They say “practice makes perfect”, but what they don’t tell you is that too much practice makes it a bit creepy. This is something that I learned watching gaming “speed runs” – in which gamers attempt to complete videogames in the quickest time possible. To do so, they’re like athletes – or perhaps even two or three athletes, weight wise. They must learn every aspects of the games inside-out – about every corner of the virtual worlds, and train to press the right buttons and the right time, over and over.
Quite a community has built up around it – and it’s one of the reasons streaming services like Twitch are so popular – as we look on in awe at just how fast they can finish something that is supposed to be enjoyable. So here’s our pick of some of the most impressive speed runs.
Mario 64 in 15:35
Mario 64 was what made the N64 so special – and despite being a huge game, with tonnes of stars to collect and a whole new dimension to explore, this guy manages to get to the end in just shy of a quarter of an hour.
Okay, so there’s a difference between beating the game and getting 100% completion – so how about this one below. All 120 stars in 1 hour 49 minutes:
Super Mario Bros 3 in 11 minutes
New Super Mario Bros Wii in 25:31
So what about newer games? Here’s new Super Mario Bros Wii being polished off in less than half an hour.
Call of Duty: Ghosts
Even Ghosts, which has been out scarcely a month is getting the speedrun treatment. So far the competition seems to be completing individual levels in superquick times – like the Jungle level below in under two minutes. By my reckoning that must mean the whole campaign must take… about ten minutes?
Ocarina of Time in 92 minutes
This is really impressive. N64 classic Zelda: Ocarina of Time completed in just over 90 minutes – but the player has not only learned all about the game, but they’ve exploited a number of bugs. Check out the 55 minute mark where they skip across a canyon by exploding a bomb, and using some quick switching of the shield and iron boots manage to magically traverse it – saving further time.
Tony Hawks 3 in ten minutes
How many hours did you spend trying to get every secret tape and smash every high score? This jammy git does it in just ten minutes and 23 seconds – and really shows speedrunning at it’s purest. The player has clearly learned the levels inside out, and through the incredible combos it’s like watching a ballet dancer perform and endless series of tricky moves.
What about GTA5?
So what about the biggest game of the last year… Grand Theft Auto 5? How are the speed runners doing? Umm… not great actually.
It must still be early days for the game – the person below has done it in 9 hours 23 minutes, which isn’t hugely impressive… but they admit themselves that they’ve a lot to learn routing wise… and suggest a “sub 9 hour” run is possible. I think we’ve just found the 21st century’s four minute mile. Now all we need is our Roger Bannister.