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The Best Video Game Speedruns to Watch

Don’t Miss These Speedruns

About five or so years ago, the concept of speedrunning a video game was completely foreign to me.

I had never watched one, nor did I know the communities were so active. Now, having watched so many amazing moments, I felt I should share some memorable runs.

From the five-hour marathon runs that require an insane amount of memorisation and planning, to the three-minute Any% runs that are over in a flash, speedruns showcase so many different abilities and skills from the gaming community.

With the help and continuing rise of speedrun communities, the Games Done Quick twice-a-year event, and sites like speedrunslive.com, this corner of the gaming world is bursting out more and more.

So, let’s take a closer look at some of the best speedruns to watch, from the world records to the runs that showcase the community.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 Any% WR by George

Clocking in at a lightning quick 3:42, this world record run by George is a prime example of the speed and memorisation that goes into speedrunning a game. Widely recognised in the speedrunning world for its crazy amount of inputs-per-second, the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater franchise features some of the most exciting runs to watch.

This run by George, which still sits high in the leaderboards, shows the skill and precision that this game requires for a speedrun. Ripping through each level, getting the bare minimum of objectives and scores, George makes his way through the game in the time it took me to get the first level done way back when. If you’ve never seen a single speedrun before, this is a great introduction to the world, from a game franchise that deserves more recognition in the speedrun world.

Final Fantasy VII by Ajneb174

Generally, most the the runs features at the Games Done Quick charity speedrun events rarely last more than a few hours. They want viewers to stay engaged and keep the content fresh and exciting. That’s what makes this 2017 AGDQ run of Final Fantasy VII run even more unbelievable. Not only does it require an immense, almost otherworldly, amount of memorisation and game knowledge, but it requires the group to stay committed to keeping the viewers entertained.

Ajneb174 was seated with Davesterio and J2_JATWo, and the three managed to keep the nearly EIGHT HOUR run entertaining, informative, and full of cool tips and tricks. Through minor exploitations of mechanics, partnered with pure skill and game knowledge, Ajneb174 was able to piece together an amazing run to showcased the extent that speedrunning can get to. This is beyond a simple example of speedrunning skill, it also shows off the commitment people can have to the things they love, and also a great example of how to keep people entertained and engaged.

Dark Souls II All Bosses WR by Distortion2

I remember the first time I heard about the ‘Speedsouls’ community. The group of crazy, skilled runners who pushed the limits of the Dark Souls and Bloodborne captured my attention easily. I’ve always loved the games put forth by From Software, and watching them get torn to shreds is a cathartic experience.

Distortion2, one of the most active Dark Souls 2 runners, is continuously hitting record after record. At the turn of 2019, Distortion2 managed to beat all bosses in the game, including the tough DLC bosses, in just 2 hours, 11 minutes, and 19 seconds. From game memorisation to boss manipulation and strategic, careful stat building, this run shows off the fact that difficult games are, in fact, difficult in subjective terms only. Watching Distortion2 breeze through a game that gave me problems for months is inspiring and infuriating. Also, it’s nice to see the forgotten child of the Dark Souls franchise got some spotlight.

Super Mario Bros. in 4:55.913 by Kosmicd12

There may be no other franchise in the speedrunning community as packed with amazing records, runners, and moments as Mario. From Super Mario Sunshine to Super Mario RPG and everything in between, the Mario speedrunning community is vast and extremely active.

One game in particular, though, has a host of runners: Super Mario Bros. The NES classic has been chiselled down to the bones, with every exploit discovered and every time-saving strategy perfected. In this sensational, legendary run, Kosmicd12 does the unthinkable. By hitting a 4:55.913, he was immediately vaulted into the realm of speedrun gods. What makes this run even more incredible is this was his first real attempt at a run after practising a new skip technique. The world record for Super Mario Bros. now belongs to Somewes, another incredible runner. But nonetheless, this run is so very important to the game and the community it large. It’s amazing, it’s precise, and Kosmic’s reaction is genuine and heartfelt. This is one for the books.

Mega Man X and Mega Man X2 Simultaneous Run by AuraPuffs

Have you ever sat down with one of your favourite franchises and thought, “Man, I just wish I could play more than one of these at the same time.” No? Me neither. But AuraPuffs did just that.

Without the aid of tool-assists, both games are completed at the same time using one controller’s inputs, including a synchronised final boss kill. I cannot even begin to imagine the amount of planning, practice and strategising that went into this run. This may not be your typical speedrun, but it is nonetheless an incredible achievement worthy of being watched and applauded. If you’re looking for an unusual speedrun to watch and enjoy, then this run by AuraPuffs is one hell of a place to start.

Goldeneye 007 Streets 1:12 by Ryan Lockwood

The emotion. The adrenaline. The pure euphoria of Lockwood proclaiming, “DUDE. What a RUSH!”.

In the hotly contested, massively active speedrun community of Goldeneye 007, this run holds a special place in my heart. This was one of the first speedruns I ever watched. The added benefit of listening to Lockwood’s retrospective as his run plays in the background is fantastic. Nailing the Streets 1:12 time was, at this time, regarded as one of the holy grails of Goldeneye speedrunning. Ryan Lockwood is, and has always been, a large, proud voice in the community, and this video is undoubtedly his most famous, and for good reason. He popped off. He hit the line you needed for this prestigious time. He’s never even seen a 1:13.

A warning for the strong language in this video, but watch this sensational run, and the strangely beautiful nature of his passionate reaction, in the video above.

Blindfolded Runs by Runnerguy2489 and Sinister1

Sure. Why not? Blindfold yourself and play through a video game by using memorisation and sound cues. I had a hard time selecting my favourite blindfolded run (it’s ridiculous I have so many to choose from) but these two in particular standout to me the most. Both performed at respective Games Done Quick events, these are shock and awe type speedruns. They showcase the pinnacle of speedrunning talent and skill. They might feel like novelties, but believe me they are not. At times, it might take the “speed” aspect out of speedrunning, but these runs are absolutely incredible.

Sinister1 fails to beat the entire game of Mike Tyson’s Punch Out! but does succeed in getting to Mike Tyson himself, and achievement on its own. Runnerguy2489 makes his way through all the child dungeons from Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, you know, without being able to see. No big deal.

Oh, and if you’re interested, Runnerguy2489 has a series where he 100% runs Ocarina of Time. Blindfolded. Unreal.

Super Mario 64 120 Star Sub 1:40:00 by Cheese05

In perhaps the most hotly contested section of the Mario speedrunning community sits Super Mario 64. Within the community sits the tenacious, unforgiving category of the 120 star run. For a long, long time, getting this done in under two hours seemed like a fever dream; an impossible mark no mere human could achieve. Well, Cheese05, a beloved and well-known face in the Super Mario 64 speedrunning community, is no mere human. His 1:39:57 120 star speedrun of Super Mario 64 is an out of this world experience.

The amount of memorisation and precise movements that this run requires, on top of some nifty glitches and manipulation, is staggering. I actually watched this happen live, and the closer we got to the end, the more tense every movement felt. The genuine, emotional, and heartfelt reaction from Cheese after the completion of the run just puts the icing on the cake. An absolutely tremendous run, through and through. Regardless of how many runners beat this record, this moment will stand on its own, within the Super Mario 64 community, and the speedrun community as a whole.

Super Metroid 4-Way Race at AGDQ 2014

Featuring well-known Super Metroid runners Krauser, Ivan, Zoast, and Garrison, this 4-way race is a sight to behold.

Super Metroid in general is an enormously fun speedrun game to watch, whether it’s any%, 100%, reverse boss order, or any other parameter. It’s an exhilarating game to play, and a ton of fun to watch the pros play through. These runners utilise a wide array of tactics that, while not necessarily glitches, are incredibly difficult uses of the game’s mechanics. From complex bomb jumps and wall jumps to speed booster manipulation, a Super Metroid speedrun encompasses all that makes speedrunning great: action, skill, precision, map memorisation, technique, creativity, and much more.

This 4-way race in particular is so entertaining not just for the game, but because of how close the race was up until the very last minute. If you want to see a run that embodies the community support, the talented runners, and the intensity of a speedrun all in one: this is one of the best.

Ocarina of Time Any% 18:07 by Jodenstone

There have been a large number of legendary speedruns in the Ocarina of Time community, especially after the unbelievable demonstration by Narcissa Wright at AGDQ 2013. From the 100% speedruns to the insanely detailed and tremendously difficult any%, Ocarina of Time stands on its own in the speedrunning community.

The run in which Jodenstone took sole position of the any% world record is one that I won’t soon forget. Another run watched live, this record-breaking run wasn’t necessarily the most groundbreaking, but it did culminate in a perfect run. Every little strat hit on the nose. Every encounter handled with grace. Jodenstone, rightfully, had a very emotional reaction to this run and listening to him list off the people he wanted to thank and shouting out the speedrunning community and his fans was special. This run is an example of game-breaking precision at its finest. A pure, beautiful speedrun.

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