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News from October through December, 2013. [Newer | Older]

Sunday, December 29, 2013 by Breakdown

You mean I have to follow that?

Let it be said on the front page: that last update was awesome. I have no amazing literary rendition for you today, but I do have some new runs. That counts for something, right? Right?

With a name like Unepic, you're really not sure what to expect from the game. Is the title to be taken at face value, or is it like that one friend everybody has who's always going on about how stupid/ugly/whatever they are in the hopes you'll correct them? I've made it a point not to research this game prior to writing this paragraph to keep the intrigue intact, but you can be sure that even if this is some sort of paint drying simulator, that the run we're posting by Maik 'Onin' Biekart gets that paint dry really, really fast. The only way to dry paint, of course, is single segment, and he makes use of resets to save time (sun manipulation maybe?) on his way to a final time of 0:45:23.

Next up, we've got runs on two cartoon based games. First is an update to our existing 'Difficult' run for the SNES version of The Lion King. It's been a long time since there's been a submission on this one, with the previous run dating all the way back to 2006, but runner 'Allbeert' is letting us knock the dust of the game page today. The new run times in nine seconds faster than the old, 0:16:44 to be exact.

Second of the cartoon games is one of those games where you sort of wonder how the property became a game at all. In the early 90s, games were definitely being marketed to a younger crowd, and how a company would think kids would beg their parents for a game based on a cartoon show that enjoyed the height of its popularity in the 60s is beyond me. However, whether or not I understand the reasons why doesn't change the fact that The Adventure of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends was in fact made and is fair game for speedrunning. Taking advantage of this is runner Brian 'Boxfat' Ringeisen, who pilots Moose and Squirrel through their sidescrolling 8-bit adventure in a brisk 0:04:57.

We'll close out the new runs today with a rare occurrence of the Gamecube's bongo controller seeing use in a speedrun. Given the games made that were compatible with that contraption, many of you no doubt have already figured out we have a run for Donkey Kong Jungle Beat for you today. The runner slapping the skins on this one is Zack 'PiePusher11' Maher, who now has a single segment effort to go up alongside his IL table from before. The time of the run is 4/4 at points, with all manner of other speeds thrown in as well, but the one we track on the site is 0:55:24.91.

To close things out today, we have a friendly reminder. As I type this, we are a mere one week removed from Awesome Games Done Quick 2014. I somehow doubt this is news to regular visitors to the site (though exciting nonetheless!), but there's loads of people out there who may not be aware, and this is the critical time to change that. So I encourage all of you to talk it up in your streams, plaster it over your facebooks, blow it up on twitter, and spread around our promo video (put together by CoolMatty with music by mistermv, thanks guys). We have download links if you'd like to host it yourself, or just point them to the youtube upload below.

One week. Get hype!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013 by LLCoolDave

A Speedrun Carol

The run was dead. There is no doubt whatever about it. The health bar drained, the game over screen flashing, the timer stopped, the game reset. The run was as dead as a door-nail. Scrooge McPflug put down his controller in disgust and left for the kitchen. When he got back, a window was flashing in the bottom right corner of his laptop screen.

"How are attempts going?" inquired the window.
"The usual, 4-3 is a pain," answered Scrooge.
"Got a sub 24 yet?" the window continued.
"Haven't even finished a run in days," said Scrooge.
"Maybe you should take a break. UraniumAnchor is consistent on 4-3, maybe you should get in touch with him," it noted.
"Bah!" typed Scrooge, "Humbug!"

He closed the window only to reveal a different one underneath.
"Hey man, was wondering if you could tell me how to do that ladder skip on 5-2," the window asked.
"Why would I?" Scrooge replied.
"I can't seem to get the height to clear the gap," the window insisted.
"Isn't there a youtube video of the stage?" asked Scrooge.
"Yes, but I can't figure out how to get the height to make it," said the window.
"That should be plenty enough help. Have a nice day," typed Scrooge and closed the window.

Scrooge had already left and picked up his controller when the window flashed up again. "But ..." it said, but no one was around to read it. It was about time to take back this record. And so the evening went by and as the light outside grew dim so did the remaining space on the DVD recorder. Exhausted from fruitless efforts he tucked himself into bed quite frustrated that night. "I'll get you tomorrow, UraniumAnchor, and beat your stupid run," he thought while rolling around restlessly. "I'll get my record back, I swear," he ranted on as he slowly started to drift away.

"Scrooooooge" a voice called him in his dreams. "Scroooooge" "What is it?" he mumbled back. "Scrooge, there is something I need to show you," the voice demanded. Scrooge turned over and opened his eyes. The revelation that he was alone in this house struck him at the same time as the sight in front of him. At the end of his bed stood, or rather floated, a semi translucent pixelated figure. Despite the blocky appearance the outlines of the figure were hard to determine as it slowly bobbed in the wind streaming through the open window. "Wh-what are you?" Scrooge stammered. "I am the Ghost of Speedrun Past," the figure replied, although the voice did not appear to origin from where its body could be seen. "Come with me, quick. We gotta go fast," It was not the type of voice you disobey, so Scrooge got up. "What an odd dream," he muttered. As the spirit grabbed his hand, his vision blurred into a large black space in front of which giant white letters began to form. "Hey!" exclaimed Scrooge, "I recognize these names. This is Quakenet #qdq!" "Watch closely," demanded the Spirit.

*** Scrooge (~scrooge@66.75.229.207) has joined #qdq
<Scrooge> Hey guys
<Scrooge> I'm having trouble with the nade jump on e3m3
<@Morfans> Hi Scrooge
<Scrooge> I can't seem to place it right from the start.
<@Stubgaard> oh, that's fairly easy
<@Stubgaard> don't move and aim at the silver key symbol to the right of the door
<@Stubgaard> that should get it into a good spot every time
<Scrooge> thanks, I'll give it a try
*** Quits: Scrooge (~scrooge@66.75.229.207) (Signed off)

"Heh, can't believe I ever had trouble with e3m3. That trick is quite easy," Scrooge remarked. "How about this?" the voice said and the letters started shifting and swirling around before coming into alignment again.

<Scrooge> I think I got it consistent now
<Paratroopa1> what?
<Scrooge> the Omega Pirate onecycle
<Scrooge> turns out he never spawns in the pool closest to you
<_Tim_> sweet
<Scrooge> and he never appears in the same pool twice
<Paratroopa1> ah, good stuff
<_Tim_> that's a great find
<Scrooge> so you can perfectly predict where he's going to show up after the first time

"Ah, #metroid. Those were the days," Scrooge reminisced, "We found so many tricks there. They don't make games like that any more these days." "I must go now," the voice remarked, "for I was only paid for eight lines. But this does not mark the end of your journey." Before Scrooge could utter another word, the pixelated spirit was gone, and with it the text. Where the letters just stood one could now see a gigantic "Now Loading" logo. After some time had passed, another voice made itself known. It was deeper, smoother than the previous one and appeared to come from all directions at once.

"Show yourself!" demanded Scrooge. "I am right here," the voice replied, "you must be looking at me from the wrong angle." And surely, the spirit became visible as it turned in front of Scrooge McPflug. It was much more defined than the previous one, with a clear structure and facial features, although the very border of its body still appeared to shift in and out of existence. Notably, the mouth seemed to move slightly out of sync with the voice. "I am the Ghost of Speedrun Present. Follow me." A white door opened in the middle of the still spinning logo. First the spirit stepped through, then Scrooge followed. Once his eyes had adapted to the light, he found himself standing behind someone sitting at a desk. The screen showed an all too familiar view while the speakers filled the air with a well known jumping noise.

"That's Max 'coolkid' Lundberg, I recognize him. He's been running Quake for quite a while now," Scrooge exclaimed. "Look," the spirit said, "we came right in time." And as Scrooge turned back to the screen, coolkid stepped through the final teleporter and exploded Shub-Niggurath into thousands of pieces. The console read: "Total Time is 13:00.78979" (YouTube) "That's an impressive run," Scrooge remarked, "he's a really talented speedrunner." "Yes, the work of dozens of people culminated in this run." the ghost replied. "Yes, but he is the one that performed it at the end," Scrooge countered. "Come," the ghost said, "there is more to see." His arm twisted through his back to point towards the white door in the room.

When Scrooge moved through the frame again, his vision blurred completely. When it began to form, he found himself in a living room. "Something's strange about this place," Scrooge noticed. "It's French. That's not why we are here though," the ghost retorted, "over here is Guillaume Scholtès." "Is that Tony Hawk's American Wasteland?" Scrooge inquired as the onscreen character flailed wildly in the air before dropping out of the level completely, "I used to play that a ton. This game is so broken." "He doesn't know it yet," the ghost stated, "but he will get a time of 0:05:16 later this evening." "That's a mighty fine time," Scrooge remarked, "He surely put in a lot of time discovering all these tricks and refining that route." The spirit sighed and urged Scrooge towards another white door. "We've got elsewhere to be. This split is red already."

As they stepped through the door, they found themselves in another living room. "This is Phil 'inzult' M," explained the spirit. "He's about to get a new record." Link appeared to walk inside a wall and then confronted Dark Link. "Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is quite a competitive game," Scrooge noticed, "Impressive for someone to get a record in this game." "0:09:42, New Game+ with large skips. Quite the time," the ghost said. "But do you think he figured this all out on his own? Discovered all the mechanics himself, found all these glitches himself?" "No, but ..." Scrooge retorted. "But what? Come, time is running low." And so they stepped into the door again.

They emerged in another room. "This is Tiny TJP," the spirit noted, "He started running and streaming recently. Look, he's playing a familiar game." The TV screen showed the inside of Samus's visor, underwater in the Tower of Light. Tiny TJP hugged the wall, jumped but didn't quite make it to the top and plummeted back down into the water. This repeated itself a couple of times. "You have to let go of L," shouted Scrooge, "and move a bit further to the right." Tiny TJP came short again. "You can do it! Just a bit to the right." The spirit tapped Scrooge on the shoulder and pointed at the monitor to the side. A Twitch chat window was open, the only text in it as follows:
Skillmast0r69: noooooob
Skillmast0r69: ur sooo bad
Skillmast0r69: ill go wathc a real runner Kapap
"My journey ends here," the ghost proclaimed, "but you still have a stop ahead of you." And like before, the spirit vanished at a moment's notice, and with him the world he had created. The "Now Loading" logo was spinning again in an otherwise featureless black void.

A third spirit plopped up right in front of Scrooge's eyes. It was well defined and with life-like detail, but still bore the aura of indiscreetness right around the edges like the other two did. "I assume you are the Ghost of Speedrun Future?" Scrooge inquired. "Ghost of Speedrun Yet To Come," the threatening, all engulfing voice boomed back. Those were the only words it'd say. It simply pointed to a new door that had appeared inside the logo, only this time one could see right through to the other side. Scrooge entered and the spirit followed. They emerged back in the room he had last left. "I wonder how Tiny TJP is doing." The spirit pointed at the screen, and Scrooge followed the lead. "Oh, the Twitch viewercount is at almost 1500! He seems to be doing really well," Scrooge noted. Then his eyes caught the actual game feed. "Is that League of Legends?" he pondered. The spirit nodded. "What happened to your speedrunning ambitions, Tiny TJP?" Before he could find an answer the spirit had already dragged him through the door into another chatroom.

They were moving past the floating letters at a breakneck pace so Scrooge could only catch a glimpse of the discussion: "Turns out UraniumAnchor took back the record within a week." "Yeah, heh, serves him right." "That new 6-3 route he kept blabbering on about? Gotta love how they found an improvement to that within a day." "Yeah, this great new thing he kept secret for months and then he didn't even optimize it, hah" "I heard he wanted to quit speedrunning for good" "Good riddance, couldn't stand that guy anyway." And then they stepped through another door.

The room was large but lifeless. The rows of chairs were neatly arranged and barely occupied. The large banner on the back wall had come off partially and all one could read were the numbers "2016" in crude hand coloured black ink on plain white cardboard. In front of the chairs 3 people set on a red couch. "How did you miss that jump?" "That's not an easy trick, okay?" "Sure it is, you're just bad at this game." "If you're so great then why don't YOU get a sub 48 100% time?" "Well you haven't shown any proof that you got that time either!" "So? It's not optimized yet. I'll show the route once I got an optimized run." "You missed that jump a SECOND time?" The bickering was interrupted by a voice from the sideline. "Hey guys, we just got a whopping $20 donation!" The two people in the audience looked up from their laptops to give a short round of applause. "No!" cried Scrooge, "This can't be. Tell me this isn't how it's going to be. Surely we must be able to change things. Tell me, are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only?" The ghost stood silent. "Ghost!" Scrooge cried, "I promise I will change my ways. Don't tell me this is inevitable." The spirit still stood unfazed. Scrooge dashed at it fists raised, but the Ghost of Speedrun Yet to Come simply pushed him back when he came close. Scrooge fell and knocked himself unconscious.

When he came to he found himself in his bed. The alarm clock conveyed that he had spent a mere hour asleep but Scrooge felt energetic and renewed nevertheless. When he got back to his keyboard the chat window was still open. "The trick is to let go of jump before you switch weapons," Scrooge replied. "Holding jump during a weapon switch kills your upwards acceleration." Then Scrooge went to Twitch and found Tiny TJP streaming. He was currently trying the Furnace bomb jump with little success. "Hey, you know there is an easier way to do this?" Scrooge typed. And then he spent the rest of the night teaching Tiny TJP all he knew about Metroid Prime. And when he contacted UraniumAnchor about 4-3 the next day, they exchanged ideas and little shortcuts and eventually found a new large skip. Because that's the true speedrunning spirit.

Thursday, December 19, 2013 by LLCoolDave

Speedrunning Monthly 12/13

Hello dear readers and welcome to the final edition of Speedrunning Monthly for 2013, and what a year it has been for speedrunning. We've already seen several major breakthrough on the field of high energy particle speedrunning this year, most notably the experimental verification of the existence of Raneions, a particle theoretically necessary to explain the observations of bad RNG that exceeds the limits of classical speedrunning theory. On top of that we are now capable of producing and maintaining significant amounts of antiparticles to conduct more profound experiments on those in the coming years. We also close out the year with what looks to be a very impactful theoretical paper on death-warping theory.

It is a well known fact that the speed of screen scrolling in a vacuum is a fundamental speedrunning constant and the quantum effects that cause the scrolling speed in an actual medium (i.e. a game) to appear slower than that have been well understood for almost two decades now. Nevertheless, the recent experiments conducted by Sean 'MURPHAGATOR!' Murphy are quite remarkable. In an elaborate setup his team managed to suspend a thin layer of ionized Heavy Barrel on a solution of NES at near absolute zero temperatures. In these conditions screen scrolling is slowed so much that it can even be directly observed by the naked human eye. Furthermore, these specific conditions barely affect the speed of character movement, which MURPHAGATOR! has measured to be almost twice that of the perceived speed of screen scrolling. In ordinary conditions the speed of character movement is several orders of magnitude smaller than the speed of screen scrolling and while systems of superscrolling have been observed in the past, this experiment marks the first time such conditions have been upheld on macroscopic timescales. In particular, they have managed to sustain the superscrolling state for 0:19:07. Read all about this experiment on pages 18-21.

Spelunking characters were first postulated in the late 60s when the building blocks of the supersymmetry theory of videogame entities was developed. As the antiparticle to the action hero they react violently on any contact with floors, spikes, bats, rocks or waterfalls and as such can not exist for any extended period of time in our natural speedrunning world. Previous experiments have only been able to produce spelunking characters in isolation and for short periods of time. The team around Dandy J has been working on creating and sustaining larger quantities of the elusive antiparticle for quite a while now and finally had a breakthrough just earlier this month. Colliding a beam of Spelunker with a stationary plasma of NES at an energy level of 12.1 Giganolans was found to not only provide an environment in which low energy spelunking characters are formed, they also turn out to be fairly easily separated magnetically from all other byproducts of the collision before they can react. Using this setup they have managed to produce spelunking characters well in the six digit figures and sustain them for up to 0:06:10. This now opens the door for large scale experiments on these antiparticles and firmly move them from the realm of theoretical speedrunning to experimental speedrunning. Exciting times to live in. Pages 34-45.

On the cosmological side of speedrunning, 'Festival-Temple' et al. have published the results of their three year long survey of the cosmological background radiation at the super-duper humongous telescope. This background radiation was formed in the early stages of the universe when Zone of the Enders particles first formed and thus turned the universe from an opaque mess of subgame particles to a translucent stage that is accessible to us today using more and more powerful telescopes. Previous measurements set the origin of this radiation at 0:33:05 after the big bang but the new data collected by the team around 'Festival-Temple' have dated the creation of this background radiation back to 0:32:32 after the big bang. Although this difference may seem fairly minuscule to the layman, this early period of the universe was dominated by PJon interactions, a subgame particle responsible for exchanging glitches between games and the major player in game corruption we experience today. However, the PJon levels we measure today and the new data collected at the super-duper humongous telescope are fundamentally irreconcilable with our current theories about the early stages of game formation in the universe. It is currently unclear whether our theories need to be revised or if there is an error in this new data. Several teams are currently trying to recreate this experiment but due to the nature of cosmological measurements we'll likely have to wait at least a year for these results to stream in. In the meantime, a graphical representation of the data collected can be seen on pages 91-113.

The Jurassic Park conundrum is a well known problem among theoretical speedrunners. In essence, the radioactive SNES isotope of Jurassic Park has been measured to decay at a much faster rate than theory would predict. This experiment has been recreated successfully dozens of time and is a well established part of experimental speedrunning. However, this rate of decay has proven to be inexplicable in the existing framework of quantum-chromo-thingamajigging. The lower bound for the half-life of these isotopes has been established to be 1:02:36 within QCT, significantly longer than the actual measurements. Dr. 'LeonPowPow' has just published a paper using recent ideas of superstring death-warping theory to explain this phenomenon and derived a half-life time of 0:46:45 which closely matches the actual experiments. These methods extend beyond the specifics of Jurassic Park and he additionally identified further games were similar differences to QCT should occur. As most of these isotopes are within the reach of modern particle accelerators, this proposes, for the first time, a set of experiments that could be used as direct evidence of death-warping theory, an elegant theory of the speedrunning universe that had so far been unable to make predictions at energy scales that are accessible to experimental speedrunning. Pages 132-152.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 by ShadowWraith

Unthemed updates are fine too

Hey guys, me again. Writer's block is a bitch and I need to get this done yesterday, or I am a jerk, and I don't want to be a jerk, so... stream of consciousness update anyone?

First up, The Operative: No One Lives Forever. From what I can tell about this game from my brief perusal of the wikipedia page, you control a female secret agent that looks like something out of an Austin Powers film, so I automatically like the game because Austin Powers is hilariously British. That said, some runners who may be a little more mature than I have seen this game on its merits and thus, made a speedrun of it for you to watch. 'Warepire' and 'ymh' completed the game in 61 segments in a fairly brisk 1:18:16.5 (I'm amused that the game tracks to deciseconds here), which is a little bit shorter than any given Austin Powers film, so I'll give this one my star of approval, though I'm assuming it doesn't feature an amusing tent cutscene halfway through. Oh well.

Mirror's Edge is a game about a lady that does parkour and espionage in a dystopian future, which already sounds like a good time to me. I wonder what a Fallout type game would look like with parkour? Probably pretty crappy, what with the lack of buildings and stuff. Nevermind then. Anyway, Filip 'Zubmit' Sahlberg took it upon himself to perform several of the hardest jumps ever to get this time, single-segment with resets on the master race version, 0:34:49 on the clock at the end.

Patrick 'PJ' DiCesare is somewhat infamous around here for breaking things. However, in Rad Raygun's case, it wouldn't be fair to blame him for this run, since the game is already broken. I'm told you are able to literally walk through walls in certain cases, without any kind of setup. That said, a broken game leads to a broken speedrun, and PJ does not disappoint with this 0:08:18 all-bosses run.
That said, not all games PJ plays are incredibly broken (at least before he plays them), only most of them. A notable exception is Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts, a game where collision detection on terrain works more than 50% of the time and the most you need to worry about glitchwise is your cart becoming possessed and crashing on level 2 after giving you the wrong items in chests. Thankfully, none of that happens and we have this 0:36:07 run for you to enjoy. So go ahead. Enjoy it. Or we'll send the debt collector after you.

ALSO! I have been informed by our resident encoding badass UraniumAnchor that all the encodes for Summer Games Done Quick 2013 are done! They're available HERE and UA was nice enough to include a torrent for those of you who want it all. So while you're enjoying the other runs, feel free to enjoy these too.

Friday, December 13, 2013 by LLCoolDave

Buy three, pay three

Oh, hello there! May I help you? Just looking around? Sure, have a go, I'll be here if you need me. Feel free to shoot me any questions you may have.

I know you said you were just looking, but I couldn't help but notice your interest in this fantastic 0:25:11 Dark Souls. Beautiful thing, isn't she? What, boss souls? Well, to be quite frank, no, not really. This one had the Kiln glitch applied, but I assure you that's a perfectly normal procedure. Yes, she has had a couple of resets, but you know what they say? Resets give a run its character. You know, this model even comes with a rare spider shield! And you know what, this particular one was previously owned by 'Treynquil' so there's some prestige to that. Haven't heard of him? Oh well guess this one just isn't for you then. But I think I have a very good idea of exactly what you are looking for then. Just follow me over here.

There it is, a 'CnEY?!' brand DLC Quest. One of my personal favourites, and judging by our sales I'm surely not alone in that opinion. Got this one in last Tuesday and I assure you it won't be on this lot any more next week, so you better get it while the getting is good. Yeah, it's the bad ending model, but the differences really are just cosmetic, beneath the hood it's just as good as all the other releases. The asking price for them is usually in the four-forties but guess what? Just for you I'm willing to knock off a a couple of seconds. How's 0:04:24 sound, if you take it right here right now? Yes, it's a bit short, but in a hectic city like this, having a short speedrun is only going to benefit you in the long run. No, there are no extras on this, but that's the beauty of the whole thing. You know how all these other runs come with features such as skipping cutscenes, climbing walls, clipping through doors and quick killing bosses that nobody ever REALLY uses, right? But you still got to pay for all of them. With the DLC Quest, all you pay for is the very basic stock and then get the accessories that you personally need on top of that. Don't spend anything on the things they say are useful, customize it to your needs and you will save BIG TIME. No, not your thing?

Oh, you're more of a blaster type of guy. Well, I wouldn't have guessed that, but to each his own. Here at Speed Deals Associates Ltd we have just the right thing for everything. How about over there, this will surely tickle your fancy. A Japanese import Mega Man X3, a rare sight this side of the pond. People will surely gaze at this if you show up to a party in it. See this Zachary 'zewing' Ewing label? That's a sign of quality if I've ever seen one. And this one's the real deal, all the pickups, full 100%, no expenses spared. Sure, it will set you back 0:46:16 but it's definitely worth at least twice that. And I'm sure you won't find another one like this anywhere else in town, so we'd be stupid to sell it that low. But guess what, there's the sign, so that's the price and we'll have to deal with it if you decide to pick it up right now before we can change it. Still not quite what you are looking for?

Ah, you're actually looking for a 3D run, should have said so right away. How's the exotic flair? You like that? Great, then this one is surely going to hit home. It's actually reserved for our very special customer Justin 'JMC4789' Chadwick but guess what, for you I'll make an exception and sell it anyway. Don't worry, I'll deal with JMC4789 if he comes back to pick it up. Quite frankly, between you and me, I don't think he's getting back to it, so you don't have to worry about it. We're really proud to even be able to offer this, it's a rare thing someone gets rid of a Japanese Mega Man Legends before running it to the ground so getting a used one in this condition is a chance you shouldn't pass up. See, it's even the coveted normal difficulty single segment model. How much? A meagre 0:49:48. Deal of a lifetime, if you ask me, and quite frankly you should because I do this for a living so I know what I'm talking about.

Hey, get back here. We've still got over a thousand runs in the backyard you haven't seen yet. Surely there will be something perfect for you. Come on, man, I've got kids to feed.

Sunday, December 8, 2013 by ShadowWraith

Breaking News

I'm ShadowWraith with the SDA News, good morning.

The war with the Collectors is over. Commander Shepard has returned aboard the Normandy from the galactic core of our galaxy with news that the Collector threat has been completely eliminated. We were unable to reach the Commander for further comment, although we have recieved a video log of the entire Mass Effect 2 mission, courtesy of Dustin 'hokorippoi' Hanks, although we are somewhat puzzled by the video file only being 2:02:15 long. However, we are assured that there are no breaks in the video. Like all other supplemental videos, you can watch it after the weather report, and if you so prefer we also have them available to view for you online.

An investigation into the use of soup cans and other various household items has shown that they can in fact be used to create viable working rocket ships capable of achieving escape velocity, sustaining human life in space, and indeed, visiting other planets and civilisations. Arturs 'Xarthok' Demiters has produced a short documentary on the eight-year-old boy genius Billy Blaze, titled Commander Keen: Keen Must Die!. It's 0:01:59 long and like all our other special reports, available to view on our website.

Team Plasma is a contraversial organisation, their modus operandi has been hotly debated, but we can now report that they are no more. After somehow engineering a fortress, codenamed Pokémon Black, that was able to rip the mountain that the Pokémon League stood upon out of the ground and lift it into the sky, their plan to dominate the world through misuse of pokémon was foiled by a pokémon trainer called 'Vulajin', and impressively enough, it took them a total of 3:30 to do it. They'll be available for comment later on in the programme.

In other news, treasure hunter diva extraordinaire Lara Croft has returned from her trip through Peru, Egypt and Atlantis, where she was reportedly searching for an artifact called the Scion. According to a trustworthy source named 'MMAN', she encountered fierce resistance along her journey from wolves, bears... dinosaurs and creepy exploding mummies? We have a 1:27:59 long special report prepared on her escapades, titled Tomb Raider, and you can catch it after the weather report.

Now over to LLCoolDave with todays weather report.

Thursday, November 28, 2013 by Breakdown

Giving thanks

As those of us in the States enjoy National Food Coma Day (you may know it better as "Thanksgiving"), we're supposed to take a moment to reflect on the things in our lives for which we are thankful. While new speedruns to watch on SDA likely won't top anybody's list, it's definitely a nice little bonus, like the whipped cream on your pumpkin pie or the gravy on absolutely everything else on your plate. Plus, all of the runs in today's update are completely new to the site: three new games, and a new category on a fourth. Let's see what we've got, shall we?

Some of you out there will no doubt be watching some football this Thanksgiving, but if that's not your thing we've got something for you that will fill a similar amount of time while that turkey aroma starts permeating through your household. We're kicking this update off with one of the better received comic-based games of recent years, Batman Arkham Asylum. In addition to being generally well liked, it also makes for a damn entertaining speedrun, and I'm happy to present you today with the efforts of runner Sean 'DarthKnight' Grayson. He's done a single segment run on the game's hard difficulty to go up alongside his existing easy run. It clocks in at 2:08:22, perfect for filling the time while you're waiting for the turkey thermometer to pop.

Thanksgiving is also a time for looking back and keeping traditions from the past alive. Runner 'HavocProdigy' is definitely keeping the old 8-bit stylings going, and you should be thankful for that, because the run he's put out on the early NES game Milon's Secret Castle is something to behold. He navigates the complex castle at an impressive clip and save the queen in an amazingly fast 0:10:43.

When giving thanks, it's also important to sometimes to reflect on things that have not happened. For instance, you can be thankful a book you enjoyed hasn't been turned into an awful, awful video game. This is something I regrettably cannot say, because Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes of the Lance is a thing. However, we can all be thankful that we won't be responsible for producing SDA's first run of the game, as Dag 'ktwo' Cato has fallen on that sword for us. If you've played this one, I'm sorry, but it will enable you to truly appreciate just how ridiculous this 0:05:19 run really is. Regardless, check it out.

Lastly, sometimes you just need to be thankful that the heroes of Greek mythology are protecting the world from its villains and assorted other threats. Yes, as per usual, my themes start running thin towards the end, but you do have one more run to watch in Herc's Adventure, definitely something to be thankful for in and of itself. Direct those thanks to runner Benjamin 'Chfou' Desmoudt, who blasts his way through a wide assortment of mythological baddies on the European version of the game in 1:19:01.

That does it for new runs today. Happy Thanksgiving internet, and as a friendly reminder, Awesome Games Done Quick 2014 is just over a month away. Are you feeling the hype yet?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 by LLCoolDave

The Life of Speedruns

Ssh! Be quiet, I think we found some. There, behind those bushes. Marvellous, looks like we encountered a whole family. Let's sneak up closer to get a better look. That's some beautiful speedruns we got here. Look at those bushy tails on the mother! Snow white tips, deep orange fur, that points towards a healthy diet indeed. That's one beautiful Sonic 3 & Knuckles speedrun if I've ever seen one. They are a rare sight these days so let's make sure not to scare them away as we approach further. Looks to be a pretty quick one, I'd say it measures about 0:25:27. I remember when Adrian 'HDL' Perez first told me about these Tails single segment runs but I didn't expect to run into any out here. This is certainly the quickest of them I have ever heard of.

And look at those younglings. Some shiny, spiky blue hair and dashing around their mom at an impressive pace. These got to be some of the fastest Sonic 2 ILs ever captured on camera. If we study their fur patterns closely we should be able to classify them exactly. I'm no expert on the subject, but it looks to me that these are Chemical Plant 1, Aquatic Ruin 2 and Death Egg. You'd have to ask Mike 'mike89' McKenzie or 'Paraxade' to make sure, they've written an encyclopaedia totalling 0:14:46 pages on this subject. And there they dash off, what outstanding form and haste they show. These are surely going to grow to be some magnificent speedruns in the next year or two. But what could possibly have spooked them like this?

That's a loud roar. Get behind that tree, quick. Good, we should be save here for now. That's the noise of a mighty predator speedrun right there. Definitely a Kong run by the sound but we'll have to see it to know what it is exactly. You can hear the rustling of the underwood as it approaches but its prey has long since fled. We should be able to get a peek at it right around there any moment now. And there is a glimpse of the dark brown fur, and between the leaves you can see the red of its trademark tie. That certainly looks like a Donkey Kong Country 3 run to me, Virtual Console single segment if I were to hazard a guess. These fierce hunters can grow up to 0:43 in size and mostly prey on small ILs and some segmented speedruns. Marc-Alain 'MorKs' Bouchard had an impactful encounter with one of them just recently so we should better get out of here before it spots us.

Okay, this should be far enough, I can't hear its roar any more. Too bad we couldn't get an even better shot of those Sonic runs, but I can already spot another interesting specimen under that tree. That looks like a Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back speedrun to me. If you look at the ears you can see that they are very pointy and triangular. This is a typical sign of the Large-Skips category, which isn't native to this island. They were initially imported from the United States as pets in 0:12:21 by Matthew 'ElectronAvenue' and have spread around fast since then due to a lack of natural predators. Hunting them for food earlier this century has brought their numbers down close to extinction again but it looks like they have found a save home around here as I can see two more in the distance, just about there.

And on that note we shall end today's episode of The Life of Speedruns. We have still not succeeded in finding any signs of the elusive Ocarina of Time but we'll check the caves of the Northern Nolan Mountains next week. Until then, keep a look out for exotic speedruns in your area. You can never know when you'll run into interesting ones even in your backyard.

Friday, November 15, 2013 by ShadowWraith

Call now on 1-800-SDA-ROXS and recieve a free coupon to download any run of your choosing

Hey there guys! ShadowWraith here for todays SDA update, the fastest, easiest, safest way to get your fix of our latest speedrun records, GUARANTEED! Just read through the post, click the links and you'll have the finest speedruns the internet can provide. But don't take it from me, see for yourself!

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "That's some pretty big talk. I wonder if he can back that up?". Well feast your eyes on this; a European Extreme Foxhound rank speedrun of Metal Gear Solid 3 HD. You fancy yourself a stealth connoiseur? Think you've seen it all? Well 川元 'Hikari' 英則 knows all the tricks in the book, and most of the ones on the bathroom walls, too. You want guns? We got guns. You want CQC? We got CQC. You want a painfully obvious female lead that will end up backstabbing the protagnoist at the end of the story? Check. You want a chronically diarrhetic incompetent guard? Well, not this time sorry, but we have something better! You get to beat up an old man! What's not to love? "Oh ShadowWraith!" I hear you shout. "What's the final time? Tell us!", you cry. Well sit down or otherwise secure yourselves because we don't wanna be responsible for your injuries. You ready? 1:14:27! Crazy right? Well I hope we haven't blown your minds completely yet, because we've got more amazing speedruns for you guys coming right up.

Lego Racers is the greatest racing game this side of the toybox. You want fast cars? We got fast cars. You want powerups that'll make Mario cry with envy? We got them by the boatload. You want custom made lego roadhogs? Done. Easy. With the help of Tad 'RabidJellyfish' Cordle, we're happy to bring you 12 IL runs of fast paced block car action. Want to see what happens when you shoot a pirate in the face with a rocket? With this run you can. But wait! There's more! As a special bonus when you watch this speedrun, we'll throw in some Large Skip Glitch ILs with it, absolutely free! That means you get the full 12 regular levels, plus 6 extra bonus runs, in the low low time of 0:21:35.59!

Once in every lifetime comes a speedrun so great, so revolutionary, that it really does redefine the way we get runs done. The run we're talking about here is one of those, and it's of the game Dungeon Keeper 2. DK2 is no ordinary run. It uses Possession Kiting Technology to deal with all types of enemies, with unmatched safety, speed and precision; previously this technology has only been available in the game's prequel. But why listen to me talk about how great this run is? Anthony Malmgren worked hard on this run, and we really think you guys will enjoy this. The time? 2:14:03. Possessing Dark Mistresses has never been so much fun.

For those of you who prefer a more light hearted affair, don't be disappointed, because you're going to love this. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a game I'm sure all of you are familiar with, and for good reason, because this run is the tits (and I'm not just saying that because it features Hermione). Watch awestruck as Menno 'Menno888' Rijsselberg takes control of everyones favourite prepubescent wizardling Harry Potter and demonstrates his mastery of Alohomora, Glacius, Expelliarmus and whatever else takes your fancy. Sirius Black? More like Sirius Whacked. You-know-who ain't got nothing on this kid. Just sit back and relax as our hero kicks evil butt in just 1:27:38. So what are you waiting for? Click the link, and you'll be done watching faster than you can say Wingardium Leviosa.

Saturday, November 9, 2013 by Radix

Remember remember the 9th of November

I would like to present to you for your entertainment this weekend, a run on a game known as Metroid Prime. Charles Griffin worked some time to provide you the following run I'm sure. Unfortunately, he hasn't sent us any comments yet, but maybe they'll come eventually and we'll know for sure.

Charles's single segment run clocks in, on the game's timer, at 0:56! This is 10 minutes faster than the previous single segment run we had up, and five minutes faster than the segmented one. Save points, who needs them? I definitely remember the days when many folks thought this game would never see a run below one hour - and I was one of them. Speedrunning certainly likes to prove people wrong though.

In other news, we're now less than two months away from Awesome Games done Quick 2014. Are you hyped yet?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 by Breakdown

Standard issue update

No crazy theme this time around (though I must say the last few updates have been enjoyable reads, props to my updating compatriots). We're going quick and to the point on this one, so let's get to it.

Brave Fencer Musashi is one of those games I played way back when and kind of forgot about, but when I'm reminded of it I remember it fondly. Today, I have been reminded of fond memories thanks to the efforts of runner 'ShortCircuit'. Whether or not the rest of you have similar thoughts on this game, I do encourage you to take advantage of this chance to either relive it or see it for the first time in condensed form via this single segment run in 2:49, an improvement of over an hour to the previous segmented run.

Next up is Dash Galaxy in the Alien Asylum, a game I've personally tried hard to forget about over the years. The speedrunning community, however, doesn't seem to want to let me do that, as I was surprised to have to update about this game so much as once, let alone twice. Yes, we have an improvement of 28 seconds to the existing run for you today courtesy of runner Adam 'KHANanaphone' Ferguson. While my hate for this game runs deep, I will admit there's something cathartic about seeing it absolutely destroyed, so I do recommend checking out this 0:06:18 run, complete with suicide button tech.

"NES hard" is a term that gets thrown around a lot, but few current developers really strive to put it in their games these days. Developer Sivak didn't just embrace the concept, though, he embraced the medium as well with Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril. Speedrunners, however, aren't generally the type to shy away from a challenge, and runner 'Airrider' took the game's Unfair difficulty setting and said "Let's do this." The result is a 0:45:07 single segment run, really serving to show even the toughest nuts out there can be cracked.

We'll finish things off today with a run that's sure to get the average Yahoo commenter frothing at the mouth. "But it's cheating!" they say. "The game should be played normally!" they say. Well, we say seeing a game broken to pieces is pretty damn awesome, and that's definitely the case in Tobias 'Charleon' Nerg's Maxim run of Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance. If you're a likeminded individual (or like getting angry), you really should check out this run that finishes before a first time player has had a chance to get comfy with the controls. Final time is 0:00:45. No, that's not a typo.

Tuesday, October 28, 2013 by LLCoolDave

A Day at the Races

Hello and welcome to the third sesquibicentennial SDA Derby. There's mere seconds until one of the two-hundred most prestigious horse races of the week will be under-way and the crowd is already bursting with signs of slightly elevated levels of expiration.

And there's the sign and off they go. Right out of the gates Dag 'ktwo' Cato leads the pack on Adventure Island. Although he is an experienced jockey, this is the first time he rides this North American breed at one of these events. The 6/5 gallop has pushed the horse with the number 0:37:21 ahead of the competition initially but it looks like the rest of the field is closing in as we head into the first corner and three horses are head to head now.

And Rockman 4 takes it on the inside! This Japanese breed has seen strong performances in the past couple of years but has reached new levels ever since 'Checkers' has taken the reins. At this rate it looks like it could very well breach the best time of this season at 0:38:22 today as the race is blistering fast after the first quarter mile. Rockman 4 is still in the lead as we head up Nolan Hill but Adventure Island manages to keep pace as the rest of the field is slowly falling behind again.

The lead remains unchanged as we're halfway up the hill but Darkwing Duck is slowly climbing up the ranks in the main bulk. Jonathan 'Joka' Karlsson is determined to improve on his performance at the last SDA Derby and is aiming for a finish of 0:12:57 today and it looks like he and Darkwing Duck are in great shape with this lightning quick uphill section that put them on the front of the pursuers as Adventure Island and Rockman 4 still jostle for the lead as we turn around the last corner and onto the final stretch of the race.

Gosh and Gollies! Hold on to your monocles gentlemen as Anticipation is making a run for it from the midfield! Adam 'KHANanaphone' Ferguson is putting the spurs to Anticipation Very Hard and they are making a wild dash for it. Anticipation passes Darkwing Duck as Adventure Island is slowly falling back. The super high pace from the start is taking its toll now and Adventure Island can't keep up any more. Anticipation takes Adventure Island and the gap to Rockman 4 is closing fast. Only a couple dozen yard left in the race but Rockman 4 is losing ground. Three lengths. Two lengths. Anticipation has pulled head to head on the final moments and pulls out in front as they cross the line! 0:07:57! What an incredible time, what an incredible race.

The crowd is exasperated. Frenetic moustache twirling. Fastidious pocket watch reading. A mild flurry. I've never seen an audience this excited at one of these events. This was truly one for the books.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 by ShadowWraith

Dinner is served

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the SDA restaurant. Today, I shall be your waiter, and we shall be serving you a delectable selection of delicious speedruns prepared by our most experienced speedrunning chefs.

As an appetiser, we present this speedrun of Bomberman 64, lovingly prepared in a single sitting by our cuisine artist known only as 'footbigmike'. He has gone above and beyond, finding the most succulent and choice strategies for your consumption. No need to pace yourself here, the run is only 0:24:33 long, so hurry! Do be careful though, if you have a delicate stomach. The food can be quite... explosive.

The soup of the day is our Japanese themed special, that we have named Yakuza 3. The soup contains three different gameplay modes, all expertly woven together, plenty of inaccurate stereotypes about Japanese organised crime and other things that the more eccentric of you might pick up on as you enjoy it, prepared in the PAL regions in a single-segment, at Extra Hard levels of heat, with some breadsticks on the side. The chef who has created this masterpiece is a gentleman known as Sergio 'Holy_3051' Frances, and this course of the meal will last approximately 2:41:34. Approximately.

Continuing with the organised crime theme of your meal, the main course: Mafia. This dish of Italian origin, containing herbs and spices that we have elected to keep secret, is prepared from a recipe handed down from father to son dating back to the 1930s, featuring hints of bootlegging, extortion, arson, assassination and other assorted nastiness, carefully sliced into 92 pieces for your enjoyment. The man responsible for bringing you this meal is known as 'Chris-X', and it took him a mere 2:56:00 to create this meal for you. I trust you'll enjoy it.

For dessert, we've decided to go with a somewhat spooky themed dish, appropriate given the time of the year. Dead Space 2 will, however, not be served with lit jack-o-lanterns or any other silly Halloween paraphernalia, though if you wish to provide your own we will not stop you. Craig 'osey889' Kean spent a great deal of time sculpting your dessert into the perfect image of Isaac Clarke, 2:25:51 to be precise, done Casually in a single sitting.

We hope you enjoy your meal. Compliments should be directed to LLCoolDave.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 by Breakdown

With a better route, Columbus could've totally cut the 1492

And with better planning on my part, a Columbus Day themed update would've actually hit on Columbus Day. We'll have these things, and just think, it could've been a Labor Day theme if I really wanted it to be. This seems downright timely by comparison.

Date appropriate or not, if we're running with the Columbus Day theme, the fact our first run is Super C is fairly appropriate. Fun fact (that isn't really a fact): Red Falcon and his alien hordes came to this planet on three spaceships, but were blasted to oblivion with heavy artillery in an insanely quick 0:13:16 by David Heidman Jr., two seconds faster than earlier reports suggested. Definitely more exciting than your average history lesson.

Keeping things loosely tied to exploring the unknown, we've got a new run for Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. Runner 奥村 'jibupo' 亮 has given the SNES Luigi category a facelift with a healthy improvement to the previous run, cruising through the new worlds (well, if you consider a US release of 1993 "new") in a brisk 0:16:07.

Of course, many see Columbus Day as a bit of a throwaway holiday, but it is a solid indicator that Halloween is right around the corner, a day where running around in your pajamas and throwing a seemingly limitless supply of candy around is perfectly acceptable. In that light, the new run for Little Nemo: The Dream Master is a glove fit for this update, and a pretty awesome run to boot. Playing on the Japanese version, runner Jonathan 'Joka' Karlsson dispels all the nightmares and puts things right in Dreamland in the time of a barely satisfying nap, 0:23:50 to be exact.

And since we've shifted to Halloween, our last entry today feels ever so slightly less shoehorned into the theme. Everyone either has been or has known someone who decided to be a superhero of their own creation for Halloween either due to a desire for originality or the lack of funds to get an official Super/Bat/Iron/Whateverman getup. Those individuals probably feel right at home playing Prototype, and while I'm unsure if runner Joshua 'Stormknight' Grant has ever rocked such a costume on the 31st, it's clear he's right at home playing this game as well. You can see what I mean by watching his 1:59:12 run on the game's Easy difficulty in 24 segments.

Saturday, October 5, 2013 by LLCoolDave

Alternatives

I want to start off this week's update by stimulating the creative areas of your brain. With a small Gedankenexperiment, if you want to call it that, and I know you do because early 20th century German philosophical loan words are ALL the rage right now, right? In any case, I want you to imagine a parallel universe that is very much like our own, except for two very minor differences.

Despite just being minor differences, they would still have a strong impact on your life. For one, your breakfast cereal would be a slight bit less enjoyable. Oh, and this site wouldn't exist. Nor would any of your gaming consoles. You'd have to spend your free time on such nonsense as reading books, visiting friends and solving the daily crossword puzzle that insists on syzygy being an actual word. The two differences in this parallel universe are that nobody ever took a second look at cows and kept on milking goats and that the first game of this update actually managed to finish off the gaming industry instead of just massively crippling it. We're of course talking about the infamous E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600. Unlike most kids during Christmas 1982, runner 'DSmon' doesn't actually consider the idea of a clumsy alien stumbling into massive pits and very VERY slowly floating back out by stretching its neck to make for one of the worst games of all time and has thus provided us with a quick run in 0:00:53, even beating the tool assisted run for the game. Now let's quickly leave this nightmare of a parallel universe.

Instead, let's take a look at Kirby Super Star Ultra, the DS rerelease of one of my favourite SNES titles. Instead of following the story of our beloved fluffy vacuum salesman, Alex 'Anwonu' Morinaga was much more interested in the tale of the first character so broken that it had to be banned from Nintendo's party tripping simulator. His new run on Meta Knightmare Ultra mode clocks in at 0:26:00.76, beating his old time by almost a minute and a half. If you insist on me making this pun, this run does indeed not suck.

Duke Nukem is one of the biggest, baddest asses out there, afraid of nothing except for small ledges, stairs and slight bumps in the level design. For several years the IL table of Duke Nukem 3D had been dominated by a single name, but plenty of things have been discovered in the game since then. Alex 'pogokeen' Dawson is the first to bring the world's squishiest action hero to the front page again, improving the time on 'Toxic Dump' by almost 1.7 seconds to 0:00:33.29. We have taken this opportunity to retime the old runs to be more in line with SDA guidelines and be more consistent across versions and with regards to replay playback and live play while also adding in sub-second precision. This puts the entire IL table at a new total of 0:20:45.50.

The final entry for today is Mega Man Legends 2, a pretty large detour from the classic Mega Man formula of unforgivable platforming level design and 2 second boss fights. Instead, Capcom decided they wanted to follow a story that is slightly more intricate than 'Dr. Wily Evil! Kill!' and opted for a 3D Action Adventure game instead. Justin 'JMC4789' Chadwick tackled this RNG infested run superbly in 1:24:53, slightly over the Mega Man standard of roughly half an hour. Notably, this game is well known for ending on a cliffhanger that was never properly resolved.

And on that note, it is finally time for me to announce