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Carpe Diem
I know TAS stands for Tool Assisted Speed run.
But what qualifies a run as tool assisted?
Any help would be greatly appreciated. 
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presjpolk: 2013-07-07 12:16:07 am
Well in theory using any sort of emulator tricks would be tool assisted.

In practice, over at, they use advanced debugging emulators to watch memory, advance the game frame by frame repeatedly, using many, many savestates, to achieve perfect inputs. They monitor memory, manipulate the RNG as perfectly as possible, and in extreme cases write programs to generate inputs, making thousands of attempts to find the perfect manipulations.

Of course it's not just RNG manipulations. Perfect execution is a lot easier when you can go frame by frame, and by trial and error find the optimal strategy for every part of the game.
Carpe Diem
Are they just special roms that you download with these "tools" on them or what?
Fucking Weeaboo
The best place to start if you wanna know about TASes is to read this page from TASVideos, the primary site for TASes.
Carpe Diem
Thanks guys!
The goal of a TAS is to answer the question, "If an advanced alien intelligence who could trigger and untrigger inputs with perfect reaction every 60Hz and who could study RAM and assembly in real time picked up this game and speedran it, what would it look like?"

The tools of TASing are: Memory watch, LUA scripts, bots, frame advance, save states, rerecording, input plugins and scripts, extensive routing and glitchhunting and study of how the game works, impossible (for a human) forms of input such as 30Hz vibrating and holding U+D+L+R, showing the game 0 mercy.

Some TASes have been verified to work on console, by building an 'input bot' that plays back the TAS on real hardware: (This is of course constrained by the emulator needing to be accurate for every single frame of the TAS, and someone has to have the input bot, the console, the cart and to be able to record it, so in theory a lot more TASes could be verified)
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cak: 2013-07-07 07:21:26 pm
Ok, you know what a ROM is, so you must know what an emulator is. With certain emulators, you can record your game input (aka button presses) and save them to a file. This file can be replayed in the emulator like a movie, i.e. the ROM will respond as if you are actually playing the game. A tool-assisted movie is the same thing, except that save states, slowdown, and frame advance are used to circumvent the limitations of a human performance. The goal is to simulate a theoretically perfect performance as closely as possible, both for entertainment value and in some cases to show human performers what they might do to improve their performance.
I guess an explanation more familiar for people who are familiar with SDA speedruns but not TASes: imagine you could segment every frame, and there wasn't the half-second penalty (half the reason SDA has the penalty is to stop people actually segmenting every frame, which would be very tedious on consoles but possible in some games). And did, and tried them over and over again until they all had perfect execution and perfect luck, combined with perfect knowledge of the game's internals at that point.

The result is both fun to watch, and gives a good idea of what the best theoretically possible time is, even if nobody has the skill or dexterity to actually replicate it. (TASes frequently use tricks like pressing and releasing the same button every frame; nobody can mash that fast, and SDA bans turbo controllers, the only controllers which wouldn't fall apart if you tried. As another example, you can recalibrate the analog stick on many Nintendo controllers via holding a button combination; a TAS will recalibrate it every frame in order to be able to hit the edges of the analog's stick mathematical range, rather than being constrained by the physical limits of the stick.)