Tag Archives: speedrun

New Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Speedrunning Trick Shaves Three Hours Off Previous Record

Screenshot: Rockstar Games

Grand Theft Auto games are huge, which makes speedrunning them a time-consuming proposition. A complicated new trick discovered for San Andreas has shortened a run that normally took almost four hours to under 30 minutes.

The new trick—whose name, “Arbitrary Jump In Skip,” could honestly use some work—is only doable on the Windows Store version of the game. It’s similar to a technique used by Grand Theft Auto: Vice City speedrunners, and it allows players to skip straight to San Andreas’ climax via several intricate steps. According to details shared by current world record holder Powdinet over on Reddit, starting a vigilante side mission at a certain point during the early “Ryder” story mission makes San Andreas jump to a random line of script code that’s determined by how much time has elapsed since the game started.

The current world record shows how the game skips to the final mission using this trick around the 16:12 mark

Naturally, things must line up just right to pull this off, which can be a difficult feat in the living world of San Andreas. Can’t find a police motorcycle to start the vigilante mission within a strict time frame? Reset and try again. Can’t find a drug dealer to waste for an extra $2,000? That changes some of the steps further down the line. At one point, the convoluted setup causes San Andreas protagonist Carl Johnson to lose the ability to enter vehicles. But time everything right, and it’s possible to make the game think you’re on the final segment of the final mission. From there all runners have to do is complete the story as normal.

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Since this discovery was made public last Saturday, the fastest time in which folks have been able to complete San Andreas has been reduced dramatically. The enormous potential of this technique has caused the community to separate runs that utilize the Arbitrary Jump In Skip from those that don’t. The current world record without using this trick stands at 3:52:07, whereas Powdinet recently managed to beat San Andreas in just 25:52.

Over the years, speedrunners have been responsible for some of the coolest discoveries in video games, and this San Andreas trick is just another example of their ingenuity. Expect to see a lot more runs of San Andreas pop up as folks try to push the time even lower.

Source: Kotaku.com

Someone Beat Minecraft Without Mining Any Blocks

Minecraft is a game where you sometimes mine stuff and sometimes craft stuff. But one player decided to skip the whole mining bit of Minecraft and decided to beat the game without ever mining a single block. This isn’t easy and involves a lot of scavenging, some expert bucket skills, some luck and a lot of patience.

First spotted by PC Gamer, Reddit user SpikyHedGey posted a video on the Minecraft subreddit on October 4 showcasing a highlight reel of everything they did to beat the game without mining. The impressive accomplishment was a huge hit with Minecraft players on Reddit, racking up over 11k upvotes already.

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A lot of the run early on is spent visiting villages, pyramids, and other special locations. Each of these areas could have useful items and materials for SpikyHedGuy, like armor, food, and buckets. (The buckets are very important.) The keyword here is “could.” These areas, which spawn randomly in the world, aren’t guaranteed to provide any useful items. So a lot of searching was needed.

The full video of how SpikyHedGuy pulled this off.

Once they had some basic supplies they then began digging into the world and getting into hidden temples. This involved a few different methods. Luring Creepers, enemies who explode when they get close to the player, was one common method. It is dangerous and a bit hard to control. Crafting TNT with materials from dead Creepers allowed SpikyHedGuy to place explosives where they needed. But supplies were limited and breaking blocks with TNT isn’t as precise as using a pickaxe. Both of these methods can destroy materials and items in the process, so less mining and more controlled exploding.

SpikyHedGuy then used a bucket and lava to create obsidian blocks in a specific pattern which activated a portal to the Nether. This is a very important step if you want to beat the game. SpikyHedGuy needed to farm some Blaze Rods to create Ender Eyes, which are needed to open the final portal to the last area of Minecraft, The End.

Fighting the big dragon at the end of Minecraft
Screenshot: HedGey (YouTube)

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Once there, SpikyHedGuy fought the big dragon boss and using some scavenged food, armor, weapons and even the bucket, they were able to defeat the end boss and beat Minecraft.

I’ve never even beat Minecraft, let alone beat it without mining. A lot of things could have gone wrong during this run, including not finding nearby villages, spawning inside blocks in The End area or various other setbacks. So some luck was needed to pull off this impressive Minecraft run.

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Source: Kotaku.com

You Can Beat GoldenEye On N64 With Only One Bullet

GoldenEye is a first-person shooter released for the N64 back in the 90s. You might notice a keyword in that previous sentence. “Shooter.” This means the player is equipped with various guns and then shoots them at enemies. But is it possible to beat this classic shooter without actually shooting? No. But you can beat it by only firing one bullet.

Ryan White, better known as Goose in the speedrunning community, is a popular YouTuber, streamer and GoldenEye speedrunner. He has set multiple records on many different levels. So, after seeing many other YouTubers trying to play games without shooting, killing or jumping, Goose decided to try beating GoldenEye on N64 without shooting. He recently created and uploaded a video detailing how he attempted this and what issues he encountered.

When he first started playing the game without shooting, Ryan almost instantly ran into a major problem. On the famous first level of the game, Dam, players have to shoot a lock to open a gate. Despite knowing various tricks and techniques, Ryan was unable to bypass this obstacle. So he had to fire one bullet to break the lock, pass through the gate and finish the level.

However, beyond this one roadblock right at the start, Ryan was able to beat every other level in the game without shooting. Sometimes he would have to play around with guards until they pulled out a grenade, then rush over to them and kill them before they could use that grenade. Doing this would award Ryan with the unused grenade, which could be used to blow up door locks or other obstacles that are normally bypassed with bullets. Unfortunately, this particular trick doesn’t work on Dam because enemies won’t pull out grenades on that level.

This DAM lock…
Screenshot: rwhitegoose (YouTube)

Other levels were far less tricky and Ryan was able to quickly run by all the enemies and beat the level without needing to use any tricks or complex strategies.

I wonder what the developers of GoldenEye on N64 would think after seeing this video. Nobody developing GoldenEye at the time was probably thinking “Can you beat this game without shooting any bullets?” Yet, outside of one small issue, this is totally possible. I find these kinds of runs really impressive.

Source: Kotaku.com

Speedrunner Beats His Punch-Out!! World Record With New King Hippo Trick

Screenshot: Joseph Harris (YouTube)

Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! for the NES hasn’t had a new speedrunning world record in over a year. The last one recorded was set in April 2018 by Summoningsalt with a time of 15 minutes and 10.5 seconds. But over the weekend, Summoningsalt returned, shaving a fraction of a second off his previous record. He was able to do that thanks to a new strategy for manipulating the fight against King Hippo in order to expose his weakness as early as possible.

King Hippo is impervious to every attack except when he opens his mouth, at which point he grabs his shorts to keep them from falling down and leaves his himself defenseless. However, there’s generally no pattern for when he’ll do so. He might open his mouth early in the round or continue to throw jabs, an outcome that can sink even the most expeditious speedrun attempts. On top of that, he needs to do it at least three times for players to KO him. But thanks to new insight into the game’s internal workings, it’s now possible to greatly increase the likelihood of King Hippo opening his mouth on all three of his first punches.

In a Google document released on July 7, Punch-Out!! speedrunner Lucandor158 and his brother, Zoxsox, detailed their research into how the game’s internal memory affects when King Hippo will open his mouth. “RNG in MTPO is based off the memory address 0018 in RAM,” they wrote, referring to how the game mathematically decides which move an opponent will use. “This value changes every frame based on 2 other memory locations: 0019 and 001E.”

The value in 0019 is determined by players’ cumulative controller inputs during a playthrough, looping every time that value surpasses 255. 001E simply keeps count of the number of frames that have occurred. As a result, it’s possible to influence the values that appear in 0018, and thus whether King Hippo opens his mouth when the fight starts.

“When hippo decides whether or not to open his mouth, he looks at the 3 rightmost bits of 0018. If these bits are 001, 011, or 110, he will open his mouth,” wrote the brothers. “Any other combination will result in no open.” While the math going on behind the scenes can get a bit complicated, the strategy itself is more straightforward in practice.

“First punch involves starting the fight in the correct 8-frame window, which isn’t too hard to do—I probably get this part correctly 90-95 percent of the time,” Summoningsalt told Kotaku in an email. “In order to get the third punch to always be an open, the frames you hit the first two punches on must add up to either 3 or 4.” He added that it’s still hard since there are no visual cues to help with counting frames, but after practicing, he’s been able to create the conditions for King Hippo to open his mouth a third time consecutively about 75 percent of the time.

That’s what happened during his attempt over the weekend, with the King Hippo fight taking almost two seconds less time to complete than normal. When combined with some other short time losses earlier in the run, he was able to secure his new world record of 15 minutes and 10.11 seconds.

Lucandor158 and Zoxsox speculate that this is only the beginning of a new era in Punch-Out!! speedrunning. In the past, world records like Summoningsalt’s have leaned heavily on skill and experience, but the brothers believe the same RNG manipulation could potentially be applied to other fights. It’s even conceivable that the entire game could be reverse engineered in this way to reveal the perfect route through it, with every bob, weave, and punch planned out ahead of time. Not bad for a 35-year-old NES game.

Source: Kotaku.com

Three Incredible Mario Kart Wii Shortcut Glitches Discovered Within 24 Hours

Mario Kart Wii remains the best-selling game in the series, and despite being over a decade old, players are still discovering new secrets hidden deep inside its 32 courses. Just last week, three new shortcuts were discovered, continuing the race to try and find one for every course in the game.

Prior to July 11, there were only 18 known Ultra Shortcuts in Mario Kart Wii. While the game is full of all sorts of shortcuts, Ultra Shortcuts are defined by speedrunners as glitches that allow players to skip more than 50 percent of a lap. While Ultra Shortcuts aren’t unique to Mario Kart Wii, it has by far the most of them out of any game in the series. New ones are still discovered occasionally—two others were found earlier this year—but the discovery of three new ones within 24 hours is unheard of. FlaminFunky, a Mario Kart Wii enthusiast, recently documented how the new Ultra Shortcuts work on YouTube. All the new shortcuts were found in tool-assisted speedruns (TAS).

The first is on N64 Bowser’s Castle and was discovered by a player called speedrunner MKWLuke. It requires the player to move a little bit up the track at the beginning of the race before turning around and using their starting mushroom speed boosts to perform a rapid-fire hop into a rapid-fire hop ejection. A complex maneuver, it requires a pixel-perfect speedboost over the edge as Funky Kong pops a wheelie and is so precise it can only be completed using a TAS.

With this maneuver, it’s possible to clip off the right side of the track far enough into the back lava for the game to spawn the racer prior to the start of the race. The player then falls into the laval behind where they respawn to start even further back, at which point the game will register them as having moved forward rather than backward, counting the next time they cross the finish line as one completed lap.

The second, found by a player called Catfish, is on GBA Shy Guy Beach. It requires waiting three minutes for a bomb to drop just ahead of the finish line, making it viable only in the final lap. By turning around and speed boosting over top of it right before it explodes, it’s possible to get enough air and go far enough into the surrounding ocean to again trick the game into respawning the player behind the finish line. Moving across it then counts as a full lap.

The third Ultra Shortcut was discovered on Koopa Cape by BlazeMSX. This one also requires the combination of a rapid-fire hop and ejection, this time to clear the gap directly in front of the start of Koopa Cape while going in reverse. If they’re performed at the right time, it’s possible to clip into the side of the track directly behind the gap and ride through it until it gives way to a hidden waterfall. After dropping into the water, the game sends Lakitu to retrieve the player and respawn them back on the track, where crossing the finishing line will be registered as a completed lap.

Both the N64 Bowser’s Castle and Koopa Cape Ultra Shortcuts currently rely on glitches that can only be exploited using a TAS, but they do bring the game that much closer to the holy grail of every course having some sort of major skip inside of it.

“I think that the speedrunners and TAS programmers continue to stick with this game because Mario Kart Wii is a game that is unlike all the rest,” FlaminFunky told Kotaku in an email. “The unique mechanics and crazy glitches are a trait of Mario Kart Wii that’s mostly unique [among] Mario Kart games (although Mario Kart 64 can be similar at times) and it drives them to create and achieve new things over 11 years after the game came out.”

According to FlaminFunky, one of the next likeliest candidates for a shortcut breakthrough is GBA Bowser’s Castle. A player by the name of TAS Snoop discovered a skip for the first checkpoint on that track, leading other players to search for others that could be exploited to make a 15-second lap possible, at least for computers. Even if humans can’t pull it off, though, it’ll bring the game closer to its ultimate destiny in the eyes of some of its most hardcore players.

Source: Kotaku.com

Summer Games Done Quick 2019 Raised Over $3 Million Dollars In One Week, Setting A New Record

Photo: Summer Games Done Quick (Twitter)

Summer Games Done Quick 2019 has been a huge success and earlier this morning it was announced that the event had raised $3,003,889 for the charity Doctors Without Borders. This easily beat last year’s total of $2.1 million and is a new record for the popular SGDQ event.

The week-long event showcases a variety of speedruns of different games, all streamed across the internet. Fans can donate money to get certain games played or interact in other ways with the streamers, like to name characters or save games.

SGDQ 2019 received over 50k individual donations over the week, with the average donation hovering around $60.

If you missed any of the speedruns, you can catch up on the official Games Done Quick YouTube channel, where streams are still being uploaded so fans can watch later on.

The next Games Done Quick event will support Able Gamers charity and will take place in September at TwitchCon. Another GDQ event will happen after that in January 2020.

Source: Kotaku.com

Where, When, And How To Watch Summer Games Done Quick 2019

Summer Games Done Quick is back! Speedrunners will be playing through a mix of modern and retro games and doing amazing things all around while racing against the clock. This year’s event just started with Spyro Reignited Trilogy and will run from today until the 30th where the event will end with a speedrun of Chrono Trigger. SGDQ will be livestreamed on GamesDoneQuick’s Twitch Channel and is raising money for Doctors Without Borders, which is an international medical humanitarian organization that provides aid to nearly 70 countries.

I wrote earlier how speedrunners have helped me to understand some of the weirder games of my childhood. I’m genuinely excited to see the way they race through and conquer many of the games on their schedule. This is a fantastic speedrunner’s glossary if you need a refresher or are watching them for the first time.

You can find a full schedule here. The speedruns I’m looking forward to today include:

12:34PM: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project with an any % co-op. Cowabunga!

1:24PM: Super Mario Bros. 2, all stages in the dream sequel

5:08PM: Minish Cap, which is one of my favorite Zelda games and one I nearly wrote about for this weekend stint.

8:20PM: Streets of Rage, an awesome brawler for the Sega Genesis.

I wrote earlier how excited I am about tomorrow’s Blaster Master speedrun and there’s plenty of other games I can’t wait to watch so make sure to check out SGDQ throughout the week.

Source: Kotaku.com

Speedrunners Helped Me To Better Understand The Weird Games Of My Childhood

Summer Games Done Quick starts this Sunday at 11:30AM CDT and will be livestreamed on GamesDoneQuick’s Twitch Channel here. The event runs from June 23rd to the 30th and is raising money for Doctors Without Borders.

I’m honestly in awe of speedrunners. The dedication, skill, and stamina they show in their playthroughs is impressive. There’s so many games that mystified me as a kid or totally defeated me. Speedrunners put my retrogaming skills to shame and fortunately, there’s a fantastic lineup of retro and modern games for the week.

I’m looking forward to Blaster Master, a platformer with metroidvania style gameplay where new weapons and equipment will power your armored tank, allowing you to reach new locations that were previously inaccessible. This game kicked my ass as a kid so I’m looking forward to watching Blaster Master get its comeuppance on the 24th.

Also on the same day are Rygar, Jackal, and Solomon’s Key, all old school NES games that I found incredibly weird and cool at the same time (Rygar in particular falls into my list of favorite NES games alongside The Battle of Olympus, Zelda II, Faxanadu and Goonies II).

What I most appreciate is in a lot of these walkthroughs, someone will narrate or give commentary on the different ways the speedrunner is using features/bugs within the game to earn precious seconds on their playthrough. These explanations will often give more insight into the way the programmers designed the game and why certain things worked the way they did.

On Tuesday, there’s a Silent Hill 3 UFO ending run that looks really intriguing. Heather Mason’s revisit to Silent Hill is about to get extraterrestrial. Also, I love Katamari and it looks like We Love Katamari is getting an any % speedrun.

I have a confession to make. The Last Action Hero is one of my favorite films and so I’m kind of excited, but also wary, what a game based on the movie will be like. I’ll find out Wednesday on an any % speedrun.

The whole event will wrap with Chrono Trigger which is arguably one of the greatest games of all time. Appropriate, isn’t it? A time-based event on a time-based game.

Over the past few years, my admiration for speedrunners has grown. I was blown away watching ERROR72 beat Ghosts N’ Goblins in just under 24 minutes when I have yet to beat the game in its entirety all these years later. NESCardinality manipulated the RNG within Dragon Warrior perfectly to somehow beat the game in under 30 minutes. I learned so much about Dragon Warrior through the commentary and was really impressed by the speedrunner’s cool confidence (I would have been sweating bullets, even without an audience watching).

Whenever I need to decompress, I watch speedruns of games I felt frustrated with as a kid like Athena, Cobra Triangle, and others. One of the bane’s of my NES days was Karnov and I’m appreciative to Dragondarch for showing me how to beat it under 10 minutes. At least the developers spelled “Congratulations” right!

Kotaku freelancer Ben Bertoli wrote about what it takes to be a speedrunner. It’s a lot of work and dedication. I love how it’s not so much about beating records as it is playing a game that you’re passionate about and understanding every inch of the game. When you can combine that love with a charitable cause, it seems like the perfect combination.

Source: Kotaku.com

Streets Of Rage 2 Champ Pulls Off Nigh Impossible No Death Mania Run

Speedrunner Anthopants is one of the best Streets of Rage players in the world, but even he couldn’t complete Streets of Rage 2 on Mania difficulty as the character Max without dying…until this weekend, that is, when he downed the final boss with a mere sliver of health left. His reaction upon becoming the first to ever accomplish the nigh-impossible feat is priceless.

Anthopants has been breaking Streets of Rage speedrun records for years. He’s a fixture at the top of Speedrun.com’s Streets of Rage 2 and 3 charts, and he showed off his skill during last year’s Summer Games Done Quick event. Beating Streets of Rage 2 on its highest difficulty is easy for Anthopants, but beating it without dying is another thing. He managed to pull off the feat for the first time with the character Axel in November of 2018.

Compared to Max, however, Axel is easy mode. He’s got the fastest punch in the game, as well as the best blitz super move, the “Grand Upper.” Speaking to Kotaku over email, Anthopants explains why beating the game without dying as the wrestler Max is so much more difficult.

“Max is the hardest to play the game with. You need the fastest reflexes, most knowledge of enemies timing, you have to use his entire move-set and know, in real-time on the spot, when to use what when,” said Anthopants. “You have to think ahead 10 steps, get to step 1 and instantly think ahead a whole new 10 steps when things don’t go as you planned (they never do). Once you get good with Max it pays off in big ways, he’s the fastest to speedrun the game with due to his massive damage but he’s also the easiest for enemies to hit due to his big hitbox, slow walk and punch speed.”

Anthopants got his first near-deathless with Max in December of last year, weeks after his Axel run. Since then he’s attempted the no death Max Mania run dozens of times. He’s documented the times he came close to his goal in a series of “No Death Fail” videos on his YouTube channel. They’re painful to watch.

Anthopants grinded for his no death Axel mania run for nearly eight months, and then jumped straight into mastering Max. “My problem was that I did it with Axel, but in my heart, I’m a Max player. Max is the reason why I love Streets of Rage 2 as much as I do. Despite all the pain that seven and a half months of grinding with Axel gave me, I jumped back into it so I could get it with Max.”

Now, after all of that pain, he’s gotten the payoff. After battling through an incredibly tense stage seven, he advanced to the eighth and final stage, Mr. X’s office. With maybe one hit’s worth of health left, the machine gun-wielding boss fell. The final battle starts at the 58:30 mark in the video below.

His reaction is intense. There’s a brief cheer, followed by two minutes or so of heavy breathing. In the YouTube description for the video, Anthopants says,“I held some very extreme focus during level 8 for a little too long so I spent the entire end credits making sure I didn’t go into shock.”

Too intense? No worries—Anthopants followed up the victory vid with a version that had commentary, giving him a chance to share the thrill of becoming the first to not let Max die in Mania mode.

What’s next for Anthopants? “If I’m really smart I won’t ever go for a no death again. For now, I’ll put in Max speedruns, which is fast and crazy just the way I like it.”

Source: Kotaku.com

Rage 2 Has Already Been Beaten In Under Two Hours

Rage 2, Bethesda’s new post-apocalyptic shooter, takes place in a big, open world full of enemy outposts to clear and quests to grind through. That hasn’t stopped one speedrunner from already beating it in under two hours.

Over the weekend, speedrunner CreeperHntr set the Any% world record for Rage 2 with a time of 1:53:26 after days of trying to work out an ideal route through the game and the best way to take advantage of the various out of bounds glitches players have found since the game came out on May 14. For all of its problems, Rage 2 has some precise and elegant shooting, which comes through beautifully in CreeperHntr’s run.

CreeperHntr’s current route focuses on trying to the get the game’s rocket launcher as quickly as possible, since it stuns bosses and thus shaves lots of time and difficulty, and boosting all of the game’s three characters to level five along the way to unlock their secondary quests, which are required to finish the game.

Out-of-bounds glitches are also key. Currently two have been discovered that help cut down on time. The first skips much of the labyrinthine Genetic Research Station in the Double Cross mission. The other, in the Beneath the Surface mission, requires climbing up into the area’s rafters and into a closed-off section of the map that immediately breaks the game and allows players to quickly bypass even more of Rage 2.

The run also partly relies on Rage 2’s arsenal of special abilities and performance-boosting perks. Upgrades to reload speed and movement speed, both while sprinting and aiming down the sights, help CreeperHntr get through the game more quickly. Abilities like Rush, which lets you blink forward several feet, and Grav Jump, a double jump that makes it possible to platform out of bounds, are also key.

CreeperHntr mostly speedruns first-person action games like Prey, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, and Dishonored 2. They also currently hold the world record for the legacy rules category in 2016’s Doom. Since Rage 2 has a lot in common with the most recent Doom, as Id Software was involved in creating both, it’s a natural fit for the speedrunner.

“I’d say that the gunplay is what really makes it fun,” CreeperHntr told Kotaku in an email. “It feels like an open-world version of Doom.” That open-world aspect means there’s still plenty of ways to improve on CreeperHntr’s initial world record. CreepHntr said that other players are working on ways to skip the game’s lengthy tutorials, while simply perfecting the current route would lead to a time of close to 1:40.

Source: Kotaku.com