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A tool-assisted superplay (or in most contexts, tool-assisted speedrun; commonly abbreviated as TAS) is a playthrough of a game in which no mistakes are made, and near-perfect performance is achieved. Because human players are prone to making mistakes, and have limited reflexes, finger speed, and prediction, external tools must be used in order to achieve these types of runs, including:
- Save states: a player can go back to any previous time in the game in order to correct mistakes.
- Frameskip: advancing a game's logic, one frame at a time, to achieve perfect temporal accuracy.
- Controller-less inputs: selecting inputs without the physical limitations of a controller, allowing for otherwise impossible button combinations.
- Memory reading: by reading the game's memory, a player can obtain information otherwise inaccessible.
Because of the implementation of these tools, these runs are only feasible on emulators. Normally, to show the finished run to an audience, the player's inputs are recorded, and later played back at full speed, and with no cuts. Because of the wildly different nature of these type of runs, records obtained this way are not comparable to records obtained with real-time challenge runs in terms of measuring skill. The name "tool-assisted speedrun" comes from the fact that most of the time, these tools are used to complete a game as fast as possible; a "superplay" refers to playing the game with or without a fast completion, as long as it features tool-assisted gameplay.
Some things in the Pikmin series cannot be performed in real-time, and are only possible with the use of the aforementioned tools.
- Several glitches that can be used to the player's advantage can be performed with perfect precision.
- Pikmin can be thrown as fast as possible, by pressing / every other frame.
- Random elements can be controlled, by manipulating the random number generator and using savestates until the desired outcome is achieved.