AGDQ 2023 makes an exception for a Borderlands speedrun to "save our runners' hands"

Tales from the Borderlands
(Image credit: Telltale Games)

Awesome Games Done Quick 2023 has dozens of games and speedruns on its lineup, and a recent run for Borderlands: Game of the Year Enhanced was one of the few to take the "unrestricted" approach and incorporate a tool, specifically to "save our runners' hands."

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The AGDQ channel and runner zzzrules21, a Borderlands speedrun world record holder, explained the nature of the run on stream (per the handy highlight above). Any% runs, which basically brute force the credits by whatever means necessary, are common, but this is one of just three unrestricted runs on this year's event schedule (opens in new tab). And it had to be classed as unrestricted to save everyone the pain of pressing the Enter key about 2,400 times in order to farm XP off an in-game challenge

"Initially this category was named scripted," zzzrules21 explains as hundreds of items whizz through a vending machine in the background. "We have to sell 1,200 items, but we have to buy 1,200 items too, and that means you have to mash Enter 2,400 times per run that you do. That's just not good for any runners' health, it's not good for any enjoyment, and it's part of the reason Enhanced edition didn't get ran as much on release. People saw how much mashing you had to do and were just entirely turned off from the run. We came up with a scripted version with auto hotkey scripts to do all of this mashing for us just to save our runners' hands." 

The other unrestricted runs on the schedule are for Stray on January 11 and Cult of the Lamb on January 13. For comparison, there's only one dedicated tool assisted (TAS) run on the docket: a Katana Zero any% run coming January 14. 

The conditions of TAS runs vary, but they're generally predicated upon significant input or assistance from supporting software which makes weird or inhumanly perfect things possible, like spawning a Star Fox ship in Ocarina of Time. In the case of this Borderlands run, a tool was just used to do something that a human could do but really shouldn't have to. 

That Stray run will be something to see, because all the way back in August folks were beating the game in under an hour

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a staff writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature.