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

Submission #6281: McW4v3-X's NES Hello Kitty World "all balloons" in 31:29.9

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Hello Kitty World
Game version: JPN
ROM filename: Hello Kitty World (J).nes
Branch: all balloons
Emulator: BizHawk 2.3.1
Movie length: 31:29.9
FrameCount: 113581
Re-record count: 9300
Author's real name: David Royston
Author's nickname: McW4v3-X
Submitter: PikachuMan
Submitted at: 2019-02-28 05:54:04
Text last edited at: 2019-03-03 12:42:54
Text last edited by: ThunderAxe31
Download: Download (24423 bytes)
Status: decision: rejected
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Author's comments and explanations:
This run of Hello Kitty World aims to collect all the balloons.

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: BizHawk 2.3.1 (NesHawk Core)
  • Items: 100%
  • Takes damage to save time


Hello Kitty World is essentially a Dolled-up Installment port of the previously-unreleased-in-Japan Game Boy game Balloon Kid.


The entire game is an auto-scroller. Bear with me.
Get 20 balloons so that double balloons appear. Miss a balloon and you have to get another 20. These don't affect the bonus area balloons. Get 20 bonus area balloons to get an extra life. There are certain balloons that cause extra life hearts and P balloons. P balloons make you invincible and the screen scrolls faster.
Every second stage has a boss at the end. You get an extra life every time you get 100 balloons, when you get 100,000 points, and every time you get a PERFECT!!. You have two balloons. Get hit by an airborne enemy and you lose a balloon. Having only one balloon you ascend slower than with two. Lose both balloons and you're grounded and you have to traverse on land and jump. You can re-inflate your balloons by pressing down repeatedly. You can also release balloons by pressing B. But beware. Get hit by an airborne enemy with no balloons and you're dead. You can also die by colliding with a grounded enemy, fire, electric sparks, falling stalactites, falling in water, and getting eaten by a fish. There are eight stages to complete.

For encoders

This movie has built-in subtitles. Go to messages, set frame counter, lag frame counter, and re-records to the top right with X coordinate to 0 and Y coordinates to 0, 14, and 28 respectively, watches to the top left with both coordinates to 0, input display at the top left with X coordinate to 200 and Y coordinate to 56. Have all on-screen displays checked with the fps display unchecked. Set display to use 1:1 pixel size, and use 2x zoom. Download the memory watch here and use it. Make sure Record OSD is enabled.
Alternatively, you can use the 4:3 display at max zoom or in full screen without the on-screen displays.

ThunderAxe31: Well, why not? Judging.

ThunderAxe31: Response for this movie was pretty negative, which is unsurprising, as the game is mostly a slow autoscroller with few features. So we first need to see if this game is eligible for Vault tier. From watching this movie, we may get the impression that the gameplay execution is trivial to match with real-time attempts, so we need to find anything that could prove that movies done with this game can feature TAS-only techniques. Since this game can be split out in few different gameplay aspects, we can list them there and a look at them invididually:

  • The speed of the screen autoscrolling is constant and it doesn't help that the only way to sped it up, that is the invicibility power-up, is trivial to pick up and lasts for a fixed amount of time.
  • Optimizing menuing execution is also trivial, as there are lag frames enclosing the first frames where the necessary input need to be provided to the game, which nullifies human inaccuracy.
  • The duration of each boss fight depends from how quickly the boss itself is defeated by the player, which requires to repeatedly nail the necessary movement timings. Beating each boss as soon as possible is not entirely trivial.
  • The score section can't be skipped, so its duration inevitably depends from how many balloons you picked up during the levels, so the fewer balloons you pick up, the more time you save after finishing a level, last level included. And since some balloons may be actually difficult to avoid, this could be seen as a slightly non-trivial technique. Note that this is only applicable for fastest-completion.
  • The bonus stages end as soon as the player picks the last collectable, that is a 1-up item, which spawns as soon as all balloons of the bonus stages have been picked up. The position and the timing of the last balloon is RNG-dependant, so it could be manipulated to a most favorable outcome. Additionally, the position of the last balloon and the 1-up item can also allow for different movement techniques, so it should be carefully planned ahead and dealt accordingly with appropriate movement strategy. Note that this is only applicable for full-completion.

Now, there is another problem for Vault: goal. It either needs to be fastest-completion (aka any%) or full-completion (aka 100%). While this game doesn't give any clear indication of what the full-completion requirements could be, I have to remind here that we can still accept unofficial definitions of full-completion, provided that they meet our full-completion rules. Since the amount of balloons that could be picked up is fixed and not depending on any form of randomness, it can be used for defining full-completion, including the amount of double-balloons. I also want to point out that picking up balloons is the main objective of the game, generally speaking.

So, I consider movies made with this game to be potentially applicable for Vault, including this full-completion definition. Still, I have to point out that this submission is not enough optimized for our standards, especially because there are few places where there is the chance to save time; in other words, the fact that this game is mostly plain, actually makes it more necessary to have it optimized. The part that I found suspect the most was the fourth boss fight, as there were used different jumping techniques for attacking it, while it seemed to be unneccessary. So I did a quick test, and I did discover that not only it could have been possible to use the same jump again and again, but that there is a possible frame-perfect trick that allows to hit it right before it is about to fire its 4-stars attack, which allowed me to save 816 frames (see movie file here). Another thing that got my attention was the fact that the author did sometimes pick up the balloons in bonus stages before they rise from the pipes, by touching the side of the pipe; however it wasn't done optimally for ending the bonus stages as soon as possible, so I did another test and saved 180 frames in the first bonus stage alone, just by optimizing the movements for picking up the last balloon and the 1-up (see movie file here). Note that I didn't apply any RNG manipulation for getting a more favorable position of the last balloon and 1-up, which could potentially save even more time.

Rejecting for suboptimality.

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