Speedrunners playing Super Mario Sunshine, seeking to avoid the incessant prompts to save progress, in total adding about about 336 times 3 seconds to the time, usually play without a memory card inserted. But this removes an important safety net: without saving, if the player runs out of lives, the whole game could be lost, and that’s what happened to SB_Runs. Super Mario Sunshine is not a game that gives you a lot of extra lives if you aren’t going away for them, and the coin-star portion of the game, which can earn some extra lives, is usually saved until later.
I watched this live as it happened, and let me tell you, the pathos was thick in the air. Here is the run, cued up to just before the fatal moment:
SB_Runs rallied well, gamely starting over. There wasn’t enough time scheduled to finish, but he did manage to build back up to nearly 100 of the game’s 120 Shines before time ran out, and the crowd, both in the room at at home, cheered him on, offering to match every Shine he could earn with a donation to Doctors Without Borders.
But it’s an important reminder. It’s easy to watch speedruns, especially in a marathon setting, and assume that they’re all as casual as the runners make them look. Every so often though, the mask falls off, and the immense difficulty of what they’re doing shows through.
A highlight of the Games Done Quick speedrunning marathons at roughly six months apart each year is AGDQ’s “Awful Block,” of memorably bad games, and SGDQ’s “Silly Block,” of extremely weird, mostly-indie games. SGDQ has just wrapped up, so let’s take a look back at Silly Block this year.
The plot hangs together slightly better than DEEEER Simulator, but it’s largely the same kind of thing, bizarre settings and happenings within a physics engine, only this time you’re a drunken Italian man instead of a “deer.”
This one is actually a race between two players, in a cart racing game made with silly carts, in a mode where half the racers are driving one way around the track, and the rest drive the other way. (The race isn’t directly between them on the same tracks; they’re both playing their own systems. They’re racing in more of a speedrun fashion.)
A side-scrolling brawler where you beat up weird thugs and robots that drop food, which you then make meals with. The ingredients you choose determines which stat boosts you receive! It’s less zany than the previous games, if that’s the way your tastes (heh) lead.
“Imagine a game in the Baywatch extended universe where there’s a talking boat and Hulk Hogan is deus ex machina.” Actually the last episode of the 1994 TV show Thunder in Paradise converted, kind of, into a game for the Phillips CD-i. Most of the run is just video footage, but it was a really goofy TV show.
Ah, this one is, somehow, not an indie title! Published by Titus for the original PlayStation, and with music from the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, Incredible Crisis is a minigame collection where success at the games helps to avert ridiculous dangers to one of four members of a family.
Friday night at SGDQ 2022 the TAS Block show demonstrated something special. After a recording of a Portal 2 run that predictably demolished that game, they moved on to a rather more esoteric show.
In past shows, TAS Bot has some off some pretty ridiculous sights, using something called Arbitrary Code Execution (ACE). Essentially, using certain well-understood exploits, the runner (usually, but not always, a set of scripted inputs) writes a sequence of instructions into the machine’s RAM, and then transfers the code execution to that sequence, allowing for “arbitrary behavior,” meaning, almost anything that can be written into that RAM. TAS Bot at AGDQ 2014 wrote Pong into memory during a run of Super Mario World and ran it (6 minutes):
There’s several of these videos, which I leave it to you to search out. They’re pretty easy to find on YouTube with the search terms “games done quick” and “tasbot”.
The point of this post is to bring you news of how players finally “obtained” the Triforce in Ocarina of Time after 23 years. The video of the show has yet to be uploaded to YouTube (it has been since I wrote this! scroll to the end), but until it shows up, Retro Game Mechanics EX has a video explaining how it was done (34 minutes):