Speedrunning

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)](https://www.twitch.tv/videos/555412407)
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](https://www.twitch.tv/videos/310324545) and [MMPR: the Movie (Game Gear).](https://www.twitch.tv/videos/311576258)
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)](https://www.twitch.tv/videos/297961714)
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)](https://www.twitch.tv/videos/327491570)
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).

Finally:
[Ys The Vanished Omens (Sega Master System)](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTcDJrcewUU)
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.
  • I'm in favor of all these! the Ys end glitch is amusing.

    shame the sound is so low in the first MMPR video! but I'm a big fan of the MMPR: The Movie variants for both game gear and genesis. good choices all around!

    Sky Gunner was one of the earlier insert credit reviews - vince liked it and I hated it! Now I wish I had it still...

    rad, i'll check these vids out for sure!

    i've done [a few runs](https://www.speedrun.com/user/roxaloxa) for fun but am not serious about it. i am keyed in a bit to some runner communities and the events are always must-watches for me

    I think I‘m the de facto record holder for Clockwork Knight 2 just because I recorded a playthrough with running mapped to a shoulder button instead of the double tap. I had the unofficial Gex record for like a month. Hoping I lose my job over COVID19 so I can justify spending a week on taking it back. It’s mine

    @roxaloxa#346 Very cool! I definitely don‘t consider myself serious about it either - I’m just in it to have fun. I‘ve found that it’s a really good way to get into the games I really enjoy and get the most out of them.

    I can usually only handle runs around an hour or less - that Anodyne Any% looks like it would be an intense undertaking.

    The only speed running I‘ve dabbled with are Zelda Randomizers (both SNES and NES). I think they’re really neat in terms of races and how the randomization affects on-the-fly routing.

    I got very addicted to doing runs of them for a few weeks, but then I fell off. To be fair, not many games keep my attention for much longer. I'll probably go back to it at some point! Would be fun to do with a friend, cause then you could actually race (although I imagine it may be hard to find someone with a similar skill level unless you're entering the tournaments, which were slightly too much time commitment for me at the time.)

    @gate#395 I absolutely love the randomizers out there. I pretty regularly do triforce hunt seeds of the lttp randomizer (I'm not great, so it makes it a lot more chill to complete seeds). FF4 also has a great open world randomizer, which is nice.

    These are another great way to get a ton more mileage out of old titles you enjoy. Burning Rangers actually has a little built in randomness when you do new game +, which is really cool.

    The Ys mirror glitch is really interesting— any idea, why does it happen?

    I see people describing what it is, but not why it works. http://tasvideos.org/GameResources/SMS/YsVanishedOmens.html

    @mcc#507 I‘ve actually been meaning to dig into this. I have an emulator with debugging so I can track the registers and RAM values, but I haven’t had an evening free to start researching.

    My main guess is, the attempts to buy the mirror run a subroutine that accidentally moves a pointer each time it‘s run. The map values in ROM (based on what portion of the map you’ve loaded) either get pointed to or shuffled by the action of trying to buy a mirror. Once you do it enough times, it either overrides the piece of ROM that tells the game where to put you when you leave the shop (which is why you can warp places other than the end credits) or the ROM that controls your character stats.

    It‘s a bit more of a deep dive than I’ve been able to do for a processor I don‘t know as well, but it’s very much on my to do list.

    Speedrunning is dope and mind blowing and I do enjoy the art. It is a beautiful thing.

    But if I can just drop a complaint here,

    With increasing frequency, I will meet a gamer, and when I tell them I only play older games, and their response is “do you speedrun?” that I “should speedrun”, or that, the only worthwhile way to play those old games is to speedrun them. Very annoying.

    @treefroggy#14883 Just speculating here, but I suspect a large portion of this is that the main way most people these days see or interact in any way with older games is via Youtube and Twitch - watching other people speedrun them. Without growing up playing them, there are likely a generation of people that have no context other than “speedrunning is the way you play these games”.

    https://youtu.be/PRhKs4GMMD4?t=341

    [url=https://i.imgur.com/DRoR5mf.png][img height=1 width=760]https://i.imgur.com/DRoR5mf.png[/img][/url]

    Awesome Games Done Quick will be held in Pittsburgh (my home city) in juanuary. They ditched florida over concerns about covid, queerphobic policies, and general florida-ness (no offense to any nice people who live there, one of my favorite people lives in florida). Pittsburgh is a weird choice, in my opinion. As much as I LOVE the city/region, it‘s notoriously impossible to get direct flights in/out and downtown, while coming back up, isn’t necessarily an interesting place. That said, we are the longtime home of the giant furry convention.

    I kinda want to go check it out. I'm a big fan of _Super Mario 64_ speedrunning in particular, but love the sport overall, and have dabbled in it at the super-amateur level.

    Anyone ever been to one of these before?

    @“deepspacefine”#p131055 I have not but if it were near me I would certainly endeavor to attend!

    Today will surely go down in the annals of Super Mario 64 speedrunning. No new records were set and most probably haven't heard of any of the people involved, but two seeds were planted today that will blossom into a future that was unimaginable even this morning.

    To understand today, you have to understand the star "The Big House in the Sky" in Rainbow Ride, one of the final stages of the game. Not only is this one of the longest stars in the game, it's one of the most frustrating because much of that time is spent waiting on a slow-moving magic carpet that takes something like a minute to complete. While there was a theory of how to get the star without the carpet (so called "carpetless" stragegy), it required a long and complex series of frame-perfect inputs combined with incredibly precise analogue inputs. The run already has plenty of frame-perfect tricks, but carpetless has always been a mile beyond the rest. It's at the end of the run, it requires a string of perfection, and there is no feasible recovery if you mess it up. Even as the rest of the game was getting optimized and shortened, this star's time requirement stubbornly hasn't budged, even for top runners.

    [Dedicated people had programmed tool-assisted speedruns of carpetless](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbhdF2KKjtI) for years, but it was always understood to be outside the relm of human ability. Until a few years ago, when [a japanese runner named Xiah completed the first known successful carpetless in a single-level run](https://www.resetera.com/threads/carpet-less-done-by-a-human-in-real-time-in-mario-64-without-save-states-for-the-first-time.114994/) (without save states). This was certainly an astonishing feet, but top SM64 runners were unanimous: the trick was too inconsistent to attempt at the end of a long run. One person doing something once doesn't mean that even the best can do it even one time in a hundred. Still, viewers requested "carpetless" in a "Freebird"-esque meme with enough frequency that top runner roll their eyes and ignore those messages. People would edit the TAS footage of carpetless over videos of grandparents struggling with controlers. Carpetless was relegated to the stuff of common internet tomfoolery, not serious implementation into full game human speedruns. Over the next few years, a few more people started hitting the trick (VERY INFREQUENTLY) and shaved some time off the human carpetless record. This is akin to Usian Bolt setting a new 100m dash record---it has absolutely no bearing on or implication for marathon times. Same arena, sure, but basically different sports.

    And then. Earlier today, a top SM64 runner Parsee was on a run that was 10 minutes behind his personal best. It's a dead run, pining for the fjords. On a whim, as a joke, for the meme, he decided to go for carpetless. After all, who cares if you waste another minute or two at that point? Well, as you can probably guess, [Parsee hit carpetless in a real 120 star run](https://twitter.com/Parsee02/status/1703449072370319705). This is apparently the first time anyone has done that, certainly the first time for a top runner ([Parsee, though not especially well known in the west, currently ranks 6th](https://www.speedrun.com/users/Parsee02), directly ahead of longtime legends Puncayshun, Simply, and Batora, all of whom have held the record and competed at the top level for years).

    Hitting carpetless was not enough to save Parsee's run, but it captured imaginations. Carpetless, in a real run? Maybe carpetless was like every other speedrunning "impossibility" before, aka "inevitable." But still, distant. Right?

    I saw Parsee's feat earlier today and kept stopping to marvel at the feat as I went about a busy day. I thought we'd eventually see this happen, but I didn't think it would happen so soon. I figured we'd have to wait for the game to get a bit more optimized elsewhere and people (kids) to have more time to screw around with this silly stunt.

    I was not surprised, then, to see a bunch of carpetless memes from the SM64 runners I follow. It's maybe not as important as Rosh Hosanna, but it's a big day worth celebrating. Upon closer inspection of the memes, it became clear this was more than just a celebration of Parsee's accomplishment. No, these runners were sharing [a new setup for carpetless](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4b18D4YPcJU&t=1s). Found by the TASer (tool-assisted speedrunner, aka person who programs inputs frame by frame in a special emulator) Krithalith, this new carpetless cuts out several of the frame-perfect inputs and seems to simplifies the trick overall. We'll have to give top runners a few days (at least) to mess around with this to see for sure, but if this new setup is in fact easier for humans, this could take it from a trick that fails 99.999% of the time to something that fails 90% of the time and who knows maybe even lower with practice (I'm making those number up, but they're roughly in the ball park enough to give you the right idea).

    It's too early to say what exactly will happen or what exactly the impact of these two developments will be. Maybe it's not actually easier, or maybe there's something else down the line that will supplant this, but it's definitely another step in the process of implementing carpetless into runs. Plenty of now stock-standard tricks started from little more than idle speculation and dedicated TASing. Maybe no one will hit carpetless in a run again for a long time.

    But today, I'm convinced of two things. Someone's going to hit some version of carpetless in a world record run one day. And when they do, the person writing the history of that day is going to look back to this day.

    Speedrunning totally owns, dude.

    Update: speedrunner Weegee (a child prodigy now in his early twenties, widely regarded to be the best at the fundamentals of movement and known for his all-or-nothing blitz style of playing) became the first person to achieve new carpetless live without savestates. And, he thinks it's not outside the realm of possibility for people to encorporate into runs.

    Even if this particular setup isn't used, this is generating enough excitement around the strategy that people will start practicing it more, nailing it more frequently, and researching it more deeply. It's happening!!!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93KJcGlBxmE

    OK nothing can beat this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwP5N44Lcd8

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ctd_RJTe9tA

    "All rooms. All art."

    @“antillese”#p148962 dolly moment had me on the edge of my seat