one, but two audio commentaries. One is Mike by his lonesome, the other features a big skype call. Check those out.
System Shock 2's longstanding run has been on the site for years at this point, since 2005. Taking a chunk out of a well-optimized run is no mean feat. Enter first-time runner Michael 'M1' Bullock and his segmented 0:32:54 on the Impossible difficulty. M1 uses better optimization and a few new tricks to shave 3 minutes off. This next bit always feels good to say: the run includes audio commentary. Be sure to check that out.
The last run today involves The X-Files Game. Two lost agents and ten minutes later, Bryan 'bpcookie' Powell files his final report in a brisk 0:12:44. Note that this run isn't formally declassified, but we're making an exception because of how much paperwork the Freedom of Information Act involves. Haven't played it myself, so I'm not sure if aliens show up, but they'd better.
Lastly, some people (imagine the world's most obnoxious sneer) may have doubts as to how awesome charity marathons are, or may have joined us only recently and not have been exposed to our previous marathons. For these people, I must reiterate: Awesome Games Done Quick is, well, awesome. If you don't believe me, check out our highlights, and much more importantly, our bloopers. If you want to go back even further, we also have Classic Games Done Quick highlights and bloopers on tap.
Are you hype? We are hype! Join us on Jan 4 as we defeat cancer all over again.
Until next time.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011 by Breakdown
It's that time again
And if you want to start adding to our donation total early, there's an easy way for you to do that thanks to SDA member and our live streams page creator/maintainer bmn. He has enrolled the live streams page in both the Amazon Associates and eBay Partner Network, which generates a bit of income when people access either Amazon or eBay through the link at the top of the w00ty page. All proceeds raised through this will be donated to the Prevent Cancer Foundation, so if you plan to use either site for your holiday shopping do us and cancer research a favor and take a detour through w00ty on the way to your shopping site of choice.
Of course, while the upcoming marathon is big news, most of you are no doubt expecting new runs when a new post hits the front page. Well, I'm not going to disappoint on that front today. Let's get to it.
Contra III: The Alien Wars has been seeing no shortage of love recently, and this is a trend that continues with two new runs hitting the game page this update. For starters, Jeremy 'DK28' Doll has an improvement to his easy difficulty run. Making use of everything the game has to offer he was able to chop 10 seconds off his old time, clocking in with a final time of 0:12:39. But that's not all for Contra 3 fans today. We also have a brand new category hitting the game page today courtesy of runner Kyle 'Mr. K' Halverson. The new category in question is low% on hard difficulty, and Mr. K makes very effective use of the pea shooter on his way to a final time of 0:22:47.
Jeremy 'DK28' Doll isn't only adept at blowing aliens to tiny bits. He's also a good guy to have around when the mayor's daughter gets kidnapped by a gang of thugs, as evidenced in his runs on Final Fight. Jeremy adds two runs to the game page today, both played on the GBA's Final Fight One. He pilots Alpha Guy to the end in a speedy 0:24:27, and has the good mayor, Mr. MIKE HAGGAR himself, kick the crap out of all the thugs who dare oppose him in 0:24:26.
Not long ago, the show Beavis and Butthead made its triumphant return to television. It's seemingly appropriate then that we also unveil a new speedrun for the Genesis game based on the two underachieving, snickering teenagers. Runner Richard Gibson takes the titular (heh heh) characters through their quest to reassemble their GWAR tickets in a very quick 0:12:15.
Wrapping things up today we have a run some of you may find educational, and may in fact help to advance your career. Runner Chris 'Trekhaak' van Halbeek shows a great proficiency in his ABCs over the course of his run through Elmo's Letter Adventure. He guides the red muppet monster through his vocabulary journey in a brisk 0:14:38 on the game's easy mode.
Friday, November 25, 2011 by dex
Quality and quantity
Let's start with a run of one of the most acclaimed and treasured indie games in recent history, the genre-bending puzzle/platform/time-manipulation game titled Braid. Ralf Janiak evidently decided that segmenting was for the less dedicated and went for the single segment category. Using the assorted time gimmicks in a very clever way, Mr. Janiak managed to find enough shortcuts and tricks to get the time down to 0:27:50.70 (on the in-game timer). A very interesting watch. And no, star collection is not included.
Speaking of time gimmicks, the next game - Prince of Persia (2008) - curiously does not include them, a surprising departure from the formula perfected in Sands Of Time. This gameplay change did not phase Tobias 'Aphox' Baers, who blazes through the game in just 3:08, thanks to a very well planned route. To aid the execution of said route without the power to control the timespace, he used 46 segments. Forgotten Sands next, perhaps?
Up next, one of the titles I consider to have the highest quality writing you can find in video games, Psychonauts. After hearing that a game this fun could possibly be a financial failure, Mathias 'Butt3rs' Hoiss decided to do the game justice by making a suitably polished run. The result of the reported two years of planning and playing is this 1:07:19 in 40 segments. A recommended watch for any aspiring psychic agents.
Another of the runs today is Oskar Angelmark's run of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, which is, as you probably remember, the first in the series, and also named differently outside America. Kind of amusing how "Philosopher's Stone" was changed, apparently being a phrase too big to cross the pond. But I digress - the important thing is that Mr. Angelmark did his best to abolish the earlier run by Mkt2015, and managed to knock off well over half an hour, yielding 1:29:12. 50 segments instead of 4, but hey, that's the price of progress.
Hot on the heels of the release of Serious Sam 3: BFE, here are Laurent 'KlVis' Villard's improvements of the last level of Serious Sam: The Second Encounter, The Grand Cathedral. The first one without any OOB (0:04:30), and the second one with a bunch of it (0:02:58). These improvements knock down the total time to 1:01:32.
Finally, to round the update off, Risto 'RJ19' Jouslahti's runs of Painkiller ILs. The levels in which Risto somehow improved the reckless destruction are Catacombs, Opera House, Asylum, Snowy Bridge, Train Station and Abandoned Factory. These all knock the time down by almost 3 minutes, to 1:04:40. Highest difficulty, of course - the manliest of difficulties. Well played.
Anyway, that's it for today. See you all next time.
Sunday, November 12, 2011 by Vorpal
Three's a crowd
On the flip side of things, we have Half-Minute Hero, an extremely quick and awesome game that makes for some pretty cool runs. Please welcome Clayton 'Raoh' Potrzeba to the site, and his first run involves blazing through Hero 3 mode in 0:00:12.48. Yes, that's twelve seconds. Think you could save the world in 12 seconds? Watch this first.
Next up is another first-time runner, but believe me when I say that Matt 'packattack' Flees has been around for a while and knows his stuff. He doesn't disappoint with his arrival at SDA, and we consequently get to watch a good set of videos for Donkey Kong Country Returns. The times to beat add up to 1:22:13 in a collection of individual level runs. It's fortunate for the Kremlings that they didn't show up this time around.
Instead of running around with hairy-chested characters, Jeremy 'DK28' Doll chooses to run around with buff oiled chests and exploding aliens. If hearing that he's performed a new run of Contra 3 doesn't get you excited, then maybe hearing that it was done with no items will. DK28 completes the game on easy, with no items or deaths, in 0:15:30, a solid 40-second improvement over his previous time. It also comes with audio commentary for your listening pleasure, so be sure to check that out.
Fo r the Final part of this update, we're plugging the gaps in your Final Fantasy run collection. Final Fantasy 3 gets the speedrun treatment this time around, and presiding over it is the aptly named 'Dominator'. Dominator crushes the forces of evil in a 12-segment 1:27:18, which you have to admit is extremely quick for a Final Fantasy game. I guess that's just what happens when you run a game where you don't need HP.
Congratulations to all of the runners for their nice work, and we hope to see them again soon.
Sunday, November 6, 2011 by Breakdown
Shoutouts to saving
Next, we have Ryan 'Poxnor' Vogt showing he's got talents other than being a pro charity marathon donator. He also knows a thing or two about speedrunning, and this is evidenced in his first submission to the site, a single segment run of the Game Boy's Final Fantasy Legend. Ryan makes his way through this inaptly named game (not only did it spawn several sequels, it's also part of the SaGa series) in a very quick 1:07:35.
Staying in the RPG realm of things we have John 'chessjerk' Kearsley IV with an improvement to one of my personal favorite 8-bit games in the genre. It wasn't long after we posted his initial run for Dragon Warrior IV that he began work on improving it, and what an improvement it ended up being. Through some new strategies, more luck manipulation, and a higher segment count he was able to cut close to an hour and a half off of his old time. In a series notorious for being heavy on grinding, the final time of 4:52 is really quite impressive. Seriously, check this one out.
Moving along, we have an inaugural run for a puzzle game. Judging from his comments, it was quite by accident that runner 'pojr' ended up with a Kirby's Avalanche cart back in the day, but I imagine now he looks at this as serendipitous, especially considering the run of his we're unveiling today. Playing on the game's hardest difficulty he arranges like-colored blobs with blazing speed, finishing with a time of 0:07:43.
Wrapping things up today, we have an improvement to a Capcom/Disney 8-bit collaboration. The Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers run we've had on site has stood for many years, but today we release a run that bests it courtesy of runner Travis 'Klaige' Nible. The crates fly fast and furious in this 0:10:38 run, an improvement of 19 seconds over the prior run.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011 by dex
Only mostly late
Aleš 'Ewil' Horák was hard at work improving his own Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation time. The result of that work is that he managed to cut off a whopping 45 minutes - dedication impressive even for this very site. The new run clocks at 1:28:04, and should be a good watch for any Tomb Raider speedrun fan. 45 segments, which is actually one fewer than the previous run.
Assassin's Creed II is an installment of one of my favorite recent franchises, which makes me all the more excited to see a run of it. François 'Fed981' Federspiel is the one to go stabby in Renaissance Italy, and boy, does he have the stabbing part down. This 5:42:16 - yes, that's right; really speaks volumes about the superb length of the game - is in 18 segments, and definitely does the game justice.
Finally, on the other side of the 'lengthy' spectrum, we have Tomi 'sarou' Salo being a poop and taking great joy in beating my Max Payne 2: The Fall Of Max Payne Individual Level runs. The bastard had the audacity to beat the p1c1 and p1c2 by yours truly, p1c3 and his own p1c5 and pro3. I swear, kids these days... The total improvement is 32 seconds, down to 0:19:20.
In all seriousness, though, great stuff. Go watch those. And see you next time.
Friday, October 14, 2011 by Vorpal
Coming at you
If that excited you, there's more where that came from, even if it doesn't come with a melodramatic intro. Mike 'MegaDestructor9' Dickson, whom you previously saw destroying Mega Man 9 individual level times, set his sights on a drastically different game: Banjo-Tooie. The bird and bear have spent the time since Banjo-Kazooie sharpening their beak using special N64-branded tools, and they poke their way through all the boss fights in the game in 0:08:28 and change.
Eight minutes may not sound like a lot of time in the context of lengthier 3D platformers, but that's way too much for Justin 'UCpro' Salamon. UCpro brings us a run of Tiger Woods PGA Tour '10. More specifically, he completes a run of all 18 holes on the TPC Scottsdale course, using the discgolf mode, in 0:05:07. Considering the luck I've had doing precise things with the Wiimote, this is more impressive than you might think. And I've never even used the Wii MotionPlus.
Even faster than that is four and a half minutes, which is what Greg Innes has in store for us. The games aren't quite comparable, however: Greg's run some of the Heavy Rain DLC, namely the Taxidermist. Greg rounds out his existing run of the main game and uncovers a second serial killer in what is essentially the time per day many people spend in elevators, or 0:04:31. If only it worked like that in real life.
Let's round out a sequence of shorter and shorter runs with something a little longer. Tom 'slowbro' Batchelor, known for his uncompromising love of quirky Xbox Live Arcade indie games only he has heard of, has returned with another indie game run: Twisted Pixel's The Maw, featuring Frank, an alien slave driver, and his cute little omnivorous companion. slowbro pushes the Maw to completion in 0:56:55, completed as a set of individual levels.
I usually have to spend a couple minutes writing an intro for a game, but Portal needs no introduction. Through the deaths of thousands of test subjects more efficient placements of conveniently human-sized ad-hoc quantum displacement devices were discovered, leading Cody Miller to improve his existing run by exactly three minutes. The exact time is 0:21:37, done single-segment on the 360 version and without scripts. Get it while it's hot.
The last game today is a bit of a palate cleanser. I unfortunately haven't had the opportunity to play The Guardian Legend for very long, but Cory 'TheSeawolf1' Speiser has guaranteed that, whatever the plot of the game happens to be, I'll prefer his wonderfully psychedelic comments. Seawolf shoots his way to the self-destruct mechanisms on this party boat in 0:54:56, shutting it down a solid 8 minutes faster than the previous run. Let's be honest, now: a self-destruct mechanism is a good metaphor for a party's winding down.
That's all for today. Until next time.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011 by Breakdown
Getting better all the time
At one point in time the NES's Ninja Gaiden was one of the more notable omissions from our catalogue, but since that first run hit several years back it's been one of our more fought over titles. Today we're posting the sixth run of the game to be hosted at SDA, which happens to have been done by the same man who did the third, Jim Hanson. The margin of improvement is five seconds, which should really speak to the level of optimization this title has received over the years. Check out this 0:12:39 run, it's really quite something.
Keeping with the trend of squeezing a few more seconds out of a category, we bring you the work of David Heidman Jr. Ever the perfectionist, he's provided us today with a self improvement to his Super C low% run. He still makes the pea shooter look like the spread gun, and this time around it's ten seconds faster than before, clocking in at 0:14:30. Also included is an audio commentary.
Now, seeing an improvement that gets an already highly optimized run that much closer to perfection is great, but it's also awesome to see new strategies and techniques applied to a game that yield a time significantly lower than what came before. And really, there have been few improvements as massive in SDA history as the one I'm about to unveil. Runner Craig 'cyghfer' Gordon today provides us with a long overdue improvement to Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. How big an improvement? How about one hour? Not enough for you? Well, perhaps even more impressively he also reduced the segment count from thirteen to one. Stated plainly, it's a single segment run in 2:57:28, and you want to watch it, right now.
An improvement like the one above is a hard act to follow, but our next run is definitely up to the task. In the past two years Michael 'Tigger77' Welle has treated viewers to two fantastic marathon runs and an amazing segmented run of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, and today he gains total ownership of the game page with his most recent effort on the title: a single segment run. Playing on the DX version, Michael bests the incumbent time by just over a minute, finishing in 1:29:20.
The last run for this update stretches the improvement theme I have going here a bit. No, this run doesn't replace another on the site, but I'm sure fans of Snake Rattle 'n' Roll will see the addition of this as a noted improvement to the game page. Runner Giel Goertz has turned his attention back to this notoriously difficult title, and the result of this is a warpless run to go along with his existing warps run. Played on the PAL version, Giel cruises through everything the game has to throw at him in a very quick 0:13:26.
That's it for runs, but we do have a few more new videos to showcase today. SDA member Benjamin 'UraniumAnchor' Cutler has put together a collection of highlights and bloopers from our recent marathon, Summer Games Done Quick. Both can be seen on youtube (highlights/bloopers) and also are available for download on archive.org. Of course, rather than downloading these individually, you can get both of them along with every single video from SGDQ in one shot with this handy torrent. Big thanks to Benjamin for his efforts on these videos and all the encodes from the marathon.