The speedrunner that 'killed' Pokemon Red has retired because all their records are "just too good"

(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

Six months after setting a Pokemon Red world record that was so fast it might have killed the entire category, one speedrunner said they retired from the scene because their times are so good it wouldn't be any fun to try and beat them.

Back in January, speedrunner PokeGuy set a Pokemon Red time that beat the previous world record by more than a minute. Thanks to some risky decision-making in the game's notorious Silph Co run against Team Rocket, they were able to ride their luck to obliterate the competition, setting a new record that's thought to be unbeatable, essentially killing the game's 'glitchless' category. With a team led by an overpowered Nidoking and by making dangerous use of the time-saving 'red Bar' mechanic, they completed the game in 1:44:03.

There are still a few runners working on the scene, but they're yet to even break into the same minute as PokeGuy's 1h44m run. As this video about the record-breaking attempt explains, there are only a few places where PokeGuy's efforts could be further optimised, but the risk and good fortune associated with both of them means they remain almost impossible. Given that it took PokeGuy 2,800 attempts over six months to secure their record, you can imagine how long it would take to shave off those extra few seconds to reach a 1h43m run.

In fact, that's part of the reason why PokeGuy says they've retired from speedrunning Pokemon games. In a post earlier this year, they said that alongside treatment for mental health issues and a desire to return to school, they made their decision because "all my [personal bests] in games are just too good," and "grinding to barely beat them just isn't as fun as I would like it to be." With no desire to learn a new game and their only missing accomplishment being a sub-two hour FireRed/LeafGreen run that would also be a world record attempt, they say they're planning a lengthy period away from speedrunning.

I'm reminded of a recent Super Mario Bros world record, which is so good that the entire category is now only 22 frames away from literal perfection. For some older titles, the games have been optimised so far that there's almost no time left to save, to the extent that a mathematically perfect approach is the only way to shave any time off the current records.

Catch 'em all (as fast as you like) in our list of the best Pokemon games.

Ali Jones
News Editor

I'm GamesRadar's news editor, working with the team to deliver breaking news from across the industry. I started my journalistic career while getting my degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick, where I also worked as Games Editor on the student newspaper, The Boar. Since then, I've run the news sections at PCGamesN and Kotaku UK, and also regularly contributed to PC Gamer. As you might be able to tell, PC is my platform of choice, so you can regularly find me playing League of Legends or Steam's latest indie hit.