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News from January through March, 2013. [Newer | Older]

Monday, March 25, 2013 by Vorpal

What is it with games and clock towers?

Batman, the first of the two Sunsoft NES games, has seen a very exciting competition break out over the past few months. Josh 'funkdoc' Ballard started it all off by getting this 0:11:11, 30 seconds faster than the previous run. This time has since been improved, and by more than one person; funkdoc's got a faster run going through verification at the moment. If this run leaves you craving more Batman, you could also check out dxtr, who's also beaten this time and who streams the game semi-regularly. I say all this not to dissuade you from watching the run, because you definitely should watch it, but because it really makes no sense to talk about Batman without also talking about the incredible competition that's built up. Check it all out if you have the slightest bit of interest.

BattleTanx: Global Assault has runs on a category you don't hear about very often: multiplayer. Or more specifically, multiplayer individual levels. The original game was fun; unfortunately I've never had the opportunity to play this one, but if it's anything like the first you're in for a great time of tanks blowing stuff up. The table comes in at 0:20:52 on the easy difficulty, done by players Dylan 'Phazonelite7' McMahon & Tom 'Enkazin' Jones.

Patrick 'PJ' DiCesare only plays the best games. This time, you're looking at Castlevania: Harmony of Despair, a game which has entirely too much dumb stuff at every skill level, making it a perfect choice. If you thought the rest of PJ's runs didn't have enough dumb stuff in them, you should check out this IL table using Simon, on Hard and NewGame+. The total time is 0:07:37.28.

Mighty Jill Off might not have a clock tower, like two of the previous three games, but its tower is big and distinct enough that it counts in spirit. 'harry9397' runs Jill through the gauntlet at a record pace; the time to beat is 0:06:23. I'm not sure, when the Queen kicked Jill off the tower, she expected Jill to be back quite this quickly. That's probably one reason why she keeps doing it.

Muramasa: The Demon Blade is a mainstay on the list of people's favorite Wii games. Perhaps William 'Youkai' Welch's run will be a mainstay of your favorite speedruns? Youkai's cut through the game until he reached a time of 1:24:24, done in 25 segments using Momohime. If that isn't enticing enough, the run was also done on Shigurui mode, better known as 1HKO mode. And if that wasn't enough, there's also an audio commentary.

The Gamecube Resident Evil port/remake, better known as REmake, gets an obsoletion today. You may recall Derrick 'The Deity' Eide if you've followed Resident Evil 5. As it turns out, he's still not fond of zombies or various nightmarish horror creatures, and is pretty good at taking them down a notch. The Chris single-segment time is now two minutes shorter, or more specifically, 1:31:40. Watch it at night, with lights off, for best entertainment.

The last run I have for you today is Sonic 4: Episode 2. I haven't played it myself, but I've always watched Sonic ILs from 'Paraxade', they're always well-made and show the game off. In this case, he's sent us a set of individual levels as Sonic. The total time is 0:27:51.53, so have at it. Robotnik managed to last a little longer than usual this iteration.

That may be the last run, but it certainly isn't the last item. The fine folks over at The Sonic Center are putting on a Sonic series marathon over the next few days and raising money for the American Cancer Society. Love em or hate em, Sonic games are always an entertaining watch, so I suggest heading on over there and getting your charity on.

Sunday, March 17, 2013 by ShadowWraith

I am not good at themes

I never understood what the deal was with Klonoa. He's an anthropomorphic... cat? fox? What kind of critter is he? At any rate Nicholas 'Sir VG' Hoppe has completed runs on the Time Attack mode of this game in 07:52.75, and while I may be confused as to what Klonoa actually is, I recognise a good time when I see one.

I'm a huge aficionado for 3D brawler games, so seeing that we now have a run of Bayonetta makes me very happy, even if I find the concept of a protagonist channeling their power from the elemental plane of hair a little bit silly. Lee 'flicky' Reeves sent in this 1:33:21 completion of the game on Normal difficulty for your viewing pleasure, and judging by the run's content, possibly other types of pleasure as well. I'm talking about the included audio commentary, of course. What did you think I was talking about?

If swashbuckling sailors and treasure-hunting pirates is your thing, then boy do I have the run for you. Cutthroat Island is a game packed full of both of those things, and even throws in a minecart section for good measure, and no doubt if you played it you will be very excited to see it beaten. Josh 'funkdoc' Ballard completed a run of this game in 14:29, so what are you waiting for?

If that's not your cup of tea, then perhaps a little RTS action is more up your street. Starcraft: Brood War is possibly the most influential RTS of all time, and while its campaign isn't as popular as the competitive side was, that didn't stop Freezard tackling the Protoss Campaign and Bonus mission for an improvement of 06:52 over the previous total, bringing it down to 2:40:10. En taro Adun!

I'll be honest and tell you that I've never played a Mega Man game. Ever. I love watching them though, so if you also enjoy watching our pixelated hero blast his way through robot masters and doom fortresses that for some reason resemble skulls, this run of Mega Man 4 should pique your interest. Tom Radovich blasts his way through the game in a swift 40:39, for an improvement of 11 seconds over the previous run.

In other news, there's been a flurry of activity over in the Quake section, so if you're feeling a bit oldschool (the update was even done by Radix!) head over there and watch the demos. I guarantee that it's worth your time to do so.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 by Breakdown

Numbers game

We'll pull out the big guns right away this update. Not to take anything away from the runs to follow, but I have a sneaking suspicion these two runs of Super Mario World I'm about to unveil will be pulling in the highest download totals for the next couple days. But yes, two new Mario World runs, a long overdue update to both the any% and 96 exit categories, both courtesy of runner Jon O'Rourke. The new any% clocks in 30 seconds below our previous run with a time of 0:10:29, and the 96 exit takes almost six and a half minutes off the incumbent time, finishing in 1:25:19. Just goes to show how far the scene for this game has come in the past few years.

Now, I stand by the prediction that the Mario World runs will be the biggest draw of this update, but it wouldn't surprise me if one or more of the VVVVVV runs next up on deck give them a run for their money. Yes, multiple runs for the same game yet again, and again all from one runner, Jared 'FieryBlizzard' Klein. First is a single segment run that tops our current segmented time by close to two minutes, finsihing in 0:13:18. Next, an all trinkets run in 0:17:59, a 21 second improvement to the current run. Lastly, we have an inaugural run for the game's No Death Mode, clocking in at 0:14:05.

Of course, the internet is a finicky place, and some old school Disney nostalgia might tip the download totals in the next game's favor. And, for me at least, nothing hits the Disney nostalgia sweet spot quite like Duck Tales. The NES version of the game has an improvement going up today from runner Daniel 'Dxtr' Eriksson. Playing on the NTSC version's difficult mode, Dxtr helps the rich get richer in a very quick 0:07:25.

Rounding out the new runs today we have a dark horse candidate for highest download count in the Capcom title Trojan (get it? Dark horse, Trojan? OK, that was bad). Still, this game has its fans, and I encourage you to give it a watch. Daniel 'Dxtr' Eriksson is again the man at the controls, and he pilots the game's protagonist through to the end in 0:06:50, saving 25 seconds on the previous run.

A few more things to touch on before calling it an update. First and foremost, now all video qualities of all runs from Awesome Games Done Quick are available for your viewing pleasure, go get them here. The only videos yet to come are the highlight and blooper reels, and you can help determine what marathon moments will make it in. We'll be accepting suggestions in this thread through March 20th, just post the timestamps of the moments you want immortalized.

Lastly, if you're hungry for a fresh dose of video game marathon goodness, then there's an event this weekend you might be interested in. Crystals for Life, a Final Fantasy speedrunning marathon, starts up this coming Friday. A group of SDA members will be charging through an assortment of entries in Square's flagship RPG series and raising money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Lots of good gameplay and commentary are guaranteed and there are some cool prizes on offer for donors. So go check it out, promises to be a good time, and huge props to Poxnor for putting the event together.

Saturday, March 2, 2013 by Vorpal

Title not forthcoming

Let's start by hitting hard with a mainstay. Pokemon Yellow, a game loved by many. Mark 'werster' McKenzie, who you may have recently seen destroying any semblance of coherency in Pokemon Gold at AGDQ, contributed a single-segment 2:02 by the in-game timer, an obsoletion of six minutes over the previous segmented run. A lot of people say that Pokemon games have no skill. To those people, I say: beat this.

I've known that Final Fantasy Legend is glitchy, but without having played the game, I didn't quite know how glitchy. Well, today's the day we find out. Ryan 'Poxnor' Vogt has an existing single-segment run that clocks in at an hour and a few minutes, but if you venture into the major skips category then you can just chop the hour off, and keep the six minutes. Or, to be more specific, 0:06:46. All that from a little bit of monster meat.

Donkey Kong 64 is a notoriously glitchy game, most recently on the front page for being destroyed in the same amount of time it takes me to get the first couple bananas. Today you get to see how fast it goes when you get everything. Chris 'cfox7' Fox is the man with the plan, and any plan that nets you 101% in a single-segment 7:14 is a very elaborate plan indeed. No word from K. Rool on why he hasn't just given up by now.

Forsaken 64 was stuck in the queue for a pretty long time, so it's gratifying to be able to post it. The author of this set of individual levels is David 'marshmallow' Gibbons. marshmallow was an incredibly prolific runner, at one point having around 20-30 runs of various N64 games, but his last submission was from about 2005, so it's been a long time. Welcome him back to the site by downloading his ILs, which complete the game in 0:49:44.

Heavy Rain's Taxidermist DLC gets an update today, courtesy of Marwin Misselhorn. A different ending escape route yields a five-second improvement. This Taxidermist fellow is pretty oblivious, apparently. In any case, while watching this 0:04:26 may teach you how to psych out serial killers… don't try this at home.

The final run today is of Whizz, an SNES game I've never heard of, and after watching some of the run, I still don't understand anything about it. Games like that seem to be Patrick 'PJ' DiCesare's specialty. And let's be honest: you can't really give a better review of a PJ game than that. So check it out for yourself by downloading this single-segment 0:18:08 and tell me what's going on. I should also note that the statid is full of lies: there is no audio commentary.

Thanks for watching! Until next time.

Saturday, February 23, 2013 by ShadowWraith

Testing, testing, 1 2 3. Is this thing on? Yes? Excellent.

Hello! I'm ShadowWraith. If you're reading this, then I have successfully managed to wrestle SDA's update system into submission. Unfortunately, one of our other updaters, dex, took a nasty hit from the obsoleted speedruns while we were marching them to the discard pile and has been sent home to recover. I'll be taking over as one of your fabulous updaters for the foreseeable future. However! You aren't here to read about my adventures, you're here for delicious speedruns, so let's get to it.

First up on the agenda, a little title you may or may not have heard of called The Legend of Zelda. The run we have for you today is a single-segment first quest completion of the game done in a brisk 32:04 by none other than Darkwing Duck. It's dangerous to go alone, so I suggest having a read of the run comments as some of the techniques Mr Duck uses are somewhat non-standard, such as teleporting across the screen.

Speaking of teleporting, this is a horrible segue to our next run that may or may not actually feature teleportation, but our resident hunk and all around awesome guy Jeff 'Feasel' Feasel has delivered unto us a single-segment run of the infamous Hydlide. I'm not entirely sure what this game is about, but I have heard interesting things about it, and what with the run a short and sweet 15:45 in length you're sure to enjoy watching him demolish the game, which I am told is devilishly difficult.

Moving on, we've got a run of the titular Mass Effect for you. If you're like me and you tend to take several days to complete this game, then the completion time of 2:12:39 will be sure to pique your interests. Credit for this run goes to the gentleman named 'your name here', and before you get any ideas about taking advantage of the previous sentence, I advise you to watch the run instead. I hear it's got glitches. We love glitches.

Next is a run of a game I thoroughly enjoyed as a child, as I expect many of you did. Kyle 'Mr. K' Halversen, also known as the infamous Mayor K., has brought unto us, his constituents, a run of the game Maniac Mansion done in 06:49. Of course, it's single-segment, just like the rest of the runs in this update, but it is also awesome. So go watch it.

Last, but most definitely not least, we have a run of Mega Man Legends brought to you by Justin 'JMC4789' Chadwick. This single-segment run blasts through the game in a speedy 39:22. I don't follow the Mega Man spinoff storylines at all, but for those of you that do (and those of you that don't), you will not be disappointed by this run. If you are disappointed, you can write me an angry PM.

Monday, February 18, 2013 by Breakdown

It wasn't supposed to be a joke...

I've heard more than a few people crack wise about the whole "regular updating schedule" declaration followed by three weeks of silence. Given periods in the past this isn't completely unwarranted, but the site as a whole is not to blame. Simply put, purely my fault. I can make excuses, but why give excuses when I can give speedruns instead?

Representation of the Crash Bandicoot series has been steadily increasing over the years. This is a trend that is continuing today with the addition of Crash Twinsanity to our game list. Runner Dylan 'DRsynj' Rothwell is the man behind this single segment run with deaths that clocks in at a swift 1:04.

Next up, we have everyone's favorie hybrid of Castlevania and QWOP, Earnest Evans. Our very own Mike Uyama is at the helm of this 0:08:53 run, so enjoy watching him flail his way to victory. I can already hear the Wolf Team howls.

Now we move from raiding ancient tombs to grizzly assassinations, a perfectly logical and seamless transition to be sure. Hitman 2 is the subject of an improvement today. Nathanael 'Forsaken' Villemin returned his attention to this title to knock over 3 minutes off his old time, bringing it down to 0:28:56 over 20 segments.

And here we move from grizzly assassinations to younger versions of Warner's Bros. characters - OK, I'm going to stop trying to segue these runs together neatly. The Tiny Toons cartoons spawned a handful of games over the years, but today is the first time one's found it's way to our game list. Fredrik 'Edenal' Lidholt presents a run of the SNES's Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose. Playing on the Japanese version, Fredrik steers the titular blue rabbit to a final time of 0:23:08.

Wrapping up the games for the update is an indie PC game. Most games have titles that relate to the story or a particular gameplay element that sets it apart, but rarely do you find a game with a title as blunt as You Have To Win The Game. Really just gets right to the point. Runner Emil 'ibldedibble' Larsson takes the games title to heart, flying through even the games most sinister challenges without fear, finishing with a final time of 0:05:17.

One last point of interest before I finish up here, we now have at the very least low quality encodes for every run from Awesome Games Done Quick available for download, and higher quality vids are steadily being added. So go immortalize all your favorite AGDQ moments on your hard drive. Download links are available here, enjoy.

Sunday, January 27, 2013 by Vorpal

Returning to your regular update schedule

AGDQ is the gift that keeps on giving. You may remember when Chipin crashed and a man by the name of SMK implemented an alternate donation system and, well, basically saved the marathon. One of the rules of the alternate donation system was that people had to keep comments limited to 255 characters or less. Otherwise, we wouldn't see them. Not just the donation comment, but the donation itself. They would still go through to PCF, but without us being aware of them.

At least, until now. PCF let us look at their logs, and with those we were able to add the missing donations to the tracker. This revised the grand total upwards, just a bit. How much money did AGDQ raise? $448,423.27 over 16306 individual donations. You all rock. No, really.

All prize emails have been sent out. Check your inbox (and your spam folder) and see if you've won something. The last thing worth noting is that videos are starting to come online. If you want our customary high-quality standalone downloads, well, we've got a few up right here and will be adding more quickly.

And speaking of videos, it's about time for SDA to return to regular updating, don't you think?

Wesley 'Molotov' Corron has provided a Jungle Strike single-segment for you today. This game's got an interesting history; its first SDA activity was being one of the games mike89 featured in his speedrunning tournament a couple years ago. Molotov took that ball and ran with it, and the result is before you: a single-segment 0:42:41.

Even kart racing games that aren't Mario Kart still have power sliding, apparently. That's the lesson I'm taking from Crash Nitro Kart. Peter 'PeteThePlayer' Tissen is way more on the ball than I am, thankfully. Check out this single-segment 1:11:13 and shave those frames with some phat drifts.

Let's switch gears and go with a completely different genre. Ultima Underworld is a game that has a persuasive cult following but which I unfortunately know almost nothing about. But don't let my ignorance stop you. 'gammadragon' has here a single-segment 0:17:25, and judging by some of the comments about the run in the game's forum thread, it's rather excellent.

A couple months ago, I found out that Turok 2: Seeds of Evil was made by people who eventually went on to found Retro Studios, and since then I've wanted to play it. It's on my list of games to beat this year, actually. But Christopher 'giganotabehemoth87' Hill, destroyer of PAL Super Metroid, beat me to the punch. He's run the PC version on Hard, using deaths and getting the best ending. Check out this 1:55:26, done in 44 segments. Knowing Behemoth, it's a really awesome run and well worth your time.

The last run for you today is something from my childhood. Golden Axe, the game that isn't actually about any sort of golden axe at all (a fact lost on me way back when), got beaten up by Jason 'honorableJay' Feeney. All I have to say is I told you so, Dad, I knew magic wasn't nearly as good as its animation suggested. The run is a single-segment 0:09:27, using Tyris Flare. honrableJay estimates that a perfectly-executed run could only get another few seconds faster before trodding into TAS territory, which is always a good thing to hear.

Until next time.

Saturday, January 19, 2013 by Vorpal

And again we are surprised: AGDQ 2013 Wrapup


That wonderfully symmetric number is, as of this writing, the total amount raised for the Prevent Cancer Foundation during the entirety of Awesome Games Done Quick 2013. By the time you read this the number will probably be slightly higher, since people can still donate. But the point stands.

Four hundred and thirty two thousand dollars. Going into this, our best guesses for the grand total were around the 200-250k mark, which would work out to about two two-year research grants. Guess we were lowballing it, eh?

It was a hell of a lot of fun. Even the dumb stuff like getting blown up in a race. Meeting awesome people and playing games with them is the best thing. And then there's all the people I didn't meet.

People like you, who watched the marathon from afar. People who donated. People who really wanted to come in person but couldn't quite make it. People who wrote about it. People who moderated the chats. People who did restreams in other languages. People who told their friends. The response the marathon got, not just from the speedrunning community but from all of gaming, and even outside it, is nothing short of astonishing. Last year I tried shouting out every community I knew of that supported us. This year I flat-out couldn't keep up. This fantastically high number of dollars? It's more your doing than anyone else's.

I gotta say, the Prevent Cancer Foundation also deserves a big pat on the back. They've supported us the whole way, from promoting us, helping resolve technical problems (thanks, Chipin) to organizing catered food for us (thanks, Subway, Ledo's Pizza, and Design Cuisine). In addition to being a good cause they've just been really great to work with.

I don't know what the donation total next year will be, but I do know that if predictions are again shattered, this time we won't be surprised. When we stand together, impossible is nothing. Can't wait to do this again.

The rest of the prize drawings will be done over the next week or so. Check the email you used to donate to see if you won something. If you had your eye on something but didn't win it, many of the prize donors take commissions (and given how much time and money some put into their crafts, they deserve them). The list is too big to copy here, so please click the list of prize donators and give them the love they deserve!

If you want to watch videos from the marathon, you can check out the timestamps kindly linked by the Reddit community here. We're already working on getting separate downloadable vids encoded, but that will take a while.

Finally, if you want to get into speedrunning, SDA is definitely a great place to start. But also consider checking out SpeedRunsLive. People over there race games every day, and it's a great way to learn.

Thanks for watching, y'all. You helped defeat cancer. Be proud.

Thursday, January 3, 2013 by Breakdown

A bit of an 8 bit bias

Three days.

What happens in three days you ask? Well, if you're asking that you haven't been paying much attention to these updates as of late. Just in case your memory needs to be jogged, here's a video to refresh you on what I'm talking about.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday indeed. Awesome Games Done Quick is upon us, and it's going to be amazing. Not much else to say that wasn't already said in an awesome monster truck announcer voice in the video (props again to Cool Matty for this and the more formal promo video). Be sure to check out the marathon page for the schedule to remind yourself how much sleep you'll be missing, and starting on Sunday, the streams themselves (our front page will redirect to the marathon site during the event, so don't worry about missing it). See you then.

With that bit of business out of the way, all that's really left for me to do is build that marathon hype. I can think of no better to accomplish that than with some runs of games that will either be featured this year or have been featured in marathons past. Enjoy.

Let's start off with a game that's been featured in some form or fashion in every winter marathon to date: Super Mario Bros. 3. We have a new run for the warpless category going up today from Mitchell 'Mitchflowerpower' Fowler. Mitch cut over a minute from his previous submission for the category, saving the princess in a brisk 0:53:49. And if you are a fan a warpless Mario 3 runs (or become a fan after watching this one), make sure to check out tjp7134's run at the marathon on Monday the 8th.

Oddly enough, I could start this next paragraph the exact same way as I did the last one. The Contra series has always been well represented at SDA marathons, and the original Contra has always made an appearance. It's been quite some time, however, since it's made an appearance here on the front page. Reason being, the incumbent runs are top notch, but even the best runs get beaten from time to time, and such is the case today. David Heidman Jr. has bested Freddy Anderson's Contra weapons run from 2008 by a margin of six seconds. Impossible you say? The evidence is right here in this fantastic 0:10:11 run. Be sure to check it out, and if that just leaves you hungry for more Contra action be sure to check the marathon's Contra block on Friday the 11th.

Zelda games are a mainstay at SDA marathons, and we have an impressive lineup this year running from the NES to the Gamecube, but missing in action this time around is the game that started it all, The Legend of Zelda. The original has had a good showing at SDA marathons, appearing in all three winter events as well as the last SGDQ, but this year it gets a rest. If you see this as upsetting news, don't despair, as we have a Zelda 1 fix for you today courtesy of runner Darkwing Duck. DW is steadily taking over the game page for this title, adding to his credits today the 2nd quest, no up+A category. This 0:37:11 run is an improvement of over 7 minutes from the previous run, that alone should pique your curiosity.

Double Dragon 2 has enjoyed a long tenure at the SDA winter marathon, one that is regrettably coming to a close (or at least a hiatus). However, if you're in need of a fix of some knee-to-face action then right now you're in the right place. Marathon attendees and half of the last AGDQ's co-op race, sinister1 and Joe 'jprophett22' Corbin are back with an improvement to the 2-player category. The knees fly fast and furious, hitting both friend and foe alike on their way to a time of 0:11:08.

And of course, it wouldn't be a very good marathon hype update if I didn't talk about the Awful Games Done Quick block. Depending on your time zone it will start either late Wednesday or very early Thursday, but seeing people blaze through games generally thought unplayable is something not to be missed. Our last run today was part of the illustrious inaugural AwfulGDQ class, Deadly Towers. Jeff Feasel kept with this title a while after the last marathon for reasons unknown and unexplainable (Stockholm Syndrome maybe?), but the result is this most impressive 0:31:42. This is an improvement of over two minutes from his previous submission and really goes to show you can't have too much of a bad thing.

Just to reiterate: 3 more days. Hype. That is all.