A tool-assisted speedrun/superplay (abbreviated TAS) is a playthrough of a game or part of a game utilizing tools unavailable in normal gameplay, usually with the aim to create a theoretically perfect speedrun through the use of otherwise humanly infeasible execution and techniques. Typically, the game is played in an emulator and a sequence of button presses is recorded (one for each human player) that will always yield the same outcome when played back. The tools used include but are not limited to: using savestates to rewind to earlier points, advancing the game frame by frame and monitoring the game's memory.
There are a number of people within the Super Smash Bros. community known for their TAS exploits.
TAS videos frequently feature particularly extreme use of advanced techniques or exploits in order to perform matches that would ordinarily be impossible by human players without external assistance. TAS videos commonly feature players playing through matches without taking any damage in single-player modes, speedrunning through the modes at an inhuman level, or achieving other incredible feats that are outside the realm of human capability. Another popular subject of TAS videos is playing versus matches that feature long, extensive, and intricate combos between player-controlled characters in drawn-out matches, that also involve extensive use of glancing blows and/or extreme DI and SDI, surviving what would easily be killing blows via teching in abnormal places, and often ending the match by having both players lose their last stock on the same frame, including in the resulting round of Sudden Death. Actual battles are not the only subjects of TAS videos; TAS has also been done on modes such as the Home-Run Contest and Target Test games in order to achieve humanly impossibly high distances or low times.
SSB64 TAS examples
Antdgar is widely known for creating the first TAS video of Super Smash Bros., a now outdated video in which he abused Fox's shine cancels in order to flawlessly defeat two Level 9 Captain Falcons. Jpleal10 became notable for his Target Test and Board the Platforms videos. Other people within the Smash 64 community known for their TAS work are:
- DsGnoll, a Japanese TAS player
Melee TAS examples
While the development of the Dolphin emulator was still in its early stages and unavailable for TAS purposes, some players made use of Melee's debug mode which features a frame-by-frame mode. Videos created in this mode came to be known as AR videos due to the mode being accessible through Action Replay. In theory, the player carefully crafts an input sequence through trial-and-error and on the final playthrough, saves a screenshot on each frame and splices them into a video afterwards. Notable examples of this are the Perfect Control series and other videos created by SuperDoodleMan, and the Break The Targets record videos created by Ajp_anton.
It should be noted that move decay is absent while in the game's debug mode which means an attack will always deal the same damage and knockback. Therefore TAS videos created in it are not accurate to what would occur on the real console.
Later on, Dolphin became available for TASing, allowing players access to more tools such as savestates. JPleal10 created the first true TAS video, playing as C.Falcon against three CPU players without taking damage. Wak, MUGG and SW-1988 (among others) competed in beating each other's HRC and Event Match videos, slowly beating all of the existing AR videos. An up-to-date listing of TAS records can be found here.
Brawl TAS examples
Despite Super Smash Bros. Brawl being perceived as a less technical game than its predecessor, there are plenty of TAS videos of it. A code for Gecko OS exists which allows frame-advance gameplay. However, the frame advance is manual, resulting in inconsistent progress, such as one frame being advanced slightly later than the previous. Due to Brawl not having a consistent slow-down feature like its predecessor, most TASes are done using the Dolphin emulator. versat13 is the most well known TAS Brawl player.
Smash 3DS TAS examples
Greenalink, DyllonStej Gaming, and sonicadam2 were among the first to starting TASing Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS in 2020. TASes are done in the Citra emulator. DyllonStej Gaming has made many popular TASes in Smash Run with customs on, often maxing out the stats by the end.