What Does “TAS” Mean In Video Games?

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If you’ve ever seen a TAS recording of a video game, you’ll likely notice that the gameplay looks…off. Players will be zipping around at incredibly fast speeds and pulling off tricks that seem impossible.

In some respects, they are impossible. TAS usually showcases what is theoretically possible in a video game while not necessarily being humanly possible to do.

What Does TAS Mean?

TAS stands for “tool-assisted speedrun” or “tool-assisted superplay.” By using the tools typically granted through an emulator, you can create speedruns or playthroughs that are much more precise and technically demanding than what a human could reasonably pull off.

TAS runs usually work by the TAS author breaking down the game frame by frame and deciding what inputs and actions occur on each frame. It’s a long process, but the end result is an extremely optimized and entertaining run of gameplay.

The Usefulness Of TAS

TAS pushes what is theoretically possible within the mechanics of a game, and allows us to figure out not only what can be done in-game, but also if it’s humanly possible. TAS has proven instrumental when it comes to theorycrafting optimal strategies in speedrunning and competitive multiplayer games.

Outside of the metagame utility, TAS is primarily used for entertainment purposes; because of the frame by frame construction of TAS runs, we can see some incredible feats pulled off, far from what even the best human players could do.

As a result, TAS runs are often showcased separate from speedrunning or competitive categories of the same game, and are mainly enjoyed as a form of entertainment based on how hard game mechanics can be pushed, and what it looks like when they are perfected.

Best TAS Runs

To get an idea of how wild TAS runs can get, here are three incredible runs to showcase just how far the limits of these games are getting pushed.

1. TASBot plays Tetris

The game is picked apart in this TAS showcase with some very aesthetically pleasing Tetris manuevers. On top of getting very high scores, the TAS always manipulates RNG to get optimal pieces, and uses this to create some very cool patterns.

2.TAS] International Super Star Soccer Deluxe

While the score may say “0-0” at the end, that’s far from what happens in this game. This TAS shows just how ridiculous games can look when you have full control over what you can do frame by frame.

3. TASBot Plays Mari0 (Portal Edition)

In a unique combination of giving Mario the gun from Portal, TASBot creates not only an optimized run, but something completely unique. The end result is astounding for many reasons.

Chances are a TAS run exists of you favorite game, so be sure to look them up and start diving into the wonderful world of TAS!