Jodenstone Interview - The New Zelda Speedrun World Record Holder
This is a cross-post from GamersFTW and was written by Callum Crumlish
With the progression of streaming software and websites, large, dedicated, community driven websites were built–such as speeddemosarchive.com and speedrunslive.com–to focus on finding tricks, glitches and other time-saving techniques in order for fellow Speedrunners to shave seconds off of their run times.
Since it’s release in 1998, large groups of Speedrunners have been attempting to finish The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in the quickest way possible. The Speedrunner Cosmo Wright has been responsible for OoT’s Any% world record time (Any% meaning finishing the game using as many glitches or skips you have at your disposal) in the last few years, shortening the final run time from 2 hours 35 minutes to 18 minutes 10 seconds.
On the 2nd January 2015, a 24 year old Swedish Speedrunner named Joel Westerberg–or Jodenstone, as he is known by the Speedrunning community–seemingly came out of nowhere and took Cosmo’s OoT Any% crown–as well as the world record–by finishing the game in 18 minutes 7 seconds.
I caught up with Jodenstone to discuss his new world record, and the training he endured to claim this achievement.
C – Hi Jodenstone, congratulations are in order! Was there a turning point in your world record run that told you it was going well?
Jodenstone – Thanks!! I have been working hard for this so it feels pretty awesome to finally stand here. In the world record run I knew I was onto something special early on once I had finished the bottle segment (rounding up the chickens) because that was done 7 seconds faster compared to my previous personal bests. I knew that could change at any time though, as failing a single trick in such an optimized route means the run is over. So I kept my calm, pressed on and when I got the final really hard trick (arguably the hardest trick in the run) at the tower collapse, I knew I had it, as being 4 seconds ahead is very safe when entering the final boss fight.
C – How did you celebrate your new world record?
Jodenstone – I celebrated it on stream first, thanking my viewers and people who have helped me and supported me. Then went on to take a few days break (which i barely ever do) and spent time with my girlfriend and my family. It still feels a bit surreal though, so I’m understanding what actually happened day by day
C – What made you start speed running, and how long have you been running Ocarina of Time?
Jodenstone – That’s actually an interesting story, because me speedrunning was completely by chance. Back in the day, I played a lot of starcraft II and read a lot of threads on online forums for that game. In that forum in 2012 I found a thread for “Awesome Games Done Quick” or AGDQ, a speedrunning convention that raises a ton of money for cancer research two times each year. I briefly looked through the games and found Ocarina of Time, which had been one of my favorite childhood games, and decided to watch how the runner would be able to complete all of the major dungeons in just 2 hours 45 minutes, as he claimed. The Speedrunner finished the run in 2 hours 35 minutes, and his name was Cosmo Wright, coincidentally the holder for the OoT Any% world record. January 2013 was when I started trying out speedruns, initially focusing on that very route he showed off in that stream.
C – Your run managed to beat Cosmo’s world record by about three seconds, will you be aiming to improve this time?
Jodenstone – Yes, three seconds was actually a bit more than I thought I would be able to cut, since the route is extremely optimized. It took me 2657 attempts to get that time, which means I’ll probably be looking at a similar amount of attempts before getting a few really good runs that could potentially beat it. Therefore I’ll be taking a break from the extensive practice for OoT Any% runs, and focusing on other categories and the other Nintendo 64 Zelda game: Majoras Mask.
C – Have you spoken to Cosmo since his record was beaten?
Jodenstone – Cosmo congratulated me on Twitter, but that’s pretty much it. He already stated when he set the record, that he won’t come back to the category unless a new route is found, so we aren’t really competing or chatting.
C – Learning and memorising the tricks and techniques required to run Ocarina of Time so quickly must require a lot of time in your schedule; do you have a training routine to keep yourself from getting rusty?
Jodenstone – Yes, going for a time like this does take a very long time, and a lot of dedication. Whilst I was trying to beat the world record, an average stream for me was 8 hours, and I streamed very close to daily. There are different styles to how you keep in shape, but I always liked doing a ton of runs each day, which was a lot more fun for me–and the viewers–than practice, and kept it fresh. Still, there were a few recurring tricks that required practice separately, so that you can do them when you get to that point in the run.
C – What game are you looking at next to speed run?
Jodenstone – For me, Zelda games will always be my focus, since I love the games and controls/movement. As I mentioned before, the Majoras Mask Any% is something I would like to play around with, and maybe focus on as the next big thing. There are also other categories in OoT that I could see myself running a lot, such as the one that got me started: MST–which stands for medallions, stones and trials.
C – Where can people find your streams, or find updates about your progress?
Jodenstone – You can find my streams at www.twitch.tv/jodenstone and I stream close to daily between 3pm-11pm CET, and you can also find my highlights of achievements there. I also have a YouTube channel where I make tutorials for the speedrun and upload highlights: https://www.youtube.com/user/jdest21. Finally you can follow me on Twitter at@Jodenstone for when I go online and what is currently happening.
Joel currently lives in Sweden and works as a curling instructor. He has recently put his Medical studies on hold to speedrun on Twitch full time. He hopes to do a lot more speedrunning in 2015.