One REALLY COOL trend in the video game world right now is to record yourself completing a game in the fastest time possible and then post the resultant video file on the internet. The best sites to visit to truly immerse yourself in this ‘time attack’ penomenon are NES Superplays (Alternate link), Nintendo Entertainment System Superplays, and Speed Demo Archives.

     The first of these speed runs to come to my attention was the 11 minute run through of Super Mario Bros. 3 (alternate link 1, alternate link 2) that made the rounds a few months ago, performed by ‘Morimoto,’ who appears to be the Mick Jagger of internet video game time attack movies. Morimoto revealed on his website (in Japanese) that he had taken advantage of the greater control afforded a player who is using emulation software. Current emulation technology allows the player to control the speed of the game, and to save their progress at any given point in case they make a mistake. Morimoto dropped the speed down and saved often, and the resulting file, when played back at normal speed is hypnotically ridiculous.

     For some reason, I thought that this would be frowned upon in the internet video game time attack movie community, but I was wrong. The webmaster of Nintendo Entertainment System Superplays justifies the ‘feature abuse’ as follows:

     “Perfection is not easy. Yes, using the above-mentioned tools makes playing easy – but we’re not just playing here. We’re attempting to perfect the games to godly level of precision… Players are not perfect, yet we try to make perfect plays. For this reason, it’s necessary that we can undo mistakes and retry until we succeed. – Imperfection isn’t entertaining to watch… We’re searching for perfection.

     To reach that goal, using the features provided by an emulator is irrelevant, as long as the “world” – the game – is unmodified.”

     I’ll admit that the prospect of someone repeatedly saving and redoing levels of a video game until they get it just so is even MORE ridiculous, but the final product loses some of the romance now that I know that it’s not ‘real.’

     Among the most impressive movies which have been circulating are the absolutely inhuman Tetris (link) and Pop N’ Music (link, link) videos. These are unaltered and need to be seen to be believed.


     While poking around on the internet for more sites like this, I happened upon the official site for ‘Bang the Machine,’ an extremely well-reviewed documentary on the U.S. vs. Japan world Street Fighter Championship. The trailer is available here. The site doesn’t appear to have been updated in ages, and I’ve been unable to find any mention of a DVD release, so if anyone knows what’s going on with it, feel free to let me know.

     “Bang the Machine is the rare documentary that’s about more than just its subject: the all-male world of Street Fighter tournaments. Tamara Katepoo’s debut expands into a fast-paced, first-rate, shimmering piece of youth culture reportage and illuminates a world few of us know, and when it morphs into a totally suspenseful battle — you just can’t help it: you get completely sucked in. Beautifully photographed and edited, with a dynamic, propulsive score.” – Bret Easton Ellis