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Curling Instructor By Day, Ocarina Of Time Record Speedrunner By Night

by Kyle Hilliard on Jan 03, 2015 at 12:31 PM

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With a record of 18:07:20, Joel "Jodenstone" Ekman is the newest record holder for speedrunning Ocarina of Time with any percentage completion. The Swedish gamer tried his hand at speedrunning early last year, and started to take it seriously in August. Last night on a series of runs that went much later than Ekman's typical streams, he beat the record of previous holder, Cosmo, by about three seconds.

We reached out to Ekman to talk about his run and stream, which featured an elated Ekman who was nearly in tears when he realized he had beaten the record. You can watch the archive of Ekman's record-setting stream by heading here.

Game Informer: What time of day you break the record?

Joel W. Ekman: It was like 2 a.m. actually. I’ve actually never streamed that late. It was just a one-time thing pretty much because I felt something would be able to happen. I had had some good runs so I just kept going, and it turned out I was right, luckily.

Is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina your main game? I saw you were playing Majora’s Mask earlier.

I am thinking about making [Majora's Mask] my next thing, but [Ocarina] is definitely my main game. It’s the only one I am this proficient in.

Did you expect to break the record that night?

The past few weeks I have been seeing it coming. Just a month ago – two months ago – I wasn’t sure.

Have you heard from previous Ocarina of Time speedrun record holder Cosmo?

Yeah, we’ve talked a bit. He congratulated me on Twitter for sure. We actually did a race at DreamHack. It’s a local LAN in Sweden. It’s the world’s biggest computer gathering with more than 10,000 computers there and there are tons of competitions and we dod a couple of runs. We really competed against each other for awhile.

You guys aren’t really butting heads then? Speedrunning is a friendly competition?

Yeah, generally we’re just happy if somebody breaks the time. You’re happy if someone else is promoting your game and playing it. That’s generally good for the community, because the more people that work on it, the bigger the game will become, pretty much.

In the stream where you broke the record, you were very emotional. What was going through your head? It seemed like you were almost in tears.

Oh yeah, I was close actually. I have been having so many good runs that I have thrown away at certain points, so when I realized that I was five seconds ahead before entering the final fight? That’s when I realized this is going to be it. I am finally getting this. I have been working on this eight hours a day for the last month or so at least. I’ve been investing myself quite a lot into it.

How do you feel about your record? Relieved? Do you plan on continuing to push the record?

I am thinking about it. I will take a short break now, but I am thinking about pushing it a bit further. It can’t be pushed much, though. It’s getting close to the limit honestly – unless something new is found, which can always happen.

Is there anything you do different than other Ocarina runners? Or did everything just line up?

It’s mostly a matter of everything lining up. For the first split – the escape split – I do the skip pretty much setup-less, so that’s faster but much harder. That was one thing I kind of pioneered.

In escape, you’re supposed to leave Kokiri forest, and since we don’t even get the sword in the speedrun – we just use the deck stick because it’s faster – you make an angled jump slash into the stone slab that clips us through and it makes us being able to reach the outside world. For that jump slash, generally, you line up with a wall to line up the jump slash, but I do the jump without aligning first. I use special cues on the ground for that, and it’s pretty precise.

Do you plan on putting together a commentary of your stream like Cosmo did for his record (seen above)?

I might actually. I feel like his commentary is really good, especially for those who aren’t too familiar with the run. It’s not that in-depth, but it’s really good, and a good introduction to Ocarina of Time and its story. I doubt I could do that better, but I might be able to go a little more in-depth. I’ll have to think about it. It’s a cool idea, and I really like his commentary, too.

What’s your day job? Or are you a twitch streamer full time?

Yeah currently, it’s almost like that. I have the weirdest schedule ever. I am a twitch streamer for eight hours a day, and then a couple times or once a week I am a curling instructor and you probably don’t even know what sport that is.

That is super random. I would never have guessed you were a curling instructor.

I think it’s safe to say I am the only curling instructor and professional twitch streamer – at the moment. I have been playing the sport for 14 years.

Are you generally an athletic guy outside of your gaming ambitions?

Not really. It’s more of a hobby than anything else. I instruct people who are starting out so I don’t really play that much myself anymore. I have always been competitive, though, obviously.

So, we probably won’t see you curling at the Olympics in the next couple years?

No. No, chance, sorry. That would be great though.

What is your favorite video game? What do you play for fun outside of speedrunning?

I kind of left gaming outside of speedrunning, but my favorite game of all time is probably Final Fantasy X, I think.

For more on Ekman's record breaking Ocarina of Time speedrun, head here. For more on Cosmo's record run, head here.