For this month’s community spotlight, we spoke to Coldeggman, an Animal Crossing speedrunner who recently completed a month-long Animal Crossing: New Leaf 100% run.
THE LONGEST SPEEDRUN
Hypothetically, a runner could intentionally stretch out a run of almost any game and call it the longest speedrun, but this is a real-time, first-place speedrun that is incredibly long because it has to be that way.
Previously, this record was held by Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean 100% with a world record runtime of 338:43:26 (a bit more than 14 days), so how did Coldeggman beat that?
Animal Crossing: New Leaf introduced a badge system that rewards players for certain achievements including the “Villager of Honor” badge which is awarded for 500 hours of playtime.
Because of this badge, nobody has completed a 100% speedrun of New Leaf since it was released. No one, that is, until Coldeggman.
For as much as 12 hours a day throughout most of April, he played New Leaf, working to collect the various other badges while he let the 500-hour clock tick by 24/7.
In the end, his run clocked in at 638:27:29 (almost 27 days).
“It's still weird to me that I was able to pull that off. I was always telling myself that I wouldn't make it past like the first week,” said Coldeggman.
This run was in a league of its own even for someone like Coldeggman who has experience competing in 20+ hour categories.
Coldeggman has played Animal Crossing games since childhood and since 2017 he’s collected world records in titles throughout the franchise.
Starting with the original Animal Crossing for the Gamecube, Coldeggman learned and practiced the shorter runs like “All Debts” and “Golden Net.” From there, he put together the building blocks of the 100% run.
He became interested when he saw a clip of the at-the-time World Record holder, P4ntz, entering some “Tom Nook Codes” to acquire specific items for the run. Coldeggman timed himself entering the same codes and found that his untrained inputs were as much as 20 seconds faster than P4ntz’s had been.
P4ntz had set the record at 38:00:37, but Coldeggman was able to bring that time down to 27:02:17 and from there, he has improved the Animal Crossing 100% run to 19:25:35.
It can be tough to imagine a single stream of 20+ hours and Coldeggman says it takes practice to focus for such a long time.
“I used to do like a 24-hour stream every month which is bad for your health so I try not to do that much now,” he said.
For a lot of speedruns, the common wisdom is to grind a run in full to make progress but with runs that long it is not realistic or healthy so prepping for runs involves practicing different segments, menu navigation (aka ‘menuing’), and movement.
Coldeggman said that movement doesn’t seem like it would be that important in Animal Crossing games, but tighter control can add up in a competitive setting.
While he has run other Animal Crossing games, the Gamecube original is his favorite. “I would say Gamecube and New Leaf are very, very close but I think I would put Gamecube just slightly ahead just because I’ve played it ever since I was way younger,” he said.
But again, even 27 hours is nothing compared to 27 days.
The idea came to him during a walk on the very first day of this year. “I just thought to myself ‘wait a minute, since there's a 500-hour badge in New Leaf, I wonder if you could do a 100% speedrun of it.’ I just laughed it off at first but quickly got to work on it.”
For most other runs, Coldeggman tries to jump into them pretty quickly, but for this one, he needed some time for more planning and mental preparation. He practiced and frequently modified the route.
“I had already decided on doing two streams a day, with an hour-long break in between to take a mental break which really, really helped in the end and I think without that I wouldn't have been able to do it for sure,” he said.
But even with all his preparation, as Coldeggman worked on acquiring every badge, he found something which had slipped through the cracks.
Some of the items he needed could only be purchased through Club Tortimer, an online function which Coldeggman already banned from the run due to the risk of encountering hackers or other issues that would disrupt the record.
The only alternative was to hope for an incredibly unlikely RNG-dependent interaction. After some tense consideration, the decision was made to ignore those items for this run.
“It was really stressful having to deal with that in the middle of the run not knowing about it beforehand,” he said.
Despite setbacks, Coldeggman eventually achieved the 500-hour “Villager of Honor” badge and from there he just had to tie up some loose ends to reach 100%.
After 27 days, he completed the longest real-time first-place speedrun. “It was a very emotional moment for sure,” he said. “Would I ever do it again? Probably not...It was a very stressful experience a lot of the time. Still fun, but man it was rough a lot of the time.”
As far as advice for anyone considering a run this long, Coldeggman doesn’t think it’s for everyone. “Unless you were super motivated...I wouldn’t recommend doing a run like this. You have to be very good at playing for long periods of time...but despite that, I’d say just make sure you take breaks often and eat/drink properly to keep your health in check.”
Overall, just take care of yourself. This is a cool achievement but you should always make sure to take care of your health first and foremost!
WHAT IS NEXT
Even right after that huge undertaking, Coldeggman has some future runs in mind. He’s considering jumping back into some other Animal Crossing titles and might further improve that Animal Crossing 100% run with some new discoveries and strategies.
To anyone considering running Animal Crossing, he said, “I definitely recommend it. If you’re talking about the Gamecube one, start with ‘All Debts’ or ‘Golden Net.’ It’s actually a very fun speed-game. It’s very chill. It’s not too complicated and it's pretty easy to learn. It’s not just RNG there’s a lot of skill involved too.”
Check out Coldeggman on Twitch here.