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Tips for Buying EarthBound

January 26th, 2012 | EarthBound, Videos

pirohiko has been constantly trying to improve the TAS record for EarthBound – this time we see the game being completed in 9 minutes and 1 second!

I kinda want to see someone try this on a real console – it’d require an absolute ton of luck but I think it’d be awesome to see some crazy kid with a Power Glove on (or maybe someone wearing the MOTHER 2 jacket) pull off this stuff like it’s nothing 😛


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31 Comments to EarthBound Completed in 9 Minutes

Satsy said on Jan. 26, 2012

9 minutes is not enough time to see the whole game. That’s one thing that gets me with most speedruns. They’re neat ideas, and an interesting use of glitches, though.

wazkatango said on Jan. 26, 2012

Fyi, he uses a glitch to bring up a developer debug menu, which he then uses to scene select to the end of the game. Whether that’s a legit strategy or not is up for debate (and from what I’ve seen, it’s quite controversial).

Radiostorm said on Jan. 26, 2012

In my opinion, it’s not really a speed run unless you run through the entire game. When you beat a title in nine minutes using a glitch, you’re really just demonstrating a technical shortcoming of the game rather than any individual skill on your part.

Douglas said on Jan. 26, 2012

I agree with Radiostorm. If an endscreen is all it took to consider a game beat then every Monkey Island speedrun would end with the user pressing ctrl+w (which instantly brings up a “you win!” screen and rolls the credits)

Dave said on Jan. 26, 2012

I’d love if someone could ever ever mention tool-assisted speedruns without nearly every commenter eagerly sharing their opinions about how it’s either not as good as regular speedruns, or in rarer cases like these how speedruns in general are just not good.

It’s not about enjoying the entire story and gameplay of the game. These people have already done that probably dozens of times. The viewers, in most cases, have already done that.

It’s not about showing off your athletic prowess at inputting split second button presses under pressure with no mistakes. That’s for regular speedruns, and that is a wholly different thing that should not really be compared to this.

Tool-assisted speedrunning is a highly-technical form of art that eschews athletic prowess for patience and ingenuity. It usually appeals to those with a background in computer programming, and/or those who get a thrill from bug hunting. Pressing buttons so fast and in impossible combinations so that you go through a wall or right through enemies, or using precision timing to take advantage of the random number generator so that you get the best item drop in one attempt. Not done with cheat codes, but with abuse of the game’s programming. It’s about finding and exploiting ways to speed up the game that the developers could never have dreamed of, and some people like myself really enjoy it.

For what it’s worth, there are usually different categories of TASs, some of which involve heavy use of glitches that render the plot and gameplay almost unrecognizable, while others keep all of the game’s goals intact (such as all boss fights, all plot related items collected, etc).

Last but not least, I’d like to mention that the reason this debug menu is considered valid (yet controversial) in this tool-assisted speedrun community is because it is not a simple push button code. Push button codes that were deliberately left in the game to give you powerups or cheat menus are not allowed, nor are game genie type codes or hacks, but this is a glitch that brings the player to the debug menu in a way that the player was not meant to, by performing bizarre actions that overload the game’s programming and technical limitations. Admittedly it brings down the entertainment value but it’s something for the nerdy TAS fan to marvel about.

TL;DR – Whatever, guys. It’s pretty cool. I’m glad Mato is into this kind of stuff, because I’m sick of hearing people hate on it from an unfamiliar viewpoint.

Mato said on Jan. 26, 2012

I’m usually hesitant to post TASes lately because of the responses they get 😛 I think your explanation is good, I’ll probably reference it in future updates, maybe even include a disclaimer in the posts.

MaxMcAzuki said on Jan. 26, 2012

There are different types of speedrun to suit different people’s preferences. Just like how books have different genres. Simple, guys. It doesn’t make this video “not a speedrun”.

As for the argument that it misses out on pretty much the whole game, who’s really missing out? Anyone who wants to play it properly can play it their way. This is more for people who like to see aspects of a game they haven’t seen before. I think its nice when I think I know everything there was to know about a game, then suddenly, WOAH there’s a way to play it I had no idea existed!

So basically, for me, I love speedruns like this because I get to learn more about Earthbound <3 Yay.

Radiostorm said on Jan. 26, 2012

I suppose it’s the “speed run” moniker that’s problematic for me. I don’t see this video so much as a feat of speed as it is a feat of technical ingenuity. The fact that it took him 9 minutes to exploit the bug is inconsequential compared to the wow factor of the bug itself.

But blah blah blah, I’m going to stop typing so I don’t hijack the thread with dumb arguing.

Stevesesy said on Jan. 26, 2012


Dave said on Jan. 26, 2012

I would agree that this video is really less of a “speedrun”, and more a technical demonstration of how to enter the debug menu within 9 minutes of play.

But it’s the competitive aspect of TAS running that makes it on par, just different, from human speedruns done in realtime. It’s not speed per se, but inhuman levels of optimization that result in a speedy final video. Some other guy will come along and try to trim even as few as 1 frame off of this guy’s time. They’ll take the recording of his actions and load it in into their emulator and try dozens or hundreds or thousands of different things until, say, they might find one tiny little pixel where they can hug a wall tighter than he did, or maybe they’ll even discover a way to pass through the cliff without a Skip Sandwich by pressing a different rapid combination of buttons, and they’ll shave like 5 whole minutes off. That’s where the “speedrun” aspect comes from. There’s a highly competitive community of people trying to improve on others’ times by even as little as 1 frame, to result in a faster final completion time.

And it’s all done without cheat codes, or modified ROMs, or any sort of hacking. The only (and obviously massive) benefit is the ability to advance the game one frame at a time, pressing as many buttons as you need on each frame to accomplish whatever you’re going for, and rewind as many times as necessary until you succeed.

FlyingManCourage said on Jan. 26, 2012

I think the assumption that people must “like” or “respect” TAS runs is just ridiculous.

The reason you get those kind of comments is because people just don’t like it. It’s their right. I don’t like it. I don’t care what explanation or what purpose you spend hours writing…I don’t like it. I don’t like speedruns either, if that makes you feel any better.

Again, to each his own and you can’t be too shocked that people aren’t impressed with someone glitching a game. Am I supposed to be impressed when someone uses a lag switch? Is it art when someone finds a bug in a sports game and beats the CPU 100-0?

If you like TAS runs, then good for you. But the suggestion that you should somehow be allowed to demand that everyone see videos of this and react the way you deem appropriate is off. TAS is clearly for a niche audience. Personally, I think it is quite lame. I don’t think it’s artistic or interesting or impressive, I just think it’s a really lame thing to do to ruin the point of playing a video game.

Again, a personal opinion I am allowed to have. This isn’t a TAS fansite…this is an EB fansite.

Zinco said on Jan. 26, 2012

TASes are fun and people get way too worked up over them for no good reason

Satsy said on Jan. 26, 2012

Wow didn’t mean to open a can of buttworms with this. As a series of game-breaking glitches, made to see how much a game can be cracked open (emulated or otherwise), it’s neat. And it is curious that there’s such competitiveness over the speed in which this can be pulled off. Like going through a game with certain conditions, it’s an interesting bit of fun.

But I find it misleading to call the game ‘completed’ in this time, probably ‘cracked’ is a better term? Either way I wasn’t trying to say “TAS are BOOHOCKEY!!” and I’m sorry for, near as I can tell, starting the topic discussion down that path.

ESports said on Jan. 26, 2012

Speedruns are nothing but fun.

By the way did anyone watch this year’s Awesome Games Done Quick?? They ran Earthbound live and it was amazing. The guy hit a glitch though and the game was frozen in Saturn Valley, but then a butterfly just flew out of nowhere, across the screen, and healed Ness, unfreezing the game!

The video is not available yet but believe me it was epic.

Mato said on Jan. 26, 2012

Actually, I think that butterfly WAS the glitch, it just took forever for it to fly over 😛

Dave said on Jan. 26, 2012

I don’t mind or care if people don’t like (or respect) TAS videos, or speedruns in general. I’m well aware of how opinions work and how everyone is completely entitled to their own. I don’t like people stating their opinion as if it’s fact, or acting like someone is wrong for disagreeing. That was not my intention.

The main reason I speak up to defend TAS videos is because the reasons people tend to give for why they don’t like them are either failing to recognize the point of the videos, or sometimes they are just straight-up based off of total misunderstanding. When someone says “I don’t like TAS because it’s not skillful, it’s just a video of people cheating”, that to me is like if someone said “I don’t like EarthBound because you don’t do anything, you just read stuff and pick words from a menu”. They have every right to not like it, but I have every right to reply with all the reasons why I think they’ve missed the point. One of my friends, who I’ve been talking to about TAS videos for a couple of years now, just today told me that he thought the whole point of them was using game genie codes and modified copies of the game… (that is the exact opposite of the point of them).

I’m not trying to say anyone has to like TAS videos, but if they’re going to dislike them then they should at least dislike them for their actual merits.

Also, no, you’re not supposed to be impressed when someone lag switches in an online game. I feel like that’s a bit of a stretch. Unlike lag switching, nobody in the TAS community is trying to piss anyone off or earn a reputation based on false pretenses. They’re just trying to make a cool-looking video that demonstrates what it looks like to complete a game absolutely as fast as possible without using cheats or hacks. If you just don’t enjoy watching people play games, or you’d rather watch people play at a casual pace then that is completely cool. But it bothers me when people say they don’t count because they’re just abusing glitches, or they’re skipping most of the game. There are videos that do neither of those things, but for the ones that do them, it’s because it’s the point.

Mr. Mr said on Jan. 26, 2012

Mother 3-Battle against the crow!

FlyingManCourage said on Jan. 26, 2012

I’m with you Dave.

If it makes anyone feel better I don’t like cheats, either. I’m a big Grand Theft Auto fan and I just hate when people want to use cheats in that game. It’s just how I am as a gamer. There are things I like about games and things I don’t like.

Nothing but respect for your posts, Dave. I just feel like people need constant reminders to celebrate their differences as much as their similarities. It seems we are conditioned from infancy on this planet to group ourselves together based on our similarities and separate ourselves based on our differences. As I said, if you like TAS stuff then good on ya. I don’t hate for you it. I just want to the same right to declare my dislike for them that I feel anyone else should have for declaring that they like them. Ying and Yang. Ying and Yang.

FlyingManCourage said on Jan. 26, 2012

One last thing, I don’t pretend to demand a reason why you should like TAS, so I’m not with you demanding people must dislike them for a certain reason or that they can’t dislike them for a certain reason. That’s not how opinions work. It’s our right to choose to what we like or dislike for whatever reason. I don’t care about skill, but a big reason I dislike TAS is because it utilizes glitches. No reason why that’s not a legit reason to dislike them. Maybe you only meant that in the context of someone who likes speedruns but doesn’t like TAS?

mrstaplez said on Jan. 26, 2012

I enjoyed that, but I wish I had known just to watch the end ;D

Thanks for the post Mato, I find this stuff interesting.

Oh, and Dave, thumbs up to your posts.

Dialga Thunderstar said on Jan. 26, 2012

Ok. That reminds me, I had a very stressful time trying to play EB today. I would get a black screen every time, and a antipiracy message once, and 3 times a screen full of glitchy crap. when I finally got it to work, my save file was deleted. Oh well.

Dave said on Jan. 26, 2012


Well, to be specific, my initial opposition was to the comments “9 minutes is not enough time to see the whole game”, “it’s not really a speed run unless you run through the entire game”, and “if an endscreen is all it took to consider a game beat then every Monkey Island speedrun would end with the user pressing ctrl+w”. These statements are not so much opinions of disliking TAS videos, as they are seemingly misunderstanding the point of (or purposely discrediting) them. TAS videos do not strive to showcase the entire game, and TAS videos don’t use push-button codes that were deliberately built in (I believe that walking out of bounds corrupts the game’s memory and forces the debug menu to appear when done right). Their statements would be totally unobjectionable if they were talking about a community in which the rules disallow sequence breaking or glitching, but that is not the case, and so I opted to chime in with some positive and possibly-enlightening info.

It’s definitely fine if someone doesn’t like TAS, and their reasons don’t have to include or exclude specific ones. Mainly what bothers me is when people suggest that TAS videos somehow don’t require talent, because they require plenty of talent that is just different from ordinary gaming. So, I guess I would say that yes, my main problem is with people who like live speedruns but somehow consider TAS to be cheating or talentless, when they’re just a completely different thing.

I have to concede that this specific example is one of the least interesting speedruns you can possibly watch. It’s just a great example of a huge glitch present in the game we all love. As for your dislike of glitches being why you particularly don’t like TAS videos… I think that’s fine, if you really hate glitches, but then a part of me is compelled to make sure it’s just because you hate glitches and not because you’re refusing to recognize that these particular glitches are at least a product of talent and serious dedication.

unnoticedninja said on Jan. 26, 2012

I think Dave understands how to help people understand things from every possible way to help refine or change someone’s opinion of something. This is just my opinion as well, I could be wrong.

Anonymous said on Jan. 27, 2012

You would like to see it but it is impossible.

GhostSonic said on Jan. 27, 2012

Did you guys know TASVideos has a TAS of EarthBound without the Debug Menu glitch? It’s true! They do this for a lot for games with massive skips like this.


GhostSonic said on Jan. 27, 2012

Granted they still skip large sections of the game, but I’d say it’s a little more fun to watch.

Anonymous said on Jan. 28, 2012

Semi-on topic, I actually enjoy having an outdated TAS, which went on for three hours, and I enjoy it because it doesn’t glitch or use death as a shortcut, and I get to watch Earthbound all the way through, without everything being super sonic quick.

Dave said on Jan. 28, 2012

I like different kinds of TAS videos for different games or different moods… the ones with serious glitching and area skipping can be hilarious and interesting from a technical standpoint, but sometimes less exciting to watch. The ones that resemble an actual complete playthrough of a game, but with pixel perfect gameplay optimization are some of the most thrilling. Or at least ones that don’t do any serious area skipping, but might glitch past some walls or jumps or enemies. Some of my other favorites are the ones that don’t even go for the best time possible, but are just goofing around to demonstrate really funny things, or actions that you always figured were possible but require way too good reflexes and timing. Really, I don’t think I would want to watch any speedruns of EarthBound. I’d either want to play it myself, or watch some kind of cinematic recut just to feel the whole game again without having to watch some guy fight a thousand battles. When it comes to TAS, action-based games are where it’s at, if you ask me.

I’m going to now stop talking about TAS videos, but I will leave a link for anyone who may be curious what I’m talking about and why I’m still talking about it.


Rasen said on Jan. 31, 2012

Technically you can beat it in 2 minutes, but you mileage may vary on if beating EB is beating Giygas or just seeing the “The End…?” Screen. If you’re curious:

cactus said on Feb. 4, 2012

When you say “without using cheats or hacks” to describe TAS, I assume that using tools and debug menus somehow doesn’t count? I mean, the very first two letters of the acronym TAS stand for ‘Tool Assisted’. How exactly are ‘tools’ different than cheats or hacks in this case, or any case? Likewise with a debug menu used to select the “The End?” scene?

Ness1985 said on Apr. 15, 2012

I died a little inside ):


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