link chains

I have mixed feelings about Wikipedia, but one thing that's wonderful about it is it feels exactly like Gopher, or the very early web, used to. It's just a big bunch of little essays on different topics, chained together with links. So I went on one of those little chain surfing excursions that Wikipedia encourages, and that I used to do all the time back in 1994 or so - from yet another highly charged debate on fedora-devel-list, to the Wikipedia entry for Wolfenstein 3-D, to the page on Doom, back to my old stomping grounds - Compet-N. Yeah, I guess the few people reading this now wouldn't know that, in a former life, I was one of the top five or so ranked Doom players in the world :). I was unreasonably happy to see that people were still sending in new demos. Compet-N is / was a site where people competed to record the fastest times for completing levels under various conditions, sending in recordings - 'demos' - of their efforts, known as 'speedruns'. It's probably the oldest still-vaguely-active speedrunning site in the world. There's a new guy I hadn't come across before called Guillaume Pierson, and at least one guy I remember, Chris Ratcliff, still sending in stuff. It's somehow reassuring to see people still sending in runs of the same set of 68 levels that have been competed over since 1993/1994.

So I couldn't resist - I installed prboom, grabbed my Doom Collector's Edition CD from the shelf (next to my still-intact original CD copy of Doom 2...), put the main data files back in the right places, and watched Guillaume's n4s4-050 (Doom 1, episode 4, level 4, nightmare skill with 100% secrets found, 0:50 - compet-n has a very neat compact naming scheme), and went back in time ten years to when I'd spend the wee hours of the morning blowing away the same enemies in the same order, over and over again, to try and get to the exit a second faster than the last guy. Good times :). Guillaume looks to have a nice smooth style, and I was both happy and faintly worried to realize that I still remembered exactly how to complete that run. Guillaume's demo, of October 2008, beats the previous record of Adam Hegyi (one of the best speedrunners ever), by one second. Adam's run was recorded in June 1999. And as far as I can tell, my oldest record - p2m1-039, also June 1999 - still stands...


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