Speedrunning a video game means planning an optimal route, then playing the game as fast as possible, landing every jump and slaying every enemy with surgical precision. Speedruns take a lot of hard work and dedication for the people performing them, but for everyone else, they’re a whole lot of fun to watch. Here are 10 speedruns that are fascinating and jaw-dropping, each for different reasons.
1. Fallout 3
Many players spend over 100 hours exploring the post-nuclear war Washington D.C. setting of Fallout 3. Not Rydou, the first speedrunner to complete the game in under 15 minutes. Although it may sound impossible to whip through it so quickly, it’s doable if you use a litany of glitches and exploits — provided you have the skills to pull it off.
This speedrun might hurt your brain to watch, because the player flings portals around so fast it’s hard to keep up with the action. That’s how any good Portal speedrun ought to be, so just drop your jaw, unplug your brain, sit back, and enjoy.
3. Super Mario 64
Tool-assisted speedruns (TAS) are not performed in real time like standard speedruns. Instead, players use a computer program that lets them slow the game down or even program button presses to get the fastest run possible, usually to take advantage of glitches and other opportunities that would be difficult or impossible to do in real time. If you think that sounds easy to do, just imagine the planning that went into this Super Mario 64 run. Finding the glitches that let you finish faster, and re-playing each part until you get it just right takes a lot of time and dedication. Cheating ain’t easy.
Battletoads is one of the most insanely difficult games of all time — which makes this nearly flawless speedrun all the more impressive. Whether you’ve played the game or not, this run will have you on the edge of your seat for most of its 16:31 runtime. (In speedruns, the clock starts when the player gains control of the hero, and stops when control is lost before the credits roll.)
Bloodborne is another game known for its brutal difficulty. Beating the game, which normally takes players many grueling hours of trial and error, takes this runner just an hour and eight minutes. After watching this, you might be under the impression that the game is a cinch. If you think so, go ahead and give it a try.
6. The Legend of Zelda
This is a great example of someone using every trick in the book to trim down a game’s run time. Glitches allow for fast travel, and lots of route planning went into determining the most efficient order to play the dungeons. This runner also uses an enemy-counting tactic to maximize bomb drops. It gets complicated, but you can read details about this run here.
7. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Skyrim is one of the richest, most expansive single-player RPGs ever made. It’s a game many players want to spend hundreds of hours exploring. However, by using a few choice glitches, some detailed route planning, and a lot of skill, it can be beaten in 49 minutes. Watch it and weep for all the conversation threads left unspoken.
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