Welcome to Zelda Runners, your review of the goings on in the Zelda Speedrunning community. After a wild and wacky week, with new tricks being discovered in Ocarina of Time 3D and Twilight Princess and Twilight Princess HD, we’re taking a step back to consider how these will affect runs. Also this article, we’re debuting a brand new feature – I’ll be counting down the Top 5 Meme and Pointless Runs. Want to waste some time? Do regular categories have too much purpose for your liking? This feature is for you!
As mentioned earlier, runner MrMrMen discovered new tricks in both Twilight Princess and Twilight Princess HD. The first uses a small statue within the Temple of Time dungeon to clip through a door, which would otherwise require fetching the large statue from the top of the dungeon. This is less helpful than it sounds, however, as any% doesn’t even visit the Temple of Time (by clipping through the underground statue, they can reach the broken canon without the need of the Dominion Rod) and 100% requires the Dominion Rod to acquire Heart Pieces and Poe Souls. Used optimally in the All Dungeons category, however, it saves up to 4 and a half minutes.
The other trick discovered allows runners to skip the second King Bulbin fight without the use of explosives. Previously, a bomb boost was required to reach a high ledge, which could then be used, along with an LJA (Long Jump Attack), to void out; respawning Link at a point after the boss fight should take place. This opens up many options for the No Save and Quit category, and could also result in a reroute for the 100% category.
Meanwhile, in the Ocarina of Time 3D community, a new trick has also been discovered, which allows acquiring Farore’s Wind without the use of explosives by clipping through the roof of the Fairy Fountain. This wasn’t as huge a deal as first thought, but it still saves a large amount of time in the any% category, which can now complete the game without the use of any explosives whatsoever.
Finally, over in the world of Breath of the Wild, runners have been experimenting with clipping Link out of bounds. This can be done to skip a large portion of the Trial of the Sword DLC rooms, and runners are also looking at methods of using it to skip certain status launches to reach shrines. Any time saves or new exploits will be reported in the next Runners article.
“What’s the point?” One of the most common comments heard by speedrunners. “Why are you wasting your time?” Of course, the answer to this varies from runner to runner, but most focus on self-improvement and community advancement. The sense of pride in discovering a new trick, of helping a new runner with their first run… Of course, there comes a point when even the most hard-core runners begin to question their purpose – spending their time not on any% or 100%, but so-called “Meme Categories”. These runs can involve unusually specific conditions to meet, unreasonably strict restrictions, or just silly or pointless routes. Sick of the serious? Done with the difficult? Have a look at my Top 5 Meme or Pointless Runs.
#5 – Any%, No Major Glitches, 2x Speed (A Link to the Past. parisianplayer – 52:52)
It seems pretty obvious when you think about it. Speedrunning is all about going fast, so why not just speed your game up? This mod for A Link to the Past doubles the speed of text, animations, Link’s movement, and even the background music. Besides these changes, very little changes about the run. In fact, with the increased play speed, some tricks which would normally be easy to perform become much more difficult. Parisianplayer set this record over a year ago, however some others have made more recent attempts. This category does require a mod for the game, however the increased speed can be fun to play around with, and the run is still long enough to contain some optimisations to get your teeth into. Which is more than you can say for the next category…
#4 – Mweep% (Ocarina of Time. Zudu – 9:05)
Remember King Zora? Remember how long it takes him to shift out of your way? Remember the noise he makes as he shifts exactly 26 times to the right. It’s a speedrunner’s nightmare (so much so that it was a high priority to find a skip) so, naturally, we decided to turn it into its own category. Normally runners can use a small corner of this room to clip out of bounds in this room, allowing them to skip this entire cutscene, and therefore skipping Ruto’s letter too. This category required some rerouting – finding the fastest route to acquire Ruto’s letter, then high tailing it to King Zora, where the run ends (but only after the Monarch has finished his exercise!). A short but interesting run, this is often used as a break from Ocarina of Time’s more serious categories.
#3 – Jump off the Watch Tower and Die (Various)
All Zelda games have meme categories, however few of these carry across games. Jump off the Watch Tower and Die (JoTWaD) features in Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess, and spin offs such as “Go Home and Die” and “Fall off a Cliff and Die” are represented in Breath of the Wild. Optimising the quickest route to die can be surprisingly fun, but the cream of the crop for this category has to be the JoTWaD TAS released on April 1st by Gymnast86, featuring some… inventive commentary. These types of runs are perfect for someone who doesn’t want to devote a lot of time into a run, or who just want to try some speedrunning tech in a more casual setting. Because hey, dying isn’t that hard, right?
#2 – Pirate ArrrTA (Twilight Princess. Skyreon – 1:50:30)
Buckle up me-hearties, we’re going on a swashbuckling adventure. Ok, so maybe the pirate life isn’t for me, but with this category in Twilight Princess, anyone can be a pirate! Designed around collecting pirate – related items, this is by far the longest run on this list. Throughout the almost 2 hour run, you’ll collect a Cutlass (a sword), a Spyglass (Hawkeye), a Parrot (Ooccoo), Precious Booty (any chest that contains over 100 Rupees), Fire a Cannon, and enter a worthy vessel (A Canoe). With so many items, this run requires a lot of optimisation, and is probably the most serious run on the list. Still, who doesn’t want to sail the seven seas?
#1 – Dank% (Ocarina of Time. Ikswozol – 8:33)
With the shortest run of the list, of course Ocarina of Time’s wacky glitches provide the meme-iest category of all. Using a glitch called Ocarina Items, the aim of this run is to have Link use a lit deku stick as an Ocarina, thus holding it up to his face. In time, the deku stick burns out and… well… you can see the results for yourself. Everything about this category, from the name to the final destination, is a total joke – and that’s why I love it so. Want to try it out? Check out my explanation of Ocarina Items in the previous Runners articles for some advice!
Has this list inspired you to make a fool of yourself? Want to try your hand at some of the runs? You can check out the current record video by clicking on the title of each run, and if you still need some help after that, you can fire any questions in my directions (check the details at the bottom of the article).
Our highlighted runner this week is Link’s Awakening and 3D Runner, C0LTR0CKS. I had a chat with him about his experience in the 2D and 3D communities, and how they’ve affected his time in speedrunning (keep your eyes peeled for mentions of certain categories already mentioned earlier in the article!).
EC: Tell us a bit about yourself.
C0LT: Hey I’m C0LT and I mainly speedrun Zelda games. Ocarina of Time is my main game but on the side I speedrun Breath of the Wild and Link’s Awakening. At the moment I am currently 121st in Ocarina of Time any%, 23rd in Breath of the Wild any% (With amiibo) and I am 16th in Link’s Awakening ACE. I mainly focus on categories such as Any% but sometimes to have fun with viewers I may run what we call a meme category such as JOTWAD (Jump Off the Watch Tower and Die) or Fall off a Cliff and Die. These categories normally take around 3 to 10 minutes and nearly every Zelda game has them. At the moment I am 15th place in JOTWAD and 2nd place in Fall off a Cliff and Die. In the past I have held the World record in a meme category called Die to a Guardian% – this category was made by one of my friends Ciscobrown.
EC: You’ve got experience of quite a wide range of Zelda runs. Do you think this experience gives you an advantage over runners who specialize in just one game? Or do you think dedicating all your time to a game is the way to go?
C0LT: I have run a few Zelda games in the past however if you really want to get good at one game then I would recommend focusing on that game. At this moment in time I am really focusing on grinding my Ocarina of Time any% down to a sub 18:10. I believe that focusing on one game will allow you to truly get good at the game, because it allows you to dedicate more time to it and focusing on one game can give you a better understanding of it. However if you are looking to have fun and you aren’t serious about getting a great time then I would recommend trying out other Zelda games to speedrun as it gives you a lot of experience with the franchise and it shows you many tricks and glitches you could try out if you decided to play the game casually.
EC: You’ve dabbled in both series categories (such as Ocarina of Time any% and Link’s Awakening ACE) and what some might call “meme categories” (JoTWaD, for example). Which type do you prefer, and why?
C0LT: Personally I prefer to run Ocarina of Time any% because it is short but extremely challenging it is extremely optimised compared to other categories so as a runner who doesn’t have the best time you can add many different tricks to your runs to make your time even better. Back when I had a 22:44 I decided to add a trick called Voidwarp. This trick, when done optimally, can save up to 2 minutes. As soon as I started using this trick I knocked my time down to a 20:52 and now I am adding a trick called GIM which is a huge time save. As I improve my time there will be more tricks I can add into my runs making them even faster. Meme categories are really fun to do when your feeling tired from a category such as any% – it’s a nice thing to do as they are funny and can be very entertaining to do. There is a huge variety of meme categories you can do too such as Dank%, All Cows and Mweep% – the list of meme categories is huge for Zelda games and if you’re interested I highly recommend that you try them out as most of them don’t require as much game knowledge as you would think. Link’s Awakening ACE is also a very interesting category because it uses Arbitrary Code Execution and to use this you have to do certain inputs in the game and have certain file names. The category is crazy because it shows how broken the game really is.
EC: How do the communities of Link’s Awakening and Ocarina of Time compare, being largely different in size? Do you prefer larger communities, or are the smaller, close knit communities more your thing?
C0LT: The difference between the Link’s Awakening community and the Ocarina of Time community is quite big, however both communities are great as they are full of helpful people that will help you out no matter what the problem is. I am in-between when it comes to my preference over small communities and big communities – the perks of a small community is that it’s easier to get to know people and you find yourself knowing most or everyone in the community because there isn’t as many people. With Ocarina of Time if you have a question it is more likely to be answered really quickly because it is so popular, it is easy to meet people in a bigger community, but you are more likely to know everyone in a smaller community like Link’s Awakening or Breath of the Wild.
EC: What advice would you give to people who have considered getting into speedrunning, but haven’t quite made the jump yet?
C0LT: If anyone is curious about speedrunning I would say go for it, don’t hesitate. The speedrunning community is great and it is full of great people. All you need in order to speedrun is a game you love – for me it was Ocarina of Time, find tutorials online. if the game doesn’t have any try posting on forums related to the game. Once you’ve watched the tutorials and know what to do, just keep grinding the tricks until you’re confident to do them in a run. Once you’re confident, use your favourite recording software – for me I would use OBS, and use some sort of timer (I recommend Livesplit due to how easy it is to use), then hit record and start your run. Personally I stream all my attempts because it makes speedrunning more fun – you have people who you can interact with and you can also get help off of other runners of that game who watch your streams. Don’t let anything hold you back when it comes to speedrunning – if you think you can do it then go for it, because you’ll find yourself having a lot of fun and you could end up being one of the best runners if you keep on grinding.
EC: If you could only run one category of one game for the rest of time, what would it be, and why?
C0LT: If I could only run one game for the rest of time I would probably run Ocarina of Time any%. Simply because I enjoy it and it was the first category I learnt for my favourite game, it has loads of small optimisations you can add in as you get better and better and it truly is a great run because of all the resources available. It is also a really challenging category as you get better which adds to the fun even more and as you keep running you definitely see yourself improving over time as you begin going for more risky strats and eventually your time will just get better and better it is definitely a satisfying category due to its difficulty. That’s what makes me keep on running it and that’s probably why I would run it for the rest of time if it was the only category I could run.
Adventure of Link
100%. Simpoldood – 57:29.162
A Link to the Past
All Dungeons, Swordless. Glan – 1:05:29
Ocarina of Time
Max% Child. superguerrer3 – 7:14:34
Reverse Dungeon Order. bakeneko – 1:38:36
100%. zfg – 3:57:38
Any%, No ISG. aguedouf – 1:21:01.030
Oracle of Seasons
Any%. zmaster91 – 1:41:21
Linked (Ages>Seasons). zmaster91 – 3:33:22
The Minish Cap
Any%. ToadsWoot – 1:44:19
Glitchless. DarkySquid – 2:18:33
NG+, All Fused Shadowns, Portals. Torp – 29:41
NG+, Any%, No Portals. Torp – 1:52:04
Any%. Nimzo – 4:50:59
Wind Waker HD
Master Sword RTA. Ian_Miles29 – 1:17:26
Puppet Ganon RTA. Ian_Miles29 – 51:40
any%. Ian_Miles29 – 59:06
All Dungeons. Ian_Miles29 – 2:35:45
Ocarina of Time 3D
Any%, NG+. ZeldaCubed – 26:32
Ocarina of Time 3D Master Quest
All Dungeons. Jamama92 – 1:48:00
Breath of the Wild
Any%, 2 Players, 1 Controller, No amiibo. Flame1NN + SpecsN_Stats – 2:41:16
All Lynels, No Ancient Arrows, No amiibo. Segone – 1:47:02
All Dungeons, Original, amiibo. Iden – 2:06:16
All Dungeons, Original, No amiibo. zdi – 2:00:03
Any%, No amiibo. Wolhaiksong – 37:58
The Final Split
Too much sun for you? Head on over to these upcoming speedrunning events to take a break!
Summer Speedrunner Summit 5 – 31st August ~ 3rd September – The American marathon opens with a Link to the Past randomizer race, and features both console and PC runs throughout the 3 day period.
Dreamhack Montreal 2018 – 7th September ~ 9th September – Held in (shocker) Montral, this 3 day event features a bumper Zelda block, with Breath of the Wild, A Link to the Past, and Link’s Awakening forming the 5 hour segment. An Adventure of Link race also features towards the end of the event.
And, with that, we’re done! Some very exciting breakthroughs are happening in the Breath of the Wild community, keep your eyes on my Twitter or for the next Runners article for more details on how that pans out. Until then, seeya!
Euan Crombie is the host of Zelda Dungeon’s bi-weekly Zelda Speedrunning series, Zelda Runners. He can be found on Twitter and Discord (Euan Crombie#9657), and is by far the best Smash player in the writing team.