Posts Tagged ‘Speedrun’

How Tool-Assisted Speedrunning Reveals The Inner-Life Of Video Games

If you watched this year’s Awesome Games Done Quick, you’re already familiar with the Olympian feats of endurance and skill that players exhibit as they race through your favorite games and make you realize that, no, you aren’t nearly as good at them as you might have thought. But there’s another side to the coin that isn’t nearly as popular as traditional speedrunning, a niche community of players prying open games and doing the unimaginable. Tool-assisted speedrunning (‘TAS’) might seem like simple cheating, but it’s so much more than that. It’s an exploration of the inner-life of video games, and it takes teams of expert players and programmers thousands of hours to do.

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Speedrunners, Away! It’s Awesome Games Done Quick

There are a few levels I’d say I know like the back of my hand, but top speedrunners are the sort who can not only draw their gamehand perfectly from memory, they’ve probably also whipped out a scalpel and peeled back their gameskin to examine the workings of the underlying muscles and tendons. This metaphor is falling apart, so I’ll say: kids, don’t play with scalpels. Instead, for the next week you can marvel at dozens of speedrunners demonstrating their mastery of 150-ish games during the latest livestreamed speedrun-o-rama Awesome Games Done Quick. It starts this afternoon!

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Express Train To Hell: Spelunky Speedrun World Record

I inch my way through Spelunky [official site], trying to get a read on the layout of each randomised cavern. Caution doesn’t always breed success and I rarely reach the ice levels, let alone the hellscape beneath. It’s both chastening and invigorating to begin a weary Friday morning by watching a speedrun that sets a new world record – from start to finish in 3:44. The runner is D Tea and he shatters the previous 3:52 record for a true ending. As well as being an impressive feat, like most things Spelunky, it exposes the workings of the various systems – from the fury of shopkeepers to the arrangement of tiles – in fascinating new ways.

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Speedrun Bonanza: Summer Games Done Quick Now On

Look, it's difficult to get a crisp screencap - they barely ever stop moving.

Summer is here, I’m told, though this weekend I had to buy a hat to keep off this Scottish rain. Still, the festive spirit of summer is alive and well in Summer Games Done Quick, the week-long livestreamed celebration of speedrunning games and raising money for Doctors Without Borders. The event kicked off yesterday, and will end on Sunday.

The schedule includes a good number of PC games with a few oddball choices, the PC lineup including Hotline Miami 2, Unreal, Super Noah’s Ark 3D, Octodad: Dadliest Catch in co-op, and Minecraft. It’s all streaming night and day on Twitch and archived on YouTube if you want to catch up on something.

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Awesome Games Done Quick Nets $1.5 Million For Charity

FASTER

Stop! Slow down! The time for speed is over. Now it’s time to amble, potter, and slouch it up. Charity speedrun-livestream-o-rama Awesome Games Done Quick 2015 wrapped up on Sunday after a week of folks completing games awfully quickly. They glitched, they tricked, they optimised, they skipped, they shaved, and they raised $1,545,916.03 for the Prevent Cancer Foundation. Lawks! The streams are saved so you can still pick up a few tips from folks zipping through everything from oldies like The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and William Shatner’s TekWar to the shiny newness of Shovel Knight and Dark Souls II.

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Speedrun-O-Charity-A-Rama: Awesome Games Done Quick

Hello, friends.

And they’re off! Thwapping their glitchsteeds with millisecond-perfect timing, the speedrunners are away. Charity livestream-o-speedrun-a-rama Awesome Games Done Quick has returned once again, kicking off yesterday and running until Saturday. They’ll be zipping through games all day and all night, including PC games from Shovel Knight to an Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind run aiming to complete all main quests in 45 minutes. I don’t know where else you’ll find someone raising money for a cancer charity by playing William Shatner’s TekWar.

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Awesome Games Done Quick 2015 Schedule Released

Video games, yo.

In case you’ve been living under a livestream-shielded rock for the last three years, Games Done Quick is a pair of charity speedrunning marathons ran every year by the community. The larger of the two is Awesome Games Done Quick, taking place in January. It’s a massive event, gathering dozens of speedrunners, requiring months of preperation and watched by hundreds of thousands of viewers over the a full week. More importantly, it makes an absolutely ridiculous amount of money for charity, pulling just over a cool million for the Prevent Cancer Foundation at AGDQ 2014 alone. Over on the Speed Demos Archives forums, Event Director Mike Uyama laid out the finalised schedule for 2015 and it’s a doozy.

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Speedrunners Without Borders: Summer Games Done Quick

Remember dying to jump to respawn points and save time on Citadel? Yeah, you should do that on the Von Braun too.

The Games Done Quick gang have launched another week-long festival of speedrunning, bringing top runners together to raise money for Médecins Sans Frontières. Some are impressive for playing the game flawlessly, perfectly timing every jump and shot, but my favourites are those which have felt around the underlying code and systems for weakness and exploits. They’ve probed for holes in the scripting, scratched at levels to expose glitches, and explored the weirdness of game physics, and runners explain these tricks while they play. That’s what fascinates me.

The livestreamed event started on Sunday and will run until Saturday, with a lineup of over 150 games including a System Shock 2 speedrun somehow aiming to finish it within 20 minutes. You can get some of the games they’re running cheap in a Humble Bundle too.

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On A High Speed Rail: Half-Life 1 Finished In 21 Minutes

These guys don't stand a chance.

Like any form of competition, speedrunning generates arguments over authenticity. Does a speedrun count if it relies on a bunny-hopping mod, in-game glitches and different runners tackling different parts of the game in short segments? I’m not sure I care either way. No matter the methods, Half-Life 1 being completed in 20 minutes and 41 seconds is an accomplishment of endurance, skill and effort. More importantly it’s a beautifully entertaining video, full of ingenuity and grace and physical comedy. The new record time is embedded below. You must watch it.

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Half-Life Free Running: An Amazing HL2 Speedrun

Alyx Face-Poser settings have been  set to: The Rock
It’s only taken 600 days and 14 people, but Half-Life 2 has finally been completed in under 1 hour and 28 minutes. The speedrun I’ve embedded below is the product of Source Runs team, and it reduces Valve’s opus to a dramatic, comedic relay of astonishing keyboard gymnastics. Each player passes off their best run through to the next, completing the game as a team. There are 200 segments covered in the same time it would take to watch Paranormal Activity. In fact, some might say what you’re about to see is parano – [*snip* We’ll have none of that – segue Ed].
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