A speedrun (IPA: IPA|/ˈspiːdˌɹʌn/) is a play-through, or recording thereof, of a computer- or
video gameperformed with the intent of completing it as quickly as possible, optionally under certain prerequisites, mainly for the purposes of entertainment and competition. The term, a compound of the words "speed" and "run" (as in "running" through a game, referring to the playing of a game) is only used in the context of games that were not originally or primarily designed with fast completion in mind (one generally does not "speedrun" a racing game; in those cases the game's standard setting for achieving and recording fast times is called a " time attack" or " time trial" mode).Although the term "time attack" is used to indicate a playthough of a game's dedicated mode for achieving fast completions, the term "" ("taimuatakku") is the dominant terminology for both unassisted and tool-assisted speedruns in Japan; the two are not to be confused. There is no commonly used loanwordderiving from the term "speedrun".] Commonly, speedruns are recorded on either an analog media such as a video tape (predominantly when games on consoles are concerned), or as a digital file, by the people ("players") who make them, for entertainment or verifiability purposes.Despite a large majority of speedruns being released in a compressed video container, such as AVI, and this largely being the preferred format due to the high amount of software that can be used to view them, some communities utilize a game's native demo format (such as the DEM format utilized by "Quake") due to these inherently being much more compact and thus easy to share with other players. Such demos would require specific software to view, usually (a specific version of) the original game itself. Speedruns produced by such communities that are of general interest to a larger audience are usually also distributed in a more ubiquitous format, such as the " Quake done Quick with a Vengeance" speedrun, which was converted to AVI so that people who did not own Quake could also watch it.] Entertainment has traditionally been the reason for the creation of speedruns, as the phenomenon was originally devised by enthusiasts who began comparing each others' playing skills via movies exchanged over the Internet, while verifiability stems from the necessity to provide evidence that one's playthrough went by the typical or game-specific speedrun rules and thus counts as a valid attempt to beat the record.Cite web | year = 2007 | url = http://speeddemosarchive.com/rules.html | title = Rules | publisher = Speed Demos Archive | accessmonthday = April 28 | accessyear = 2007]
In order to attain the highest possible quality of play in a speedrun, the author usually has to look at and think about the game differently than most casual gamers would. Generally, it is usually required that speedruns are planned out carefully before they are attempted; this need stems from the complexity of the separate areas in which the gameplay takes place. Additionally, games and their physics engines are not flawless and will allow the runner to do unexpected things that could save time. Despite their inherent differences, they seem to share a lot of common traits in this context, such as the ability to disjunct the common sequence of events in a game and thus skip entire parts of it—the act of "
sequence breaking"—and the ability to use programming errors, or " glitches", to one's advantage.
Some games are considered to be ideal specimen for fast completion purposes and have online communities dedicated to them, which provide (or have provided) a highly active platform for discussing the speedrunning of one or more of these particular games.
While speedrunning initially started out as a small project, initiated by a few enthusiasts who shared their demos online, it has since become a phenomenon that encompasses several active Web sites and an increasingly-expansive assortment of speedrun videos that are freely and widely circulated on the Internet.Cite web | year = 2005 | url = http://www.1up.com/do/feature?cId=3142599&did=1 | title = Smashing the Clock | publisher = 1UP.com | author = Turner, B. | accessmonthday = August 13 | accessyear = 2005] Cite web | year = 2006 | url = http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1528811/20060417/index.jhtml | title = Gamers Divided Over Freakish Feats Achieved With Tool-Assisted Speed Runs | publisher = MTV News | author = Totilo, S. | accessmonthday = April 11 | accessyear = 2007]
Common procedures and preparation
There are several important things that one needs to keep in mind during the making of a speedrun. These pertain to how good one is at playing the game, which primarily means that the player must be competent at using the gameplay mechanics, and must instinctively know the workings of the in-game physicsThe so-called "in-game physics" is used to refer to the possibilities that the game's engine offers; such as how high a character can jump, how fast bullets travel, how the character reacts after being hurt or otherwise damaged, "et cetera"; all of which can strongly influence the direction and execution of the speedrun.] and any special techniques or tricks that can be used to one's advantage. Secondly, good knowledge of the game and the events that occur within it are crucial, as one needs to know exactly what to expect during a "run" through the game, and also realize the optimal method to do so. Additionally, runners require perseverance, as it is quite difficult to be able to do a run correctly during a single attempt. As it requires some degree of luck to be able to perform all important events to a satisfactory degree, runners will usually have to simply try again constantly until they are all done right in the same recording (although this differs per run type; different run types were briefly mentioned in the abstract and will be explained further down). The requirement to do this depends on whether the runner is trying to beat another record. When attempting to do so, making mistakes could annul one's chances of doing so (especially if the holder of the current record did not make that same mistake). For some speedruns records, especially those of popular games such as "
Quake" or some games from the "Metroid" series, years of intensive competition have brought about very high quality standards. Runners therefore practice intensively to attain the ability to play at such a high level of skill. In some cases, Internet communities that relate to speedrunning are able to keep active improvement on a particular speedrun going for years.
As mentioned, the actual recording of a run is preceded by a research phase. The things a runner can do during this phase pertain to finding out possible ways to save time, most of which are likely specific to the game that he is playing. Naturally, it must be known beforehand that there is a certain route through the game that will yield a fast time. Such a route can describe various things, including a number of abilities that the game's character must obtain or avoid, which enemies to gain "
experience points" from, or which levels to choose playing (in case there is a choice at all). The devised routes can be highly creative and may include doing things that are out of ordinary or intended play style. It is not uncommon for routes to even "skip" parts of regular gameplay in events known as " sequence breaking", sometimes through the use of programming errors (called " glitches" in this case) that can work to the runner's advantage. These things both pertain to the most important preparation work: route planning.
Before one begins creating a speedrun, it is of importance that the most feasible
routethat leads to the completion of the game is determined. A route, in this context, is a course of action by which to get from one point in the game to another—it could cover only a single level, or the entire game in general.Cite web | year = 2006 | url = http://tasvideos.org/RoutePlanning.html | title = Route Planning | publisher = TASVideos | author = TASVideos contributors | accessmonthday = August 11 | accessyear = 2007]
The need for determining such a route stems from the complexity of the separate areas in which the
gameplaytakes place; runners must ensure that, in order to be as fast as possible, they know which actions to take in which order to avoid having to do unnecessary things. If one does not take the game's flow of events into proper consideration, the resulting speedrun may be tainted by requirements such as having to pass through more levels, having to use less effective means of fighting enemy characters, or having to " level up" more. The amount of planning per section of a game differs. For example, extensive planning is required to find the best possible method for passing a level that contains a lot of traps or enemy characters, more so than levels in which most such obstacles are optional and can be easily avoided. Even in games in which the levels seem fairly straightforward, it is often required that a route is taken that ensures some kind of advantage, such as a certain degree of safety or the possibility of picking up beneficial items or weapons along the way; an "optimal" route is designed not only to be fast, but also to take into account the effect it might have on other resources that might affect later levels.
Some games lend themselves to this better than others. Generally, non-linear games will have more branches of possibilities, as the lack of a fixed sequence of events causes there to be many choices that the player can make that require extensive research to appraise.
During the making of a route, it sometimes becomes apparent that some of the goals in the game do not need to be achieved for completion. While the route itself pertains mostly to the way levels or segments thereof are passed, additional elements of the game that may be seen as integral to its natural or artistic flow, or the continuity of its gameplay, may sometimes be avoided partially or entirely. Such elements include
cutscenes that need to be watched before the player can progress, items that the player needs to possess in order to continue to a next stage, or even entire parts of the gameplay that may convey a part of the game's plot or subplot. Skipping a part of the game in such a fashion that it can be described as a disjunction with the game's intendment or common sequence of events, is referred to as "sequence breaking".
The term "sequence break" was first used in 2003 in an online
discussion forumthread concerning the Nintendo GameCubegame " Metroid Prime".Metroid 2002, a major Metroid speedrunning Web site, has retained back-ups of these topics that can be found at [http://www.metroid2002.com/home.php http://www.metroid2002.com/home.php] . See see section "Metroid 2002 (Metroid series)" for more information on Metroid 2002.] This thread was called "Gravity Suit and Ice Beam before Thardus"; using the since then common "x" before "y" notation in the nomenclature of speedrunning. Thardus, a fictional creature in the "Metroid" series, was designed to be a mandatory boss before the Gravity Suit and Ice Beam could be obtained, hence the novelty of bypassing the boss while still obtaining the items. The author of the thread was Steven Banks, who reported to have successfully performed this sequence break on January 18, 2003, after the possibility of such an act was suggested by "kip".Cite web | year = 2003 | url = http://www.metroid2002.com/sequence_breaking_topics_tbj_V1.0.php | title = Ice Beam + Gravity Suit before Thardus using Triple Jump | publisher = Metroid 2002 | author = "Banks17" | accessmonthday = May 6 | accessyear = 2006] Banks posted his findings about the act being possible on the Metroid Prime message board on " GameFAQs" in a thread which attracted a number of interested gamers. The gamers quickly became a separate community and strove to accomplish more and better feats in the game. It is currently assumed that the term, as used in this context, was first used by a person known online as "SolrFlare" in this thread on February 5, 2003.Cite web | year = 2003 | url = http://www.metroid2002.com/sequence_breaking_topics_tbj_V4.0.php | title = Metroid Prime Sequence Breaking (v. 4.0) [Previously Ice+Grav before Thardus | publisher = Metroid 2002 | author = "SolrFlare" | accessmonthday = May 6 |accessyear = 2006] Fact|date=April 2007 Since its initial discovery, sequence breaking has become an integral part of speedrunning and has been applied to many other games.
An example of sequence breaking as a result of a
glitchcan be found in the "16-star" run of " Super Mario 64": in this game, the protagonist Marionormally needs to collect 70 stars before he is allowed to play the final level, but a glitch makes it possible for a runner to access that level with only 16 stars. More specifically, with the right kind of movement, the runner is able to pass through a wall by pushing into it in a certain way while holding MIPS, an NPC.Cite web | year = 2005 | url = http://speeddemosarchive.com/Mario64.html | title = Super Mario 64 | publisher = Speed Demos Archive | accessmonthday = March 25 | accessyear = 2006] Seen on the right is runner Eddie "kirbykarter" Taylor performing this trick in his 19:47 speedrun of the game. [http://speeddemosarchive.com/Mario64.html#16] See section "Media" for a video that demonstrates this trick.
While some speedrun rules require that the skipping of such events be avoided, it is often desirable—connate with the act of route planning—to make full use of such possibilities.
While it is typical of generic speedruns, as described in the opening paragraph, to be recordings of skilled playing of the game, there is one particular branch of the phenomenon called "
tool-assisted speedrunning" (commonly abbreviated "TAS") which removes the need for the recording to be devised by typical means (such as recording the speedrun on a VCR tape while it is being played on the original hardware) and instead allows authors to use "tools" to aid their playing. Essentially, these tools can be anything that eases the game-play and thus improves the final result; some prime examples, commonly provided by the use of an emulator, include the usage of save states that allow the author to "go back in time" and revise mistakes (in this context, this is called "re-recording"), as well as slowing down the (virtual) hardware that the game is running on so that the runner can play the game much more accurately than would otherwise be viable. One common requirement of tool-assisted speedrunning, stemming directly from the abilities that said tools provide, is the attainment of "perfection"; the knowledge that it is not possible, by current abilities, to record the speedrun in any way that would warrant a lower completion time. The practical result is that human limitations, such as skilland reflex, are no longer an issue in the creation of a run; tool-assisted runs have (sometimes significantly) lower completion times than their "unassisted" equivalents.Cite web | year = 2006 | url = http://tasvideos.org/WhyAndHow.html | title = Why And How | publisher = TASVideos | author = TASVideos contributors | accessmonthday = March 27 | accessyear = 2006] A run created under such rules is called a "tool-assisted speedrun" (commonly abbreviated "TAS").
It has been argued by members of "
TASVideos", a major tool-assisted speedrun community, that the runs produced by them could be considered a form of art, claiming that they significantly hold "creativity, variability, surprising outcomes, and speed", which makes them "beautiful to watch". Additionally, these members have outlined the qualities that, according to them, make a tool-assisted run entertaining: they should be interesting to watch (the play should not be slow or repetitive), they should surprise the viewer (the runner must perform the unexpected), and they must depict a very high level of play (the runner must be able to handle awkward situations efficiently and creatively). When a new run is submitted to the site, it first gets voted on by the site's members to assess whether it is suitable for publication; in case a run is found to be substandard, it is rejected.
The usage of tools to aid the player is mostly forbidden in regular speedrunning, and it is for this reason that tool-assistance is seen as controversial by some. When a tool-assisted speedrun of "
Super Mario Bros. 3" was released in mid-2003 by an anonymous speedrunner using the nickname "Morimoto" (originally "もりもと"), its incredible quality of play became a phenomenon; since few people knew how the video was made, it was widely believed that it was played in real-time by an extremely skilled player. When Morimoto detailed the making of the run on his website,Cite web | year = 2003 | url = http://web.archive.org/web/20031203222907/http://soramimi.egoism.jp/emu.htm | title = emu | publisher = Internet Archive | author = "もりもと" | accessmonthday = December 3 | accessyear = 2003] many felt deceived and turned to criticizing the video's "illegitimacy" instead. In 2006, Joel Yliluoma, the webmaster of TASVideos, had been quoted as saying "Two years ago, I fought against claims of cheating and other bad-mouthing. Today, although I still see some people who hate the movies and consider them cheating, I see more people who recognize the value of both types of speedruns." Another point of criticism is that a properly executed tool-assisted speedrun may disillusion runners from making an unassisted version. Runner Jacob Cannon, posting on the " Speed Demos Archive" Web site under the nickname "LeCoureur103", said in October 2006 that he would not pursue an improvement of his 19-minute "Mario 64" run, partially because of the tool-assisted run made by "Spezzafer", stating, "anything I did would pale in comparison".
Tool-assisted speedruns usually extensively take advantage of glitches that are infeasibly difficult to perform in unassisted play, such as this "zipping" trick, which makes traveling through walls possible. Contrary to how it may seem, the games do not need to get modified for such things to be possible (although the game shown, Mega Man, was modified for the production of this animation in order to clarify the concept); the inputused in tool-assisted speedrun movies is always fully "legal" and could, theoretically, also be used on the original hardware.]
Historically, speedruns have been performed by members of online communities pertaining to video games in general, primarily through discussion forums.Fact|date=March 2007 When the activity became popular enough to accede to
subculture, the first sites dedicated to speedrunning started appearing—usually specializing in just one or a few games. Some of these sites have sustained activity for a long time, sometimes even up to today, providing coverage of its members' achievements and serving as a platform for related discussions.
December 1993 saw the release of id Software's "Doom".Cite web | year = 1999–2007 | url = http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/doom/release-info | title = Release Information for DOOM | publisher = MobyGames | author = Andy Voss & "MAT" | accessmonthday = February 25 | accessyear = 2007] Among some of its major features, like at that time very sophisticated 3D graphics, LAN- and Internet-based multiplayer support, and user modification possibilities, it also gave the players the ability to record demo files of their play-through. This particular feature was first picked up by Christina "Strunoph" Norman in January 1994 when she launched the "LMP Hall of Fame" Web site.Cite web | year = 2003 | url = http://www.doomworld.com/10years/demos/demos01.php | title = A Brief DOOM Demo History | publisher = Doomworld | author = Merrill, D. | accessmonthday = October 16 | accessyear = 2005]
This site was, however, quickly followed up by the "DOOM Honorific Titles" (also known as the "DHT") [http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/Research/DTG/~fms27/dht/] , launched in May 1994 by Frank Stajano, which introduced the first serious competition between players. This site, designed around a notion of earning titles by successfully recording a particular type of demo on one of the pre-determined maps in the "
IWADs", would create the basis for all Doom demo sites that would follow. These so-called "exams" became very popular as the player had to earn each title by sending in a demo of the feat to one of the site's judges to justify his application. "" was released in October 1994,Cite web | year = 1999–2007 | url = http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/doom-ii-hell-on-earth/release-info | title = Release Information for DOOM II: Hell on Earth | publisher = MobyGames | author = "Lightknight", Andy Voss & Tomer Gabel | accessmonthday = February 25 | accessyear = 2007] and the DHT conformed to the new additions as well as the new Doom version releases. At the height of its popularity, the DHT had many different categories and playing styles. For example, playing with only the in-game fists and pistol, while killing all monsters on a map, became known as "Tyson" mode, named after the heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson. "Pacifist mode" was playing without intentionally harming any monsters. Each category had "easy", "medium", and "hard" difficulty maps for players to get randomly chosen for. As an authentication method to prevent players from submitting demos made by other people, it was required that they performed a distinct "dance" during their demo (often at the very beginning). With such varied categories, the DHT was appealing to a diverse group of players. However, the DHT had trouble retaining a permanent Internet location. This, combined with the constantly changing rules and the diminished importance of most of the titles, caused public interest to wane as the years went by.
In November 1994, the definitive installment Doom speedrunning scene, in the form of the "COMPET-N" [http://www.doom2.net/~compet-n/index.cgi] Web site, was launched. Its creator, Simon Widlake, intended the site to be a record scoreboard for a variety of Doom-related achievements, but unlike its predecessors, they were all based on the idea of fast completion, thus making it the first actual speedrunning site. Players were required to run through Doom's levels as quickly as humanly possible in order to attain a spot on the constantly-updated COMPET-N scoreboards, leading to demo material gradually amounting to hundreds of hours of recorded gameplay.Cite web | year = 2006 | url = http://www.doom2.net/~compet-n/database/cn.cgi | title = COMPET-N Database | publisher = Doom2.net | accessmonthday = March 25 | accessyear = 2006]
Like the DOOM Honorific Titles, this site experienced multiple location changes over time; it was hosted on the "
Simtel" servers for a while, before Istvan Pataki took over as maintainer and moved the site to a now defunct FTP server of the Technical University of Budapest(ftp://ftp.sch.bme.hu/). From there on, since early 1998, it has been administered by Adam Hegyi, who is still the maintainer of the site as of 2007.Cite web | year = 2007 | url = http://www.doom2.net/~compet-n/index.cgi | title = C O M P E T - N | publisher = Doom2.net | accessmonthday = November 25 | accessyear = 2007] It is currently located at the Doom2.net [http://www.doom2.net/] domain, at the Web address [http://www.doom2.net/~compet-n/ http://www.doom2.net/~compet-n/] .
Speed Demos Archive
Following the success of the Doom speedrunning community, people first started recording demos of Quake playthroughs when it was released in June 1996 and sharing them with others on the demos/e directory in
Simtel's ( [http://www.cdrom.com/ http://www.cdrom.com/] ) Quake file hierarchy.Cite web | url = http://ia300121.us.archive.org/2/items/Quake_SDA_collection/history.txt | title = History of Quake speed-running | publisher = Internet Archive | author = Speed Demos Archive contributors | accessmonthday = November 29 | accessyear = 2007] There were two distinct kinds of demos: those in which the player killed all monsters and found all secrets on the map (called "100% demos") and those in which the player ignored these goals in order to finish the level as quickly as possible (called "runs"). All levels were, at that time, recorded solely on the "Nightmare" difficulty level, the highest in the game.
In April 1997, Nolan "Radix" Pflug first started the "Nightmare Speed Demos" Web site to keep track of the fastest demos. In June that same year, the first "
Quake done Quick" [http://speeddemosarchive.com/quake/qdq/] project was finalized; Quake done Quick, unlike the conventional record demos, featured a full playthrough of the game, carrying over one level's finishing statistics to the next. The project members ended up making a movie in which the entire game is finished on Nightmare difficulty in 0:19:49 [http://qdq.planetquake.gamespy.com/qdqr.html] ; it was a collection of the best runs that the members of the site had been made thus far, and at that time, there was no other run that came close. The run was "recammed", reconstructed so that it could be also viewed from a third-person perspective, which gained it its machinimastatus.Cite web | year = 2001 | url = http://www.machinima.com/article/view&id=78 | title = Showcase: Quake done Quicker | publisher = Machinima.com | author = Machinima.com Staff | accessmonthday = March 30 | accessyear = 2008] It received widespread attention from gaming magazines, being distributed as part of the free CDs that they came with.Cite web | year = 2000 | url = http://speeddemosarchive.com/quake/qdq/movies/qdqr.html | title = Quake Done Quick: QdQr | publisher = Speed Demos Archive | author = Speed Demos Archive contributors | accessmonthday = March 30 | accessyear = 2008] This popularized speedrunning for a much larger audience than before and attracted many newcomers. Not all of those newcomers agreed with the old-timers' dogma that runs should be made on the hardest possible skill level. Thus, in August 1997 "Muad'Dib's Quake Page" came to be, run by Gunnar "Muad'Dib" Andre Mo and specializing in "Easy" difficulty runs. One month after that, the Quake done Quick movie was superseded by a new movie called " Quake done Quicker", on September 14, 1997, which shortened the game's fastest playthrough to 0:16:35. [http://qdq.planetquake.gamespy.com/qdqr.html]
In April 1998, Pflug and Mo merged their pages, thus creating the "
Speed Demos Archive", which, as of 2007, is still the dominant community for Quake speedrunning and also acts as repository for demos, maps, statistics and software pertaining to the practice. Ever since its creation, a large variety of tricks have been discovered in Quake's physics. Despite being released as early as 1996, Quake has steadily remained popular with its players, who subsequently released the "Quake done Quick with a Vengeance" movie on September 13, 2000, which featured a complete run through Quake in 0:12:23. [http://qdq.planetquake.gamespy.com/qdqwav.html] Primarily tricks that had not been used in both its predecessors allowed for this improvement, as the run's manual states that it " [makes] use of every known trick, including unrestricted bunny-hopping, to represent the state-of-the-art in Nightmare running".Cite web | year = 2000 | url = http://qdq.planetquake.gamespy.com/qdqwav.txt | publisher = Quake done Quick | title = Quake done Quick with a Vengeance | author = Quake done Quick contributors | accessmonthday = February 13 | accessyear = 2007]
As of March 2006, Speed Demos Archive can be found at the Web address [http://speeddemosarchive.com/ http://speeddemosarchive.com/] and contains a total amount of 8481 demos (on both official and custom maps), accounting for a total time of 253 hours, 44 minutes and 39 seconds.Cite web | year = 2006 | url = http://www.archive.org/details/Quake_SDA_collection | title = Quake (PC) – Speed demo collection | publisher = Internet Archive | accessmonthday = March 25 | accessyear = 2006] Although no new installment of the Quake done Quick series has been released yet, a new version called "Quake done Quickest" is in the making. The improvements that have been made as of November 2007 would result in a time of 0:11:30 for the entire game, an improvement over its predecessor of 53 seconds.Cite web | year = 2006 | url = http://speeddemosarchive.com/quake/projects/qdqwavp2/ | title = Quake done Quick with a Vengeance Part II | publisher = Speed Demos Archive | author = Speed Demos Archive contributors | accessmonthday = February 13 | accessyear = 2007]
Metroid 2002 (Metroid series)
Released in August 1986, "
Metroid" was one of the earliest games to introduce special rewards for fast completion times. As is the case for the rest of the games in the series, highly non-linear gameplaymakes it possible for runners to search extensively for different routes towards the end of the game. In particular, the ability to perform sequence breaking has been researched thoroughly, leading to the discovery of ways to complete the games while obtaining only a small percentage of items. Prior to the inception of Metroid speedrunning there were special Web sites which documented these so-called "low-percentage" completion possibilities.
The first game to be exceedingly popular with the speedrunning audience was "
Super Metroid", released in 1994, which proved to lend itself to fast completion purposes very well. It featured a physics system that allowed for a wide array of skills for mobility, like " wall jumping" or the " Shinespark", allowing players to skip over large areas of the game, or play through the game in different manners based on how well they can perform these tricks in contextual situations. Additionally, it had the same non-linear gameplay as its predecessors. Due to the way the game was laid out, several different run types or tiers that incorporate different completion percentages have been performed.A "tier", in this context, is a certain time-related goal that determines the strategy or route used in a speedrun. For example, a low-percentage speedrun is in a different tier than an any-percentage speedrun, as both have different completion goals.] One type of run is the "maximum" or "100%" run, in which as many items as possible are obtained. Speedruns which focus solely on finishing the game as quickly as possible with no other prerequisites are described as "any%" runs.
Runs in which as few items as possible are obtained, slowing down the player's progress due to the need to avoid as much items as possible, have also been made.
Internetbecame more available to the general public, groups of players started collaborating on message boards to discuss these tricks with one another in what became a communitybased on playing the games speedily.
The first Metroid community that was created for the purpose of fast completion was "Metroid Prime Discoveries", created and led by Jean-Sebastien "Zell" Dubois. [http://membres.lycos.fr/zellmetroid/] Fact|date=March 2007 Rather than being a site that focused on speedrunning, it was dedicated to documenting the possibilities of sequence breaking in the game "
Metroid Prime". When the interest arose to begin the documentation of other games in the series, however, the new site "Metroid 2002" was created by Nathan Jahnke in August 2003. [http://www.metroid2002.com/] Fact|date=March 2007 Initially, the only incentive was to document the two Metroid games released in 2002—Metroid Prime and Metroid Fusion—but this changed when Nathan was asked to take all content of "Metroid Online"—another site that had been developed at that time and contained sequence breaking documentation, a message board, and a 1% Metroid Fusion run—and relaunch Metroid 2002 as "the one resource for Metroid Prime sequence breaking info." This relaunch happened less than two weeks after the proposition and came to be in November.Cite web | year = 2005 | url = http://www.metroid2002.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3394 | title = history of metroid 2002, part 1 (was: happy birthday, m2k2!) | publisher = metroid 2002 | author = Jahnke, N. | accessmonthday = December 31 | accessyear = 2005] Ever since, it has been the central repository for everything related to speedrunning the Metroid series.
It was also in November 2003 that Metroid speedrunning reached its peak,Dubious|date=April 2008 after Nolan Pflug released his 100% run of "
Metroid Prime", in which he finished the entire game in 1:37.This speedrun has since been replaced with an improved version, and as such, its original host, Speed Demos Archive, no longer makes mention of it. The original announcement, however, may still be found using the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine at [http://web.archive.org/web/20031202174746/http://planetquake.com/sda/mp/ http://web.archive.org/web/20031202174746/http://planetquake.com/sda/mp/] .] Since it was featured in the games section of Slashdot, it gained widespread attention. [http://games.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/11/10/0655226&tid=213&tid=10] Publications in numerous different languages ran stories on the run, and topics about the run were made on gaming message boards around the world. The first segment of his run was being downloaded over five thousand times a day at the peak of its popularity.Cite web | year = 2005 | url = http://www.metroid2002.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4151 | title = history of metroid 2002, part 2 | publisher = metroid 2002 | author = Jahnke, N. | accessmonthday = December 31 | accessyear = 2005] The Metroid 2002 IRC channel was flooded with people who had heard about the run and wanted to know more about it, quickly dwarfing the original population, and its message board saw its member count double in size the month following the run's release. As a result of the popularity of this run, it was decided that in order to best serve the growing bandwidth consumption, Metroid 2002 would have to merge its array of videos with Speed Demos Archive, which was at that time being provided nearly limitless server capacity for their runs on the Internet Archive.
As of June 2007, the best completion time for the North American version of Metroid Prime is 1:03 by Besmir "Zoid" Sheqi, and the best 100% time was reduced to 1:28 by Paul "Bartendorsparky" Evans, making Nolan's once popular run obsolete. [http://speeddemosarchive.com/MetroidPrime.html] Cite web | year = 2006 | url = http://speeddemosarchive.com/MetroidPrime.html | title = Metroid Prime | publisher = Speed Demos Archive | author = Speed Demos Archive contributors | accessmonthday = April 15 | accessyear = 2007]
TASVideos (tool-assisted speedruns)
It was in early 1999 that the term "
tool-assisted speedrun" was first coined, during the early days of "Doom" speedrunning, although they were also called "built demos", in accordance with the "demo" terminology. Players first started recording these special demos when Andy "Aurican" Kempling released a modified version of the Doom source code that made it possible to record demos in slow motion and in several sessions. A couple of months afterwards, in June 1999, the first site made for the purpose of sharing these demos, aptly called "Tools-Assisted Speedruns", was opened by Esko Koskimaa, Peo Sjoblom and Yonatan Donner.Doom tool-assisted speedrunning is sometimes referred to as "tools-assisted speedrunning", after the first site used to share these demos. A news post after the creation of this site, however, read "Indeed, I was wrong and the site should be called 'Tool-Assisted Speedruns' rather than 'Tools-Assisted Speedruns'. I'm not going to redo the logo though."]
Like other such communities, the maintainers of the site stressed the fact that their demos were for entertainment purposes rather than skill competitions, although the attempt to have the fastest time possible with tools itself became a competition as well.Cite web | year = 2000 | url = http://web.archive.org/web/20000411175100/doomworld.com/tas/about.html | publisher = Internet Archive | title = Information about Tools-Assisted Speedruns | author = Koskimaa, E., Sjoblom, P., & Donner, Y. | accessdate = April 8 | accessyear = 2006] The site became a success, updating usually several times a week with demos recorded by its maintainers and submitted by its readers. The site was active until August 10, 2001, at which point a news message was posted to state that the site would cease its regular updates and act as archive from then on.Cite web | year = 2001 | url = http://web.archive.org/web/20010813062639/http://www.doomworld.com/tas/ | publisher = Internet Archive | title = Tools-Assisted Speedruns | author = Koskimaa, E., Sjoblom, P., & Donner, Y. | accessdate = April 8 | accessyear = 2006] The popularity of Doom tool-assisted speedrunning has dwindled since then.
In mid-2003, an anonymous speedrunner using the nickname "Morimoto" (originally "もりもと") released a video in which he played through "
Super Mario Bros. 3" with an unprecedented level of skill: he beat the entire game in just over 11 minutes without making a single mistake, and managed to score 99 lives while in a level during which he had to wait. In addition, he put himself in dangerous situations over and over, only to escape them without sustaining any damage. Although it was widely believed that the video was made by an extremely skilled player, it was actually the first tool-assisted speedrun made with a special emulator to generate widespread interest.There is evidence that several tool-assisted speedrun videos had been made before then, including a few others by Morimoto himself, but the Super Mario Bros. 3 video was the first to become popular with a general audience.] When Morimoto detailed the making of the run on his website,Cite web | year = 2003 | url = http://web.archive.org/web/20031203222907/http://soramimi.egoism.jp/emu.htm | title = emu | publisher = Internet Archive | author = "もりもと" | accessmonthday = December 3 | accessyear = 2003] many felt deceived and turned to criticizing the video's "illegitimacy" instead. The knowledge that the video was constructed through tedious and careful selective replaying also raised some questions about the authenticity of video game replays; after all, if it is practically impossible to tell the videos of both kinds apart, one cannot possibly know whether a run was made with or without the use of a special emulator. It was even feared that this fact would cause the downfall of competitive speedrunning. Neither the Speed Demos Archive nor Metroid 2002 have ever published runs that were known to be made with a special emulator. Nolan Pflug, the webmaster of Speed Demos Archive, has been quoted as saying "My basic thought is 'don't like them, haven't made them, don't watch them,'" when asked for his opinion on the subject.
Thus, in late late 2003, the first public website that served tool-assisted speedrun videos from multiple authors,
TASVideos(then known as NESVideos), was created.Fact|date=April 2008 It was originally created by Joel "Bisqwit" Yliluoma for the purpose of showcasing, sharing and discussing speedruns made with special emulators—at first, the site only held videos of Nintendo(NES) games, in part due to the fact that the only emulator suitable for this specialist purpose was, at that time, the FamtasiaNES emulator.Fact|date=April 2008 Besides just serving the speedrun recordings in the emulator's original format (which, much like Doom and Quake demos, required both the emulator and the game to be played back), the site also held AVI files, which were made available using the BitTorrent protocol. As of October 2007, it holds 977 complete speedruns, of which 452 are the fastest of their kind.Fact|date=April 2008
http://speeddemosarchive.com/quake/mkt.pl?level:e4m3] ("The Elder God Shrine")Some first-person shooters, including many early
Doom enginegames such as "Doom" and " HeXen", sometimes refer to its levels by their internal names rather than the actual titles given by their designers; for example, E2M4 refers to the fourth map of the second episode.] segment in the Quake done Quickvideos is shown in this video. The earliest recorded performance of this level was done in June 1997 by Yonatan Donner.Cite web | year = 1997 | url = http://qdq.planetquake.gamespy.com/all_1949.txt | publisher = Quake done Quick | title = ALL_1949 | author = Donner, Y., Belz, M., Pflug, N., & Bailey, A. | accessmonthday = December 25 | accessyear = 2005] His attempt was very lengthy and its route involved many things that are now proven to be unnecessary; almost entirely due to the discovery of tricks and techniques that were unknown at that time.Fact|date=April 2007 This version is shown at the beginning of the movie, after which the subsequent improvements made by "DooMfienD", Markus Taipale, and Peter Horvath, who made the last revision. Super Mario 64, excerpted from the "16-star" speedrun of this game in 0:19:47 by Eddie "kirbykarter" Taylor. [http://speeddemosarchive.com/Mario64.html] The runner uses MIPS, the armless yellow rabbit that appears in the basement of Peach's Castle, to abuse a glitch that causes him to walk through a wall. This allows the runner to skip a total of 54 stars and save around 50 minutes of time, as the game can be completed after collecting a mere 16 stars—without this glitch, it is required that the player collects a minimum of 70 stars to finish.
Mega Man by Joel "Bisqwit" Yliluoma and Yashar "AngerFist" Nasirian, in which the game is finished in 0:16:10. [http://tasvideos.org/movies.cgi?id=515] Due to the utilization (or "abuse") of a large amount of glitches, the runners are able to recurrently perform tricks—impractically difficult to perform for human players—which make fast movement through walls, floors and ceilings possible.Cite web | year = 2006 | url = http://tasvideos.org/1032S.html | title = Submission #1032: Bisqwit & AngerFist's NES Mega Man in 16:09.82 | publisher = TASVideos | author = Yliluoma, J. | accessmonthday = January 01 | accessyear = 2007] See section "Glitches" for an explanation of some of the esoteric techniques that are performed in this movie.
Tool-assisted speedrun– a speedrun in which one uses tools such as slow motion and re-recording.
Notable games for speedrunning– an extensively documented list of noteworthy games for speedrunning purposes.
Time attack– a mode which allows the player to finish a game (or a part of it) as quickly as possible, saving record times.
*Score attack – the attempt to reach a record logged point value in a game.
Sequence breaking– the act of performing actions or obtaining items in a video game out of the intended order, or of skipping said actions or items entirely while still successfully completing the game.
Electronic sports– a general term used to describe computer and video games which are played as competitive sports.
Speed Demos Archive– the largest speedrunning community on the Internet.
These external resources are generally Web links that lead to sites that specialize in speedrunning, and are therefore reliable locations for further research on the subject. Among the listed sites are also communities that have been created so that players of video games may compete against each other for fast times and high scores. For reasons of practicality, sites which only give a brief description or passing remark about speedruns, of which there are many, are not included.
General speedrun, time attack and high-score sites
* [http://speeddemosarchive.com/ Speed Demos Archive] – The largest repository and community of speedrunning
* [http://tasvideos.org/ TASVideos] – Speedruns through various NES/Famicom, Super NES/SFC, Mega Drive/Genesis,
Game Boy/ Game Boy Advance, and Nintendo 64games, made with emulation and by slowing down the gameplay
* [http://www.archive.org/details/speed_runs Collection of speedrun videos] at the
* [http://homepage3.nifty.com/shin3/ わいわい芸夢館] – Japanese collection of speedruns ja icon
* [http://www.twingalaxies.com/ Twin Galaxies] – An organization that tracks
video game world records
One may find various speedruns also available on sites that specialize in
video sharing, such as YouTubeor Google Video.
* [http://www.doom2.net/compet-n/index.cgi COMPET-N] – "Doom" series (excluding "
* [http://www.metroid2002.com/ Metroid 2002] – "
* [http://www.planetquake.com/qdq/ Quake done Quick] – Home of the famous "Quake" collaborative speedruns, including the "Nightmare" difficulty run in 12:23
* [http://speeddemosarchive.com/quake/ Speed Demos Archive – Quake] – Individual level runs of "Quake", including runs on hundreds of home-made maps
* [http://hl2dq.net Half-Life 2: Done Quick] – "
Half-Life 2" speedrunning forum
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