For the past week a dedicated assembly of speedrunners from SpeedDemosArchive and SpeedRunsLive have been raising money for the Prevent Cancer Foundation by livestreaming their fastest playthroughs of some of the world’s most iconic games.
Twice a year the community assembles in a bid to raise money and boggle minds by exploiting, glitching and completing games in record time, live and streamed across the Internet for all to enjoy.
Here are a few of the highlights of this year’s event, which raised a total of $1,539,824.44 in the name of charity.
Pokémon Green (04:39)
The key to beating a game like Pokémon in less than five minutes is to try and break it as much as possible. While that’s often the case in any speedrun, few glitches blow the game open quite like that found in the Japanese cartridge release from 1996 (available two years prior to the English release).
To quote speedrunner Shenanagans: “the hardest part of this run is actually learning Japanese”.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii (28:28)
Mario is a speedrun mainstay, though New Super Mario Bros. Wii hasn’t received the same attention the community piles on Super Mario 2 or Mario 64. In this run we see EmoArbiter take a time of 28:28 despite making a mistake that costs him around two minutes.
This is a glitch-free run that uses only legitimate warp points and pickups (notably, the propellor).
Star Wars: Jedi Knight – Dark Forces II (29:31)
Probably the best Star Wars game ever (though I’ll tip my hat to X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter and Knights of the Old Republic), Dark Forces II was released in 1997 for the Windows platform to critical acclaim, and still holds a score of 91 on Metacritic.
Here we can see runner ysalamiri use his force powers (jump and speed) to beat the game in under half an hour. Not only that, he makes it look easy and it’s really not – the physics in this game are famously unpredictable and difficult to manipulate.
Sharing the same Build Engine as Duke Nukem 3D, Blood made a name for itself when first released for MS-DOS and Windows in 1997 by including liberal amounts of violence, occult themes and some of the most varied weapons ever seen in a video game (lighter and gas can combination anyone?).
The game is completed in just under twenty minutes by world record holder Cubeface, who previously completed the run in 17:58.
Super Monkey Ball (20:03)
If you have ever played Super Monkey Ball you’ll know just how difficult it is steering a monkey in a ball around a series of narrow walkways. It’s a relentless game of patience, which makes this particular run all the more mind-boggling.
Barhunga dominates the game on expert difficulty in just over 20 minutes, and though he makes a few mistakes the crowd virtually clap every stage he clears.
GTA: Vice City (1:04:43)
Got an hour to spare? Vice City is arguably one of Rockstar’s finest Grand Theft Auto moments, and though most of us remember it fondly for that cheesy 80s soundtrack and immersive Floridian playground, there’s not a lot of appreciation for the scenery or Kim Wylde here. Instead, AdamAK shows us how to blow the game wide-open to abuse, using the PC version.
Adam uses the PC-only instant replay feature to trigger a number of glitches which have only recently been discovered.
How To Speedrun
Think you’ve got what it takes to make your own speedruns? Excellent! The speedrunning community, while celebrating individual successes through successful runs like those above, work together to unearth glitches, clips and other exploits they can use to shave precious seconds off their times.
SpeedDemosArchive is the website to check out for all things speedrunning, and a cursory glance at the FAQ should teach you the difference between an any%, low% and 100% runs and the many rules that apply. When you’re ready you can head over to the SDA Forum and join in with an army of gamers hell-bent on breaking their favourite games.
SpeedRunsLive is where you should head if you’re interested in watching a speedrun right now, or streaming your own speedruns using Twitch. There’s a FAQ, a list of useful tools and weekly events to encourage new runners.
When you’re good enough you can head over to GamesDoneQuick.com to find out when the next event will be held, where it is and how to enter.
Which game will you be running next?