Few things in life are quite as satisfying as beating a video game. That rush of excitement is the reward for time spent, controllers broken and responsibilities neglected. It is a triumph, one to be savored for as long as it takes you to move on to the next game.
While that excitement might be enough for us run of the mill video game players, it's not enough for everyone. And so comes the world of speedrunning, where people seek to beat videogames as fast as possible. Most of us can beat Super Mario Bros. eventually, but only the best of the best of the best of us could beat it in less than 5 minutes.
Speedrunning has developed quite a following online, but even then watching someone smash through the beautiful mess of glitches that is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time for the 20th time is only so interesting.
Luckily, there are a few gamers out there who have taken on new, weirder video game challenges.
Here are some videos from Games Done Quick, a group that does speedrun marathons for charity. While speedruns and races make up the core of the marathons, here are some of the more off the wall demonstrations that will drop your jaw.
4. Beating Super Mario 64 With One Hand
Super Mario 64 was the great leap from 2D to 3D platforming for many of us. No longer was Mario's quest simply a matter of going from left to right; no, things had gotten more complex. It wasn't just about knowing how to run, jump and throw the occasional fireball; sudden a whole new world of options was opened for Mario.
Nostalgia probably makes you forget how weird those first tentative steps were in SM64. Go on, imagine the controller in your hands while you think about how you played the game. Now imagine doing all of that, including some particularly difficult glitches to help breeze through the game faster, with just one hand. Yeah, it makes my brain hurt too.
3. Taking on Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! Blindfolded
Who among us has ever tossed a controller out of frustration with trying to beat the man known as Soda Popinski? Don't be shy; it happens to the best of us.
Punch-Out is a game of patterns, but even with both eyes open it can still be a challenge. Trying to beat it with only your ears and memory to guide you? That's crazy talk. While he may not beat Mike Tyson in the end, sinister1 manages to go about as far as anyone reasonably can in the game with his eyes covered. It is an amazing watch.
2. Playing Tetris Like a Grandmaster
Who among us can't draw out all of the Tetris blocks? They're part of pop culture, and we all know how the game works, no matter how bad at it we might be. Most players don't last more than a few seconds at the highest speeds of the game, but for Tetris grandmasters that's just child's play.
The real magic in this video starts about 6 minutes in. Yeah, he's playing Tetris fast and it's impressive, but once he hits the credits he starts managing to do something that even though I understand how it's done, I still don't really understand how it's possible.
Invisible Tetris. Who would have guessed?
1. Taking on the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Child Dungeons Blindfolded
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Ocarina of Time is a lot of people's gateway in to the world of speedruns. If you're of a certain age and owned a Nintendo 64, odds are better than good that you have some experience with the game. Once you find out that people have glitched their way in to beating the game in 20 minutes, that's just something you have to seek out.
OoT is a glitchy mess, but in an extremely delightful way. Play the game right and you may never notice any problems, but poke beneath the surface and you discover there's a world of silliness waiting to be abused.
The thing about glitches is that they aren't easy. They often require frame-specific precision. Watch an average speedrun and you'll see guys struggle with glitches they've tackled dozens of times, with their eyes open.
Putting on a blindfold and trying to beat a game as complex as OoT is just capital-r Ridiculous. We're talking memorizing enemy attack patterns, room layouts, inventories and glitches. Yeah, I'm just going to go hide my controller in shame now.