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

Submission #6656: TiKevin83's GB Pokémon: Blue Version in 1:29:35.61

Console: Game Boy
Game name: Pokémon: Blue Version
Game version: USA/Europe
ROM filename: Pokemon Blue (UE) [S][!].gb
Emulator: BizHawk 2.4
Movie length: 1:29:35.61
FrameCount: 321698
Re-record count: 174326
Author's real name: Travis McGeehan
Author's nickname: TiKevin83
Submitter: TiKevin83
Submitted at: 2020-03-15 23:28:55
Text last edited at: 2020-10-31 19:58:27
Text last edited by: Mothrayas
Download: Download (51967 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
This is a thorough explanation of the strategy behind a Pokemon Blue Any% Glitchless TAS in 1:29:35 improving submission 6377/movie 4013M which you can watch at the following link.

(Link to video)

TL:DR for impatient people

1051 frames/ almost 18 seconds saved, including the following changes:

~2s save a turn on the last battle in Viridian Forest, 4 1/39 crits instead of Leer+4 1/39 non-crit

~.5s different flyer catch (pidgey has shorter cry, but getting pidgey early causes a longer animation in Cerulean so it's not as good as it could be)

~1.5s eliminate RNG delay on Brock and get Screech fail instead of tackle miss turn 1 on onix

~2.5s better route3 RNG delay

~.5s crit+non crit Koffing instead of 2 crits in moon

~1s fix delay length to find Sandshrew before Misty

~3s Better Misty fight, Staryu Gen 1 miss into Poison Sting instead of X defend into HA

~1s don't do Thunderbolt in slot 1, the PP text takes longer to print

~6s Drill koffing then Elixer on Weezing into Gen 1 Miss Selfdestruct to optimize properly for the ENG PP route

The addition of Swag PC at the Elite 4 PC for entertainment purposes. This is a good example of speed/entertainment tradeoff

Important Credits

Stringflow and Sudotrainer need a big thanks for assisting with getting me set up to bot my own encounter RNG manips for this TAS. Until that setup this TAS would not have been possible. Gifvex needs a big thanks as always for getting the emulator set up in BizHawk to be accurate enough for these TASes to sync on console. Extrems's work on Game Boy Interface also enabled the console playback of this TAS through his Game Boy Interface software.


The TAS was created using BizHawk 2.4 and later interim builds that still sync on 2.4. As in the Yellow Glitchless and NSC TASes and in MrWint's Crystal Glitchless TAS, the use of GBC mode, a gbc_bios.bin firmware, and CGB in GBA "true" mode allows the TAS to sync on the Game Boy Player console which can be seen in my initial video. This page explains how we verify these TASes https://runs.tas.bot/GBC.html

The console capture quality update noted in the previous TAS is now possible simply by using up to date GCVideo firmware and requires no filtering in OBS.


Frame = The smallest unit of time that can be observed realistically in emulation. The game accepts some inputs on every frame (for example in nickname menus), some (in the overworld) every other frame, and some (primarily in textboxes) every 3 frames. GB/GBC games play back at approximately 59.7275 Frames Per Second.

PrintLetterDelay = The use of mashing during textboxes to cause differences in frame and CPU cycle counts and in turn advance the RNG or manipulate the timing of an input window.

Red Bar = The sound effect and HP bar color change caused if ((Current HP * 48 / Max HP) < 10). Being in red bar cancels level up jingles when in trainer battles (worth 2.5 seconds per level up) cancels death cries (40 frames per death) and cancels text box clear jingles (timesave unknown, around a frame per clear). In Pokemon Blue it has the additional benefit of canceling pokemon cries when sent into battle, which changes many routing decisions including the Gastly fight after the heal pad.

Gen 1 Miss = An oversight in the code for the accuracy check causes moves with 100% accuracy to still have a 1 in 256 chance to miss/fail. This means that we can cause an enemy to miss even if they're locked into using a theoretically deadly move, or miss our own moves if we need to.

DSUM = A label for the predictable outcomes caused by deterministic behavior of the random number generator. This behavior leads to an encounter cycle which constantly loops through the ten encounter slots in order.

Consecutive Input Delay = In Gen 1 Pokemon, if you press a button it needs to be released for a frame in order for it to be pressed again, otherwise the game will just see the button as being held the whole time. This can be counteracted via a trick to reapply the relevant button press. The key is to press a different button (typically a directional button) on the same frame that you want to press the initial button again, it will register a 2nd press of the initial button and not a hold of the initial button. This is done when a directional input is used to reapply B while exiting shops (which can be done in RTA) and to reapply up/down in the item bag. The Fly menu does not have this trick available as it does in Yellow. The trick is also useful when B reapplies A to get on the Bike (also used in RTA), to deposit pokemon (not useful in RTA), and to throw a poke ball from slot 1 (used in RTA). In general it could be used to select any slot 1 bag item in the overworld or in battle, but the relevant ones are the poke ball throws and the bike. In Blue unlike in Yellow, some A presses to use items can be applied the same frame as an up or down press.

Ranges = The damage formula in Pokemon Gen 1 is modified by a random number, rerolled until it lands between 217 and 255 inclusive. The move is multiplied by this number and divided by 255 to obtain a range of possible damage between ~85% and 100%. Because we manipulate random number generation, we can manipulate these damage ranges to our liking. Also, because of the way much of the 8 bit math rounds down calculations, the full calculated damage is only a 1/39 chance (217 to 255 inclusive is 39 possible rolls).

Glitchless = the category this TAS was written for. I followed the RTA Pokemon Speedrunning community's ruleset for Glitchless, so while arbitrary code execution glitches like Brock Through Walls and Trainer Fly are disallowed, certain glitches that are not avoidable in RTA such as Gen 1 Misses are allowed, as well as oversights such as using Poke Doll on the Marowak ghost in Lavender Tower. The Instant Text obtained from talking to the Bike Shop owner without a Bike Voucher falls under the allowed oversight category. This ruleset is uncontroversial in the RTA community at this point.

Note: This TAS came about from the result of two previous efforts. First there is a somewhat improvable TAS of the JPN release, whose times are not easily comparable due to the text differences and the major route changes from not using instant text or the poke doll on Marowak. Last year I adapted the strategies from that TAS into the ENG release using current category definitions and game knowledge.

Here's a link to the old JPN cart TAS in 4 parts: https://youtu.be/_flV070jIEY and to the previous ENG TAS which this is an improvement of https://youtu.be/TlnN9OlkW6Y


Set options in game (Fast Off Set) using A and B holds to have text roll at the fastest speed while text speed is still on medium in the intro.

Squirtle DVs: 12/14 attack, 8+Special, 7+ speed, not both speed+special odd for specific HP requirements

Rival 1

Tail Whip->1/39 non-crit Tackle, 1/39 non-crit Tackle, any normal Tackle roll (growl fails from Bulba)

Buy 4 Poke Balls (Nido, Cut slave, Flyer, bag slot)

Catch L3 Nido on Route 22 - DVS 15 Attack, 0-8 Defense (must be even), 14 Speed, 15 Special

Kill L5 pika while using it to get hit to 1 HP (Pika needs to be 0-4 HP 0-9 Defense for 3x 1/39 normal tackle hits)

The previous 2 encounter manips were found using the RNG manip bot developed by Stringflow and amended for this TAS by Sudotrainer and me. The Nido takes a little less than 2 seconds of delay for a near perfect F6EF stat line, and the Pika takes only 8 frames of delay mainly because there are so many encounter tiles available to sync up the DSUM without losing time.

Weedle can spam string shot miss, hit 3 1/39 crits and one normal crit

Catch Pidgey after the forest for the shortest cry possible


Geodude can't die to Bubble crit, instead 2x Bubble with a Tackle miss from Geodude

Cause Onix to miss turn 1, crit him to 1, die, get Nido hit to 1 (Nido needs 0-8 defense DV), finish Onix and level to 8. This fight is why the Nido on Route 22 needs to be level 3, otherwise L4 Nido jumps past L8 to L9 and can't learn Horn Attack.

Crits with specific damage range needs are hard to manipulate with Squirtle and Nidoran as they have low base speed, the delays necessary for them clean up once we get Nidoking

Sell Bide, Buy 7 Escape Ropes (needed for Bill's house without walking to the moon escape rope, also faster than teaching Dig)

Route 3

Caterpie: Leer+2x HA (take 2 non-crit 5 damage tackles to 1 HP)

Weedle: HA crit+HA

Caterpie: HA+HA crit (take a 1/39 5 damage Tackle to 1 HP out of 31)

Rattata: HA+HA crit

Ekans: HA+HA crit

Weedle: HA Crit

Kakuna: Tackle+HA crit

Caterpie: 1/39 HA crit

Metapod: HA Crit+Tackle non-crit

Caterpie: 2x HA (take 4 damage)

Metapod: HA+HA crit

Mt Moon

Grab Moon Stone

Rattata: PS+HA Crit

Zubat: HA Crit+Supersonic Fail+Tackle

Grimer: HA+HA crit

Voltorb: HA crit+PS

Koffing: HA 1/39+HA 1/39 crit

Catch Sandshrew after Mt Moon


Center to set the escape rope waypoint

IT is slightly faster for Misty's gym but makes the zany RNG manip too difficult because PrintLetterDelay cannot be used while IT is on

Inside Misty Gym, swap Nidoking with Squirtle, evolve to Nidoking

Misty's Trainer: HA crit x2


Staryu: HA crit, Gen 1 Miss from Staryu, PS (1/39 both)

Starmie: BB non crit, HA Crit high roll, Gen 1 Miss into HA 1/39 crit x2

Teach Bubblebeam

Get IT

Pidgeotto: Swap up and use BB, get hit to 1, BB crit

Abra: PS crit

Rattata: BB crit

Bulbasaur: HA crit

Caterpie: PS crit

Weedle: BB

Pidgey: BB crit

NidoF: BB crit

Rattata: BB

Ekans: BB crit

Zubat: BB crit

Pidgey: BB crit

NidoF: BB crit

Mankey: BB crit

Ekans: BB crit

Zubat: BB crit

Onix: BB

NidoM: BB crit

NidoF: BB crit

Rattata: BB, teach Thrash over Poison Sting

Ekans: BB

Oddish: Swap up Thrash, Thrash non-crit x3

Escape Rope back to Cerulean in Bill's house after getting the SS Ticket

Dig Rocket: Thrash non-crit x2

Pidgeys: Thrash non-crit x3

Spearow+Raticate: Thrash

Boat Rival

Pidgetto: Get hit back to 1 from QA crit, Thrash crit

Raticate: Thrash

Kadabra: Thrash

Ivysaur: Thrash crit

Manip the 1st can on exiting the boat as the cans are selected when you enter Vermillion.

Teach Cut, use Cut, Manip can 2 after choosing the 1st can


Voltorb: Thrash

Pikachu: Thrash

Raichu: Thrash crit

4 Turn Thrash: Thrash

Venonat Trainer: Thrash

Cubone: BB

Slowpoke: TB

Slowpoke: TB

Oddish+Bulbasaur: Thrash

Geodude+Geodude+Graveler: TB->Selfdestruct Gen 1 Miss

Meowth+Oddish+Pidgey: Thrash (use Pidgey for red bar maintenance)

Growlithe: TB crit

Vulpix: TB crit

Get Underground Elixer

Celadon Mart

Shop: 2 TM07, 2 Poke Doll, Fresh Water, 3 X Speed

Fly Menu: Swap up Poke Doll, teach TM07 HD in 3, teach Fly

Tower Rival

Pidgeotto: HD

Gyarados: HD

Growlithe: Thrash

Kadabra: Thrash

Ivysaur: Thrash crit

Gastly: TB crit

Gastly: TB crit

Gastly: Thrash->Night Shade x4, TB crit

Gastly: TB crit

Zubat: Thrash

Zubat: Thrash

Golbat: Thrash crit

Koffing+Drowzee: Thrash crits
Zubat: Thrash

Rattata: Thrash

Raticate: Thrash

Zubat: Thrash

Snorlax Menu: Swap up Elixer

Get Max Elixer on cycling road after biking down the left side

Drowzee: Thrash crit

Drowzee: Thrash crit

Kadabra: Thrash

Drowzee: Thrash crit

Drowzee: HD

Hypno: HD


Koffing: HD

Muk: HD

Koffing: HD

Weezing: Elixer, Selfdestruct Gen 1 Miss

Pallet menu: Swap up X Speed, HM03, Rare Candy to get back to the top of the menu for escape rope in Mansion.

Get Silph Elixer

Arbok: HD

Silph Rival

Pidgeot: TB crit

Gyarados: TB

Growlithe: TB crit

Alakazam: HD

Venusaur: HD

Cubone: BB

Drowzee: HD

Marowak: BB

Silph Gio

Nidorino: TB crit

Kangaskhan: TB crit

Rhyhorn: BB

Nidoqueen: HD

Use an Elixer


Growlithe: BB crit

Ponyta: BB crit

Rapidash: HD

Arcanine: HD

Exeggcute: HD


Victreebel: Thrash crit

Tangela: Thrash crit

Vileplume: Thrash crit


Kadabra: Thrash

Mr. Mime: Thrash crit

Venomoth: Thrash crit

Alakazam: Maintain red bar with Psywave, Thrash crit

I'm very proud of the Alakazam fight here. The fight requires manipulating a 4 turn thrash on Kadabra (1 in 2), 2 crits on Mr Mime and Venemoth (1 in 6 each), Psywave use from Alakazam (1 in 4), Psywave exact damage (1 in 64 because damage is from 0 to 1.5x level), and then another thrash crit (1 in 6). Getting all this means you never need to take damage again for red bar through the rest of the run.

Rhyhorn: BB
Machoke: TB crit

Machop: TB crit

Machoke: TB crit

Gio Gym

Rhyhorn: BB

Dugtrio: BB

Nidoqueen: HD

Nidoking: HD

Rhydon: BB

Swap up Max Elixer, Teach HM04, Teach Fissure in 2

Viridian Rival

Pidgeot: X Speed, TB crit

Rhyhorn: BB

Gyarados: TB

Growlithe: TB crit

Alakazam: Fissure

Venusaur: Fissure

Use an Elixer


Dewgong: Fissure

Cloyster: Fissure

Slowbro: HD

Jynx: HD

Lapras: HD


Onix: BB

Hitmonchan: TB crit

Hitmonlee: TB crit

Onix: BB

Machamp: HD


Gengar: X Speed, Fissure

Golbat: TB crit

Haunter: Fissure

Arbok: HD

Gengar: Fissure

Use Max Elixer


Gyarados: TB crit

Dragonair: Fissure

Dragonair: Fissure

Aerodactyl: TB crit

Dragonite: HD


Pidgeot: X Speed, HD

Alakazam: Fissure

Rhydon: BB

Gyarados: HD

Arcanine: HD

Venusaur: HD

Bag Slot notes to manip a full bag of 20 items for Gyms 4-7:

Poke Ball

TM34->Escape Rope->TM27

Helix Fossil


SS Ticket


Full Restore





Poke Doll

Fresh Water->Card Key

X Speed


Rare Candy->Secret Key

Poke Flute

Max Elixer


Gold Teeth->HM04


The frame count of this TAS will make it appear to run longer than it actually does. You can see this in the commentary/console verification playback, the TAS actually runs at 1:29:35 from bootup to last input. How is this possible without the TAS desyncing? It turns out that frames do not actually exist on the game boy while the LCD is disabled, and the emulator's counted frames during this time can last a shorter than usual number of CPU cycles. For console playback we sync the inputs by CPU cycle count, and using the total executed cycle count obtained from the emulator instead of frame count we get the same time as the console playback at 1:29:35.

ThunderAxe31: Judging.

ThunderAxe31: File replaced for a corrected CycleCount value.

ThunderAxe31: Accepting as improvement over the current publication.

Spikestuff: Publishing.

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