Pokémon Emerald made its debut at this year’s Awesome Games Done Quick on Jan. 9, with runner Anthony “thetyrant14” Rosner playing the game all the way to the end in two hours, 56 minutes. While that’s not a world-record run by any means, Rosner’s Pokémon journey is spectacular for other reasons — not least of which being that he used only two Pokémon for the bulk of his playthrough.
Rosner played through Emerald with his starter Pokémon, the fan favorite Mudkip, as his main monster for almost the whole game. This particular run was glitchless, meaning the runner used only the nuances of the game itself to power through to Victory Road. It’s also an Any% run, which is the most common type of speedrun with a limited number of restrictions.
There’s a lot to learn about Emerald’s random number generation through this playthrough. As Rosner explains, picking the female protagonist makes for a faster game. There’s less text to read through with the female hero, for example; there’s also less stat variance overall for Mudkip. Choosing the water-type Mudkip is another very calculated choice, as it’s considered the most versatile starter.
Other stat manipulation that the player used to his advantage is very, very in the weeds. Resetting in a particular position helps, as does listening for an audio cue to help land a Mudkip of a certain gender. There’s even talk of the importance of dry cartridge batteries, which the average Pokémon player would never even think of.
Fans may remember that the third generation of Pokémon games introduced various natures, which change Pokémon stats in slight ways. That’s a major part of the competitive metagame, and getting a good one was crucial in helping Rosner speed through the game.
It’s all fascinating, especially for those who haven’t played Emerald since its launch nearly 14 years ago. (The recent Nintendo 3DS remakes of Ruby and Sapphire don’t count.) Watching thetyrant14 blast through with just Mudkip’s evolutionary line and, much later, the legendary Pokémon Rayquaza, is mesmerizing — especially when the Mudkip is named Waluigi.
Anyone who wants to know more about the intricacies of Pokémon should watch this run, which is one of the first times that a Game Boy Advance-era Pokémon game made it to Awesome Games Done Quick. The three-hour runtime speeds on by, literally.