Speedrunning is a phenomenon. There’s nothing quite like watching a brilliant gamer smash through a game and beat it faster than you imagined possible. The prospect of trying to finish a game as quickly as possible is a simple idea that has been taken to the extremes. But the community is very tight-knit and, as a result, few outside it ever really learn much about.
Games Done Quick, a speedrunning event that takes place twice a year, hits peaks of around 100,000 concurrent viewers who in turn donate millions of dollars to charity over a week long event. The runners come from all corners of the globe, and it's easily the world’s biggest speedrunning events.
We wanted to honor the unheralded champions of the sport. In no particular order, here are 10 of the greatest speedruns of all time. Good running.
Super Mario 64 120 Stars in 1:44:18 by puncayshun at AGDQ 2016 — June 28 2014
This run by puncayshun broke a 1:44 milestone. It’s one of the most impressive races you’ll ever see in one of the most beloved and heavily raced games of all time. One fan put it best: “Skill is the supreme factor.”
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Any% in 0:17:09 by Torje on Twitch — March 23 2017
Ocarina of Time is one of the biggest speedrun games and has seen multiple changes over the course of years. Speedrunners take advantage of in game mechanics and glitches to break the game beyond repair. Since the infamous Narcissa Wright run of Ocarina of Time back in AGDQ 2013 which has gone down into the history books, this run has gone through some vast changes.
Pokémon Red Glitchless Any% in 1:49:41 by Exarion on Twitch — Jan. 19, 2017
Pokémon speedrunning goes under the radar in the community. The game has a lot of in-depth technical details many players are unaware of.
In this video, Exarion uses his knowledge of Pokémon movesets to go through a run flawlessly, using specific tactics to get the most out of the RNG mechanics in the game. He makes every move count and knows the exact percentage needed to KO foes.
Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts All Weapons in 0:50:00 by PJ, live at SGDQ2014 — June 25, 2014
Who says every run has to be serious to be entertaining? PJ is a fan-favorite GDQ runner and came prepared at SGDQ 2014 with another Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts (Ghosts and Goblins in the west)—but this time switched up the formula.
All Weapons is not an official category but showcased just how entertaining speedruns can be when RNG is mixed with great commentary.
Punch-Out Any% blindfold race in 0:25:27 by sinister1 and zallard1, live at AGDQ 2016 — Jan. 7, 2016
Punch-Out is already a hard game to play for first timers and even harder to learn to speedrun. Above all else, it’s near-impossible to do blindfolded—but two runners did just that. Slight audio queues give speedrunners precious information on how to beat the game when they can’t see a thing.
Super Metroid 100% in 1:22:30 by Behemoth87, Ivan, Zoast, and Wildanaconda69 at AGDQ 2017— Jan. 15, 2017
There is no denying just how insane a Super Metroid run is from start to finish. GDQ cemented the popularity of these runs with the famous “Save or Kill the Animals” donation incentive that has been a staple of the GDQ marathons ever since.
A super metroid run requires precision movement controls and runners face the prospect of instantly dying and ending any hopes of a successful run with one poor button choice.
Megaman X 100% in 0:35:26 by CalebHart on Twitch, 9 March. 2017
Megaman X 100% is one of the more popular Megaman series of speedruns, requiring persistent skill and maneuvering as well as routing the game in such a way that you can grab as many collectables as possible without revisiting stages.
This run has been perfected over the years with seconds being shaved off in the hopes of getting a better world record.
I Wanna be the Boshy 100% in 1:02:22 by witwix at AGDQ 2015— Jan. 6, 2015
I wanna be the boshy is a fan-made game that many casual gamers can’t even beat—to speedrun it as fast as players do with each pixel perfect and one frame jump staying consistent throughout the run is mindblowing.
Jak and Daxter in 2:11:18 by Bonesaw577 at SGDQ 2016 — July 7, 2016
One of the most entertaining runs in GDQ history, Bonesaw577 has been in multiple GDQ’s and creates an entertaining aura whether he is running a game or commenting over one.
It is highlighted as one of the best runs at a GDQ ever.
The runner and those commentating on the coach give insightful knowledge into what Bonesaw is doing why trying not to laugh in the process.
Borderlands 2 Any% in 3:15:00 by ProfessorBroman, Teawrex, Ubergoose, Imysty — Jan. 10, 2014
This is the run people show off when they want to introduce people to GDQ/Speedrunning. The guys do a great job of making the run informative and fun, and the run itself has just the right amount of sequence breaks to show off some really cool skips, while also appealing to the crowd that just wants to see the full game played really fast. Really satisfying run to watch!