Tool-assisted game movies
When human skills are just not enough

Submission #4873: link_7777's NES Barbie in 12:05.34

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Barbie
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Barbie (USA).nes
Emulator: BizHawk 1.10.0
Movie length: 12:05.34
FrameCount: 43592
Re-record count: 7495
Author's real name: Phillip Grimsrud
Author's nickname: link_7777
Submitter: link_7777
Submitted at: 2015-10-08 03:23:38
Text last edited at: 2015-10-13 08:05:04
Text last edited by: Spikestuff
Download: Download (10374 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:


  • Aims for fastest time
  • Takes damage to save time


After having read a book about mermaids Barbie falls asleep thinking about the busy day to come: Going to the mall to pick up a new outfit, Lunch at the soda shop, swimming at the beach, and meeting Ken at the party. In this game you lead Barbie through her busy day, collecting pieces of her enchanted ball gown ensemble along the way, in an attempt to make her dreams come true. Collect them all and she is off to the Fantasy Ball with Ken!

About the game:

The mechanics are pretty straight forward, Barbie can walk left and right, jump (A), or throw a charm (B). You can choose between the available charms with the select button. Pressing down in some places may reveal secrets (mostly health drops, but also secret areas). There are also a few water levels where you are a mermaid, in these levels you can move around with the dpad and mash A to go faster. You begin with 5 Z's (health) and have a max of 9, if this runs out Barbie will wake up and you'll need to continue.

About the run:

I was inspired to create this run after watching twitch user KyhYang (RTA WR holder) do speedruns. I was surprised that there was not a TAS already and decided to make one (both so that there will be a published run and in hopes that the strategies employed would be useful for the RTA run).

The TAS isn't terribly complicated, the chief difficulties relate to finding the optimal damage boost route and optimizing strategies for the boss fights (the final boss in particular).

Tricks used:

As a fairly simple platformer with the obligatory swimming levels there aren't too many tricks outside of being precise. That said you can:
  1. jump over the triggers for boss fights. Normally you get frozen in place while the screen scrolls and locks into the fight (also triggering the action), but you must be on the floor for it to trigger. Additionally if you make your next jump frame perfect it still doesn't recognize that you're on the ground. In two of the boss fights (fountains and ice cream) avoiding the trigger and scrolling too far yourself results in a soft lock!
  2. On the topic of frame perfect jumping the jukebox level has raised platforms over a moving walkway that sweeps you back to the beginning of the level. In the TAS we can exploit the fact that the physics engine doesn't really recognize that you're on the ground until the second frame and just frame perfect jump our way across.

Stage-by-stage comments:


  • free health
  • There is a hidden invincibility, but I found that I lost a frame for some reason so I didn't take it. I take a hit from the tennis ball as a result, but it doesn't matter since we will max out later anyway.
  • free health
  • hit the toucan with a charm so that he gives me a lift, but sadly I had to let go of right for one frame to make the jump


  • There is a unique place at the beginning of this level where you can clip into the top block of the stack as seen in an early WIP Cronikeys posted. I hop back up instead of dropping in for the health, it isn't worth the time it takes to get in and out.
  • free health (obtained by giving a cat a charm)
  • Garbage chute boss fight. This one is pretty simple, give the cat 3 charms. You can even place them ahead of time.


  • free health
  • damage boost through the gloves. Waiting for them would cost about 36 frames and charming the dog to help you would take much longer
  • damage boos through a blouse. Waiting would cost about 9 frames.
  • floating outfit boss fight. You just need to hit all of the articles of clothing with a charm ending with the hat.


  • damage boost through a fountain. Waiting would cost about 22 frames.
  • hit down to go into the third fountain. This leads to a bonus room with 4 health and puts you back at a later point in the level. There are other bonus rooms, but this is the only one worth visiting.
  • damage boost through a fountain. Waiting would cost about 10 frames.
  • free health from pushing down
  • damage boost through a fish. Waiting would cost about 32 frames.
  • damage boost through a fish. Waiting would cost about 25 frames.
  • wait for a fish which costs us about 15 frames.
  • I get a health pickup here, but I have to slow down (swag backwards jump!) which costs me about 3 frames.
  • damage boost through a fish. Waiting would cost about 19 frames.

Galleria Continued:

  • There are a bunch of waterfalls here, I damage boost through all 6. Even the one the furthest through the cycle would take at least 150 frames to avoid.
  • I wait for a fountain here which costs me about 13 frames

Food Court:

  • free health
  • there is a spot here where you need to give a toucan a charm so that he lifts you high enough to make the jump. Fortunately in this instance I was able to do so without wasting any time.
  • pizza ovens boss fight. There are 3 open doors that you have to hit with charms twice each. Normally pizza would be coming out of the ovens in your direction, but you can see that I hop around the whole fight and never let it properly trigger at all
  • I go down and back up at one point which does cost a little bit of time, but the bottom route has a health pick up in a fake wall. I did consider using the top path, but you either have to take damage or slow down which makes the bottom path the better choice for the overall damage boost route.

- Fountain Cutscene -


  • I mash like crazy here which makes the tail go crazy, but you don't really need to mash that fast to keep the top speed.
  • There are several twists and turns which block me. I don't turn around like you may expect since I go back to full speed the frame I get past the wall.
  • There is an auto-scroll section here so I collect BARBIE spelled out in starfish
  • free health

Mermaid Continued:

  • not much going on here other than avoiding obstacles, I do slow down and speed up due to currents, but I think there is a fixed pattern, I didn't discover a way to manipulate them
  • at the end you give a dolphin a charm and he pulls you past a barrier. I go left a few frames once he takes the charm to catch his tail as quickly as possible since that proved to be the fastest.
  • Jellyfish/Lock boss fight. It seems a jellyfish has taken a cute (royal) crab couple hostage, but you can break them out by hitting the lock with 3 charms

- Oyster Cutscene -

Soda Shop:

  • free health
  • damage boost through a soda fountain. You can charm the ice cream cone to turn it off for you but it would cost about 89 frames
  • free health
  • there is a 2 pixel area on the left side of the tea cup that is safe. I use this to make the jump over, it requires me to slow down a little but only costs me about 10 frames
  • there is a floating classic car (with eyes) here that happens to be going in our direction, I land on it briefly which gets us ahead by a couple of frames
  • I slow down a bit here to avoid a straw that is shooting up, doing so costs about 11 frames
  • another tea cup jump, avoiding damage costs me about 13 frames
  • damage boost through a soda fountain, avoiding it would cost about 42 frames
  • free health
  • free health
  • damage boost past a tea cup, avoiding this one would cost about 23 frames
  • fountain boss fight. There are 5 tap handles that you need to hit with charms, with the right trajectory you can hit two at once. I do hop around here and avoid triggering the fight, but there is a bit of a hazard here since letting the screen scroll too far will cause the game to soft lock

Soda Shop Continued:

  • free health
  • damage boost through the fries, avoiding them would cost about 28 frames
  • damage boost through the fries, avoiding them would cost about 30 frames
  • damage boost through the fries, avoiding them would cost about 31 frames
  • damage boost through the fries, avoiding them would cost about 32 frames
  • free health
  • ice cream boss fight. There are 3 scoops of ice cream here, cherries come out of the tops of them and a shake also comes along. You need to hit each of the scoops with 4 charms. I delay the start of the fight and take out the first scoop, but later I hit the ground and trigger the fight. This is the other boss fight where scrolling the screen too far results in soft lock and I want to be able to hit that third scoop as quickly as possible.

Juke Box

  • free health
  • You are started on the music note platforms and I stay up there for a while. Later I go down to the floor to avoid a nickel (and also the spinning records slow you down when you land on them), but this requires frame perfect jumps. If you land on this floor normally you are sucked back to the beginning of the level.
  • Juke Box boss fight. This is the final ... battle? There are 3 coins (one of which is spinning with a starting value of 128, the other two are at rest with a value of 8). Landing on the coins causes them to spin faster (based on the height of your jump). The juke box is also throwing music notes at you. The goal is to get all of the coins spinning (with a value of 112 or greater). The coins all slow down by 1 every 16 frames.

- Fantasy Ball Cutscene -

Possible Improvements:

  • I trigger the floating outfit boss right away. I tried jumping over the trigger and triggering later, but the result was a few frames slower, probably due to the up/down boss cycle. It is possible that you could trigger in a different spot to get a different cycle and save a few frames
  • If the soft locks I mentioned on the fountain and ice cream bosses could be converted into credit warps that would obviously save a bunch of time


  • I'd like to thank twitch user KyhYang (current RTA WR holder) for speed running the game and inspiring me to create a TAS.
  • I'd also like to thank everyone who stopped by my twitch channel while I was making the run for their discussions, encouragement, and ideas.

Possible Screen Shots:

30, 3372, 5813, 14426, 22647, 39984, 41819, 43446, 45160, 47791

Samsara: Come on, Barbie, let's go judge ye.

Samsara: Hiya, Barbie.
"Hi Samsara!"
Do you want to go for a judging?
"Sure Samsara!"
Jump in...

Here's a Barbie TAS, and it is for the NES
TASing plastic: Not fantastic
Entertainment's fair, but sounds destroy my ears
Optimization? Very good creation

(Come on, Barbie, let's go judge ye)

Everyone in the thread wants to put it to bed
Votes are poor and the feedback is lacking
How did I end up here, writing all of my thoughts
To the tune of a song from the 90's

I'll accept this TAS, it's clear you did your best
Managed health route, careful planning of boosts
The audience gave salt, so it's going to Vault
I'm gonna stop now, because I'm out of rhymes

Spikestuff: wat.

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