Speedrunner Glitchcat Set A Record Behind The Scenes At AGDQ

Alex McCumbers,

January 24, 2018 3:00 PM

AGDQ was chockfull of great and fascinating runs, but what if we missed one by the sheer fact that it happened by happy accident? Speedrunner Glitchcat tells the story of his new record run in Cool Spot.

Awesome Games Done Quick, the speedrun celebration that helps raise tons of money for various charities is always filled with amazing moments, fun personalities, and general mastery over games as we pointed out in our favorite runs from AGDQ 2018. Yet, not every amazing moment is shown on camera. In the practice room of AGDQ, a record was broken for Cool Spot on the Super Nintendo, a record that was held prior by Darbian, who made headlines all over the world with his seemingly impossible Super Mario Bros record.

Who knew that just a little bit of practice could lead to something so cool? The live AGDQ streams may have missed Glitchcat's run, but it ends up being an unsung hero run of the event.
Who knew that just a little bit of practice could lead to something so cool? The live AGDQ streams may have missed Glitchcat's run, but it ends up being an unsung hero run of the event.

The Cool Spot record was broken by Glitchcat7 while practicing at four in the morning. Glitchcat’s time was 10 minutes and 40 seconds, while Darbian’s was 10 minutes and 41 seconds. Snagging a record by a mere second is always exciting, but Glitchcat cited doing this in front of friends, which makes it even more special. As a person who notably enjoys making and running content for himself and the enoyment of people watching, it had to be a great feeling for Glitchcat.

Cool Spot was a SNES game created as a 90s platformer -- a promotional video game for the 7UP soft drink. There was even a contest players could enter by beating the game on the hardest difficulty and collecting all of the letters needed to spell ‘UNCOLA’ to reach a special screen. They could then mail in a photo of that screen for a chance to win a prize. 

The game is similar as a mascot platformer to the Yo! Noid game that Jaku runs, but with a few more options and a lot less randomness. Why players keep gravitating to these mascot games is peculiar to say the least, but one common thread is that people have memories of renting them or playing them while young. 

Glitchcat mentioned getting the cart for his birthday many years ago, a gift from his dad. He talked about how cool it is to play on the same copy he’s had all these years, creating a sentimental attachment to the game. 

While a lot of runs these days are submitted as VODs from Twitch streams, Glitchcat actually ended up just recording the run. I caught up with him as he was heading home from AGDQ to talk about the run. First, I asked him why he picked Cool Spot to begin with.

Cool Spot is a bizarre little game to say the least, as have been many of the promotional video games focused on brands. Maybe that's what makes them so memorable.
Cool Spot is a bizarre little game to say the least, as have been many of the promotional video games focused on brands. Maybe that's what makes them so memorable.

“I wanted to pick a new game to run that wouldn't take too long (like sub-20 minute runs are great). I played Cool Spot as a kid and always just thought it might make a fun run. The more I played with the routing and such, the more I was able to find. We did a lot of collaborative lab work with it at AGDQ as well.”

I asked if there was any luck involved with breaking the record or the routing had just gotten better. 

“No luck,” Glitchcat explained. “There's very little randomness in the run, but there is just a bit. Nothing that can't be dealt with. Random number generation kills like 0.1% of all runs, not enough to really matter over the course of several sessions.”

“I routed it better than the previous time and I found ways to abuse some mechanics in a different way to gain some leverage. There's some other tech too that ended up factoring in, some new stuff we managed to discover. Eventually, I managed to figure out how to save a second or more on just about every level. In light of the new discoveries, the old run and old strategies have become very obsolete.”

Leading up to Glitchcat's run, Darbian was the previous record holder. He has prolific skill, but it remains to be seen if he will challenge for a return to superiority over Glitchcat's new record.
Leading up to Glitchcat's run, Darbian was the previous record holder. He has prolific skill, but it remains to be seen if he will challenge for a return to superiority over Glitchcat's new record.

Considering that Darbian was the previous owner of the record, I asked if there had been any comment there. 

“I don't know. I didn't get a chance to talk with him much at GDQ. He just said that he heard I got the time and that I could take it way farther down and he's interested to see the run.”

“I don't really know what his plans are at the moment, but I'd welcome any back and forth considering that within the next few months between now and SGDQ the time will drop substantially by perhaps as much as a whole minute.”

Not long after returning from AGDQ, Glitchcat beat his run live on Twitch. This new run utilizes a couple wall clips, one of which is super easy and the another that is a little more difficult. 

Watch Cool Spot - 10:20 from GlitchCat7 on www.twitch.tv

For now, the run has some opportunities for faster execution and it looks like Glitchcat is looking to tighten it up even further. Seeing some records change hands is always exciting in the speedrun scene, so it would be awesome to see other runners give it a shot. He also hopes to show off the run alongside Jaku’s Yo! Noid run at Summer Games Done Quick. 

All that aside though, speedrunning breathes new life into games that otherwise may have been forgotten by history. Undoubtedly, some viewers hadn’t even heard of Cool Spot before learning about the speedrun. Time will tell if the run makes it into Summer Games Done Quick, but either way Glitchcat holds the record on the Cool Spot leaderboard at Speedrun.com for the time being and he seems to be having a tremendous amount of fun making the run faster.



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