Before I started into this speedrun soiree, I did my fair amount of research and immediately ran into some roadblocks. Finding a speedrunning community is simple enough then you discover that there are multiple communities that are governed with a different rule set (well, most of them are similar except for the big one that you’ll find out about a little later.)
These communities, three of which are the power players, are SpeedRun.com, SpeedRunsLive.com, and SpeedDemosArchive.com. Each community has a different set of runners, rules, regulations, and following. Each community also has a different time for the fastest ANY% in Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers by a different runner.
So… what do I do now?
Do I try to follow and submit to just one of the sites or all of them? I started reading over the FAQs of each board looking for what is legal and what isn’t. See this speedrunning business is serious stuff. The members of the movement in beating games as fast as possible is an extremely small niche.
No one wants to cheat and display an unrealistic time in speedrunning. Because of this, the majority of these speed sites refuse accept emulators as a platform regardless of the version or style. It’s just too hard to find out if it’s a TAS or if there are any cheats enabled that may help the runner avoid damage or running through walls and the like.
Recording and streaming your gameplay makes it one more step difficult because the only accepted forms of recording is through a DVD recorder (are they still making DVDs?) or some sort of capture card to the computer, split video cables; just a bunch of stuff I don’t have and am afraid to purchase because at the moment I don’t know if I’m going to go through with this from start to finish.
If you read the Beginnings post (and you should), I noted at the bottom that if I was going to really take this seriously and work hard to get this done, I would like to be on AGDQ (Awesome Games Done Quick). Which, surprisingly enough, is sponsored by SpeedDemosArchive.com. Which means…
Yea, so no emulators allowed with SDA, but they do encourage using them to practice for obvious reasons (more on this later). I’m forced to use an emulator and the best controller I have at the moment is a PSone to USB converter. I do not own a NES to USB converter (which I need to get), so this is the closest thing I’ve got.
I started using the FCEUX emulator in the beginning but realized that the emulator seemed to run a little slow for my taste. I don’t know if it’s just the fact that I’ve played this game on actual hardware so much that I noticed the emulator just wasn’t running right. I don’t know, it just felt funny.
I then moved to the Nestopia emulator and had a much better experience. And yes, before you start to freak out, I do own a physical copy of the game so I’m not doing anything wrong. Let it go people! It’s a 25 year old game! Nobody cares anymore. Certainly not Nintendo and sure as hell not Capcom. Disney might. I hadn’t thought of that until now… hmm…
I continued my research by reading forum posts from the current holder of the single player ANY% speedrun by a guy known as Jeff Feasel coming in at 0:10:13 which was done back in 2011. Super long time again. Granted the run is pretty flawless. He gets some of the best RNG on bosses 2 and 3, nice jump patterns, etc. It’s a really nice run.
He gives a pretty good breakdown of what he did to get the lowest timed run and some tips to how he manipulated some of the enemies to do what he wanted them to do to help him along. On top of this, he’s humble. He states in his write up on the run:
In general there is still some room for improvement. There are two places I pointed out where a few seconds could be saved by using riskier tactics (Area F, and the boss of Area I).
So not only does he know that it can be better, he informs the reader on where so that someone else may have a go at it. Very cool stuff.
So, with all of that out of the way, what’s next? Well now it’s time to start playing. And figuring out ways to break the living shit out of this game.