There are many reasons to jump into a video game. Some want to get away from it all, others want to have a good time with their family, while some seek the thrill of the competition. The desire for performance has spawned many disciplines and one of the most popular is undoubtedly the speedrun. To achieve a title in the shortest possible time, many players have taken advantage of game design flaws, strange flaws, crossed the physical limits of a universe, or twisted the rules of a world. So let’s get back to the most intriguing bug and glitch exploits in the speedrun scene.
Various disorders with more or less complex execution
Generally, if some speed runners don’t like using major glitches during their races, those bugs are all over the place in the discipline. As a reminder, “glitcher” means to take advantage of a bug / programming error in a game to gain an advantage. Given the sometimes disproportionate impact they can have on the course of a test, the Speedrun community decides for itself whether or not to create an “error free” category for the game being played. It is also not uncommon for a category to prohibit certain disorders but allow less severe ones. These different approaches make it possible to offer variety, but also a more or less impressive spectacle, depending on the application.
One of the most famous mishaps is undoubtedly the OOB or “Out of Bonds”. Literally translated as “out of bounds”, this error, as the name suggests, allows the title to be exceeded. The player can therefore continue the course from the outside and therefore decide to return once the ideal zone is reached. This is a recurring bug that can appear in many games. However, it is particularly known that several titles have exploited this technique. We like to quote Portal, which combines this already impressive flaw with its portal mechanics and thus offers a spectacle that is noticeable, to say the least. Some legendary titles like Super Mario 64 and Link’s Awakening also use this technique to drastically reduce the time it takes to display End Credits.
Clipping can occur as a less extreme version of OOB and is often used in conjunction with the latter as it is the crossing of a normally solid surface. This is usually made possible by getting stuck in certain areas of the landscape or gaining speed. Some runs require that you have completed using clipping. For example, Super Metroid’s Low% runs require players to run the Mochtroid clip. By placing a specific enemy in a specific location, you can freeze them to scale and cross an otherwise impassable platform.
No wonder Super Metroid is included in this article as he is a founder of the speedrun scene. As soon as the title is covered in length and breadth, the players have decided to face new challenges. For example, it is possible to finish the game by hitting the bosses in the opposite direction indicated by the developers. This category is known as the “Reverse Boss Order” and is not possible without the use of many glitches and clips. Overall, breaking sequences, overwriting a normally mandatory part of a game, is inextricably linked to the Super Metroid Speedrun. This is why it is so popular in this community, and metroidvania is a genre that is particularly suited to the discipline.
Variations on these techniques are possible in many games. In Sonic, for example, you can zip through entire areas of a level by getting stuck in the background. The gain in speed is such that the camera has difficulty following the hedgehog.
Saving manipulations also helps to control the outcome of a game. This is the case with the Souls series, where it is generally quicker to exit the game and start over to teleport it to specific locations than it is to walk there without losing progress. This is not a technical flaw, but a game design flaw that anyone can exploit. The first Pokémon episodes, on the other hand, had much more impressive save bugs. We are particularly thinking of Pokémon Yellow, which can be completed in a matter of moments by damaging its rescue. The console will then display the credits and a playing time of 0 minutes once this has taken place.
It is also possible to manipulate the memory of the console and thus interpret incorrect results.
Twist and Break Game Engines for Sports
The most impressive disturbances are certainly those that change the player’s movements. They take many forms and are generally unique to the game in which they appear. While it is possible in Zelda BOTW to propel yourself with a tree trunk and the Cinetis force, this technology does not bend the rules of the game, but rather pushes the physics engine to its limits. It is therefore not a real mistake as in the following examples. We obviously immediately think of the BLJ from Super Mario 64. The backward long jump consists of long jumps in the opposite direction of what Mario is looking at. By blocking Mario, for example against stairs, it is possible to collect a lot of speed and cover such great distances or get stuck through a normally closed door.
The Resident Evil 4 speedrun scene, on the other hand, was turned upside down when the Ditman Glitch was discovered. By manipulating the Striker Shotgun under certain conditions and equipping a light object, Leon can increase his speed by 1.5 times. Virtually all of the measures he takes are therefore faster. Walking, running, shooting, climbing, combat animations … This manipulation even makes it possible to cross certain surfaces that were previously impossible to cross. You don’t have to say more to understand that this is every speedruner’s holy grail. There was a before and after the Ditman glitch in the Resident Evil 4 Speedrun Community.
With the well-known binocular bug of Dark Souls 2 you can save speed. To do this, you need to roll while using the object. As soon as both buttons are released, the avatar is catapulted forward. This relatively simple manipulation has no disadvantage as the game does not consider the character to be ongoing. This allows the warrior to regain stamina while moving at high speed. This bug was quickly fixed by the developers, but nothing is stopping players from uninstalling the update from their computer and continuing to use the bug in question.
Recently it was Doom Eternal that exploited a programming error in favor of the speedrun. This bug takes advantage of the weapon wheel system, which slows down time so the player can choose their gear with confidence. By activating the weapon wheel when falling from a ledge, it is possible to jump into the air by hammering the jump button in order to build up speed and thus height. This technique very quickly led to a decrease in speedrun times. Especially since the technology was discovered by id Software within 24 hours of the release of the shooter. It doesn’t end there because it is possible to assign the jump to a mouse wheel movement from the command prompt. Some Logitech mouse models have the option of decanting the wheel, allowing it to spin at high speed while maintaining inertia. The rest is logical. With this technique it is possible to enter a gigantic number of jump commands in a fraction of a second. These mice are used in conjunction with the weapon wheel bug and allow the runners to literally soar over levels, thus breaking the level design.
The speed run is inextricably linked to the use of these technical defects. In general, when some bugs are less valued than others, it is easy to please all players by creating new categories. That way, runs with more specific constraints can keep their integrity and viewers can find content that matches them. These techniques are often difficult to perform and impressive. They have been around since the very beginning of the discipline and are likely to amaze us for some time to come. And you ? What technical defects and malfunctions impress you?
By iGamesNews, Journalist igamesnews.com