15 Most Fun Video Games To Speedrun

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To speedrun a game means to race to the credits sequence as fast as humanly – even if it means looking ridiculous while you play.

Link walks faster backward? Then you play the game backward.

Can Mario skip half the levels by running through a wall? Then that wall better be ready.

Maybe you’ve been into speedrunning for a while, or perhaps you just saw a Games Done Quick video and got inspired.

One way or another, it’s time to hit the gas and get playing. So here are some of the most fun games to try speedrunning.

 

15. Portal

Portal video game

Current record: 6m 26s

Everyone knows Valve’s beautiful puzzler/shooter can be cleared in a couple of hours if you’re good at puzzle-solving – but did you ever think it could be done in just under seven minutes?

This incredible record is held by Ohio resident CantEven, who’s got a lead of just over a second compared to the second place.

To achieve this, CantEven had to break the game from the get-go, clipping out-of-bounds to get the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device (AKA: Portal Gun). Then they used its main portal-shooting feature from outside the game’s boundaries to skip over every level.

 

14. Super Meat Boy

Super Meat Boy screenshot

Current record: 17m 27s

Platformers have always been popular for speedrunning.

Super Mario’s levels have a timer for a reason, right?

If you’re confident in your platforming, consider trying to beat Finnish player Matte’s 00:17:27 record for clearing Super Meat Boy.

You’ll have to traverse all levels, defeat Dr. Fetus, and rescue Bandage Girl over and over again until your fingers can perform the best route for each level with your eyes closed.

Alternatively, you could tackle Matte’s 01:10:16 record for obtaining a complete 106% progression in the game.

 

13. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe gameplay

Current record: 1h 56m 21s

Trying to clear the courses faster every time is at the core of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s fantastic gameplay.

It only fits to try and speedrun the whole thing.

The current record is held by Japanese driver Kusaan, who’s managed to clear all 48 tracks of the game’s 12 cups at 150cc in just under two hours.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the Switch’s best-selling game so far, so you’re sure to face some competition – but nothing is quite as exciting for a speedrunner than a little rivalry.

 

12. Super Metroid

Super Metroid screenshot

Current Record: 40m 55s

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the most complex and beloved games for the SNES became popular in the speedrunning scene.

To even dream of overtaking Zoast’s 00:40:55 record for reaching the credits, you’ll have to know Planet Zebes like the back of your hand.

Most glitches aren’t allowed in Super Metroid speedrunning, so you’ll have to hone your skills to their sharpest if you wish to succeed.

 

11. Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey screenshot

Current record: 57m 54s

Everyone loves taking the original Super Mario 64 to its limits – but what about the latest entry in Mario’s adventures?

Super Mario Odyssey is the best Mario game in a long while.

It’s full of content, features a beautiful open world to explore, and employs motion controls in a new and organic fashion.

You’ll have to master those motion controls if you’re going to use them reliably to climb impossible walls and pull off crazy exploits in your quest for the fastest route through the game’s open world.

To achieve their 00:57:54 record, Dutch player Mitch had to pull off all the stops and consistently nail every single Cappy-throwing trick in the book.

 

10. Pokémon Yellow

Pokémon Yellow gameplay

Current record: 1h 53m 37s

Games full of RNG, such as RPGs with random encounters, are not anyone’s cup of tea when it comes to speedrunning – but Pokémon is a notable exception.

It’s not that our beloved monster-catching game doesn’t have these issues.

No, RNG will dictate which Pokémon you encounter and how long it takes to catch them, and whether certain moves can hit… it’s a lot.

Still, we turn a blind eye and keep trying to speedrun the game because, well, it’s Pokémon!

Although if you’re in the mood for a Pokémon-centric challenge, but trying to beat Hwangbro’s record for Yellow seems like too much, you can always just do a Nuzlocke run instead.

All roads lead to the Hall of Fame!

 

9. Cuphead

Cuphead video game

Current record: 28m 13s

For the average gamer, a conversation about Cuphead involves asking others how many tries it took them to beat Wally Warbles or King Dice, to name a few.

It’s a hard game!

If you ever rise to a level where beating Cuphead’s bosses is no longer a challenge, then you can consider trying a speedrun.

Challenging games attract hardcore gamers, so competition for the top spot is rough. Grondius holds the record for Regular playthroughs at 00:28:13 – and Jason2890 takes the cake for the fastest Expert run at 00:33:09.

For those of us who can barely clear the game, there’s always Netflix’s TV Show adaptation to look forward to.

 

8. Dark Souls

Dark Souls game screenshot

Current record: 21m 17s

Another game that’s gone from being nigh-unbeatable to a rite of passage for any self-respecting “hardcore” gamer is Dark Souls – and speedrunning it might be your ticket to fame.

Most people would be satisfied with just beating the game.

But for those of you who’ve linked the flame around ten times just to try out different builds, the challenge lies in your speed.

The fastest recorded playthrough of Dark Souls took Czech speedrunner Catalyst 00:21:17 to clear – of course, that entails skipping all possible bosses. Catalyst also holds the title for the fastest 100% completion – defeating all bosses in Lordran and clearing the game in 01:03:25.

 

7. Bloodborne

Bloodborne gameplay

Current record: 19m 39s

This spiritual successor to the Dark Souls franchise asks the player to move faster and more aggressively – trying to get health back from enemies rather than focusing on avoidance.

This results in a faster playstyle, but that doesn’t mean it can be cleared any quicker.

The fastest playthrough on record for Bloodborne took American speedrunner ImpactfulForest just under 20 minutes – pretty close to Dark Soul’s fastest run.

Bloodborne’s brand of horror hinges on Eldritch abominations and Lovecraftian themes – but nothing puts me more in contact with cosmic horror than considering someone can clear this game in less time than it takes me to reach the first boss.

 

6. Super Mario World

Super Mario World gameplay

Current record: 41s

The Italian plumber’s debut on the SNES was met with universal acclaim, and it quickly became the best-selling SNES game ever released.

After over 30 years of people attempting the challenge, the fastest run for SMW comes from Brazilian player FURIOUS at 00:00:41. That’s right; you can reach the credits of this game in under a minute!

Of course, that entails glitching the game in a particular way to trigger the credits roll.

The fastest time for a complete 96-exit run is held by Italian player Lui, who took 01:21:44 to accomplish the feat.

Dinosaur Land had never been saved so efficiently.

 

5. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past screenshot

Current record: 1h 23m 07s

The classic Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past established the basis of a franchise. It’s iconic!

And it’s also amusing to speedrun.

Beating the current record of 01:23:07 may seem like a tall order. But there are many ways you can prepare to challenge RealAlphaGamer’s chart-leading time.

The journey to save Hyrule is long and full of puzzles that you need to memorize to clear in the least amount of time.

You also need to learn the best routes to take, what enemies to fight, and so on.

If repeating a series of prepared steps seems too dull for you, consider doing a speedrun of a randomized ALTTP ROM for an unpredictable experience.

 

4. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time gameplay

Current record: 7m 9s

Among my favorite speedruns to watch are the Any% runs of Ocarina of Time, which rely on completely breaking the game to trigger the credits sequence.

It’s a bit crazy.

As French speedrunner Amateseru demonstrates in his record-setting 00:07:09 run, you don’t even have to leave the Kokiri Forest to clear the game!

Just do a series of bizarre things to stress the engine, hit a rock with your sword to lock the camera out-of-bounds, travel a memorized path without seeing what you’re doing, and BAM – credits roll.

One has to wonder how speedrunners even discover these things.

 

3. Celeste

Celeste game screenshot

Current record: 26m 56s

One of the most recently-released options in our list is Celeste – a gorgeous 2D Action-Platformer game where efficient maneuvering is the key to success.

Protagonist Madeline moves precisely and can dash in any direction from mid-air, allowing for some exciting acrobatics.

This is just one of the basic skills you need to master if you wish to challenge British player Buhbai and his 00:26:56 record.

I’m in love with Celeste’s aesthetics and soundtrack. So practicing my way up to that level of skill doesn’t sound too bad – especially if I get to experience its very emotional and human plot once again.

 

2. Minecraft: Java Edition

Minecraft: Java Edition gameplay

Current record: 14m 39s

There used to be a time where “clearing Minecraft” wasn’t even a thing.

But this deeply influential game has come a long way since its official release back in 2011. Now you can even speedrun it.

As you know, Minecraft is an open-ended game that doesn’t expect much out of you.

Still, going into The End to kill the Ender Dragon will make the credits roll, which counts as “beating Minecraft”.

While most of us take over 10 minutes just to build a basic dirt house, Couriway from New Jersey can beat the Ender Dragon in just under 15 minutes – no cheating!

 

1. Super Mario 64

Super Mario 64 video game

Current record: 1h 38m 28s

If there’s a game we can all agree we love to speedrun, it’s Super Mario 64.

The current record for getting all 120 stars is held by American speedrunner Simply, from Minnesota.

It takes me a couple of hours just to get to the first Bowser fight. But this dude clears the game to 100% completion in 01:38:28.

Watching a video of an SM64 speedrun was my first contact with speedrunning in general.

I was amazed to see the game deconstructed bit by bit with each exploit, and video games never felt the same afterward.

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Nelson Chitty

Nelson Chitty is a Venezuelan expat living in Argentina. He’s a writer and translator passionate about history and foreign cultures. His ideal weekend is spent between leisurely games of Civilization VI and looking for the next seinen anime to marathon.