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News from July through September, 2012. [Newer | Older]

Saturday, September 8, 2012 by Breakdown

Intros are overrated

Diving right in today, we're starting off with something that's all PJ's fault. Well, to be fair, PJ didn't make The Lawnmower Man, but he did make a pretty kickass speedrun for it. Be ready to watch lots of flying through cyberspace, see tons of CDs get collected (always CDs with this guy), and not see many of the bosses as PJ blazes his way through this title in a very quick 0:24:53.

Next up, were adding to our total of runs featuring a pink-haired caveman as the protagonist, bringing the total to two. This total may seem small, but it has no room to increase currently considering this particular game is the only sequel to the other entry meeting this criteria. For those who haven't figured it out yet, Tomba! 2: The Evil Swine Return is making its way onto the game list today. Runner 'Chris X' braves the army of villainous pigs to save his lady fair in 1:26:13 over 18 segments.

So this is the last paragraph with new runs, and I know some of you actually said "lame" at your computer screen after reading that, but let me assure you these next few sentences are packed full of awesome, well at least if you're a fan of Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link. For starters, we have two improvements from Kristian 'Artic_Eagle' Emanuelsen. Kristian upped the ante on both of the NTSC any% categories, reclaiming the single segment time with a blistering 1:07:43 and improving his own single segment with up+A warping and death abuse time, bringing it down to 0:57:43, both featuring healthy savings from the runs that were posted before. But that's not all for the Zelda 2 fans today. We also have an inaugural run for the 100% category brought to you by Travis 'Solairflaire' Hofman, clocking in at 1:15:22. Now, those who know me should know I'm a little biased towards this title, but even still you should take my word for it that these runs are awesome, and you should watch them repeatedly.

One last point of order before calling it an update, and that is that we know have highlight and blooper reels as well as torrents available for the many amazing runs done during Summer Games Done Quick. These can all be found on SGDQ's archive details page as well as individual links for every single run from the event. Go get you some. EDIT: If you're the kind of person who thinks downlading is for squares, fear not, you can still enjoy the lovely highlight and blooper reels on youtube (highlights/bloopers).

Sunday, August 26, 2012 by Vorpal

Easy themes galore

Todd 'Mecha Richter' Foreman is rather notorious for pulling runs from the queue and submitting small improvements. It's a great thing to be known for, but that rabbit hole has to end sometime. As he has since joined a great throng of people burnt out from running Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, we finally get to see an any% improvement with Richter. After five or so incremental improvements, we're left with 0:05:40 worth of uppercuts and airdashes. Note that there is no audio commentary; the statid lies.

Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia also gets a new run today. Adrien Monpeyssen, whose moniker of A-M is quite appropriate in the land of three-letter Castlevania acronyms, decided that Ecclesia needed some more love, and he delivers in the form of a 40-segment Hard difficulty run with a level cap of 1, one, uno, whatever you want to call it. Considering how much additional time bosses take, it's pretty impressive that the finish comes in at barely 10 minutes over the existing time. 1:07:54, to be exact.

Let's switch gears and talk about a less, shall we say, morbid series. Let's talk about a cheery series. And then let's talk about a game in said series that's not quite so cheery. I don't know the right word to describe Shadow the Hedgehog's atmosphere, but jarring certainly fits. 'bertin', longtime IRC regular and Sonic Center member, decided that Shadow needed a guiding hand. The game has multiple endings, but bertin chose the Neutral Story on new game +. Within those confines and assisted by lots of good luck on the final boss, he blazes through to the conclusion in 0:18:20.

Let us, however, return to more mainstream Sonic discussion. Hopefully the most popular Sonic game of all time, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, is mainstream enough. Mike 'mike89' McKenzie spent the earlier half of this year pouring hours of attempts into Genesis Sonic games, and he's got lots of stuff to show for it. First is a Sonic run in 0:16:13, packed with an audio commentary for your pleasure. Immediately after completing that, he set to work on a Knuckles run, which turned out to be a slightly faster 0:15:58. During this process he also managed to improve a couple of the individual level times; Metropolis 3 is now 0:45 thanks to a new zip, and Wing Fortress is 1:46 courtesy of a single-cycle boss (and if you have any childhood memories, you should already know how ridiculous that concept is).

Mike89 is currently occupied not-practicing games he swears he's not-running, but he's not quite done in this update. His old 2006-ish set of Sonic 3 & Knuckles runs have been completely replaced with the addition of this new Tails run, clocking in at 0:29:28. And with all of his recent runs posted, mike89 can get back to the important things: not pulling a stanski and burning himself out trying to do a 100% run of a Genesis Sonic.

And I can get back to playing games that aren't my marathon games! Everybody wins, especially BlueGlass and ShadowJacky.

Saturday, August 18, 2012 by dex

All the pieces matter

First game today is one that bears a very close resemblance to one Resident Evil - the last European Sega Saturn game, Deep Fear. The enigmatic Mr. 'ikkusumêru' made a run of this (at least to me) little known release, quite some time ago in fact. Took a while to get it verified, but that doesn't in any way diminish the top notch quality of this 2:19:29. Done in 4 segments, and it's a good watch, go fetch it. By the by, reading the plot notes... who the hell names a research facility the "Big Table"? A mystery for the ages...

On the opposite end of the seriousness to hilariousness scale, we have a run on Super Monkey Ball. Also on the opposite end of categories, as this one is a single-segment - quite a feat considering the hectic nature of the game. The one who undertook this little fool's errand is Charles Griffin, and he's certainly the right man in the right place; quite a lot of awesome bounces and clever tricks in this one, so don't skip it, even if monkeys aren't your thing. 0:07:27.81 of madness it is.

A couple short ones. The All-Star time on Easy difficulty in Super Smash Bros. Brawl got a solid improvement. Mark 'ChiboSempai' Korsak knocked down the time from the highly respectable 3:36 to an even more respectable 0:03:25.61. Short, but sweet.

In the same vein, we have a Crash Course DLC time in Left 4 Dead. It's a multiplayer time, too - we always like seeing those coop runs. 'Freezard', Adam 'AdamAK' Kuczynski, Max 'oasiz' Ylitalo and Lee 'flicky' Reeves are the ones responsible for this sparkling 0:06:21. That's pretty fast. One note regarding the comments though: not sure about whether this is the first 4-player coop on the main SDA site (it might be), but for a little bit of history, we have had 8-player coops back in the Quake heyday. Good to see coops still happen even with Quake out the mix.

All for tonight (more was planned, but some complications popped up). See you around.

Thursday, August 9, 2012 by Breakdown

Double vision

Some astute readers may notice that I was slated to update last time. That is quite true. About all I can say is sometimes Vorpal is the man and steps up to fill the front page void.

With that out of the way, are you ready for some runs? I certainly hope so, because this update is a doozy.

Starting things things off, we have two new entries for the Gears of War game page. Runner William 'Youkai' Welch has an Insane difficulty run to go up alongside his Casual run. Playing on the 360 version and using 73 segments (which have been appended to one file for easy viewing) he charges through the worst the game has to throw at him in a brisk 1:56:54. But that's not all for this title today. Youkai also taken control of Marcus for another casual difficulty run, but this time around he's got Andrew 'Brassmaster' Meredith for back up as Dominic. The team tears through the game very efficiently in a single segment, finishing in 1:35:08. You can see the action from the perspective of either Marcus or Dominic, or just get both vids and sync them up for the full viewing experience.

Moving along, we have a fairly atypical entry to the Super Mario Bros. 3 game page. There's a multitude of possible categories for this game, but they've always been approached as a single segment. Well, Mitch Fowler is bucking that tradition with his submission of a complete IL table for the NES version. For those curious, all levels are started as small Mario, are timed using real time and not the game timer, and some of the strats you see will blow your mind. Total for the table is 0:48:53, go check it out. Oh, and those more traditional single segment categories I mentioned before, Mitch did a run for one of those too (and it's hardly the afterthought I just made it sound like). He's also submitted an improvement to his own warpless time, chopping off 43 seconds to bring the time down to a nice round 0:55:00.

Keeping in both the NES and ILs-plus-a-SS realm of things, we have the long awaited posting of a set of runs for Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! I've already spoiled what's to come, so let's just get to it. Runner 'sinister1' has put together an IL table for the game with an assist on King Hippo from 'adelikat' of TASvideos fame. A high level in optimization is a given in an IL table, but know a few fights in this table actually match the time of the current TAS. If that doesn't make you curious as to what's in store in this 0:14:48.12 batch of videos I don't know what will. Also on offer today, as alluded to before, is a single segment run of the game also done by sinister1. This one clocks in just 35 seconds behind his old segmented (which has been removed with this update by request, you can still dig it up on archive), finishing in 0:17:06.24. And if you're curious just how much Punch-Out!! knowledge can be dropped in just over seventeen minutes, be sure to check out the hyper-informative audio commentary.

Now that last paragraph had enough Punch-Out!! goodness to satisfy anybody, but we're going for a little excess today and also offering up a set of IL runs for the the 16-bit entry in the series. Yes, Super Punch-Out!! got the individual level treatment as well with contributions from runners Zack 'Zallard1' Allard, David Heidman Jr., and Jeremy 'DK28' Doll. The total time for the table is an amazingly quick 0:02:30.30. Fun fact, not a single fight takes longer than 20 seconds on the game clock. It's quite a set of runs, be sure to check them out.

That's it for runs, but there is an upcoming event that may interest you good people. The Ludendi Videogame Association is going to be hosting a marathon they've dubbed the European Speedsters Assembly. A group of European speedrunners (including several SDA members) will be coming together starting on August 16th to charge through a wide array of games in support the charity Hand In Hand. Further details are available on their marathon website (Edit: I've been informed the Swedish part of the site has a more up to date schedule [which is in English], check it out). So check out their schedule and prepare to have your free time monopolized from the 16th to the 19th, and maybe throw some funds at a good cause while you're at it. It promises to be a good time.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012 by Vorpal

A soapbox

Some astute readers may have noticed that I wasn't slated to update next. That is quite true. About all I can say is that real life sometimes does not care for carefully-coordinated schedules.

Six runs today. The first is Severance: Blade of Darkness, a game I've not heard of before. Judging from every scrap of information I've seen while composing this update, it seems like my ignorance should be a regretful one. Always had a soft spot in my heart for less-than-modern PC games, even if I haven't played many. In any case, this run was completed over a year ago and has taken a long, meandering route to the front page. We are definitely proud to finally present Miles 'Tesseract' Lajoie's 0:44:59 in 77 segments. You always know a run is good when the runner says something like this: "On a completely unrelated note, I'm taking a break from speedrunning this game because my fingers hurt."

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare gets an update today, but it's not quite what you think. Longtime runner Mark 'ExplodingCabbage' Amery makes an appearance, not with a new run but with an update to an existing one. Specifically, he improved one segment of the existing run by Sami 'nego' Reinikainen. The Heat mission gets a new run, and the total time therefore drops by almost a minute, from 1:38:59 to 1:38:14. Fun stuff. Due to the nature of the update, that link displays the entire run; if you want to see just the updated mission, click on segment 12.

Crash Bandicoot 2 gets a lot of love, leading to such displays as the game page intro (wonder who wrote that?). Trihex's existing 100% run has been joined by a much shorter permutation; 'ElectronAvenue' has decided to simply rip the game a new one, and he does so with style. With a single-segment 0:14:01, to be exact, using large-skip glitches and on the European version. The glitch used seems pretty amusing to me, so be sure to give this a go.

Next up is Gargoyle's Quest, the oft-forgotten prequel to Demon's Crest. Unfortunately I don't have any interesting factoids about this game; it's something I've been meaning to play for a fairly long time. What I can tell you, though, is that it has pretty spiffy music and is a fun watch. First-time runner Christian 'bailli' Landvogt defeats the invasion of the Ghoul Realm in a rather swift 0:30:54. Bet Arthur can't do that.

Mohawk and Headphone Jack needs no introduction, and I'm far too exasperated by the game to give it one. Let's just say that this is the first run hosted by SDA to really, genuinely require a Motion Sickness Warning. In between drinking to drive away the memories, Patrick 'PJ' DiCesare completed a single-segment with warps run in 0:34:16. If you want to know anything further about this game, just read his comments; they explain things way better than I could ever hope to. Listening to the audio commentary works too.

The final run today is a bit of an odd one. Long runs of RPGs that aren't Final Fantasy are rare in and of themselves. Said run being Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World is rarer still. Possibly the most remarkable aspect, however, are the runners. It's been many years since SDA administrator Nathan Jahnke has found time to complete a run, and this time he's joined by his sister Sarah. 60 segments of route planning and destroying random encounters with level-200 beasts later, they give you a multiplayer new game + run in 4:54. Check it out.

In a very ironic twist, the run does have some technical problems. I have not watched the run myself, but they are supposedly pretty noticeable. Now, SDA has long prided itself on having technically high-quality videos. We would even like to think that we're the primary force responsible for speedrunning moving away from shakycams towards direct capture (a sea change that's now so old as to be completely unremarkable). I know that our submission standards are kinda intimidating. Yeah, we do require that you try to do a good job recording, but considering that your run will be watched by many people, we'd like to think it's more of a favor to you than anything else.

But sometimes crap happens, even if you do everything right. That's life. If you're scared that what is otherwise The Run might be rejected because your capture card got drunk on Dropped Frames Fridays, even though you did everything right, don't be. We're willing to work with you, both to help you get everything set up correctly and to correct any problems that arise after the fact. So if you're thinking of getting your feet wet but are intimidated by this stuff, take the plunge. Technical problems shouldn't stop anyone, and I do mean anyone.

And in this specific case, there's also audio commentary, so audio problems are rather neatly sidestepped. Regardless, don't let me imply that the run is unwatchably bad, because it's not. It's just that I have a soapbox and saw the opportunity, and what's the point of having a soapbox if you don't use it?

Until next time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012 by dex

The runs went up with practiced bravado

The first game today is one I personally really enjoy putting up runs for, the PC classic Max Payne. The person of choice for any and all things Max Payne related did yet another self-improvement - this time Nigel 'ridd3r' Martin's struggle for perfection was undertaken on the single-segment category; and with good results, as anyone who watches this 0:56:41 will attest to. Dead on Arrival difficulty, because that's the only way a real man rolls.

Speaking of which, the next run is on Mega Man 9. Niklas 'Exo' Nierling did some single-segment magic here as well, and took down all the robot masters in just 0:32:19. Any run on a difficult 8-bit style platformer is a welcome sight on this website. Also, this time replaces the earlier in-game timed run because it's faster.

One of the earliest id Software games up next: the first in the Commander Keen series, Commander Keen: Marooned on Mars. Joseph 'Tranquilite' Schurig noticed the worrying lack of any CK runs and gave us a short, but sweet single-segment run in merely 0:03:58. No reports as to whether he was wearing the requisite silly helmet while speedrunning.

Now a run on something which didn't have a run up for the longest time (ever since we disallowed scripts, to be precise): Half-Life: Opposing Force. Picking up the mantle and wearing the neglected crown is Albin 'quadrazid' Sigby, and he's not playing around, either - it's a single-segment right off the bat! A rare pleasure on PC, which only makes updates with so many such runs that much better. Anyhow, 0:29:06. On easy difficulty, sure - but nothing's easy when speed is on the line.

For the next item on the agenda, Kirby's Dream Land. Dave 'bangerra' Janssens takes into his hands the first incarnation of the much beloved character, and speeds through the game in 0:11:49. Lord only knows what hell he would bring with a less cute character...

Before we get to the indisputable main dish in this update, a little taste of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars. Jordan 'Greenalink' Greene ran the DS version, and did it in a single segment - because that's what this update is all about, evidently. Using some large skip glitches, he got a 0:02:11, and there's not much to say about it beyond "go see it". Impressive stuff.

But, but! The main course, the best of the best, the most coveted speedrunning game, the Windows classic... Minesweeper! Kamil Muranski made two runs, one on Intermediate (0:00:07.270), and one on Expert (0:00:31.133). World records at the time of recording, according to www.minesweeper.info, which shockingly both exists AND is a thing. And yes, these are single segment too.

Toodle-ooo.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012 by Vorpal

"It'll say life is sacred and so is death but death is life and so we move on"

Recently I started playing a Civilization game (IV:BTS) for the first time, and of course I began compulsively restarting. Currently in the adventures of john's civilization, I decided to rush to a set of military units after getting the basics down, which ended up being one of the slowest and clumsiest rushes to ever meander its way down the tech tree. But hey, I have four cities, my opponents are mostly twiddling their thumbs, and my production city is finally beginning to come online. Well, it could be a lot worse. I could be learning The Machine in Ecco.

It's been a long time coming, but one of the more notorious runs on the site has gotten a facelift. Mega Man 7 is rather unloved for a non-spinoff game, but Shawn 'Obdajr.' Nakashima decided the game deserved more attention. The fruit of his efforts is a ten-minute improvement to the 100% run, coming in at a single-segment 0:46:42. The best thing I can say about the run is to quote his comments: "I finally have a run that I want people to watch!"

Bomberman 64 has also not seen love for a long time. I'm probably dating myself pretty severely when I say that I remember watching marshmallow's 100% run from 2005 when it was posted. This time around, however, we have not an improvement but an addition. Andreas 'Ecko65' Pflug blew his way through the European version in a single-segment 0:33:22 on Hard, adding yet another proof that this game is way better than the originals.

This run coming up is notable in that it's online co-op. Not someting you see every day. But then, runs from Greg 'The Thrillness' Innes and Derrick 'The Deity' Eide don't get posted every day either. Controlling Chris and Jill respectively, The Duo recently made their way through Resident Evil 5's Lost in Nightmares scenario. Six segments allowed the pair to find their way in 0:06:33 on the Amateur difficulty. Take your pick of watching Chris or Jill.

Given how popular sports games were on the Genesis, at least in the US (Megadrive owners may differ?), it says a lot that not a single one of them has made it on the site. As you have no doubt surmised, that changes now. WWF Royal Rumble, a name that has seen entirely too many games released under it, gets the star treatment courtesy of Richard Gibson. Richard throws down and clears the aptly-named Royal Rumble mode in 0:00:51. This run also features audio commentary, so give that a whirl.

Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War has been showing up on the front page a lot lately, and you know who to thank: 'Sinochek'. This time around Sinochek tackles the Winter Assault expansion, extending his dominance once more. Once again he runs the Hard difficulty for parity with multiplayer stats, and as usual he blazes through the missions while staunchly ignoring so-called 'major' objectives. You can take your dosage in one of two forms: an Order campaign clear in 1:06:20, or a Disorder campaign clear in 0:43:50. Both use five segments.

Lots of Ws in today's update. Mickey Mouse's World of Illusion enjoys cult popularity, and Fredrik 'Edenal' Lidholt rides that carpet to e-fame on SDA's front page. Playing as Mickey, Edenal brings the stage show to its conclusion in a short 0:15:47. He'd better watch out, because some of the audience members are going to be demanding their money back after such a short session.

One last thing. Courtesy of an idea from SpeedRunsLive, we have a Promotion page. If your deepest, most secret desire is to viral market SDA on your stream page, or if you just wanna saunter around with a cheery banner, then consider yourself empowered.

And for any Americans in the audience, happy Independence Day.