Getting into JSRF Speedrunning
Step 1: How do I start?
The bare minimum you need to run JSRF is a copy of the game and something to play it on. Other tools may be required to submit your runs to the competitive leaderboard, but as far as learning, practicing, and running the game, this basic setup is all you need.
For a monitor, a CRT television is your best bet, as there is no input lag and is what JSRF was meant to be played on. If you cannot find/don't have the room for a bulky CRT, the next best option is to buy a zero-lag upscaler, such as an Open Source Scan Converter or a Retrotink 2X-Pro. These upscalers are much friendlier to speedrunning than older/cheaper options (Framemeister, etc), since their methods of upscaling do not add input lag. They allow you to convert your output into HDMI, which can run on any modern monitor or TV. The OSSC only takes component as input (Red Blue Green - composite input is not supported), but the Retrotink allows for composite input. Keep in mind that some input lag may still be introduced by the monitor itself. Another option to consider is to buy an Xbox-to-HDMI adapter cable - less expensive than a full upscaler, but it's usually of lesser quality and, of course, only works on Xbox.
For consoles, JSRF runs on the original Microsoft Xbox, and is also backwards compatible on the Xbox 360 (though the performance is subpar). Also, with the advent of the CXBX-Reloaded emulator, you may also learn the run on your PC, should you not be able to run a physical copy (though actual hardware is vastly recommended, and also required for competition right now). No other console will run JSRF.
Step 2: Competition and Leaderboard submission
If you want to submit your runs to the speedrun.com leaderboards, some form of recorded proof is required (see below). For full game runs, your entire run must be recorded with audio from beginning to end. Timing it yourself is not required, however a timer is very easy to set up and it makes the verifier's life a lot easier. Note that there are two ways we time full game runs in JSRF:
Time Without Loads (calculated with an In-Game Timer mod that pauses during load times)
Time With Loads (aka Real Time Attack, calculated with an external timer that never stops until the run is finished)
For fairer competition, the leaderboards are primarily sorted by Time Without Loads; however submitting with only an RTA time is still fine, as IGT times require a softmodded Xbox which not everyone has. You can read the rules on the leaderboard for more detailed submission guidelines.
If you use an external timer, you may also submit your splits to splits.io, which has built in integration with speedrun.com
For Individual Level runs (known in-game as Test Runs), top level runs must be recorded from beginning to end. Lower-level runs are fine with a video or just a picture of the final time. IL submissions without any proof at all are no longer accepted. Timing it yourself is not required as the game provides you with its own in-game timer.
Step 3: Recording your runs
There are various ways to record your runs, all of varying quality. The general rule is that as long as audio and video are recognizable, it's usually fine for leaderboards (if you're not sure, please check with a mod in the discord). Runs without audio are no longer accepted.
Most OG runners of this game started out by simply pointing a webcam/phone camera/handheld camera at their TVs. Again, as long as the quality isn't complete garbage it's probably fine, so if that's all you have, then go for it.
Eventually, most people invest in a capture device to capture gameplay directly to their computers. For a standard definition console like the Xbox, you'll want an SD capture device like the GV-USB2 or the AVerMedia C039. These two are the most recommendable options, although cheaper options exist (use those at your own risk). If you upscale to HDMI, any of the modern Elgato or AVerMedia devices will work.
For actual recording software, OBS Studio is by far the best and least expensive (it's free) option. Modern capture devices sometimes have their own capturing software which you can also use.
Step 4: Softmodding
Although softmodding your Xbox is not required to run JSRF, it gives you access to in-game timing and invaluable practice tools (these tools also work on emulator). Softmodding in general is a worthwhile thing to consider as methods to do so become easier and cheaper, and it greatly expands the capabilities of your old consoles. For more information on how to softmod your Xbox, see the How to Softmod Your Xbox section.