“Today’s Headline: Pokemon Trainer SDA Battles CANCR and Wins”

Actually, that would have been the best headline for Saturday the Eighth of January. That was the day that SMK did an awesome speedrun of “Pokemon Yellow” on the Game Boy Player for the GameCube System. The characters of the game were re-named according to what our stream viewers wanted. The highest amount that people donated became the determination factor for naming both the Pokemon Trainer and the Villain. Our viewers decided it would be EPIC if the villain was named Cancer (or CANCR; as we could only have five letters in the name), and the trainer was named SDA. We all had to agree!

This proved to be true, as SMK beat his own record in order to help us raise more money to defeat Cancer. So much was the goal of this year’s Speed Demos Archives (AKA: SDA) Charity Marathon. As I mentioned several times before (as the Marathon was happening), all of the guys and gals over at SDA played through 100 games in 100 hours. We started at four o’clock on Thursday the sixth, and ran until 5:35 PM on Tuesday the eleventh. It took us a total of 113 hours to go through the line-up. Trust me, it could have been alot worse . . .

Initially, our schedule for the Marathon had us ending at 2:43 AM on Monday the tenth. Since we’re all human, there were several things that we can never control or anticipate. We can’t control the fact that no matter how many times our guys tested the new donation program, stuff still happens to slow things down. We cannot anticipate when the streaming channel we use will go down because we have a lot of traffic. We also cannot control the fact that people would get bounced from one chatroom to the other when they would have to refresh the page after one of the many down times we had with the stream.

These things were several of the glitches we had to deal with. People freaked out when our stream went down, or when many of our games went over because of things we couldn’t control. We took donations for all kinds of things. Some of the things that our viewers wanted, our speedrunners hadn’t counted on in their practice runs. However, because of the fact that people had donated to see certain parts of the games that our runners would have skipped over in order to cut some time, the length of the games were longer than we had originally estimated. I’m sorry to say this of our loyal donators, but if you wanted to see something and it costs us some time, then don’t complain when we run a bit over because of that fact.

Alright . . . Now that I’ve said my piece about all of the negatives I’ve heard everybody talking about, let me get back to my take on the event. I may not have been running a game of my own, but I was able to witness alot of the Marathon. I may not have been in the same room with everybody alot, but I was able to put my mad skills of communication to work. I spent alot of time updating on Facebook about how everything was going. That, and every other website that I belong to. I spread the word like I like to spread peanut butter on bread. VERY thick!

Well, just in case you missed all of the PR I did the whole time, I’ll tell you what we were up to. We all gathered that weekend to raise money for the Prevent Cancer Foundation. This wonder Foundation set up a PayPal account to make it easier for us to get the money to them following the Marathon. They were so nice to all of us. Even those of us who didn’t have a Speedrun planned, were treated with the utmost respect. They put a notice up on their website about the Marathon. I happened to go to their website a few dozen times during the course of the Marathon just to look at the notice they put up for us. With all the stuff they normally have up on their front page, it looked VERY out of place.

However, I’m still amazed at how much they were willing to help us. I firmly believe that this fact alone was the main reason people were willing to dig deeper into their pockets than last year. With the economy as bad as it is, the fact that we found a Charity willing to show the world how deserving of this they really of the money we were raising for them. Mazel Tov for all the ladies and gentlemen over at the Foundation. May all of your tireless work come to Fruition very soon! I sing your praises because you deserve it!

We kicked our original goal’s ASS. When Mr. SDA set the goal at $25,000, many thought that the goal was far too high. I have to say , I think they were proved wrong when we hit that goal in under forty eight hours. We further proved that our new goal was too low six hours later, when we blew past $30,000. Our third goal became $40,000. That goal, too, got blown to smithereens with the help from our friends from overseas. Even our final goal of $50,000 was too low. We hit this goal with six hours of the Marathon left to go. In fact, we ended up raising over $52,000 all told. That’s not too shabby for 113 hours of work on our parts, huh?! We definatly think so!!!

Now that I’ve sufficiently bored you with all those facts and figures, I’m going to tell you all about my favorite moments from the Marathon. Hopefully, I can keep them all in the order they happened. As in any story, let me begin at the beginning. I promise, at the end of the story, I will have a list of my absolute top 10 favorite memories of this year’s Marathon. Maybe I’ll even have some links to the runs I’ve mentioned. You’ll just have to read on to know for sure . . .

The first of my favorite moments happens to be the first of the races that we had. You might say that I’m a little biased when it comes to this moment. Mostly, because I happen to be married to one of the guys that did the racing. But that’s not the sole reason I enjoyed watching Emptyeye and PJ run “Battletoads” on NES together. I’ve watched Emptyeye run the game at home, so I know all of the work that both of these guys had to put into it.
Also, the game becomes more entertaining with the addition of Kareshi on Piano. Kareshi and Empty have both run “Pianotoads” before, at MagFest a few years ago. The addition of PJ just brought a different element to an already awesome run . . .

My second favorite moment happens to revolve around another Kareshi-assisted race. The “Castlevania” race on NES between Josh The Funkdoc and Andrewg at 2:43 AM on the eighth was pretty awesome as well. I’ve never played the original “Castlevania,” myself, so it was a new experience for me. I may not have known the music that was supposed to go with the game, but since I knew the tunes that Kareshi threw into the mix, I was as amused as the rest of the room.
As with most of the races I’ll most definatly be mentioning (as they were equally as cool! Sorry to those I’ve missed. I don’t have enough chops to write about every single race. You all did well, however!), the races each had a separate TV and game console set-up. It was pretty cool. The only issue I have with the set-up the way it was, was the fact that it always took alot of time to put together and take down. That, and the fact that we kept having to re-start the stream after we were all set up and when we were done taking it down. But that’s okay. I still had fun watching the races.

My third part of the Marathon has to do with one of my room-mate’s run. Lag.com did a run of “The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind” that was just under 15 minutes. Before the eighth, I had never even heard of this game! But Lag did an awesome job in his run. I’m sure his run would have been shorter if he had been able to practice the physics of the game on the computer he played on for the Marathon. That was his reasoning, not mine . . . I just thought he did an awesome job, no matter what his time was for the run!!!

My fourth favorite part of the Marathon was actually the one I mentioned earlier. SMK’s Speedrun of Pokemon Yellow.

My fifth favorite moment happens to revolve around the many food speedruns we, as a group, made over the course of the Marathon. This moment is the one run to Subway on the eighth where Emptyeye ordered lunch while in his “Cape Guy” persona. He took donations all that morning from the stream viewers for those that wanted him to go out in public with his Vampire Cape and “MagFest Gaming Expert” hat. To be honest, he would have done this at some point during the weekend. This way, the Charity would benefit from it. That, and we could all tape it, and put it up on YouTube for our stream viewers to see that we can be silly at the same time we were working.

My sixth favorite, has to do with the mystery game that Mr. SDA had promised us and our stream viewers. The name of this game was “Color A Dinosaur.” PJ did a quick speedrun of the game at under a minute. Then he showed us most of the game. I really liked his dialogue the whole time. He made everyone laugh, myself included!

My seventh favorite moment was the runs of “The Legend of Zelda: Links Awakening” that Tigger77 and Romscout did. Tigger did the full run. He did awesome in his run. Tigger’s run ended in about an hour and a half. On the flip-side of this dual-person run, Romscout played through the game while it was all glitched out. He’s pretty good at playing a part. When he made the game glitch, he did a pretend freak-out moment, and then he continued with his run. His run ended within 17 minutes.

My eighth favorite moment of the Marathon was the four person race of “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” between Runnerguy, Jiano, Aleckermit, and Cosmo. It was a pretty EPIC set-up. I honestly don’t know if anything like that has ever happened before. I believe we set a record in the early morning of the ninth. This makes this a pretty good reason that this game makes my favorites list. The other reason, is that I learned alot about one of my favorite N64 games that I never knew before.

My ninth favorite moment was Arrow’s run of “Katamari Damacy” for the Playstation 2. I’ve actually played this game before, so I know how the game works. What I happen to like most about that run, was that one of our viewers donated some money to request that everybody in the room sing along with the game music. I still have it recorded on my digital recorder, somewhere . . .

My tenth favorite memory from the Marathon was the four player co-op of “Castle Crashers” starring RaneOfSOTN, Mr. SDA, Romscout, and UltraJMan. The banter between them as they played through was pretty funny. If you’ve ever played the game, you know how fun it is beating people up with random weapons, meat cleavers and lollipops included. Suffice to say, these four guys can take their act on the road, if they so choose. I do believe everyone was amused with their run. Congrats guys! Your time of just under two hours was pretty epic! Considering there really hasn’t been a good run of “Castle Crashers” on the SDA website yet (as far as I know).

My eleventh favorite memory was Emptyeye and Mr. SDA’s two player co-op of “Final Fight.” I’ve seen them both practicing this run many times over the months leading up to the Marathon. All that practice paid off for the two of them, as they finished their run within 27 minutes. I’m still proud of the two of them for reaching their goal.

My twelfth favorite memory has to do with Axel Ryman’s run of “Kingdom Hearts 2” for Playstation 2. While we were all sleeping the tenth (well, mostly Empty, Lag, Mercury and a few others, anyway), Axel played through a game that is a personal favorite of mine. I watched in awe (with all of his viewers) as he tied a blindfold on and defeated Xaldin (one of the main bad guys; from the “Beast Castle” world). What is even more amazing about his, is that one of the people watching posted the video of this accomplishment on YouTube within five minutes of it happening. Congratulations Nuage13! You were the man of the hour!

My thirteenth favorite was watching Romscout and his group of Super Friends run “Kirby Super Stars.” Romscout put together a group of Kirby experts who helped him run through this fun game. MercuryZelda, PJ, and UltraJMan were definatly the best choices Romscout could make for his group of Super Friends on the evening of the tenth. It made an already fun game even more so.

The last of my favorites that I want to talk about happened right after my thirteenth favorite. MercuryZelda and Sir VG did a race of “Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land.” There were alot of difficulties that both of them had with the run, but that’s okay. It just showed our viewers that stuff happens that we cannot control (see, even us speedrunners are human too!) during the course of our runs.
I love Kirby as a Smash Brothers Melee character, so watching the two games that Kirby first appeared, just made my week all that much better. Go Kirby, Go!!!

The last thing I want to talk about, happens to be about the large number of prizes that our viewers were able to donate for. The list, you can find within the Marathon Schedule on the SDA website (of which the link is listed below inside of my Top 10 Favorite Memories).

*Unless noted, you can find links to my favorites (and the rest of the games’ videos) here *

#10 = Castlevania Race 2011
#9 = Color A Dinosaur In Aurora Camouflage
#8 = Battletoads Race 2011
#7 = Castle Crashers Race 2011
#6 = Katamari Damacy Sing-A-Long
#5 = Tigger and Romscout Bounce In And Awaken Link
#4 = Emptyeye Speedruns For Food – Parts A and B.
#3 = Ocarina of Time Race 2011
#2 = Pokemon Trainer SDA Battles CANCR And Wins
#1 = Super Serious Blind Time

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