Hello! Unless you’ve been living under a rock this week (or, you know, actually have better things to do than watch a stream all weekend), you’ll know that it was the annual ZeldaSpeedRuns Marathon. Missed it? Want to relive the thrill of watching every minute of the 62 hour bananza? Well, you’ve come to the right place. This week, Zelda Runners is a ZeldaSpeedRuns Marathon 2018 extravaganza.
Unlike other major speedrunning marathons, ZSRM18 is entirely held online, streamed via the community’s Twitch Channel. Starting on Friday evening, the marathon ran for over 62 hours, featuring every mainline Zelda game, including some spin offs including Tingle’s Rosy Rupee Land, and Zelda’s Adventure. It pulled in over 5000 viewers over the weekend, and raised $4616 for the chosen charity. Also included in the event were multiple bid wars and incentives, with donations going towards the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Read on for a quick summary of the event, and more about the runners, incentives, and games!
First up was Oracle of Seasons any%, run by BambooShadow. It’s a big year for the relatively quiet speedgame, opening this marathon and also featuring at a Games Done Quick event for the first time since 2016. The run was completed in 1:45:28, and was followed by The Minish Cap any%, run by ToadsWoot, who cleaned up with a time of 1:48:22. After this run, Toadswoot showcased a glitch exhibition, one of the marathon’s donation incentives.
After this, the longest run of the marathon. Skyward Sword any%, which is currently the longest Zelda any% run, featured, with runner Enderjp finishing with a time of 5:26:43. Wind Waker HD followed this, with runner Gymnast86 being forced by another donation incentive to attempt the Fairy Hover, an infamous RNG component right at the end of the run. Unfortunately, RNG was not on Gymnast’s side and, after 5 attempts, he fell back on the easier Morth Hover. He finished with a time of 1:30:31.
Fans of Tingle were not to be disappointed either. Freshly Picked: Tingle’s Rosy Rupee Land was next up. Runner Dynomation4 finished with a time of 4:49:49. Yes, almost 5 hours of Tingle. What more could you ask for? This was followed up by Link’s Awakening DX – an any% run and a bonus Fast Boomerang RTA run by Sagaz_14. These finished at 55:03 and 4:13 respectively. Twilight Princess was next up. All Dungeons, run by Ace, finished with a time of 4:07:21.
The original Legend of Zelda was up next. Run by Khananaphone, with file names of LIGHT IT (another bid incentive), he finished both quests in 1:12:18. Benstephens56 followed up with an All Dungeons run of Ocarina of Time 3D. With an estimated time of “Final Run, Ben will take till ZSRM19”, he finished with a time of 2:02:19. (The marathon didn’t get much better for Ben – he later crashed his system during the Majora’s Mask 3D race). This run was followed by an impressive glitch exhibition.
Following this, the event played host to a community Wind Waker Din’s Pearl race. 7 runners took part, some attempting the Manual Superswim, a very difficult trick which cuts out a large portion of the run. The eventual winner of the race was Demon, with a time of 30:37. Disaster struck runner C_Midnight during the run, when their cat pushed the power button on their Wii (The runner recovered well, finishing with a time of 54:00).
A classic Save/Kill the Animal donation incentive was attached to the next run, A Link to the Past any%, run by Screevo. In the end, the viewers decided to kill the second incarnation of Moldorm, and the runner finished with a time of 34:30. The Majora’s Mask 3D race was after this. 4 runners started, only 3 finished. The race was won by Mega_Hirtz, who finished with a time of 1:28:10. The Adventure of Link followed, run by Cantaloupeme, who knocked home a 100% run in 1:16:02.
Let’s take a quick break from the runs to look at the prizes on offer during the event. For various donation amounts, the community were offering A Hylian shield mug, various custom controllers, hoodies, a copy of A Link Between Worlds and Four Swords Adventures, and the grand prize – A Switch bundled with Breath of the Wild.
Another race followed, this time a four way Twilight Princess HD any% run between Pheenoh, Jacquaid, Tylorxssr and Justin. The race was closely run, eventually won by Pheenoh at 3:43:16. The run ended in style, with a donation incentive being met for the runners to fight Ganondorf blindfolded. This was followed by an any% run of Four Swords Adventures by ZMaster91, who finished in 2:08:33. Hyrule Warriors was next. Gamer_David completed Adventure Mode in a time of 32:39.
But we can’t ignore the CDi games any longer. Zelda’s Adventure, run by Douggernaught, was up next, in all its voice acted glory. The runner completed the any% run in 1:20:11. A bonus run followed – Ocarina of Time any%. The infamous category was raced by two top 10 runners of the category, Torje and Richardsage. Ultimately Richardsage took the win in 19:34, with Torje finishing only 15 seconds later.
A bit of variety next, a Low% run of A Link Between Worlds by Herreteman. The runner died during the final boss fight, adding 10 minutes to the run. Unfortunately for Herreteman, lightning struck twice when he died for a second time, and the run was pronounced dead at 2:29:23. This run is notoriously difficult, with only 2 runs having been submitted to the leaderboards, so making it to the final boss is impressive and marathon worthy in itself.
Phantom Hourglass was up next. The Ghost Ship RTA category was run by the current world record holder, LegendofZeldaLF, who actually set a new world record during the marathon – 1:36:02. This run was followed by another Ocarina of Time run, this time the No Wrong Warp category, run by Rubixmagic. They finished in 1:46:57. Herreteman returned to run the other half of the Oracle series, Oracle of Ages. This was a much more successful run for Herreteman, who finished in 1:46:57, a personal best for the runner. This week’s spotlight features Herreteman, so read on to hear more about him!
Perhaps the most exciting part of the marathon was the next event, the Ocarina of Time Beta Quest Lockout Bingo. That’s a lot to take in, but don’t worry, it’s (relatively) simple. Beta Quest is a fan-made mod based on Ocarina of Time, where each exit and entrance is randomized. This means exiting The Great Deku Tree could lead to Gerudo Desert, or a room in the Forest Temple, or any other number of areas. Bingo is a popular way to keep old runs interesting, generating new and different routes through a game to meet specific criteria. Lockout Bingo is a special variety of this, where once a square has been crossed off by one player/team, it is unavailable for the other team. The run lasted for three hours, with four runners split into two teams. Each time a team completed an objective they gained points. Once the entire board was completed, the run was paused and a new board generated. Eventually, Team 2, comprising of Marco and Menou came out on top.
The final runs of the marathon showed no signs of slowing down. First, a Link to the Past Randomizer race. The overworld everyone knows and loves, but the contents of each chest are randomized. Two runners, ChristosOwen & ajneb174, went head to head. Within 1 minute of each other during the last dungeon, ChristosOwen barely won in a time of 1:19:06, ajneb174 finishing less than 30 seconds later. Breath of the Wild followed – rekyuu finished the Master Sword and Dungeons run in 3:20:50.
The final run of the event, Majora’s Mask 100% by FullGrownGaming, was finally here. The file name bid war for this run raised over $1000, eventually settling on “Zelda“. Finishing with a time of 5:04:10, all that was left was for the organizers to thank the runners, viewers and donators, and that was a wrap for ZeldaSpeedRuns Marathon 2018.
This week’s featured runner is Herreteman, who was also a star of the ZeldaSpeedRuns Marathon 2018, running Oracle of Ages and A Link Between Worlds. A 2D Zelda runner mostly focused on A Link Between Worlds, I had a chat with him a few weeks ago about his experience in the Zelda community.
EC: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Herreteman: I mainly run A Link Between Worlds and have been doing so basically since the game released, mainly just Any% as more discoveries were being found. Up until pretty recently I only played that category, but I lost a small bet and learned 100%, which I started taking more seriously this year so I could submit it to European Speedrun Assembly 2018. In both categories I’m on the top spots yet very far (in my eyes) to the WR range. I also rerouted Low% recently, which is a notoriously hard category and only had one registered run from 3 years ago, and I currently hold WR there with said new route.
I also run the Oracles games, mainly Oracle of Ages, it’s a pretty hard run but I love the game and it’s impressively broken as a speedgame which makes me like it a lot. I don’t have a time I’m proud of in Oracle of Seasons but I have run it in the past.
Outside of Zelda, I hold two world records in The World Ends With You for the DS, I’ve done runs of Kingdom Hearts 3D and Dishonored, and I also sometimes run a morally questionable and Twitch-banned puzzle dating sim called HuniePop. I also dabble in A Link to the Past randomizer but I don’t really take it seriously.
EC: You’ve run A Link Between Worlds for a few years now – what’s it like watching the game’s community change over time, with new runners, discoveries and routes?
Herreteman: I myself waited for a certain skip that I knew was possible to happen to start running the game, the early days were full of theories and things being confirmed as early as day 1, which was pretty sick to see as an outsider. I would tune into the glitch hunting thread on the ZeldaSpeedRuns forum daily and trying for myself everything that was found. Mostly no one that contributed to that thread and labbed things runs the game now, unfortunately.
The main difference between that time and now is recording capabilities. 3DS capture cards are pretty expensive and there weren’t any alternatives if you wanted to stream or record your runs, so we had many people (me included) that just played the game but didn’t have any way to “prove” your times. I still participated in many weekly races without streaming when we used to do them, we had maybe 3 people at most in those that could stream 3DS. It takes a bit of commitment in this era of speedrunning to run something without proof so not many people entered the community, but that’s ok. Most of the runs on the leaderboards are still without video. Now there’s an alternative to capture cards with NTR streaming and it makes the game somewhat more approachable, but we’re having talks about possibly banning it, so…
For a while things were being found regularly and it made running the game very exciting, we had many theories, ways to test them, etc, so there was a lot to talk about. Eventually things settled a bit, specific people started getting better and the tricks were mostly accessible to learn so we were ok. I remember a specific run, around 1:40:XX which was pretty much perfect for the time, and then the same person quit Any% and, at the same time, found one of the most infamous tricks we’ve had, the frame perfect Turtle Rock Boss Key Skip, which I think was the first sign of the endtimes. Many people quit the game because that trick was the worst thing ever, and it got worse with other bad tricks until recently, when it was rightfully obsoleted.
Nowadays things have settled with an easier and more fun route and I feel like it makes it easier for people to learn it, although we’re still a pretty small community in activity. There isn’t much regular high level competition and I feel like some people are just waiting for the next big breakthrough, but I’m pretty sure we have plateaued and we won’t get anything new in a while. Having a public Discord server was also a big change compared to how old and dumb IRC was, even people who don’t really run the game talk regularly there and it’s way cooler than the limited interaction I had with the rest of the community in weekly races.
EC: You’ve also run Oracle of Ages in the past, another Zelda game with a relatively small community. Are there benefits to having a smaller group of players, or would you prefer your games to have the popularity of, say, Ocarina of Time?
Herreteman: In my eyes popularity is not something I consider in speedrunning a game. I just like to run games I enjoy playing repeatedly, and Oracle of Ages was one of said games when I decided to learn it. I get that popularity attracts popularity in these games, and that’s why Ocarina of Time has so many active players, but it’s definitely not a factor in my eyes. I really, really like 3D Zeldas as games, they are some of my absolute favorite games ever, especially The Wind Waker, but there’s something about them that doesn’t really make me want to speedrun them.
EC: Do you have a favourite (or least favourite) discovery or trick from A Link Between Worlds?
Herreteman: In this case the reroute was not about running my own route, the route was just very outdated and unexplored so I wanted to make a modern route for it and run it. However, it’s worth mentioning that I do use an unconventional route for Any%, A Link Between Worlds is a very versatile game in terms of what you can do, as the game already has a complete freedom in the order you do most of the dungeons. While we have found multiple reasons to do certain dungeons first or last during the years, the bulk of dungeons in Lorule is still up to the player. Same goes for rupees and items, since we can technically get them whenever we want there have been many variations, and I currently start my runs getting Fire Rod and Bow rather than the conventional Tornado Rod and Bow.
As far as routing difficulty goes, since I’ve seen and run so many different routes during my time with the game, so I’m fairly confident about my knowledge of what is fast and what isn’t. Even in such a different run as Low%, which requires a lot of careful item and rupee routing, having enough game knowledge makes routing fairly easy.
EC: What would you say to convince potential new runners to choose A Link Between Worlds to run?
Herreteman: One of the biggest things about A Link Between Worlds speedruns in my eyes is that they strike a perfect balance between playing the game and destroying it. The game barely has any downtime, right from the start you’re already sequence breaking it, thanks to how funny the 3D physics work in this 2D game. There’s no dungeon left without some kind of interesting skip, so no matter at what point of a run you are, there’s always something coming. And now that almost every truly hard trick has been obsoleted (curse you Tower of Hera), it’s a very accessible run to whoever has the guts and dedication to learn it. Just be mentally prepared to die to Yuganon a lot. (Yuganon is the term used for the final boss in this game)
EC: If you could only run one category of one game for the rest of time, what would it be, and why?
Herreteman: I don’t know if I would choose a Zelda run for this. I usually grind these categories a lot in small periods of time and I get burned and move to something else temporarily. This is why I would choose a game I could just run occasionally, and in a more relaxed way, if I could only dedicate my time to one game. I have no idea what such a game would be though, I would probably still get bored of it, haha.
A huge variety of records this week, perhaps owing in part to the community marathon.
Legend of Zelda
First Quest, Damageless. Saver – 38:07
First Quest, Outlands, All Tetrarchs. Drakhatos – 38:19
Second Quest, Damageless. Saver – 1:38:59
Second Quest, Co-op. Kababesh + Kingdahl – 24:50
Low%. lackattack24 – 31:42
The Adventure of Link
OHKO, NMG. Sigpoldood – 1:38:36
A Link to the Past
Cucco Easter Egg. Tojso – 6:56
100%. BambooShadow – 1:11:05
Link’s Awakening DX
100%, No WW/OoB. Sagaz – 1:21:14
100%, No Restrictions. SeYsEy – 34:12
Ocarina of Time
Dank%. ikswozol – 8:33
No Wrong Warp. ikswozol – 41:35
Ocarina of Time Master Quest
Child Dungeons. MasterMonk1991 – 34:36
Bug Limit. bann_jpn – 2:43:53
100%. FullGrownGaming – 4:51:44
any%. Demon9 – 3:52:23
Din’s Pearl. Demon9 – 29:23
The Minish Cap
firerod%. quo – 47:11
JOTWAD. Gymnast86 – 4:33
Ghost Ship RTA. LegendofZeldaLF – 1:36:02
100%. Keitsu23 – 7:26:18
Harp%. Keitsu23 – 1:27:58
Ocarina of Time 3D
All Dungeons. Benstephens56 – 1:41:16
Majora’s Mask 3D
any%. Iwabi74 – 1:25:25
Breath of the Wild
Great Plateau, 100%, Extended, No amiibo. Sigmaphied – 31:44
Master Sword RTA, No amiibo. sketodara – 2:10:03
Best Ending. pretendstoknow – 2:18:57
All Main Quests, Original, No amiibo. Twik – 3:39:10
Master Sword and Dungeons, Extended, No amiibo. LouLouCore – 6:25:05
The Final Split
Phew! A very busy week for the speedrunning enthusiast. But it doesn’t end here, no chance! Here’s a glance at some of the events coming up over the next few weeks.
Speedruns Español 5 – 19th April ~ 23rd April – The 5th annual Spanish speedrunning event. Featuring both Ocarina of Time and A Link to the Past, it also stars a run of Rhythm Heaven Fever. Yes, that’s right. A speedrun of a rhythm game.
Keizathon – 20th April ~ 23rd April – A marathon raising money for popular speedrunner Keizaron, after they were met with high medical bills. Featuring a range of runs from A Link to the Past No Major Glitches to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, this event is a perfect example of the speedrunning community coming together to support one of its own, and it definitely isn’t something you want to miss.
Retrothon – 22nd April ~ 29th April – Showcasing the best that retro speedrunning has to offer, this is definitely the marathon for retro games lovers. If that doesn’t peak your interest, there’s also a Zelda II run in amongst the mammoth schedule, along with Link’s Awakening and A Link to the Past.
That’s all from me this week, I’m off to recover from the 62 hour weekend I just pulled (absolutely nothing to do with a certain marathon I assure you). I’ll be back in a few weeks, where normal, glitchy service will be resumed. As always, if you have any questions, fire them into my Twitter.
Euan Crombie is the host of Zelda Dungeon’s bi-weekly Zelda Speedrunning series, Zelda Runners. He can be found on Twitter and is very, very tired.