jdodson: What got you into speedrunning?
GrandPOObear: It’s pretty well known I got into streaming due to an injury that made me have to end my career snowboarding, which eventually led me to speedrunning. I had been obsessed with GDQs since I discovered them, and a run by Dram55 of Super Kaizo world inspired me to pick up the hobby. I started with Mario 3 because it was my fav game of all time, and quickly transitioned to the Mario World Romhack scene soon after. Since then I have been lucky to run in many events live and get to do a ton of good for charities I support.
jdodson: When you were putting the Speedrun Sessions roster together did you have an idea of what kinds of runs you had in mind and did you have any discussions with Oats, Andy or Spike about what they were interested in showcasing?
GrandPOObear: Well one thing I want to do with Speedrun Sessions is highlight a ton of different runs from a ton of different communities and runners. I have different players in minds for each stop, but I bet you will see Andy, Oats, and Spike at others (if they would like that is ;). I really wanted to work with these guys for the first one as I know them and trust them, and beyond that I am just a big fan of all 3. They are all hall of fame worthy runners. I did ask for specific categories as I wanted Andy to show off how broken Zelda ALTTP can be while having Oats run a category with really no glitches at all. I will say though each stop will feature different runs and hosts alongside with me so we can try and highlight how awesome so many parts of the speedrun community are.
jdodson: Nintendo is going to launch Super Mario Maker 2 on June 10th and everyone on Cheerful Ghost is pretty excited about it. As someone that ran Super Mario Maker extensively, what things are you hoping Nintendo brings to the second release?
GrandPOObear: June 10th? I hadn’t heard that yet! Honestly just more items, and support the game with post release content (even more items). The cool part about Maker is even one item can change the meta in a drastic way, so it Nintendo can give us a solid drip of items for years to come, the players are going to deliver incredible stages forever. Beyond that a robust search system and parameters for things like 100 man would be great, but anything they don’t add in the way of search The company Warp World (which I am a co-owner of) will for sure make up for it.
jdodson: *looks up SMM2 release info* Ok so apparently Nintendo has said June, not sure where I got June 10th from.
jdodson: Has life changed now that you are a father in regard to your streaming schedule or any speedrun events you take part in?
GrandPOObear: I mean to a certain point, but generally not. I’m lucky in that this is my full time job and I dedicate full time hours to it. I couldn’t do it without my wife. Mostly I’ve lost the late night smash and fortnite sessions with my friends more then anything speedrun related.
jdodson: What's your favorite game to speedrun?
GrandPOObear: Currently Grandpoo World 2 is my fav but it constantly changes. Too many games to just play one forever. I like to add a new non Mario speedrun to the quiver every few months as well.
jdodson: How many Speedrun Sessions are you thinking about dropping this year? I’ve heard you mention DC, Detroit and possibly Denver are there any other locations in discussion?
GrandPOObear: This year, hopefully between 5-8. I have some other speedrun live events coming as well, along with MMC 3, so the schedule is already very full for me personally. If the events all go well this year we are for sure going to expand the scope of it next year. Hopefully we will be dropping details on the next city very soon after Portland’s event:)
jdodson: What video game releases you are most hyped for in 2019? Any films?
GrandPOObear: It was Sekiro, now Mario Maker 2. For sure Last of Us 2. Spelunky 2 is going to take over my life. I love Derek Yu’s approach to game design. For films, Of course Avengers endgame but I am also one of the people who is hyped on the Disney live action movies, especially Lion King. Donald Glover as Simba is perfect casting.
jdodson: To-date what is the hardest Kaizo Mario or Super Mario Maker level you’ve played? With that, what’s your process for looking at new runs and how to do you approach practice to run them as quickly as possible?
GrandPOObear: Well the one that took me the longest was Vals Airspace right when Maker first came out, but I have cleared many levels that I deem harder then that one since. Honestly the skill level of the whole community has just skyrocketed the last two years with the influx of players that Kaizo games being in GDQ brings, and their ability to push the limits has in turned pushed my own skills far beyond what I thought they could be 3 years ago. It’s getting harder and harder to keep up with all the cool tech that gets discovered in the 3 different versions of Mario I enjoy running (3, world, Maker)
jdodson: SGDQ is coming up soon, any ideas for runs you’d like to submit or anything you’ve talked to the GDQ team about already?
GrandPOObear: Games list is out already! But I get no special treatment, I have to submit just like anyone else. Luckily I got two games in this year, both races, which is great as I love getting to share the time with players I admire and respect.
jdodson: As Poo said he is doing two SGDQ runs this year one being Super Mario 3 All Forts and Mario World Blind Romhack Race! Should be a fun set of runs to watch. I want to thank GrandPOObear for doing this interview and hope you can all make it out April 4th for Speedrun Sessions!
If you are interested in watching Speedrun Sessions at Ground Kontrol live in Portland on April 4th it’s from 6pm - 10pm and as it's free entry space is limited so make sure to arrive early. You can also sign up on the Red Bull website below.