The best speedruns are made of videogame magic: from clipping through walls, in-game actions which allow players to execute strings of modified code, to the discovery of new mechanics that even game developers never knew existed. The world of video game speedrunning is certainly as weird as it is wonderful. With events like Games Done Quick and European Speedrunner Assembly proving popular all over the world, it’s no wonder that this highly competitive subculture has taken off.
Live streaming sites like Twitch and YouTube have only heightened the popularity of these competitions, giving speedrunners the perfect opportunity to show off their video game prowess to the world. While speedrun records are being smashed on a daily basis, there are a number of standout performances that have blown us away in both their mechanical skill and overall mastery. To help you get up to speed, we’ve picked 10 of the best video game speedruns and provided in-depth details on how each player achieved their record times.
Dark Souls (All Bosses) in 1 hour
FromSoftware’s Souls series is known for its punishing combat and incredibly unforgiving gameplay, making it the perfect game for grizzled speedrunners to show off their skills to the world. For most players, Dark Souls’ campaign is a journey fraught with in-game suffering and a multitude of frustrating deaths. However, for speedrunner Catalyst, beating Dark Souls in 1h 04m 47s is nothing more than a walk in the park. Catalyst uses a series of sequence breaks in order to obtain key items and reach each boss arena as quickly as possible. The process of defeating each boss is also faster than usual thanks to the moveswap glitch, which allows Catalyst to transfer the running, rolling and plunging attack from one weapon to another. Not only does this double the weapon’s damage output when used correctly, it also helps set up some incredibly satisfying kill times.
Ocarina of Time in just under 8 minutes
Ocarina of Time is one of the most popular games to speedrun thanks to its intricate glitches, absurd skips, wacky warps, and interesting use of movement that breaks the game in weird and wonderful ways. The current Any% world record is held by Zudu, who completed the game in just 7m 48s 100ms. Zudu uses a combination of Stale Reference Manipulation (glitches that overwrite the game’s memory), Function Pointer Manipulation (actions that allow players to execute modified code), and Arbitrary Code Execution (allows the player to write code with regular inputs). To the untrained eye, Zudu’s playthrough looks like a fever dream of completely random actions, but each of these moves have an impact on the way in which the game interprets them. Essentially, Zudu is writing and running code through his in-game actions, making it possible to skip large swathes of content and telling the game to run the end credits. Speedrunning Ocarina of Time is as fascinating as it is complicated!
Pokémon Red in 1 hour 45 minutes
Since Pokemon Red and Blue’s initial release in 1996, Professor Oak has sent millions of fledgeling trainers out on their quest to become the Pokemon master, but none have ever achieved this feat as quickly as pokeguy. This blisteringly fast trainer beat the game in just 1h 45m 21s, making him the second-fastest champion in all of Kanto. While Oak’s Grandson, Blue may be programmed to always take first-place, pokeguy’s achievement is certainly an impressive one. The incredible thing about this playthrough is it’s glitchless, meaning no in-game exploits were used to accomplish this time. Instead, pokeguy relied on his over-levelled Nidoking to brute force his way through the game, using powerful moves like Earthquake and Horndrill to KO opponents before they could even retaliate. In fact, pokeguy’s run has proved so fast that he’s held this record for an entire year, so challengers will need to beat this time if they want to be the very best.
Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy in 1 minute 13 seconds
Getting Over it made waves in the streaming community back in 2017 thanks to its ability to completely unhinge even the calmest of players. This humble climbing game may look simple in both its design and mechanics, but the various obstacles and lack of checkpoints make reaching the top a herculean task. Fortunately, we can all live vicariously through speedrunner, Blastbolt's 1m 13s 224ms run. There may be no fancy glitches and skips in this run, but it makes the whole thing even more impressive. The fact that this whole playthrough can be watched in just over a minute is also pretty insane, so make sure you check out Blastbolt’s channel for future record attempts.
Resident Evil 2 (Leon) in 52 minutes 10 seconds
Resident Evil games have always encouraged quick playthroughs, especially since each game invariably gives you a rank based off of your completion time. As a result, speedrunners have been drawn to Capcom’s grizzly zombie franchise ever since Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine graced our screens back in 1996. However, Capcom’s remake of Resident Evil 2 is currently the game to watch and 7rayD is the latest speedrunner to hold the title, clocking in at an impressive 52m 10s.
This speedrunner relies purely on his knowledge of the game’s map to quickly solve puzzles and traverse through the corridors of flesh-eating undead, while also using Leon’s knife to effortlessly take down the many menacing forms of William Birkin. To the untrained eye, it may seem like 7raD is merely showing off, but Resident Evil 2’s knife damage is tied to the system’s framerate. As he’s playing on PC, 7rayD is able to reach higher frame rates and dish out huge amounts of damage, greatly reducing the time needed to complete each boss encounter. To make things even better, he even goes as far as to juggle while running away from the game’s oversized crocodile.
Super Mario 64 in 1 hour 38 minutes
Cheese is famous in the speedrunning community for his world record run in the 120 star category of Super Mario 64, a title he’s continually held since June 4, 2017. While Cheese makes use of a few nifty skips to cut through large portions of certain levels, he still manages to collect all 120 stars in order to achieve 100% completion in 1h 38m 54s. One of the most notable skips involves a perfectly timed jump that sees Mario fall to the very bottom of Slip Slidin' Away, allowing Cheese to collect the star in a mere 20 seconds. Even when Cheese is just moving around the world, he combines Mario’s various jumps and dives to create huge amounts of momentum, granting him the speed needed to pull off some ridiculously fast plays. Beating this time won’t be easy.
Celeste in less than half an hour
Getting Madeline to the top of the mountain while avoiding the various hazards is difficult at the best of times and while Celeste may not be a long game, it does take a lot of skill and determination to beat. As a result, many speedrunners have turned their attention to this hard as nails platformer in order to claim the world record. Marlin is the current world record holder who achieved a cool 27m 09s 943ms, using only dash jumps, secret paths, and split-second wall grabs to beat the competition. In fact, Marlin is so fast that Madeline’s ghostly doppelgänger, Badeline can barely keep up.
Super Metroid in 41 minutes
Super Metroid is no stranger to the speedrunning spotlight and Nintendo’s sci-fi shooter is the perfect place to flex your platforming prowess. Behemoth87 did exactly that when he managed to snag a 40m 56s, beating the previous record by a few seconds. The use of sequence breaking is used in this playthrough, which allows Behemoth87 to acquire power-ups way before they were originally intended, allowing whole sections of the map to be skipped. During combat, Behemoth purposely runs into enemies while shooting in order to trigger the iFrames (invincibility frames) needed to take opponents down without receiving any damage. If that wasn’t enough, Behemoth87 uses Samus’ Spin Jump to expertly dodge his way through waves of flesh-eating aliens, only narrowly avoiding their clutches. Watching Samus destroy the Space Pirates and escape the destruction of a planet in the span of 40m 56s is pretty impressive stuff.
Portal in just under 7 minutes
The Portal series offers some truly fantastic opportunities for speedrunners to glitch their way through the game thanks to the mechanics of the iconic portal gun. Portal Speedrunner, Shizzal uses a series of Edgeglitches in his 6m 53s 940ms run to force the camera into detaching itself from his body, allowing him to shoot portals on the opposite portal from where he’s positioned. This nifty technique is performed by standing on top or next to the edge of a portal and gives Shizzal the opportunity to create some rather mind boggling Chamber skips. Not only is this speedrun fast, it’s also a great exercise in both geometry and precise map knowledge.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in Less than half an hour
Considering players can head straight to Hyrule Castle and face Calamity Ganon straight after leaving the Shrine of Resurrection, it was only a matter of time before speedrunners used their expertise to beat the game in record time. Sketodara01417's 27m 29s 530ms run uses techniques like whistle sprinting to constantly run while recuperating his stamina bar, fall damage cancels to negate any damage taken from falling, shield clipping to allow him to pass through walls, and bullet time bounces which grant him the ability to launch himself off of enemies and bombs. All of these techniques require precise timings and even greater setup, especially the bullet time bounces which shave off huge amounts of overworld travel time. If getting to Hyrule Castle in record time wasn’t wasn’t impressive enough, Sketodara01417 manges to vanquish Calamity Ganon in nothing but Link’s boxer shorts. It’s certainly an impressive feat and one that is worthy of a watch.