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Shoutout to TASVideos.org

Yeah, just another article shouting out a website we've enjoyed since, oh, if we remember correctly, 2007. We've been frequent visitors of the site for so long, it deserves an immortalized mention here on KCUN. Thank you for all that you do, TASVideos!

What is TASVideos and its ties with video gaming?

TASVideos, an acronym for tool-assisted speedrun videos, is a website specializing in surpassing human-based skills completing/defeating an entire video game every which way. Defeating a game in the fastest time? Yes. How about completing all the levels/stages straight through? Definitely. What about obtaining all items, be it optional or required, in the game? You got it. What about using glitches to your advantage in beating tough enemies? They've got that covered. It's very much a place to watch video gameplays of games defeated and completed in one, entire run.

Screenshot of a page listing all the consoles played and done featured on TASVideos.
List of consoles played and published on TASVideos.

While us humans can plow through a game with enough practice, through trial and error and/or a strategy guide, sometimes you want to 'level up' and experiment with specific techniques, exploiting glitches to the player's benefit, or simply grinding through the game as fast as possible—pushing the games to its limit, or past it. All are done by various video-gaming diehards, known as speed-runners, to barge through such games in every way possible (i.e. time attack, completed). Some are mind-boggling, some are badass, as some are also humorous and done with true talent. (There are a lot of speed-runners located all around the world, and I want to say a BIG shoutout to all of you as well!)

Tool-assisted? Yes, these tools, normally found and integrated on physical hardware and/or emulation software, are used to help speed-runners carry out their gaming techniques to "run" the game through whatever goal they look to acquire. The runs aren't always done in proper fashion, nor do the randomness of the games trigger results that favor the speed-runner. That's why they jot down what's called re-record counts: The number of times an action during the game had to be re-played and re-recorded until the desired result has been made. Sounds like a lot of work, which it is, but it's done for the purposes of entertainment and an undying love of video gaming, let alone complying by any statistical policy required by TASVideos themselves.

Why TASVideos?

I found TASVideos by accident after searching for an online guide for my personal favorite series StarTropics. As their website popped up on search results, I clicked and found the game's page that happened to be a speedrun of the underrated RPG on NES (until now, there hasn't been talks of a remake for the Nintendo Switch...yet?!). I downloaded the available speed-run video...and fell in love. I was stunned but fascinated with the speed run, as I learned how offensive the approach was when attacking in the game. That video I downloaded and enjoyed took place back in March 17, 2007 at around 9PM. Eventually, I used the video as a guide to help me through the game. Granted, the enemies in the game didn't behave as well as the ones shown in the speedrun, but I have fun playing through the game overall (I became a big fan of the series so much, I published an article back in late 2019 begging for a remake).

Becoming a fan overnight, watching these speedrun videos helped ease off the bored gaps between classes for me during my time in college. Heck, I watched these speedruns like they were movies/TV shows for me. That's right: I'd prepare myself a meal, or snacks, with a cold drink, and I'd either stream, or download the videos for offline viewing, and watch them from start to finish while eating. (I'll be honest here: I was more into TV than movies, and despite that I did watch The Simpsons Movie back in 2007, I often enjoyed TV shows and sports much more.) Having found this, I realized that stuff being hyped up in the mainstream wasn't for me anymore and I'd stick with these kinds of videos. (It's no wonder people who meet me get stunned, and sometimes angry, whenever they find out that I don't watch the latest movies. I live in Los Angeles currently, where cinematic/TV entertainment is high here. What about video gaming? It is, except I can't find fellow video gamers, both modern and retro, around here, so I just went with whatever I liked.)

Did TASVideos pave the way for video gameplay watching? It wouldn't surprise me. Whatever the case, watching others play video games became a fun pastime for me—something that didn't become a thing until later, when it started to gain more and more momentum among fellow video gamers, streaming and recording gameplays.

Screenshot of the first video gameplay speedrun from TASVideos. Thank you to TASVideos and speedrunner Sami Outinen!
Screenshot of the first video I watched/downloaded from TASVideos. Credits to TASVideos and speedrunner Sami Outinen. Click here to watch the speedrun (now obsoleted).

It wasn't long after watching the first StarTropics, I went ahead watching the speedrun of its sequel, Zoda's Revenge: StarTropics II and, out of curiousity, Super Mario World (SNES) hack titled Super Demo World. I became hooked and enjoyed the speedruns like an actual movie/TV show. The website and their publications have helped get the gears flow through my time in college, and due to all that's happened since 2020, it still does to this day. Having taken a HUGE break from video gaming for almost two years, it feels great to be back, and whether I needed tips, techniques or just something to watch for pure entertainment, TASVideos still continues to deliver. (As briefly mentioned earlier, videos like these are enough to keep me entertained as I rarely watch movies and modern TV anymore, with the exception of classic/retro TV, public TV, and sports.)

Kris, bro, what about you?

I'm not a speedrunner, and highly doubt I will ever be. It's not that I'm not computer-saavy—I am—but I enjoy the normal, steady pace of playing video games. Off the top of my head, I can't think of a game I've played so much that I look to maximize past its limits using various tools to try and "stretch the dough until completely flattened." If so, it's probably done by speedrunners anyway. Nevertheless, it's an aspect of video gaming that's enjoyable, as speedrunners all over the world are amazing and talented. Oh, and no, I'm not against emulation which is a platform most speedrunners use for their gaming. (Yeah, emulation is an on-going topic of debate among video gamers for so many years, but we'll talk about that another time here on the network.)

Some viewers enjoy video gamers with facecam, or voiceover commentaries and reactions, while some enjoy silent gameplays and imperfect runs. While I enjoy watching all kinds, yes all across the board, I'll never forget the number one source who sparked a keen interest in watching gameplay videos in its entirety despite seeing a perfect run: TASVideos. I apologize it's taken us this long to pay our respects to you, and all speedrunners around the world, but your work and entertainment will never go unnoticed again. Knowing how we all feel about mainstream media and the news, speedrun videos have a solid audience that I'm happy to take and reserve a seat for without guilt or fear. Yeah, with all the drama continuing on social media, the chaos in the world both current and upcoming, I can find peace watching speedruns from TASVideos.

Eternal thanks to all video game speedrunners and to TASVideos! Keep up the amazing work, and we appreciate all the efforts you continue to put in!

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