Ilari "Illu" Pekkala is synonymous with creativity, genius, insane gaming, Dark License To Kill, AWESOME and walls of text in the Elite's Chatroom. His contribution to strategy formation and perfection, swift video proof, emotional storytelling and overall positve attitude on the message boards have made him countless friends for life throughout the gaming community. In fact it often goes unnoticed that he simply never has a bad word to say about anyone. With a rise to the top of the ranks that gave so much enjoyment to those who witnessed his era, as a person and as a player Ilari was thus the perfect legend on which to write an extended biography of this kind.
Early Life – Lives in Borås, Sweden. Huge interest in Track and Field and videogames. Joins The Elite in January 2004
Dark License To Kill – First person ever to beat any level on DLTK difficulty setting. Sets multiple World Records and, beginning with Dam, has been the first to complete every single challenging stage remaining, in some cases still being the only person in history to do so.
GoldenEye - Sets countless World Records, several of which have been called the 'best ever' at the time including Dam Secret Agent 1:17 and Jungle SA 0:54. Becomes the Proven GoldenEye Champion in January 2007
Perfect Dark - Unties Defection World Records on Agent, Special Agent and Perfect Agent – including beating Sucrams infamous claimed time on SA. Reaches the Top 10 with other WRs. Achieved Defection Agent 0:05 on November 7, 2010, destroying a 9-year-old time and making 55+ people lose a world record.
Further Gaming - Holds both NTSC and PAL World Records simultaneously on Super Mario 64 for 16 star completion. PAL run is still the WR 3 years later
Outside Gaming – Continues to follow track and field and enjoys various other sporting activities. Is always full of stories to tell and has attended gamer meets with other Eliters.
Creative Videos - Makes some of the most original and entertaining videos the gaming community has ever seen.
Ilari Pekkala was born of Finnish parents on December 16th 1982 in Borås, Sweden, and has lived there since. He has a sister, Susanna, who is 7 years older and a brother, Miikka, who is 2 years younger. Early in life he was known just as Ilari, but later in high school was given a nickname that several years later would become his famous online persona.
At high school Ilari had studied carpentry and media in particular, but he never completed his education there. Instead he became very interested in athletics.
Throughout this period Ilari had another love; video games. He was a gamer from an early age, getting his first taste of action at the age of only 8 years.
Although his biggest competitive gaming achievements would come on the N64, Ilari’s early gaming experiences came on other platforms. In fact he skipped Nintendo out altogether until 2000 when he bought a SNES to play games he’d missed out on.
By now games had become an integral part of Ilari’s life.
Alongside the games that were life experiences, Ilari had also begun to get competitive in other games, in particular the racing genre. He enjoyed many hours playing against his brother and their friend Dantte and competing for times versus the group and against himself. Although he was never particularly interested in Mario Kart.
Then in January 2004 he discovered The Elite by accident.
Dark License to Kill
Origins and the ‘Easy’ Levels
Ilari had skipped trying to play Goldeneye normal mode competitively and had instead been experimenting with 007 Mode difficulty, placing all settings on maximum. This method of game play, in which enemies can withstand 10 headshots before dying, was later christened Dark License To Kill.
At this point no existing member of The Elite had legitimately beaten a level on DLTK, nor had any serious attempts been undertaken. In late 2003 Ilari lowered his Facility time to 8:57 and on January 30th 2004 made his first ever post on The Elite Boards.
‘Vid online = I am pwned, but until then I think you're full of crap.’ - Jimbo
Soon after the thread was created people started completing some of the easier levels. Surface 2, Egypt, Runway and Archives were quickly beaten by existing players such as Wouter Jansen and Brandon Sanford. Ilari worked on lowering some of their times, playing for over 40 hours to obtain Facility 2:51 in February before taking the World Records on Egypt, Frigate and Bunker 2.
With Dam being so huge and the duration of the run so long, there were many little tricks that were developed to ensure a completion. Shooting boxes for ammo became very important and Ilari spent countless hours establishing the safest places to take out the guards from. Nevertheless there were many painful failures late in the level and he estimates around 20 runs ended with a death in the tunnel at the end. But on 6th March 2004, the stage was finally beaten for the first time.
Ilari’s first completion took over 35 minutes. He considered that time to be too long to produce a video for and thus went back a second time to lower it before releasing it to the community. The result was a time of 26:29.
With Dam beaten, people across the community began to get excited that so many levels could really in fact be completed. Lots volunteered tips, but it was only Ilari who continued to put significant time into trying to execute the strategies being discussed. Many were surprised that Surface 1, one of the levels that had proved most difficult for LTK players, was the next to be seriously attempted. However Ilari had spent time studying the level and made some revolutionary observations..
Ilari completed the level in 6:44 on the 26th of March. Not only did this stand as the World Record for several years, but it was the only completion for the same duration.
With the ‘easy’ levels beaten and challenging World Records set, participatory interest in the DLTK league somewhat declined. People were still incredibly interested in what Ilari was doing however, even if they weren’t able to complete themselves. However even for Ilari the challenges left seemed daunting at this stage of his career.
In late 2004 he made his return.
Little had changed over the preceding months. The levels that remained were still just as difficult as they were before. A strategic epiphany was needed for progress to be made again and, to many people’s surprise, it came on Aztec.
One of the biggest problems on DLTK difficulty is ammo shortage. Much planning went into each of Ilari’s runs to ensure that he didn’t run out of bullets. Fortunately on Aztec things were a little easier after the very challenging start where at one point he was down to just 3 bullets.
Even with a fully planned and tested strategy, a completion did not come right away.
Ilari beat Aztec with a time of 26:09 in late September 2004. It remained the only completion of the level for years. On 5th January 2008 he reclaimed the World Record in a time of 8:19 with the first, and only, succesful completion using the glass strat.
As news of the unexpected Aztec completion spread across the Elite, collaborative strategic thought continued on the forums over the remaining levels.
Ilari’s map of Caverns can be inspected by clicking the thumbnail to the right. It’s a testament to the scale of the level that such a detailed plan was needed. However just the existence of the map wasn’t enough, there was still the ending to figure out, and countless never before seen problems that needed to be overcome.
Having dealt with the Body Armour guards, multiple guards at once, serious ammo shortages, having to slap guards for the first time, as well as uncooperative scientists, progress was being made. What wasn’t doable just yet was the ending.
Faced with such a complex problem, the strategy was nonetheless discovered relatively quickly.
With the objectives beaten, drone guns destroyed, and doors closed behind him, a visibly nervous Ilari faced the area in front of the lift.
Ilari finally beat the level in 41:08 at the start of October 2004. Whilst he had previously revisited levels to lower his time before making a video, this was not to be the case with Caverns.
On a roll, Ilari was enthusiastic to try more levels and subsequently got into Jungle. There were still major unresolved problems with the stage though. The ending was again a huge concern with the respawning guards and of course there was Xenia.
Minor strategies that had assisted on Caverns proved especially helpful on Jungle also.
Once he’d found the way to the end it was now only a matter of coming up with the best strategy to take care of the guards.
Finally, it was a tip from Swaff that combined perfectly with his strategy of speed to make the ending possible.
Ilari completed Jungle in 20:31 on 12th October 2004, and to this day is still the only player to have finished the level.
Now for a second time, both he and the community were lost as to how the remaining levels could be beaten. After using all his energy on the previous three levels, Ilari felt the need for a break.
In the Summer of 2005 Ilari made his second return to DLTK competition. Bryan Bosshardt had posted a thought on how it may be possible to do the protect Natalya sequence on Control. There were still other things to figure out on the level too, but this was the boost Ilari needed to give it a go.
One of these solutions required switching control styles to tackle some of the more difficult areas.
To the casual observer, the protect objective still appeared impossible. As Andrew Kent put it: ‘Think of protecting Nat amongst all those guards. I'd rather not. That there'd be enough ammunition is just inconceivable.’ However the strategy Boss had posted did prove to be a success.
Next came Depot, a level that Ilari had really believed could not be beaten. However many others felt that it should be possible with the right combination of luck with the random guards outside the warehouses.
In the end, what had seemed totally impossible to begin with actually turned out to be relatively easy for Ilari. On 16th July 2005 he completed the level in a time of 8:45. It’s still the only completion by any player.
Depot is the last level Ilari has successfully beaten on Dark License to Kill difficulty. However he did make some serious attempts at Train shortly after completing it.
The time was never accepted by the Elite and is not on the rankings.
That being said Ilari did make a small attempt at each of the three levels.
He also had a brief play with DLTK settings on Perfect Dark.
Having made so many epic completions, all of which displaying amazing creativity and calmness under pressure, it’s interesting to know which of the records Ilari values the most.
Indeed Jungle is one of the three levels that Ilari is still the only player to have beaten, almost four years now since his first completion.
Ilari has since continued to lower his times on some of the easier levels every so often, offers advice to others and participates in ongoing strategy discussions on the boards.
Train, Silo, Cradle and Streets have still never been beaten.
During Ilari’s first break from playing DLTK in March 2004 he began to experiment a little with GoldenEye normal difficulty to see where he stood relative to others. Initially though he was very reluctant.
Ilari had not made it public that he was playing much on normal difficulty, only speaking to a few individuals about the times he had. He began to put together a page to see where he’d be on the ranks and continued to play around with various levels, getting multiple Dam 54s in particular. Furthermore to satisfy his goal of joining the ranks with a World Record, he had already prepared himself in every way possible by purchasing NTSC capability.
However in the end it was not a World Record that started it all off.
Nevertheless Ilari’s first World Record followed swiftly.
Many new players had joined the ranks recently and picked up a World Record quickly, so an early WR was nothing particularly shocking. What did surprise people was the level on which Ilari’s came. Dam Agent 0:53 was one of the most controversial World Records at the time. Only two players, Boss and Dan Berube had claimed the time, but whilst Boss had provided video proof, Berube had not. As an otherwise very low ranked player with a notoriously inflammatory attitude, Dan was scrutinised heavily and his failure to provide evidence left many, especially Wouter Jansen, infuriated.
Indeed this wasn’t just an exact replication of the strategy Boss had used on his video. Ilari had invented a new technique that produced a more consistent result for him.
Ilari had begun his playing career using the 1.1 control style. Although several players had done exceptionally well using this method, it was by now widely considered to be the harder of the styles to use to get top times with, and had been proven to be slower at the very very top level.
Eventually he got the hang of it and struggled to his first 1.2 PR, Dam SA 1:20 on 19th February 2005. He never returned to 1.1
The PRs continued to flow, as did the World Records. Soon Ilari was ranked in the Top 10.
As the end of 2005 approached, Ilari had tied many World Records but as yet had not got an untied time himself. Then he started playing Aztec.
He continued battling with Cervone for space in the WR topic, pulling out times such as Dam SA 1:18 and Bunker 2 00 1:15 amongst other PRs. But in an attempt to find his level, Ilari went back to Aztec.
Dam SA 117
Having swept Aztec, in the process untying the Agent World Record that itself had been untied for years, many would have assumed Ilari had found his level. Yet there was still one special time that had always been in the back of his mind, something that would be truly incredible could he pull it off.
In May 2006 he began attempting the time and right away was given hope that his target could be achieved.
Weeks passed by without improvement as he continued to play around the clock.
However his perseverance would ultimately pay off. 110 hours and a month of elapsed time later, on the 8th of June 2006, Ilari finally completed a 1:17 run.
Not only was the time considered by many to be the best World Record, but the video of the run was at that time without question the best produced.
Indeed only two days later Ilari broke the 2:00 barrier on Dam 00 for the first time, untying the stage with 1:59. More WRs followed, Bunker 1 0:17/0:23, Statues, Archives, Caverns 00 1:42, untieds on Jungle
Despite the frantic pace of World Records, Ilari was still only ranked in second place overall, behind Bryan Bosshardt. However unlike Ilari, Bryan had always been incredibly slow with proof. Although no one had ever questioned whether he had in fact got the times he was claiming, the speed at which Boss released vids frustrated many of the top players.
At the beginning of 2007 the Elite administration had had enough. Bryan was rolled back to his proven times until he released new videos, thus in January 2007 Ilari became the number one ranked player in the world.
Ilari had untied Facility 00 Agent in a time of 0:55. The 8 minute long video titled ‘Illu in Real Life’, released on 10th January 2007, included messages referring to his new status as the Goldeneye Champ, pending Bryan sending proof. The former No.1 didn't appear impressed.
Bryan did indeed get himself proven again quickly and reclaimed the top position in April. Around this time Ilari’s activity had begun to decline.
It wasn’t long however before Ilari did make his return, on April 1st 2007, claiming he’d tied Runway A 0:22.
Nevertheless he remained somewhat inactive.
Then he returned.
He also lowered his own Aztec Agent record to 1:32 on 6th June 2007.
Despite the critical praise for his existing Aztec times, Ilari continued to play Aztec 00 occasionally.
1:32 Agent was still considered by Boss to be the best record but there was the tradition to be upheld. Furthermore there was still something magical about the 1:31 time claimed by Steven Zwartjes many years ago. Although the Aztec times had slowly been lowered to almost reach that mark, Steven's time saving strat itself wasn’t made use of at all
Nevertheless, using the existing strat, on 15th November 2007 Ilari recorded the first ever proven 1:31. It took almost 70 hours.
Jungle SA 0:54
Although it was starting to appear that many levels were reaching their max for Ilari’s plans, for the time being that was only the end of Aztec.
Better strafing at the end, boost ratios and the guard slap at the start had all contributed to lowering the Jungle times.
Still perfect execution and a little luck would be needed if Ilari was to set a new world record on Secret Agent difficulty.
The day after untying Jungle 00 Agent, Ilari sat down to play Secret Agent and soon was on a run where everything did begin perfectly.
During his playing sessions Ilari would pause out if at any point the run was not going to be a 5x second time completion. Now he was on a run with a great overall boost ratio, perfect mine throws, no off-course boosts, and the kind of Xenia you don't get on like any attempt...
On 25th November 2007 Ilari completed Jungle Secret Agent in a time of 0:54. It is without question considered to be one of the best Goldeneye World Records ever.
Although on 27th June 2008, Rayan Isran posted that he had untied Ilari's time with 0:53, it is worth remembering just what an important moment 0:54 was for the community when it was set. It also puts what Ace has subsequently achieved into perspective.
‘Probably his career-defining time’ - Boss
‘I dunno theres a lot of good wrs but i guess 54 could very well be the best’ - Clemens
‘Its better than silo sa for sure’ - Wouter
‘Best WR ever. Better than 110 even.’ - Goose
‘This is why I joined the elite, its times like this that makes you feel privileged to be a part of it.’ - Grags
‘54 is easily the best wr by far.’ - Alex
‘I can't believe what I've just seen...’ – Silver Angel
‘Probably the smoothest run ever’ - Luke
‘I can't do it any longer. I was going to save my 1000th post to my 16 arch but I can't take it anymore. WTF is going on around here.’ - Patrik
‘It is the best WR right now. End of story.’ - Vitor
On 10th December 2007, Ilari untied Agent in 0:51, holding a sweep of the level. It was to be his last special GoldenEye record.
Ilari had been playing a lot of multiplayer Perfect Dark with his brother since its European release. Yet it wasn’t until after he started speedrunning Goldeneye that interest in playing PD for times also arose.
Ilari quickly obtained very good times, initially posting 1:38 PA on 18th December 2004. This was still 15 seconds away from the claimed World Record on that level at the time but was worth a lot of points since many other top players found the level too difficult to play.
Thus in a similar manner to the way his GoldenEye career started, Ilari’s serious playing time began on a level with a history engulfed in controversy. In early 2002, Marcus "Sucram" Dolejsi had claimed times of 0:37 SA and 1:23 PA, far far beyond anything else another player had set. His failure to tape those runs led to the largest controversy in Perfect Dark history over whether to keep the times on the rankings and resulted in the development of the first official Elite Proof Policy. Ilari was one of those who felt the times should be removed.
Ryan Dwyer had got 1:27 on 13th December 2004 and claimed it as the real World Record. Sucram’s time was removed from the rankings and, whilst Ilari’s playing time was mostly devoted to GoldenEye, he now had a little more motivation to play Defection.
Although continuing with GoldenEye as his primary focus, for a while Ilari branched out to play other levels, setting himself small goals initially.
However defection was still the only level that he continued to attempt serious times on, getting 0:06 on Agent in February 2005 and later improving Special Agent to 0:39 on 19th February 2005. Later, on November 7, 2010 he untied a 9-year-old World Record of Defection Agent 0:06 and made 55+ people lose a World Record. He obtained a proved 0:05.
Then in 2006 Ilari started to play other levels more seriously, although he continued to play Defection as well. He cut his Villa Agent time down to 1:10, tied the Chicago Agent World Record and on 23rd September 2006 with his 1,000th post on The Elite Boards(by accident – he had planned something special but forgot) announced he had untied Defection SA with 0:34, a time now faster than the one Sucram had claimed many years previously. He also lowered the PA World Record again to 1:24 on 26th September 2006.
At the time the most famous sweep in the game existed on G5. Karl Jobst had set what were considered to be some of, if not THE, best World Records in Perfect Dark. No other player had come close at all to tying the SA or PA times.
At a Swedish gamer meeting in late summer 2007 at Patrik Nilsson’s house, Ilari came close.
It wasn’t just Ilari who felt the wrath of Rayan and his new NTSC console. As records were shattered everywhere, very few of the World Records Ilari had tied or untied remained.
Since setting his G5 times, Ilari has rarely played Perfect Dark. He PRd on Maian SOS Agent with 1:38 on 29th December 2007, but his first WR in almost 12 months came on 7th June 2008 on Air Base Agent where he tied several others with 1:15.
However Ilari is arguably most famous in the gaming community as a whole for his work on Super Mario 64.
Super Mario 64
In June 2004 a guy called Dom Dunk had just come up with a basic strategy on how to beat Mario 64 with only 16 stars. Someone posted a link to it on The Elite Boards and Ilari took up the challenge of setting the early World Records.
Despite the fact Ilari’s fastest PAL time was set on 13th June 2005, it is still the World Record today. His first NTSC run is hosted on YouTube and with over 1,000,000 views is Ilari’s most watched gaming video. His best NTSC time however has since been beaten.
Perhaps one game that has had a profound influence on Ilari’s contributions to speed running, video making, and life in general, is Banjo-Kazooie.
Instead over the years Banjo has become someone very close to Ilari.
Between April and November 2004 he worked a tough job delivering newspapers that was physically and mentally draining. He left of his own choice and used the newly created free time to readjust to a normal sleeping pattern and focus on his gaming. During this time Ilari increasingly spent more time conversing with friends in The Elite Chatroom and could always be relied on to spark interesting discussions.
By mid 2005 he decided to take up meditation with holosync and then later in the year a chance meeting with an old friend in town led to his return to active physical exercise.
He subsequently took a job working as a cook and janitor at a school, where he excelled. Despite his outstanding performance and the fun working environment, Ilari left the job in late 2007 in preparation for his desire to return to education. Shortly prior to this decision, he had travelled to Patrik Nilsson’s house to meet other Swedish Eliters.
Furthermore, following the success of his wrestling and boxing, Ilari began training athletics again.
Unsurprisingly Ilari is glued to the television whenever there’s a track and field meet being broadcast. He also watches a little football and F1 and has developed new interests, including going karting with friends at the local track. In August of 2008 he returns to high school to finish what he missed out on completing the first time. He has also continued with the meditation he started several years previously.
As much as he is famous for being an incredibly skilled gamer, Ilari is without a doubt the most creative video maker The Elite, and perhaps the gaming community as a whole, has seen. He had previously made several miscellaneous videos such as Balance on 31st July 2004 and Hot Dog Eating on 17th June 2005, but it was really his imagination and vision in pioneering entertaining videos of GoldenEye speed runs that caught the community’s attention.
Here is a collection of Ilari’s 10 best videos, chosen by himself. These capture a broad range of emotions from the story behind Lost Without You to the truly ridiculous comedy in Dam 1:59. The intensity of DLTK and the genius of Dam 117 and Jungle 54. A magnificently colourful collection that is a must watch for any fan of gaming and creative film making.
Ilari’s 10 Favourite Videos
'For that girl.'
'Had bit of a surprise beginning here with the crap digicam and black and white quality for this one. Then getting thrown into an aim convo with some mysterious dark, crazy (crazy Illu) side of myself. Some different pieces of music thrown into it for even more emotion for the different scenes of the vid.'
'Pretty much my most insane moment, reflected in the vid, in my ways. I decided to use the word Maya since it means illusion, like a coverup for what was in the vid'
'Only 2 days after I achieved 1:17. I was really in the mood to put in lots of humor into this and surprises after the more serious 1:17 vid. Not as good of a time (1:59) but the most I felt creative with doing a vid this time around - and made 1:59 look kinda easy this time.'
'Had achieved first in GE (proven champ) and this shows more of me in real life in this vid. Turns into some kind of a music vid after the interview beginning with clips of me and my best GE runs. Surprise untied at the end of vid.'
'I played more intensively than ever for this wr for the longest time. Not one of the longer vids but gave a pretty powerful impression with the (for the time) insane wr.'
'Pretty varying run, cool strat, got hit twice but was protected by BA both times. Pretty intense ending (wasn't sure how it was gonna work). Added just music to this, a few pieces that makes it kinda fun to watch with the different challenges this level offers on dark LTK.'
'A bit confusing vid at the time, kinda a teaser trailer for the world record (00 1:47 confirmed in wr topic next day). Just some clips from the actual wr run.'
'Had some weird (real) convo thrown into this vids beginning, me speaking in the vid, a bit bad vid quality, borrowed my friends cam, I had to get a vid out of this.'
'Because of some controversy in getting illyus masdeterpiecde linked we replaced it with Aztec 1:33, which is a funny vid'
- Ilari’s YouTube channel
- GoldenEye World Records and PRs
- Perfect Dark World Records and PRs
- Miikka’s TAS Videos
- Getfile The Illu on AIM
- Ilari's Goldeneye Times
- Ilari's GE World Records
- Ilari's Perfect Dark Times
- Ilari's PD World Records
- Ilari's Elite Contest History
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