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News from April through June, 2014. [Newer | Older]

Thursday, June 19, 2014 by ShadowWraith

HYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYPPPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

So, you may have noticed by the shiny new banner up there that our next marathon Summer Games Done Quick 2014 is happening soon. 3 days soon. I don't think I need to explain how pumped I am for this marathon (update title is an indication), 7 days of non-stop speedrunning should be enough to make anyone's awesomeometre burst. Check out this slick promotional video our very own Cool Matty put together for us, with help from mistermv's amazing musical talents. (there will be speedruns in this update i promise)

Still here? Good. I wouldn't want to let a little thing like an awesomeness overload stop you from watching the good stuff. First up, Ikari Warriors 2. Now I know I called this the good stuff, and those of you unfortunate enough to be familiar with this game might disagree, and I completely understand that, but I'm sticking with what I said. This game is really hard, so knowing that someone exists that can beat the game pleases me greatly. Anyway, the speedrun. Marko plows through this admittedly weird game in a brisk 0:08:47, single-segment of course. Also the antagonist of the game is called Zang Zip. Just thought you'd be interested.

Anyway, onto less silly things. Ninjabread Man. Yep, less silly. You might be interested to know that this game started life as a reimagining of the old game Zool, from 1992. I certainly was. 3D platformer, you play the part of a gingerbread man who is also a ninja, and your primary opponents are cakes. This game is just a little bit too saccharine for my tastes, but I can definitely see the resemblance to Zool. 'SCXCR' makes liberal use of a level skip glitch and crushes this game in 0:06:57, presumably longer than it took to bake the protagonist. I bet he was delicious though.

Another platformer for you guys, this one has one less D in it though. Wonder Boy in Monster Land is one of the Master System's better known games and... Holy balls that cover art. Hahaha. Sorry. Anyway, yes, one of the Master Systems' better known games and Mathieu 'Mpatard' Patard smokes it in 0:18:50. That face. Whyyyyyyyyy?!

Renegade X: Black Dawn is a pretty cool first person shooter based on the old Command and Conquer first person shooter Renegade, which started life as an Unreal Tournament 3 mod but then made the jump to fully-fledged standalone game. I have yet to play it, but I probably will after I finish this update. Thank you, 'cortez', for reminding me of its existence. But I digress, 'cortez' blows through this game in a sweet 0:18:42 in 9 segments. However, we consider it an IL table as nothing carries over between levels, so this run is one of the few that exists in a weird single-video full-IL-table limbo. Still worth watching though.

Last up, the longest run of the update by far, Eternal Sonata. Not too familiar with this one, though wikipedia tells me the game tells you about the final dying dreams of a pianist/composer, Frédéric Chopin, which makes it pretty cool in my book. 'zxcvalor' wanders the mental wonderland that is this game in 2:55:12, on the PAL version. Also, if you're interested, the game features Chopin's music. That's a really cool detail.

Anyway, SGDQ HYPE! Tell your friends, tell your parent, tell your dog, HYYYYYYPEEEEEEEEEEEE.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 by LLCoolDave

Of Rice and Pens

The ships heaving on the waves felt like a heartbeat, the chains and ropes clanging rhythmically, twice in fast succession. Ba-Bum. Ba-Bum. Once on the way in, once when the wave had reflected off the old stone pier. If you listened closely you could sense it getting more and more nervous as the evening progressed, both in the ships and the sailors on board. Ba-Bum. Ba-Bum. As the sun set slowly in a glowing summer red along the horizon the port was unusually busy for this time of day. Lines of ships queued outside the harbour's gate as the harbourmasters scrambled to make room for all of them. The Bastion had arrived earlier today at 14:00, when good and safe spots along the inner pier were still available. The concept of haste seemed foreign to Captain 'Vulajin', having barely covered 30 miles along the coast this day. "Valuable cargo requires utmost care." was his motto, and the crew didn't mind, getting a night of leave having thoroughly prepared the deck for the storm.

Marvin strolled the streets with aimless, short strides. It was obvious that the town was just a tourist trap, the waterfront being lined with countless restaurants, cafés and shops selling all the things nobody has any use for except for when they seemed to be on vacation. The street merchants had already dragged their fragile wooden carts to the city centre while the shop keepers were busy moving all their extravagant display stands inside. Hand knit carpets, hideous portraits of the countryside, wooden figurines and whatever other worthless junk you could sell to ignorant visitors as exotic souvenirs. Marvin stopped at a small corner restaurant named Bamse where a waiter was furiously waving his arms about in the exaggerated local fashion. With some resignation, the family of four agreed and moved inside just as Marvin seated himself on the table next to them. The waiter turned: "Sir, would you be so kind to move inside? A storm is brewing and you wouldn't want your food be blown right off the dish now would you?" Marvin didn't deem the remark worth consideration. "I won't be staying for long and the wind's still calm for now. I'll have a cup of coffee, black, and today's paper if you please." The waiter resigned. Tourists had a sense of mind, but arguing with sailors was a futile effort. He carried a table inside and soon thereafter reappeared with a cup in hand and a paper under his arm. "Lovely place, isn't it?" he remarked as he placed the order on the table. "My great-grandfather Dan 'DanE' Söderhäll founded it back in 19:19 and it's been in family possession ever since. The view on the coast from here is outstanding on a clear day, but I'm afraid you don't get to see much when it's gotten this dark already." "I still see plenty enough." Marvin replied, but something seemed to have reminded the waiter of his task as he had already picked up another piece of furniture to carry inside.

The local newspaper proved to be rather uninspiring as nothing of any interest seemed to happen in this town. A new hotel had opened last week, a story clearly demanding a full four page report, some man turned 80 and plenty other that bored Marvin even more than that. The yearly EarthBound festival grasped his interest for a while at least. It seemed that '__sdfg' had broken the long standing record in the glitchless competition, setting the new bar at 4:11:02. In what was a huge upset, the five times champion in the major-skips competition struggled near the end and underdog 'nemi' was able to take a surprise victory with a time of 1:25:31. That certainly would have been worth watching, but Marvin felt that reading about sports just wasn't quite the same. The comic page was no better, something about the local humour just didn't click with outsiders. The Escape from Bug Island comic seemed to be hugely popular in the area, being printed in every paper Marvin had laid his hands on since the Bastion had reached this coast. Today's strip ended with a panel simply reading 1:00:22 on a blank background, with the author's cryptic signature of 'SCXCR' in the bottom right corner. Marvin couldn't even tell if it was meant to be funny, but if it was he surely didn't understand why.

Unusually, Marvin had finished the newspaper before his coffee, and frankly, he was quite glad he'd gotten through it. The winds had grown stronger rather quickly, and sudden gusts were strong enough to rip the paper from his hands if he wasn't careful. The moment he had taken the last sip the waiter was already in his back with the check. Marvin hadn't even taken a single step when the waiter was carrying the cup inside, and the table right with it. The sun had lost its fight with the ocean, and so had one of the smaller ships outside the harbour walls. The waves on the open sea kept rising, and the heartbeat on the pier was growing anxious and restless. Ba-Bum. Ba-Bum. Ba-Bum. The late arrivals were scrambling to fasten everything they could, and whoever was still moving along the waterfront made sure he wouldn't be doing so for much longer. Everyone except for Marvin, who still paced himself in small strides, slightly shorter than before, but not nearly as aimless. His hand slid into his inner pocket, the cold steel giving him an uneasy sense of reassurance. His finger slid across, and a short stinging pain confirmed that the blade was still as sharp as it had ever been.

Friday, June 13, 2014 by LLCoolDave

The world is your oyster; presuming your seabed is littered with parallax scrolling

Sometimes you simply know. Whenever I start to prepare one of these updates, my eyes scour the queue, getting a grasp of what is ready to be posted, looking for some kind of theme or sturdy string to line these pearls up on. Games I fondly remember, games I have never even heard of. For some reason, it is always obvious when one of Sean 'MURPHAGATOR!' Murphy's submissions is in the list. He's surely one of the most prolific and typecast runners on SDA, but truth be told, even if I didn't know the game there simply isn't anybody else out there that would dare stake a claim at something called Mighty Final Fight. Once again, MURPHAGATOR! picks up his trusty gamepad to clobber through neigh endless ranks of faceless, palette swapped goons on a quest that might very well be directly lifted from an episode of an early 90's Saturday morning cartoon that had long, long overstayed its welcome. Taking turns, the three playable characters of Cody (0:15:07), Guy (0:14:52) and the spinning Mayor Haggar himself (0:14:24) set out to brawl streets in a display of complete and utter incompetence on behalf of the Metro City police force.

Despite having established some context now and setting the bar for plot lines and characters low enough to challenge the limbo world champion, Battletoad's synopsis still reads like something out of this world. The main characters are originally computer technicians who get sucked to a distant planet and turned into the titular battletoads while testing the Battletoads video game in a virtual reality setting. I couldn't make this up if I tried. If someone pinned a gun to my head and forced me to write something more ludicrous than this setting, I'd gladly reach out and pull the trigger for them. Beneath this absurd justification for its existence however lies one of the all time classics in the beat-em-up genre, with a long and star-studded history of speedrunning to boot. Standing on the shoulders of (virtual) giants today is 'jc583', utilizing the latest strategies and warps to finish with a time of 0:13:20 and winning the right to hop on a Sega CD on one leg until he gets turned into a two dimensional sentient pogo stick.

At this point, radioactively mutated chelonian martial arts experts seem surprisingly tame as far as mind bending concepts go, so there's no reason to even linger on that subject. One could even say that one could come up with that idea while blindfolded, after all vision is not all that useful for conceptualization. This incredibly forced segway leads us to the next runner, as the last time I saw 'sinister1' he was boxing blindfolded to the (very carefully timed) cheers of hundreds in a live audience and thousands on the internet. Today he proves that he can hurt people in more ways than just sticking a curiously heavy red glove up their nostrils, clobbering the hordes of the evil, possibly even sinister, Shredder to a pulp as Raphael in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time. The game has spent some time on and off the speedrunning shellves in the past years but sinister1 managed to Krang out a sizeable improvement to the already fairly optimized previous run to finish on a time of 0:19:24 on hard difficulty.

Sypha Belnades prefers a less ... brawny approach to combat, showing an affliction for elemental magic. A more civilized weapon for a less civilized time, given that she has to hide her gender as not to be hunted down as a witch. Putting such a fierce warrioress...ess(?) in the hands of 'kmafrocard' can only lead to great results and it sure did in this case. Showing up seemingly out of nowhere about a year ago, this runner has already left his marks all over the Castlevania series, taking down numerous records in these anything but uncontested games and this run on the japanese release of Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse is one of them. His time of 0:28:24 beats the old US run on SDA by over half a minute, which is quite remarkable for a game this optimized despite some version differences you can take advantage of if you undust your original famicom.

In what is at best a mildly interesting coincidence, 'ZakkyDraggy' shares the spotlight in one of my Friday updates with MURPHAGATOR! for the second time this year. The game that gives him this honour today is even the same as last time, as he felt slightly unsatisfied with his previous submission on Journey to Silius. With further dedication and the speedrunning mantra of shaving frames in mind he managed to cut out another 4 whopping seconds of mistakes to improve his time to 0:11:13. Decomposing everything into its molecular constituents with a futuristic blaster rifle is either the most or least civilized way of resolving a conflict presented here today, but I'm uncertain on which side I should stand on.

Finally, as a slight change of pace for today, we leave the realms of 2D-kill-em-ups and take a look at Klonoa for the Wii, which despite its fully 3D rendered environment is still very much a 2D platformer in spirit, as the player's path is still essentially restricted to two degrees of freedom. As the Extra Vision unlocked after getting a full 100% completion at the game mocks the player with a timer, Pierre 'Skullbot' B. deemed it necessary to strike back by making the timer show as small a number as he could. 0:02.04.59 later the level ended, with loads of floating animals being grabbed and abused in rather horrifying ways. I meant to end this on a high note, but dropping countless innocent beings into molten lava just so you can get some additional height on your jumps is just detestable behaviour and I will not stand for this. I'm going to punch some puppies to calm my nerves. This is what you've done to me, I will take no blame in any of it.

Sunday, June 8, 2014 by dex

Stealing a dream

February 3rd, 1927
My dreams have been getting more vivid recently. When I am able to recall them, they are invariably strange; evocative of a feeling of dread. I am also having trouble in my daily happenings - just today, I was reminded by my housekeeper of a meeting I didn't remember ever planning. This state has persisted ever since I arrived in Innsmouth, three weeks ago. In an effort to document what I do day-to-day and to better remember my dreams, I have decided to start this dream journal. I heard of something similar during the lectures on Freudian psychoanalysis my last year before I got at university; supposedly, keeping one is a novel method to enhance dream recall abilities. I guess I will find out.

I never thought I would have to do this. I fear I am going insane.

February 4th, 1927
First night of keeping the journal, and already I can feel writing this down is helping jot my memory. The scene was full of monsters of weird shapes and sizes, looking almost as if cut from cookie dough. The sky was filled with black clouds; while there were no raindrops falling, a definite Risk of Rain was brewing. I could almost feel the... randomness... of the whole universe in the air. Chaos, straight in the middle of a possible Downpour. I had a bow in my hand, like some sort of hunter or Huntress, out in the world, looking for the next kill. The name Maik 'Onin' Biekart kept resonating in my head; perhaps that is some sort of an allusion to a Norse god? The dream continued uninterrupted, with the bow felling many enemies effortlessly, until I awoke.

According to the ornate clock in my room (which has the capacity to track seconds; a most curious, intricate device, with an almost hypnotically entrancing pendulum), I awoke at 0:17:48. A lot calmer than the dreams of previous nights; maybe the prospect of writing them down helps.

February 6th, 1927
Back to intense dreams after two nights of relative rest. I'm beginning to affirm myself in the belief that these dreams are not merely random musings of a barely conscious mind, but actual visions. It feels like someone something is trying to give me some clues; I cannot explain how I ascertained it is so, but I feel that it is so. Tonight, I have dreamt of swords and magic; of dungeons, villains, and medieval heroes. Perhaps this is implying that these visions I had have sort of A Link to the Past. When I woke up, I could swear the clock - stuck unmoving at 1:25:06 - had the name 'Jadin' etched on it; upon closer inspection, there wasn't anything there, and the pendulum returned to full swing. I recall a similar dream in the past, but this one was at least a minute shorter and felt more entertaining. It also felt like... the dream was late, due to error by either me or my close associates. So strong is this feeling that I can't help but apologize even on these pages; pages not intended for anyone other than me.

I have just noticed my journal entries seem to contain randomly capitalized words. Weird.

February 8th, 1927
Today, I have dreamt of many pictures of kittens with white words written on them in, frankly, disgusting typeface. What could it all mean? Is this a vision of some kind of a possible, dystopian future; one where people waste their lives making such affronts to civilization?

February 11th, 1927
SUPER METROID

This is a most precarious situation; I have sat down to write down today's entry and saw those two words already etched in the notebook, along with the correct date. I do not recall doing that. Perhaps I sleepwalked? In any case, tonight, my visions showed me a world far away, a world in which Matt 'zoast' Thorne reigned king over the mysterious... space pirates. I do not know why the celestial domain would have pirates, but there you go. I awoke at 0:44:26; as ridiculous as this sounds, I could swear the clock only showed minutes just before I went to sleep. Almost like the timing method has changed, just for this dream - it must be important. I just don't know why it would be.

February 12th, 1927
I had the same dream today. Well, I say the same; it felt more... complete, like 100% of everything that can be found in it was finally clear to me. Again with the mysterious 'zoast' in charge, same other world... but with all the nooks and crannies clearly explored for my benefit. It's 1:17:54 now - later than yesterday, which fits the length and depth of the dream; it is a small comfort to know even in the midst of this paranoid episode of mine, I at least have a handle on the passage of time.

This might be the key to everything. Am I being warned about something? A war? Mysterious creatures?

As crazy as that sounds, for a second there, I thought one of the weird locals I've seen yesterday was in the room. Just my imagination; time to get back to sleep - I must really be quite exhausted.

February 13th, 1927
Tonight, it started the same as last night. I was almost convinced it was a repeat, maybe with even more detail. But as it went on, it dawned on me that that it wasn't a more complete version of the previous one. There was less freedom, less exploration. Not to mention it wasn't as exhaustive as the one on the 12th. The similarities were merely superficial. I was in another world entirely; one made to look similar, but still. I seem to have the words Metroid Fusion etched in my mind, along with a name: Alex 'kirbymastah'.
0:46. Where the hell is the seconds' hand?

There were a lot of gooey... things. Microorganisms of some sort. Maybe it's meant to represent a plague or something of that nature?

February 14th, 2014
Gotta prepare myself for the V-Day. The missus will probably want to visit a cinema to watch some new sappy Julia Roberts movie; snore. I'd rather play a cool game, like Wario Land 4. Oh well, what can you do.

Oh yeah, had a dream tonight; my therapist says I should keep a log of these, so whatever, here goes. I've seen some guy, Mike 'mike89' McKenzie I think. And he actually was playing Wario Land 4, now that I think of it. He did really good - single-segment, Normal difficulty, with resets, the whole nine yards. 0:47:50 for all that, that's not something you see every day. Obviously, cause it was just a dream. Is this whole log thing really supposed to help?

February 15th, 1927
Woke up with a horrendous headache today. Nothing special since the 13th.

February 26th, 1927
Something weird is going on in this town. I have burned this notebook after seeing the February 14th entry, but I just found it intact in the drawer. At least the bizarre dreams have stopped for the last two weeks.

February 29th, 1927
The dreams are back. I do not think I have long to live... I feel faint just tryying trying to write this down; and I think I've seen too much. A secret order, full of psychics... Psychonauts, they called themselves. They infiltrate dreams in order to convert people. Was this all this was, me, just listening to some man called 'Grimdonuts' toy with my grey matter? Does he have accomplices in Innsmouth? I swear, every wall is beginning to look like it slithers, like a snake octopus. The clock stopped at 0:50:11; I think it's been broken since yesterday. Funny thing is, it showed a time 17 minutes higher before I went to sleep.

I hope someone finds these notes. Soon something terrible is going to hap

March 1st, 1927
Completed my preparation of the altar. He will not remain dreaming for long.

Thursday, May 29, 2014 by LLCoolDave

Newsticker

Giant Iron strengthens stranglehold on local property market; Hat evicted.
Adam 'KHANanaphone' Ferguson, 0:00:57

'Giant Wings enable quicker browsing of libraries', Israeli study says.
'ktwo', 0:13:26

Coin operated locks found largely ineffective; plumbing based crime rising.
'Laplacier', 0:03:56

Irafghanistastan ravaged by mysterious flying white men; local population terrified.
Patrick 'PJ' DiCesare, 0:07:52

Saturday, May 24, 2014 by dex

Short but sweet

Quite a few shorter runs today, and just like my last update, we'll start with a game about which there can be no question that it definitely lifts: the good old Contra. Well, I say old, but this is a run on the Xbox 360 Arcade version. Zakkie 'ZakkyDraggy' Starres manages to use that fact to his advantage incredibly well - his run is much shorter than other runs on the page, clocking in at 0:04:52 of sweet, old-school shooting action.

Staying in that general 80's video game area, we have an update to the Marble Madness record. Steve 'Elipsis' Barrios used a few new strats and applies some extra minor timesavers to pull off a 4 second improvement, which is a huge deal for a run that takes 0:02:50. It was an especially mad achievement to attempt considering the record was previously held by the legendary Andrew Gardikis; in fact, without video proof, I would go as far as to say a man trying to beat it lost his marbles.

*crickets*

Diligent readers of the SDA frontpage (who apparently still exist, as I was assured before picking up the updater's mantle back again) might recognize our next runner, the man going by Benjamin 'UraniumAnchor' Cutler, who decided a 5 year old run of his in Metal Storm needed an improvement. He then proved his suspicions correct with a single-segment 0:12:14, 30 seconds faster than the run that graced the game page previously; mostly through new strategies and some extra polish here and there.

The longest run in this update happens to be a Sonic 3 & Knuckles record. Adrian 'HDL' Perez noticed the Knuckles time wasn't the fastest one on the page any more and decided that was something - much like most moonshine - in need of quick rectification. The result of his exploits is a 3 minute, 48 second improvement to get a time of 0:22:40. This is a single-segment with deaths, by the way.

Finally, to round it off, an IL improvements to the Duke Nukem 3D table. Alex 'pogokeen' Dawson submitted a new Episode 3, level 3 run, an improvement of almost 2 seconds to get a time of 0:00:25.75 (getting the total time down to 0:20:43.85 in the process). Apparently, it is a whole new route to get it done faster, so go check it out! I mean, it's not like it's a big time investment.

Sunday, May 18, 2014 by LLCoolDave

We regret to inform you that all items touched by PJ DiCesare are exempt from our return policy

Maik 'Onin' Biekart is no stranger to the SDA frontpage, quickly gaining a reputation for not only unearthing long forgotten gems from our childhood, but also promptly figuring out how to break them. His entry today is the realtime strategy title Empire Earth, lost to the annals of time being overshadowed by the Age of Empires series. Specifically, Onin rushes though the Russian campaign in 1:02:25, featuring a futuristic reunited Soviet Russia with robots. Somehow that probably sounded sillier a decade ago than it does these days.

The Elder Scrolls titles are well known for being vast, immersive experiences featuring a detailed history, society and storyline for the player to explore. They are also well known for being some of the buggiest titles out there, and Oblivion is no exception in this regard. It is therefore no surprise that the game can be beaten in less than 10 minutes, but André 'Xevro' Gagné Bouchard figured that the game deserved a more extensive treatment. Opting to complete the full storyline he finished all of the main quests in ... 0:27:15 across 45 segments. For a game that takes most people days to complete that is quite the feat.

Inexplicably, most of the towns in fantasy settings seem to be founded on top of the congregations of evil. If you run into possessed gigantic rats, the screams of tormented souls, rotting ghouls and other demonic beings while you dig out your new town's sewer system, you might want to consider settling elsewhere. However, it seems like the accepted modus operandi is to throw passing adventuring parties at the problem until the evil spirits are either satisfied with the sacrifices or get defeated. The town of Waterdeep in Eye of the Beholder is no different, and a party spearheaded by Jay 'DeMoNFLiP84' Cabasag is sent to the town sewers. As heroic deeds are not paid by the hour the entire clean out is over in a mere 0:12:12 before the adventurers immediately got back to the town pub, almost 5 minutes quicker than the last group that made it back out alive.

Local inebriation expert Patrick 'PJ' DiCesare is famous for pretty much destroying anything electronic he gets into contact with. These traumatic experiences might very well have influenced his taste in games and speedruns, often leaving bystander simply question 'why?'. Sometimes because the game is incredibly punishing to run, sometimes because the game is just punishing to endure and very frequently both. Solstice passes my tests for being a good game, which simply means that it has had to have been a nightmare to run. An isometric 8-bit platformer with room transitions and fast, precise movement is hard enough to play as is but the run still goes further with plenty of frame precise tricks. By his own account, PJ finished two deathless runs of the game, both of which are featured here today: a 0:05:58 pure speed run and a 0:12:22 100% run collecting all the hidden pickups. Please note that SDA can not be held liable for any damage watching these runs may do to your computer or brain.

Saturday, May 10, 2014 by dex

Considerably more pedestrian

Due to time constraints on my part, this update will be a quickie. One might argue that's a disappointment after the last couple updates, in which we smashed through the 1000 games barrier and broke new ground in referring to ourselves in the third person, but the runs are as stellar as always. Let's check what we've got for you to feast your eyes on!

To put us in an appropriate, adrenaline filled mood, let's start off with Streets of Rage, a side-scrolling beat-em-up from around the fall of the Iron Curtain (or, more importantly, the announcement of the thankfully temporary dissolution of Devo). Noted SoR player 'galedog' took a lot of fight strategies, sprinkled them with infinite combo tricks and then topped the whole thing off with some skillful execution to obtain a single-segment record, to wit: 0:29:46 as Blaze Fielding on Normal difficulty.

If you fancy something less poisoned with pure testosterone and Arnold blood, you would do well to avert your gaze to Wild Arms 4, a Japanese RPG with a load of main characters that can't legally drink yet. Kenneth 'Tide' Cheung took on the extended task to get a record in this shockingly long game, and managed a 34 segment recording that takes 5:04:54 - which is a nice achievement considering the scope of the title.

More jRPGs for the RPG god! A fellow Speed Demos Archive updating partner in crime Michael 'Flip' Dix decided to tackle an entry in the acclaimed Tales series, Tales of Graces (specifically, the PS3 version). Showing a blatant disregard for the holy behind-the-scenes queue process by which SDA operates, he got his run stuck in the pipeline, waiting for his comments; truly shameful. Despite the delay, it's still a highly well made run: 33 segments for a time of 2:35, a New Game+ time. This one has audio commentary!

Finally, to round it off, another Tales game, this time Tales of Vesperia. Sarah Jahnke adds to her records in the series with a New Game+ run on the PS3 version, just 20 segments combining to 3:23:52, which is actually a good deal shorter than the Multiplayer run on the page, though how much of that is due to the PS3 version having cutscene skip is uncertain. Still, it's definitely worth watching, especially considering it has audio commentary. If that's not enough to whet your appetite... well, if you think you recognize this surname from somewhere, you aren't mistaken: the hidden hand that makes SDA go round a.k.a. Nate helped with the planning of the run and is in the commentary! If that still ain't enough for you to be convinced to watch it, I'm just gonna paste a sound bite from Sarah's text commentary: "[Thanks to] Nathan for [...] being on Cockface Duty."

Yeah, I thought that would do the trick.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 by LLCoolDave

ARadixian nights

It's been a short while since Fancy Pants Man visited us on the front page, but it seems like his fashion sense has made no progress since then. Those giant orange parachute pants may have been in style some decades ago but they certainly can't touch this generation's stylistic choices, for better or worse. Besides, those pants might have been rad at some point, possibly gnarly or maybe even a bit bodacious, but there's no way they ever deserved to be labelled as fancy. Luckily, proper leg attire is not a prerequisite for mighty quick platforming, so we can present two runs on the Fancy Pants Adventures today. James 'cooopercrisp' Mernin provides us with a small improvement on his World 1 run with a time of 0:02:28.13 while 'Newtmanking' puts World 2 on the page with a time of 0:08:01.

In fact, you don't even need any legs at all for mighty quick platforming, as everyone's favourite butcher's-leftovers-come-to-live Rayman has proven time and time again. After a short stint with rabbit based entertainment this character returned to jump and run glory in Rayman Origins and it's about time that game made an appearance on SDA. 'Twyn' decided to forego the option of playing coop with his friends and rather blasts through the game on his own, with large skips and resets, in 0:46:55.

If people stopped spending so much time pondering about the precise sepia filter to apply to the picture of their now only lukewarm meal they might find that camera's have much more practical uses as well. Like cutting and pasting parts of your surroundings. Snapshot explores this feature of modern photography in depth, placing the player in ever more convoluted puzzle scenarios armed with just their reality bending picture device. Due to the way momentum of objects can be preserved 'Aaron_Haynes' has found some rather interesting solutions to some of these obstacles, beating the game in a mere 0:20:02.

Unfortunately, Phantasy Star Online does not chronicle the tales of the construction of a Vietnamese interstellar telecommunications network but rather turns out to simply be an action RPG. This has not stopped 'saintmillion' from dedicating some time to the game however, picking up the previously unlisted Ranger class and figuring out a way to seriously confuse the poor merchant NPCs in the game. Breaking the equipment system this way has allowed him to cut the previous best time for episode 1 almost in half with a single segment run of 1:04 on the Gamecube version. If you'll excuse me now, I've got a game idea to pitch.

And with this update out of the way we have officially broken the 1000 games mark at SDA, with a precise count of 1001 different games on our gamelist as of right now. Thanks to all the runners that have made this achievement possible and continue to submit runs for all of us to enjoy. With a bit of luck, we might be able to add another digit to this number some day. There's certainly enough games left unexplored, for now. What are you waiting for?

Friday, May 2, 2014 by dex

Back From The Dead

"Well, this hasn't changed much," dex thought as he stared at the edifice that - in a past long forgotten - used to be his workplace. He spent the last year convinced he would never again stare at the simple, practically crude, yet somehow evocative coat of paint; that he would never see the sun glistening off the intricate stained glass windows. The sight brought him back to a similar moment, back when he was still a rookie trying to gather enough courage to enter the building and report for his first day. He was just as nervous today, for the Archive has evolved since then - if not in look, then certainly in size. Back then, it was merely beginning to show its presence on the map, aggressively so.

Aggressively enough that he got his first assignment instantly. Paired up with a guy called Kyle 'chairbender' Hipke to watch over the proceedings in the Hammerfight sector. Jesus, that was a hell of a first case to draw. Stone cold single-segment, too. The toughest you could find. As if all that weren't enough, 'chairbender' was not a man to be trifled with - a man who smashed things with impunity when it was necessary, and wasn't afraid of casualties in the line of duty. Still, the assignment was finished in just 0:36:10. The Archive valued expediency.

An abrupt breeze broke him out of his deep thought. Good thing, too - he didn't want to be late for his grand return. He began confidently walking towards the entrance, when suddenly, a sharp pain interrupted his stride, reminding him of his still not fully healed leg. An injury incurred in the line of duty, and the reason for his retirement; a retirement cut short by yesterday's proposition from the Chief. We've got something we could use your expertise for, the Chief said. Why did he even consider that proposition, anyway? This wound is reason enough to decline, he thought as he hobbled through the enormous, wooden doors.

The entrance hall looked just as impressive as he remembered it. The marble flooring, the pillars, the oak receptionist's desk - just like old times. Hell, there even was good old 'cortez' behind the desk, likely doing some lighter work before his next assignment. The tales of 'cortez's exploits in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky were stuff of legends back in the day - and for good reason. Even on Novice difficulty, running around in a zone full of radiation and bloodthirsty hostiles was nothing to scoff at, and it got done in a record time of 0:15:39. I mean, 'cortez' was back in office before the morning coffee was cold, how crazy is that?

Abandoning the trip down that particular memory lane, dex entered the elevator and pressed the second floor basement button on the panel, then hurriedly pushed the 'close door' button so he didn't have to wait - old habits die hard. The doors began to snap together when someone wedged a boot between the two sliding pieces of chrome.
"Pardon," said the man dressed in security garb as he entered the cabin. He waited for the doors to close properly before speaking again, a definite threatening note to his voice. "Second floor basement, huh? That area's off limits. I'm gonna have to insist that you leave."
"That ain't happening. I'm supposed to go there."
"Oh yeah? Who the hell are you?"
"Does it matter? I'm meeting the Chief."
The uniform relaxed himself. "Oh, you're that vet. You're shorter than I expected."
"Yeah, well, appearances can be deceiving."
"I guess. I just expected the man who tackled the whole Spider-Man debacle to be more... menacing, you know."
"Spider-Man?"
"Yeah, year 2000? Kid Mode difficulty? Don't tease me, man."
"Wasn't me. Not into the comic book stuff, honestly. I think it was, uh, someone going by 'Piston'. Real fast guy, good at aiming his swings."
"Sounds about right."
"0:37:39 was the time on that one. A real pro, that 'Piston'."
The guard raised his eyebrow. "You struggle to remember the man but recall the exact time?"
"Time," said dex, "is what matters, kid." He let the weight of his words sink in for a second. "Let's move, huh? I don't like enclosed spaces," he said, exiting the cabin and entering the hallway leading to the center of operations.

"So, what cases did you actually handle?" the uniform asked.
"Don't ask. It's a long story."
"You back for good?"
"Nah, it's just temporary."
"Probably for the best," scoffed the guard. "Cause I'm telling you, a lot changed since you've been gone. Hell, just last week Greg 'The Thrillness' Innes did an Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception gig."
Uncharted 3. Crazy stuff, thought dex. That must have been an extended deployment. "What difficulty?" he asked.
"Very Easy."
Very easy. Thank God. Even that was hard to believe. "Time?"
"2:35:37," the man said smugly. "71 segments"
Mental. Absolutely mental. These new guys really weren't joking around.
"Hey, we're here." They stopped in front of the Chief's office. "Good luck. You'll need it," the guard quipped as he returned down the hallway.

Maybe the rook actually had a point? Would the Chief even entertain hiring him again after seeing what a mess he is? Here he was, standing in a subterranean hallway, pretending he still had what it took to do this job - the same job that got him heavily injured. It was a Serious Sam: The First Encounter assignment with the SSDQ folks, 'Freezard' and Bart 'TheVoiid' de Waal - great agents with a lot of experience who assured him it would be a simple in-and-out job. It was, for them. 'TheVoiid' did things by the book in Tomb of Ramses (0:01:36, was it?), then went off the beaten path and skipped a lot of surface area in Luxor (got it done in 0:02:10). In his hospital bed, dex heard of 'Freezard's unconventional exploits - Sand Canyon (0:00:35), Valley of the Kings (0:01:51), Moon Mountains (0:01:05), Oasis (0:00:49)... amazing operations in which he was absolutely no use, and got shot before they even began. He was already mediocre enough to fail then, and only gotten rustier since.

Yet, recalling the day of the injury made him realise that, for the first time in a long while, his leg pain receded. He could already feel the adrenaline surging through his veins, and the feeling was not one of fear, but excitement. Perhaps that's why he agreed to come. Maybe, just maybe, he still had the touch. It was time to find out.

He entered the room of the boss man. The Chief was sitting in his chair, a dimly backlit silhouette in a dark room - you did not get to be the head honcho of the Archive without a little theatrical flair.
"It's been a while, Agent," the Chief bellowed in a familiar tone. On the desk in front of him lay dex' standard issue semi-automatic .57 and his old badge.
dex smiled - this would go much more smoothly than he expected. He couldn't help but feel like he was back home.
"Reporting for duty, Sir."

Monday, April 28, 2014 by LLCoolDave

Repeat Offenders

Today's first entry is provided by everybody's favourite Bruceman impersonator Ian 'RoboSparkle' Green. Well known for his dedication to the 3D entries in the Batman saga and a passion for clobbering through every single thug in a city whose biggest export is insane super villains, he finally manages to get his name to stick to the Batman: Arkham City game page. And what an entrée it is with a time of 1:49:19, improving the previous time by 14 minutes while increasing the difficulty to hard in the New Game with Catwoman DLC category. You should definitely check out this run, if only to see all the corners the Gotham architects cut in presenting what seems to be, at least on the surface, a properly built urban environment.

Alice: Madness Returns is quite a strange game indeed. Not only was it released as a sequel to an 11 year old title at the time, its combination of horror, plain odd surrealism (literally peppering pig snouts with wings) and surprisingly strong themes for a game of its kind combined with reimaginings of characters that most of us probably best know from the colourful Disney movie somehow just seems to work just right. Unfortunately the actual gameplay doesn't quite stand up to the artistic vision, but in usual speedrunning ways 'zawj' decides to simply bypass the boring and repetitive parts by abusing the game's area load code when necessary, yielding a single segment time of 1:44:17 on Nightmare difficulty in a New Game Plus run.

New Super Mario Bros. 2 is a title that needs no introduction, which is convenient because I'd find it very hard to say much about it at all. Bowser kidnaps Peach, plumbers set out to rescue her yadda yadda blah blah. It's a first party Nintendo title ending on a numeral, you should know exactly what you're getting into. Jordan 'Greenalink' Greener continues his dominance over the DS Mario titles, this time opting for a single segment run with warps, finishing in 0:27:00 flat.

Calling Power Blade the Australian Mega Man would be immensely culturally insensitive so I'll refrain from doing so. Although rumours of a hidden cyborg kangaroo boss are unfounded, the game still features an upgradeable boomerang as the protagonist's main weapon. 'InfestedRiche' deems himself to be worthy of this outstanding tool, adding a 0:17:24 run on the NTSC release to the previous PAL run on that page. Not content with a mere quarter hour of boomeranging, he also submitted a 0:23:34 run on the sequel Power Blade 2 which bears the even more magnificent name of Captain Saver in Japan. Crikey.

If these runs still haven't satisfied your hunger for speedruns for the week then let me remind you that this year's instalment of Crystals for Life is starting in a mere 24 hours for almost 5 days of consecutive RPG speedrunning action. If disjointed story lines from out of order unskippable cutscenes, impossibly low level boss encounters and Roman numerals tickle your interest be sure to give them a watch and spread the word.

Friday, April 25, 2014 by ShadowWraith

No, not that kind of times tables. The good kind.

Got a lot of runs for you guys today, so rather than waste your time with a lengthy preamble wherein I discuss why you should watch the runs, I'm just going to go ahead and post the runs so your time isn't wasted reading this block of text, which by all rights is already far too long for its intended purpose. Speedruns.

Last time I updated, I posted about a game called Kick Master. Well, apparently there's also a game called Sword Master. I wonder if the two are related. Anyhow, naming conventions aside, Sword Master presumably includes a lot of Swords and the mastering of them thereof, and 'MrWalrus' went ahead and did a single-segment run of the game for you guys in 0:09:12. It's on the PAL version, because everyone knows european swords are the best. Have you ever seen an American sword? They look like twigs by comparison. Give me a claymore any day.

I never thought I'd be posting an update for a Nancy Drew run, but well, here it is. Nancy Drew: The Final Scene is one of those adventure games aimed at young adults, which means the plot is probably simple and the twist is probably predictable as well. Nevertheless, 'Danielle' saw fit to run it for us, completing a 0:36:17 in 3 segments on Senior Detective difficulty.

And now, a bunch of Super Mario Bros. 3 runs. Mitchell 'Mitchflowerpower' Fowler (also nicknamed mitch13 on our gamepages) has been hard at work improving the runs we have on the site for this game. First up, an improvement to the single segment with warps category run from 2009, Mitch edges out the old time with this 0:10:46, an improvement of 2 seconds, however it's on the Virtual Console version which runs slightly slower than the NES version, so this improvement is greater than it appears.
Next, an improvement to the single segment warpless category. Mitch crushes his old time, improving it by 54 seconds to 0:52:55. Good stuff.
Finally, for this game at least, improvements to our individual levels table, bringing the total time down to 0:48:17, a total improvement of 36 seconds:

So, who wants more table updates? That's right, you guys do. Well, here you go. This set is for Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. Thanks to Austinn 'Davis' Hallman, we have 13 improvements to our any% IL table, a total improvement of 50 seconds, bringing the table time down to 1:23:46. Here you go:

Still want more table updates? Good. These are for the Wii remake of Klonoa: Door to Phantomile. Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe has improved two of his previous submitted times for the time attack category, improving the total table time by 0.1 seconds (yep, 0.1, faster is faster) and bringing the total time down to 0:07:52.65:

Finally, one more table update for you, an improvement to the CIA HQ level of the PC version of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell on Hard difficulty by Michael 'CotySA'. This mysterious surnameless gent improved the previous time by 21 seconds, taking the level down to 0:06:16 and the total table time down to 1:12:41.

Got all that? Good. Come back later, I'll have more stuff for you.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 by Radix

My apologies for this bullet list

We have a run of Alex Kidd in Miracle World in 0:14:24 by 'ocelots1990'. This is 20 seconds faster than the previous run done about a year ago.

The first submission for the game Bugdom 2 is a single-segment in 0:17:09 by 'Newtmanking'.

There is a single-segment 100% submission for Donkey Kong Jungle Beat in a time of 0:58:20.40 by Zack 'PiePusher11' Maher. Note that this run got better times than so many of the individual level 100% runs from a table, that the table was removed.

The first submission for the game Addams Family, for Game Boy, is with large-skip glitches in a very quick 0:01:30 by Dave 'bangerra' Janssens. The runner complements the programmers, who left an obviously intentional shortcut right into the final level.

Next up is a submission for a game so obscure it's not even on GameFAQs, Wolfschanze 1944. Carsten 'djcj' Janssen completed it on blitzkrieg difficulty with large-skip glitches, in 29 segments, in 0:19:44.

Another new game submission, Runner 'gammadragon' did Might and Magic VII: For Blood and Honor in a time of 0:37:41, with 23 segments.

Last up we have a new category submission on Resident Evil 2 PC version. William 'Smallvillecs' Júnior got a time using Hunk of 0:01:59.66. We already had a Hunk run on PS2, but I'm sure the times are hard to compare because of loading.

Friday, April 11, 2014 by LLCoolDave

The distinct smell of fresh rain on dry ground is called petrichor.

No time for introductions, getting flooded with runs.

In fact, the first game of the day probably needs no introduction. Grand Theft Auto 3 pretty much defined the 3D sandbox murder-em-up genre and has been a fairly popular title for speedrunning for a while now, so it's not a big surprise that a new run of it ended up on the frontpage today. This submission by 'Eidgod' finishes the game in 1:11:57, improving the old run by... precisely 0 seconds?! Unlike the old run, Eidgod however decided to forego any safety saves and deals with the randomness of traffic and AI driving patterns in a single segment that just happens to clock in at the exact same time as the old segmented run. Quite the coincidence.

Thief II: The Metal Age is a game that takes a less manslaughtering approach to dealing with opposition, instead focusing heavily on stealth, tricking the AI and taking a slow, deliberate approach to 3D gameplay. This poses an interesting dilemma to the speedrunner, as hiding behind a conveniently placed crate or pillar does not clash well with the concept of going fast. Joe 'SocratesJohnson' Lunde has managed to find the perfect balance, sometimes by blatantly disregarding basic concepts of physics such as not being able to operate a key through a solid wall. The result is an impressive time of 1:02:09 in a single sitting.

Lyle in Cube Sector also involves thievery of the worst kind. Lyle finds himself punished for his rather short sighted real estate purchasing habits, having his cat stolen right outside his house inconveniently located in a rather uninhabitable and unfriendly place. This sets in motion a Metroidvania style adventure involving coloured blocks scattered throughout the world being (ab)used in rather unusual fashions. The game has gained speedrunning attention ever since its release, but this marks the first time one of them has made it to SDA with 'Gliperal' besting through the game in a catrescuingly quick 0:14:52.

With a little stretch of your imagination, the gap between cats, otters and weasels is small enough for us to make a seamless transition to the next title, as long as you're willing to play along and look away while we redecorate the set and then act as if nothing happened. Doing so we transition right on into Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, one of the many PS1/PS2 era 3D platformers that have been immensely popular among speedrunners in the past couple of years. Stephan 'Freak4games' Toews is one of them and he brought a massive improvement of over 16 minutes to SDA's show and tell today, clocking in at 1:23:44 in a single segment.

While we're on the subject of beloved franchises, let's move on to Ghost in the Shell. This popular cyberpunk anime series spawned a game of the same name that, unlike many popular media adaptations, actually features an original storyline and well designed gameplay that involves being able to relatively freely cling to walls and ceilings. Alliteration expert Zachary 'Zastbat' Zimmerman manages to avoid disorientation for 0:25:34 to stop the evil Zebra 27 (I think the proper cyberpunk name should be Zebra 3³) from his evil scheming.

Against our statistical expectations, this update doesn't just feature one but TWO whole popular media adapted games that have survived the transition without turning into the usual pile of unenjoyable garbage that's associated with that phrase. Admittedly, the source material for Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth is a tad older than the previous entry, but arguably even more well regarded by its fans. Despite being stuck in development hell for years the end product is a finely crafted survival horror that manages to completely forego a HUD for atmosphere. Unfortunately, the programming has suffered some as the player can simply lean through a wall to grab a lock on the other side of it. Patrik 'Pafi' Varjotie properly abuses these oversights for a slight mockery of Lovecraftian horrors lasting 1:38:27, a foolish endeavour that hasn't ended well for anybody else in the past.

Dead Space 2 is a horror game of a different kind, tingling a different part of your spine than the Old Ones but is no less efficient at doing so. This particular game offers a Hardcore difficulty option that very much deserves the title, limiting your saves to a mere 3 across the entire campaign. Sahail 'Tenshouha' decides to one-up this challenge further, electing to not make use of any savepoints at all and just rushing through in a single segment of 2:14:40. Spooky.

Finally, with a complete non sequitur of a segway: Bionic Commando. No, not the NES classic, the 2009 game of the same name, which is actually a sequel to the remake of the NES game that WASN'T simply called Bionic Commando. This naming scheme is just utter bullshit. Nevertheless the game at least features the well known grappling hook for movement and asinine dribble for a story line. Frontpage regular Sean 'MURPHAGATOR!' Murphy took on the challenge of not accidentally swinging outside the level boundaries and dying, finishing the game in a mere 1:05:46.

This ending paragraph has no real connection to the rest of the update.

Monday, April 7, 2014 by ShadowWraith

GETCHER RUNS HERE! DON'T BE SHY, PLENTY FOR EVERYONE!

Merry Monday to you guys. I've got some more sweet speedruns for you to enjoy.

You may remember that a little while ago we had a marathon called AGDQ. At this marathon we had a gentleman known as 'CGN' completely murder F-Zero GX, known to be an incredibly hard game. Well, it turns out that he's pretty good at the other F-Zero games too. He went and improved the Port Town 1 stage of F-Zero X by 1.381 seconds, bringing the time down to 0:01:01.371 and taking the total table time down to 0:43:07.510. What a beast. If you haven't watched his F-Zero GX run yet, you really really should.

Next up, Super Mario 63. Contrary to what the name might tell you, this is not the prequel to Super Mario 64, and all similarities between the games end with the protagonist being called Mario. It is, in fact, a fanmade 2D platforming flash game, and Jeffrey 'I have no name' Bardon - you liar, you have a name, I'm on to you - ran through it single-segment in 0:11:35. Maybe this time Peach will finally stop getting herself kidnapped. We can only hope.

Kick Master is a simple game. As the name implies, you're a master of kicking and you use your kicking ability in the best way possible: on everything ever. Of course, there's more to the game than that, such as RPG elements and collecting plot devices, but nobody cares about that boring stuff. Ethan McKee saw things my way, utilising his legs of steel and bringing us this 0:13:03 single-segment run, an improvement of 34 seconds over our previous run. The astute among you will realise that this means that the run time is no longer leet, but we must all make sacrifices in the name of progress. Such is life.

Xardion (also known as Super Attack God Xardion, what a metal name) is one of those side-scrolling mecha games that are all the rage these days. As you might expect from that, it's also originally Japanese and thus the translation work in the game is terrible. Unique among side-scrolling games of this type is the backtracking feature added in to prevent you from beating the game quickly. Hah. Resident 'o' guy (check the run comments) Justin 'Zerst' Kvithyll decided that being a Super Attack God struck a chord with him and improved our previous run of this game by a little under 6 minutes, for a final time of 0:27:09. Also one of the robots is a cat. Cat robot best robot.

I love the Gauntlet games. I recently played through a Gauntlet-like game called Hammerwatch with some buddies of mine and it was tons of fun. I haven't played Gauntlet Legends, but from what I can see it captures exactly the kind of mindless gameplay that the previous games in the series had and for that reason I think it looks pretty sweet. Also apparently you can kill Death in the game, which is pretty damn cool. Anyway, 'Boyo003' also shared my affection for this game, providing us with this 1:40:50 single-segment Expert difficulty run. Good stuff.

International Track and Field is one of those games I don't have much to say about. It's just a bunch of sporting events. They don't even include Wife Carrying, for shame. Regardless, 'Chris-X' overlooked this grave oversight in the inclusion of REAL international sporting activities and created this 0:08:31 single-segment run on Hard difficulty on the PAL version. They didn't even include bog snorkeling. What a joke.

Last up, another Resident Evil game, this one going by the name of Resident Evil Code: Veronica X HD. The plot of these games confuses me greatly and is probably incredibly nonsensical to those of you who do understand it in its entirety, but suffice it to say there's probably a bunch of zombies, overgrown mutant creatures and a smarmy dude with sunglasses involved in this game. 'sshplur' cut through the bullshit and brought us this 1:41:14 single-segment run on the japanese version, presumably for the faster text speed. I feel like my updates may not be doing the Resident Evil series justice, but there's only so much "because viruses" reasoning that games can throw at me before I just stop caring about them. Eh.