I’ve been grinding away at a handful of speedruns for a while now, and just want to share the runs, as well as share some titles I feel are unfairly overlooked and really deserve some attention (especially with emulation improving all the time). I own all of these titles on console, but almost exclusively play on emulator for easy of streaming/portability. If you see something you want to try out below and aren’t sure about setting up emulation, let me know and I can help you out - I would love to have more folks experiencing these games.
Worth noting going in - I’m not that great at games. My reaction times aren’t amazing, and my on the fly decision making often leads me astray, so I definitely aim for games with some margin of error, safety, and are fun enough that even when things go real wrong I can have a good time.
First up: Ax Battler: A Legend of Golden Axe (Game Gear)
This is the game that finally got me speedrunning. I played it a ton as a kid, and this was far and away the best way to experience it again as an adult. It borrows a lot from Zelda 2, but it sure looks good while doing it (thanks GG color palette). The enemies and stages are 100% consistent, but the random encounters and your own errors can create situations where you have to decide your next move to keep the run going smoothly. I share this one first because I love it so much, but honestly, it’s hard to recommend this game. It’s short (even for a non-speedrun), so please try it out so I have more than one other human that I can talk to about this game!
Next up: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and MMPR: the Movie (Game Gear).
As you’ll see from the videos, both are really short. The AI can be gamed pretty hard (especially on the easier difficulties), but still reacts randomly enough that you can’t rely on things being the same every single time. These games are absolutely gorgeous - amazing sprite work and a great color palette (GG has a bigger palette than the Genesis, oddly enough). I find these runs so fun that I often do them to wind down - the movement is smooth, the game relatively fair, and if you like Power Rangers, it’s an all around fun time.
Now: SkyGunner (PS2)
This is another one that was big for me as a kid. Similar to Power Rangers, it’s bright, colorful, and just really dang fun. Unlike Ax Battler/Power Rangers, it’s on PS2, but I can vouch that PS2 emulation has gotten pretty dang good. The gameplay is stellar, and it just feels really good to fly around and shoot down adorable minions (don’t worry, they have parachutes).
Next: BS Legend of Zelda (SNES Satellaview)
This is a weird one. An SNES remake of the original Zelda that was broadcast on the BS satellite attachment for the system, a lot of things had to happen to make this game playable. If you’re interested, there’s a lot of different hacks of this (some that preserve the original broadcasts feel, others that make it more playable like a normal Zelda title).
Ys The Vanished Omens (Sega Master System)
This is a joke run, but it’s also a run anyone can do and a demonstration of how some things can go very sideways on older games. Anyone who’s seen the end credits warps for Mario 3 or Mario World should see this - it’s the same category of run, but not absurdly precise and hard to execute.
Please go do this run yourself. The fact that this exists is just excellent, and more people should have a chance to see firsthand how hilariously things can go when you move around the right variables on an old system.
The other stuff:
I don’t have any great videos of the other titles I run, but I’m still going to mention them here in the hopes that more folks will try them out:
- Sailor Moon (Game Gear) - another great looking title. It’s short, fairly fun, and has a great english patch. But most importantly, it has actual voice clips, which is really cool.
- NiGHTS into Dreams (Saturn) - this game is a work of art. It’s a true joy to move around in a way few other titles could ever hope to nail. If you have to, play the HD version on PC, but if you can, get a Saturn or SSF and give it a go. It’s weird, and it’s awesome.
- Burning Rangers (Saturn) - it’s a game about fighting fires with lasers and anime cutscenes, and if that doesn’t have you interested, I really don’t know what I could say.