Happy New Year! Welcome back to your bi-weekly dose of Zelda speedrunning, this time in brand new 2019 quality! We’re kicking off, or rather, launching into the new year with some speed tech from Breath of the Wild, and we’ll be chatting with a Majora’s Mask router and runner about their journey from runner to router, and back to runner again!
The big news this month is Awesome Games Done Quick 2019. The GDQ events are possibly the biggest and most important speedrunning marathons of the year, broadcasting to well over 50 thousand viewers. The January event raises money for the Prevent Cancer Foundation, and runs for a full week. Four Zelda titles are featuring in the marathon this year:
- Majora’s Mask, Any%. Run by popesquidward. Sunday 6th, 6:52PM.
- Twilight Princess, All Dungeons. Run by SkyBlueAether. Wednesday 9th, 2:35PM.
- Wind Waker HD, 100%. Run by Linkus7. Thursday 10th, 1032PM.
- A Link to the Past, Low% 1-Hit KO. Run by Xelna. Saturday 12th, 12:04PM.
(All times featured are in EST. For a schedule in your own timezone, click here)
And, of course, multiple other games and franchises are featured during the event. Make sure to check out the schedule above so you don’t miss a run of your favorite game!
Also over the Christmas break:
- A multitude of community races were held in lots of different Zelda communities. A Breath of the Wild any% race held on the 29th was won by KaoPyro, with a time of 48:34. Previous to this was a Majora’s Mask any% Glitchless run, won by TrevPerson with a time of 2:48:40. Finally, on the 17th December, ZeldaSpeedRuns admin, TreZc0, showcased the Ocarina of Time Randomizer Allsanity mode. This mode shuffles absolutely everything in the game – items, songs, entrances, etc. This “personal hell” took a mere 18:21:12 to complete.
- A 100% Major Glitches TAS has been published by members of the A Link to the Past community. Routers fmp and Yazuhara were responsible for its creation. The video can be found here.
- The next 3D Zelda Relay race has been announced! The six-part race consists of just the original games — featuring Ocarina of Time (No IM/WW), Majora’s Mask (Any%), The Wind Waker (Any%), Twilight Princess (Any%), Skyward Sword (Any%), and Breath of the Wild (Any% No Amiibo) — and will take place on January 26th. To find out more about the race, check out the ZeldaSpeedRuns Discord.
With the largest world map in a Zelda title to date, it’s no surprise that Breath of the Wild runners have developed a whole host of impressive and wacky methods to travel across Hyrule. Previously, the tricking holding the “Most Impressive” title would be Stasis Launches (I’ve covered them in a previous Glitch Exhibition, which you can check out here). However, late last year, a new contender entered the ring. More on that a bit later.
First though, if you’ve ever watched a Breath of the Wild speedrun of any category for more than 30 seconds, you’ll have seen Link performing an odd looking stutter run, while calling for his horse. While you might think horse travel would be the fastest standard method (or, I don’t know, you might just really like horses), this is, in fact, a movement exploit known as Whistle Sprinting.
By holding the whistle button (D-Pad Down) and repeatedly tapping the sprint button (B), Link will run at nearly the same speed as regular sprinting, while regaining stamina. This comes in handy for long distance running, especially when Stasis tricks can’t be used. It’s also useful for climbing steep cliffs, where alternating regular sprinting and whistle sprinting can allow the runner to climb great heights without having to replenish their stamina.
Of course, the side effect of this exploit is that the horse calling notification is almost always present on screen, and that runners often have to use a claw grip on their controller in order to pull this trick off.
On the other end of the scale, some might remember the discovery of a new travel glitch late last year, which involved entering bullet time and bouncing off of enemies. This has since been named, rather imaginatively, Bullet Time Bounce, or “BTB” for short.
By shield bouncing off of an enemy while in the slow motion mode activated by firing an arrow in mid air, then cancelling this mode, Link will fly out of this bounce at incredible speeds. This trick is very difficult to perform off hand, but with the right set-ups, it’s now being implemented into real runs. Among other new discoveries, they’ve helped bring the any% category under 30 minutes, and are still being tested in longer categories.
This week, my spotlight is a previous Majora’s Mask any% World Record holder-turned-router. I had a chat with them on their journey through routing the game, and their hopes for returning to full runs.
EC: Tell us a bit about yourself!
thesausage: I’m thesausage. I run Majora’s Mask any%. I competed for world record for a few months in late 2017, including holding the record for most of November. Despite not doing any runs for over a year, I still have third place. That says a lot about the quality of the run at the time, since minutes of time-save have been discovered since then. Although this game takes a lot of dedication to run at the highest level, so there aren’t that many people pushing for that kind of time.
EC: How did you first get into speedrunning?
thesausage: In 2014, I saw EnNopp’s Majora’s Mask any% record on Kotaku. I really enjoyed watching that, and soon, I was regularly watching EnNopp and fniure on Twitch. I was obsessed with Dota 2 at the time, so I didn’t try it myself until early 2017. I tend to take things really seriously, so I didn’t want to try the beginner routes most people recommended. I ended up using most of my free time for about 6 months practicing, learning all the hardest strats, and even coming up with some new timesaves in the process. When I finally felt ready to do runs in August 2017, all the practice paid off.
EC: You mentioned you initially started runs, which led to you competing for the WR. What made you decide to make the switch to routing?
thesausage: In mid 2017 a trick called “equip swap” was discovered that opened up lots of possibilities for any% routing, which had been pretty stagnant for a few years. In the months that followed, several re-routes happened. While I was helping with the routing I noticed a trend where a strat would seem really scary, something no one seriously considered doing in runs before. But with some collective hard work, we figured out how to make it viable. A good example is the lullaby skip HESS from the owl that’s in the current any% WR. After noticing this trend and seeing all the crazy stuff that’s done in tool-assisted runs, I decided there was probably a lot more timesave to find. I embarked on what ended up being a year long journey, with the goal of creating the fastest viable any% route (for a human).
EC: What draws you to Majora’s Mask over the other entries in the Zelda series?
thesausage: It’s my favorite game in the series, casually. I probably have more nostalgia for it than any other game. I love how different it is, the atmosphere, how full and exciting Clock Town feels, the dungeon design, etc. It also happens to have really cool glitches that come together to form some really interesting speedruns.
EC: It’s been quite a long time since you’ve focused on runs. Are you looking forward to coming back and going for good times again?
thesausage: Absolutely. I was so relieved the other day when I finalized the route. Now I just need to practice for a few months, and I can get back on the grind. When I practice, I get in the zone and just do a trick over and over for hours. Doing runs is so much more relaxing, with all the cut scenes breaking up the action. There’s plenty of downtime to just talk to my chat, which I always enjoy. Of course, even when I’m doing runs, I always practice for hours before runs to stay consistent at all the super hard strats. Also, beating my PB by a couple minutes should be really easy for me at this point. I’m just way better at the game than I was a year ago. I feel really confident, even though I’m not quite ready yet.
EC: You mentioned collective hard work in order to make some harder tricks viable. What’s it like being part of such a close-knit community?
thesausage: It’s interesting, because the community is small enough that, basically, everyone knows each other, but not everyone works together. [T]here are so many categories people care about: some people mostly care about tool assisted runs, some people like doing routing only, etc. It was mostly a handful of people who are interested in any% and helping with these tricks. But the cool thing is that, we were diving into some stuff that, like I said, was never thought to be consistent for runs. Some of this stuff, I’m not sure if anyone had really thought about at all before. So lots of times the knowledge that we had as any% runners wasn’t enough, and I went to other members of the community for help. TheWayfaringFox was especially helpful since he’s worked on any% TAS strats a lot.
EC: If you could only run one category of one game for the rest of time, what would it be, and why?
thesausage: I really tried to think of something else, but I don’t think there’s a better option than Majora’s Mask any%. It’s the category I care about the most, and it’s lasted me a couple of years so far without getting stale, which is honestly really cool. The skill cap in this category is insanely high, which is why you see so few runners close to the WR time. I’m sure there are tricks that save like half a second that I could practice for years and finally start to get consistent after thousands of hours of work. But if it ever gets to the point where I feel like I have to do crazy stuff like that to save time, I would be pretty satisfied with my PB and just retire from speedrunning instead.
Legend of Zelda
100%. lackattack24 – 34:51.
Second Quest. lackattack24 – 32:47
Adventure of Link
New Game+. Antii85 – 9:29.267
100%. EnchantressOfNumbers – 56:39.535
100%, Deathless. Simpoldood – 1:07:27
New Game+, No Healer Glitch. EnchantressOfNumbers – 19:48
A Link to the Past
Max% Light World. espeon65536 – 44:28
Major Glitches, All Dungeons (Swordless). fsg – 59:01
Major Glitches, 100%, All Heart Pieces. JoshRTA – 1:17:04
All Bosses (No Restrictions). fsg – 56:40
Any%, ACE. GreenTunic – 1:21
Link’s Awakening DX
Any% (No WW/OoB). SeYsEy – 50:58
Ocarina of Time
Blue%. Mr_ZG – 1:46:11
Ocarina of Time Master Quest
Any%. Habble – 19:14
Any%, New File, No ISG. gcl – 3:07:10
Bug Limit. bann_japan – 2:37:35
All Cows. Pflaap – 42:50
Keaton Quiz Heart Piece. Pflaap – 4:23
Bombchu. jess57329 – 0:47.220
Goron Mask. jess57329 – 9:13.440
Bottle Contents (Fairy). Avijobat – 3:31.080
Bottle Contents (Bug). Avijobat – 3:58.780
Bottle Contents (Green Potion). Avijobat – 3:18.270
Bottle Contents (Fish). Avijobat – 3:59.770
NST. Pflaap – 25:07
Any%, DSi, Solo. golderzoa – 20:32
The Minish Cap
Any%. vlackSR – 1:44:04
Goron Mines RTA. Skyreon – 59:38
Any%. ChaoticAce – 2:54:41
All Dungeons. Adam – 3:42:03
Wind Waker HD
Any%. Ian_Miles29 – 57:08
Majora’s Mask 3D
100%. benstephens56 – 5:26:01
Glitchless. TheWayfaringFox – 2:55:11
Twilight Princess HD
All Dungeons. Jacquaid – 4:19:12
Breath of the Wild
Master Sword, No amiibo, Bug Limit. Grega – 2:02.640
Any%, amiibo. rasenurns – 29:46
All Main Quests, Original, No amiibo. Zdi – 3:22:51
Any%, No amiibo. Sketodara01417 – 31:02.190
The Final Split
As we enter the new year, there’s plenty of events on the horizon to look forward to. For now, though, there’s just one event I want to draw your attention (back) to. Any guesses?
Awesome Games Done Quick – 6th ~ 13th January – This is the speedrunning event this side of June, and not only does it raise money for an excellent cause, but it’s a gathering of all the best and most dedicated speedrunners from all across the globe. If you’ve ever wanted to see your favorite game get torn apart, this is your opportunity to do so, and get to know the people responsible!
That’s all from me this week. I’ll be back soon with more news from the winter break, and I’ll be looking forward to the best events the new year has to offer. Until then, stay safe!
Euan is the host of Zelda Dungeon’s Speedrunning series, Zelda Runners. He can be found on Twitter and Discord (Euan Crombie#9657), and he’ll be spending the next week waiting for the Triforce Heroes run at AGDQ. What do you mean, “there isn’t one”?