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7:55 PM on 12.25.2007

The art of Speedrunning: A viewer's approach

Do you remember the first speedrun you ever watched?

Mine was Quake Done 100% Quick, a delightful and bloody romp through Quake on it's hardest difficulty setting, with every kill and every secret found, in a faster time than I could get through most levels on normal mode. In my eyes, it stood as a testament to how good one could be at gaming, this was before those "tool-assisted" runs (which I am not against, but that will be discussed later), where the mettle of the player was shown in such a wonderful fragfest.

It was by watching the entirety of this speed run (in third person at that!), I was able to understand the nuances I found so hard to figure out on my own run through, and thus, was able to be that much better at the game.

That was when I discovered what speedruns are, but curiously enough, it reminds me of the movie, "The Wizard". Those who are older than myself may be able to recall this movie in greater detail, as I am attempting to pull it from my childhood memory at the theater, but from what I remember, it was a challenge to see who could be Super Mario 3 the fastest. While this constituted as something amazing to me at the time, I think said contestants in the movie did not have the experience that one making a speedrun would require today.

That's right, everyone, in merely watching speedruns, I have figured out the idea behind what really brings one out from another.

It's study.

Like all good students, if we wish to do well, we must study what lies in front of us. Not just practicing the problems, but reading up on all the small nuances within the chapter, so that one off-the-wall question on an exam won't be the one that makes or breaks you.

So the greatest speedruns out there are made by those who have studied everything that allows them to gain the greatest edge on a game, all the shortcuts required to cut down time, this can be something as simple as bunny-hopping to preserve momentum, or something as mind-blowing as using some crazy glitch to propel yourself through a door that you may not have the requirements to go through yet (watch a low-star Mario 64 run, and if you don't know what I'm talking about yet, prepare to be amazed).

There are also those who will slow the game down when they play, maybe even go frame by frame, in order to get the perfect rate of play. Not a movement wasted, in some cases, no damage is taken. While this may remove from the value of a true speedrun, it shows the perfection that we all strive for when trying to play a game at it's best. I will not discount "tool-assisted" runs, as they provide much for my watching entertainment. In fact, I have discovered some rather interesting things that can be done in a game as a result.
http://tasvideos.org/ is one such site that shows "tool-assisted" runs, and for those who have not seen such a thing (what rock of the internet did you crawl out from under?), I highly recommend it.

For the "tool-assisted", I understand what kind of nitpicking and study you must go through, but I do not envy any of it, for the rest of us, let us use the examples of what others have been driven to perfect in order to help in our own quests for completion.   read


6:25 PM on 09.17.2007

The Legacy of Squaresoft: A series on long hiatus

Greetings all, this is my first post, so I will try to make it as worthy as possible.

Forgive me if this has been reiterated time and time again, but I figured it would be right to discuss a series that has forever been one of my favorites: The Chrono series, rather the series spawned by Chrono Trigger.



If you did not already know, the previous picture is one that was actually in the original Chrono Trigger, but a bug within the game kept it from being viewed, except by experienced romhackers.

Anyhow, consider this: Does Square-Enix have plans to continue this series? Chrono Trigger was a game loved by many, and in my eyes is considered one of the best I have ever played. Sure, as an RPG, it wasn't the most difficult of it's time, but there seemed to be a certain magic to it. The fact that it was considerably larger than most games (but not the largest, I believe Tales of Phantasia and Star Ocean were larger) and had a rather unforgettable cast. In my opinion the characters of this game were unforgettable, even the more annoying are a breath of fresh air compared to games out now (I'm looking at you, Final Fantasy XII, shut up Ondore).



Undoubtedly, Squaresoft did have the wisdom to make a sequel, and though it wasn't the finest received, it is in my personal opinion that the game is several notches above certain aforementioned RPGs that I do not care to bring up again. Yes, there were many characters, truly quantity over quality, but even then, there are memorable characters within the game that did the series justice.



Perhaps I am asking too much? Surely a continuation of the series may not prove fruitful, but as I recall, the remakes to the SNES Final Fantasies on the Game Boy Advance (and the upcoming Final Fantasy IV for the DS certainly looks pleasing) were fine releases. Why not do the same with Chrono Trigger?

Am I opening up old wounds? Should this topic be dropped? I would like to hear others thoughts on this matter, and thanks to all who have read my nubile attempt at sweet sweet discussion.   read


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