The speedrunning community has been set alight by a new and rather unusual challenge—getting banned from online children’s game Club Penguin.
Despite not being a traditional platformer or story-based game, Club Penguin has actually had a speedrunning community for over a year with players mostly attempting to obtain 500 coins in the shortest time possible.
Over the past two days, however, players have designed a whole new category with one of the shortest run times imaginable—getting banned.
The run is actually more complicated than it sounds. Players must start from a new browser window with a clear clipboard, set up an account, verify it, and then swear in the chat room in order to get banned. Fast reactions are required to type all of the web addresses manually and jump through all of the hoops, including a Captcha code. We’ve all messed those up before, imagine trying to do them at speed.
The run does, unfortunately, also include some randomness. Verification requires clicking an email link—on an email account that must be created as part of the run—and how long it takes that email to come through varies from run to run.
The current world record stands at 37.37 seconds. With the record changing numerous times in the last two days, and 41 attempts in that time on Speedrun.com, that could well have changed by the time you read this. Runners are actively working on ways to reduce the time, either through the choice of ban word or reducing the time of the verification email. That puts humans at about eight seconds behind a computer, with the current best tool-assisted run (TAR) clocking in at 29.1 seconds.
Though r/Speedrun has helped the phenomenon soar in popular, the challenge actually originated in a different subreddit. In a classic case of “of course this exists on the internet” the runs first came from r/BannedFromClubPenguin, a community dedicated to funny and inventive ways to get removed from the site. The first run was posted there by user “Buttonwalls” clocking in at one minute 54 seconds, before being shared to the 14 million strong audience of r/Videos and garnering over 23,000 points.
While Club Penguin will disappear in its current form in just over a month, this bizarre and unorthodox speedrunning craze ensures it will live on in internet lore forever. For those fancying the challenge, you better get practicing. Club Penguin closes in exactly five weeks—that’s only time for around 500,000 run attempts.