Sep 3 2013 - 1:30 pm

The 10 greatest video game speedruns of all time

There’s nothing quite like watching a brilliant gamer smash through a game and beat it faster than you imagined possible
Patrick Howell O'Neill
Dot Esports

There’s nothing quite like watching a brilliant gamer smash through a game and beat it faster than you imagined possible. You might not know that there's a small community of people who did this competitively, who chase world records like race car drivers chase trophies. It's called speedrunning, and it's a growing, if little known, part of the eSports ecosystem.

In fact, there's a storied history to speedrunning that few outside the tight-knit community know about. Even in the broader history of gaming, the astonishing accomplishments of the greatest speedrunners are relegated to, at best, footnotes.

We wanted to do honor to the unheralded champions of the sport. In no particular order, here are 10 of the greatest speedruns of all time. Good running.

1) The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Speedrun in 22:38, live at AGDQ2013 by CosmoWright

Once upon a time, the Ocarina of Time speedrun record was two and a half hours. The records have fallen fast in the last five years, however. In this run, Cosmo Wright explains, step by step, how the game was dissected, how glitches were discovered, and how seconds were saved.

Current world record: 19:15, set 8/13/13 by Cosmo

2) Super Mario 64 120 star Speedrun 1:45:52 by Siglemic

This run by Siglemic 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.”

Current world record: 1:44:01, set Jan. 30, 2013 by Siglemic

3) Quake 14:13 by Quake done Quick

This is one of the games that launched speedrunning (not to mention the ultra-competitive deathmatch) almost two decades ago. It’s never been done better.

4) Portal Done Pro-er - Portal Speedrun - 8:31:93

This world record run made headlines everywhere in the gaming press. Small wonder: The SourceRuns team broke the previous record by an enormous 53 seconds. A year later, the record still stands.

5) Super Mario Bros 3 world record 10:48 speedrun by Freddy 'Frezy_man' Andersson 

It took 21 years after the game was originally released and over 3,000 speedrun attempts by Frezy_Man to set the brief and wondrous 10:48 world record in one of the greatest old-school platformers ever released. The record, set in 2009, still stands today.

6) Grand Theft Auto III 1:19:42 by Adam Kuczynski

Liberty City, the metropolis setting of Grand Theft Auto 3, is alive. Speedrunning it requires a healthy dose of both skill land luck. Every run is different. Will the cops lay down and die or shoot your tires out? It’s a real treat to see AdamAK pull off this supremely clean world record run in a game with so many moving parts. His record has yet to be broken.

7) Sonic Adventure 2: Battle Hero Story Speedrun in 26:01:03 by talon2461

Sonic games are already meant to be fast, so the speedruns can be an incredible blur. If you miss anything, worry not. Talon2461 talks through each spin dash and sky glitch step by step, giving viewers perfect insight into why the run is so impressive.

8) NES Super Mario Bros. 1, 2 (FDS), 2 (USA), and 3 in 10:39:75 by agwawaf

Racing one game at a time is for lazy nerds. Tool-assisted runs, a popular niche in the speedrunning world, allows players to run four Mario games at once with a single controller. The result is as chaotic as it sounds.

9) Super Mario World in 10:26 by Menboo93

Menboo93 runs this like a madman, taking risks and reaping rewards. Although the Japanese runner disappeared from the scene and tried to delete all of his records and runs from memory, this mark can never go away. There is no embeddable video for the full run, so we have the YouTube video of his celebration to watch instead. You can see the full run here.

10) Super Meat Boy 1:47:36 live (106% +Expert Remix) by Breakdown

Super Meat Boy is a challenging game, so watching a good runner master it is particularly satisfying. What makes this run even better is that the creator of Super Meat Boy calls in and chats with the runners as they break his game apart.

Current world record: 1:27:50 by Takujiz

Illustration by Fernando Alfonso III

Today - 10:33 pm

These are the first four teams confirmed for the IEM World Championship

Eight teams will be competing at one of the largest international League of Legends events.
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports
Photo via Riot Games

Half of the teams slated to compete at one of League of Legend's largest international events in 2017 have been announced.

The IEM World Championship will once conclude at IEM Katowice in Poland in March after roughly four months worth of competiton across three international events. Eight teams in total will be attending the event. Earlier today ESL revealed the first half that are slated to compete at the event.

The first four teams that will attend are Europe's H2K and Unicorns of Love, North Americans Cloud9 and lastly the Eastern European M19 squad, which was formerly known as Albus NoX Luna.

A majority of teams attending the event have been invited based off of their performance in the 2016 League World Championship. Additionally the victors at IEM's events in Oakland and Gyeonggi, which were won by Unicorns of Love and Samsung Galaxy respectively.

Reigning world champions SKT T1 and Chinese supersquad EDward Gaming have also secured invites to the event after reaching the quarterfinals of the 2016 World Championship, but have not confirmed their participation yet.

Eight teams will be competing at the event in total, though the final contestants are yet to be decided. None of the competitors representing the East Asian League Master Series were able to advance from the group stage. They also failed to qualify through IEM Oakland or Gyeonggi.

The IEM World Championship will take place from Feb. 22 to 26.

Today - 10:23 pm

Lethality, the bane of Assassins and ADCS, is next on Riot’s hit list

Rioter announces big in-the-works update for the Lethality system.
Aaron Mickunas
League of Legends Writer
Image via Riot Games

It’s official: Riot is fixing the broken Lethality system that was introduced to League of Legends in patch 6.22 in November.

When Lethality first came out, it was designed to benefit the Assassin champions as a replacement to the outdated armor penetration system by changing the simple system of ignoring armor to something more complex that scales better into the game. The old system worked very directly—your number of armor penetration ignored that exact amount of armor on your target. In theory it sounds alright, but in practice it didn’t turn out so well.

We won’t go into great detail about the issues with armor penetration. But the basic issue was this: Armor penetration couldn’t be built high enough to actually work against tanks. If Riot did add more armor pen to items to reconcile this, it would negate all natural armor that squishies built up from leveling, causing them to take what looked a lot like true damage (damage that completely ignored resistance). The end result was assassins building armor penetration to snowball by cutting down squishies instead of building it to counter tanks.

Enter Lethality. Riot created a system to balance armor penetration for assassins, making it less snowball-centric and more of a thoughtful, lategame build to counter tanks. Lethality combined a bit of direct armor penetration with more damage that scaled up based on the level of your target. Again, though, it was only a good idea in theory. So what is so wrong with Lethality?

Well, everything. The entire system. The straight-up nerf to armor penetration levels in the Lethality algorithm meant that the items became worthless to purchase early on, and on top of that, they didn’t scale hard enough with the target’s level to actually be effective against tanks.

That means that they had to be built for the same purpose as before (blowing up squishies) but it was just less effective. Not only that, but Riot seemed to forget about the other type of champions that built armor penetration: ADCs. ADCs built armor penetration early to use against naturally tanky early-game champions as a way to counter their early armor. This was good, because ADCs traditionally have a very weak early game, and this aided in their quest to solve that problem. Well, now that Lethality is here and makes buying affected items worthless in the early game, ADCs took a big hit.

Fortunately, Riot knows, and it plans on administering a fix—and according to rioter Axes, it will hopefully be in the next patch.

The fix isn’t final yet, but for now, the plan is to shift the ratio of direct armor penetration and level-scaling damage. Axes said on Reddit that the goal right now is to take the current ratio, which is 40 percent direct armor penetration and 60 percent level-scaling damage, and reverse it to be 60 percent direct armor penetration and 40 percent level-scaling damage.

This change is a step in the right direction, and no doubt will assist the early game reliability of Lethality items. But is it enough? Perhaps more will need to be done to ensure the new Lethality system is viable, like changing the level-scaling damage to scale instead with the target’s armor, which would improve the item’s functionality against tanks.

Riot's move here is the first step to finding a solution so that ADC mains can finally stop playing Ziggs.