10 Weirdest Speedrun Categories Ever

Let us know if there's any more really silly ones.

weirdest video game speedruns

Speedrunning is a competition and culture that’s been around for decades now, with runners and enthusiasts competing to see who can complete games in the quickest amount of time possible. Typically, speedrunning comes in a couple main flavors, with runners competing in Any% runs, where the goal is to complete the game quickly above all else, or 100% runs, where you have to do everything as fast as possible. Other categories stipulate on the use of glitches and exploits while running to achieve different challenges and unique runs.

While those are the base variants that can be found on nearly every speedrunning game, runners and members of the community have become incredibly creative when it comes to designing and crafting some of the more ridiculous and daft speedruns out there. Sometimes, a run is ridiculous because of the constraints players have created, while other runs are ludicrous because of the mechanics of the game itself. With that in mind, here are some of the silliest speedrun categories and records we’ve managed to find.

 

1. Low%

Link
Link

Probably the closest to a “normal” speedrun, Low% still requires that players try to complete a game in the fastest time possible, but with the added stipulation that they need to obtain the fewest items/weapons/tools as possible. Mainly paired with traditional Legend of Zelda titles, where Link is given lots of mission critical items over the course of the game, Low% speedruns ask players how many of those weapons can they skip entirely while still trying to be as fast as possible.

What makes Low% such a ridiculous yet compelling speedrun category is the importance of skipping items over time. While you’re still trying to get the best time, it’s the amount of items that takes priority on leaderboards. It doesn’t matter if a run is 20 hours longer than the previous fastest, so long as you acquire less items along the way. No run perhaps exemplifies this better than the Low% run of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, where you can exploit a glitch in Link’s Rupee obtaining idle animation to glitch through walls, skipping various keys and items. The catch? Link ends up staring at Rupees for 17 hours.

 

2. Super Mario 64 16 Star DDR Speedrun

Super Mario 64 Best Platformer Games

From the sort of reasonable if a little strange category of speedrunning to a run that’s absolutely bonkers and deserves to be preserved in a video game Hall of Fame somewhere, we have the speedrun from PeekingBoo. It’s a 16 star speedrun for Super Mario 64, one of the most popular categories for that particular game, but with the added wrinkle that for every star collected, PeekingBoo then has to perform a Super Mario World 11-exit run (any% glitchless, basically). If that’s not silly enough for you, the whole thing is also performed on a Dance Dance Revolution machine.

Not pads. That would be too easy. A full blown machine from an arcade. It’s peak daftness and we love it.

Peripherals have long been a part of the speed/challenge-running community, with many Soulslike players trying to see how many bosses or games they can beat using a Guitar Hero controller or something. This, however, feels like a new level of dedication, especially because it requires a massive DDR machine, customized to run other games, and the skill to be able to efficiently run two games during one challenge. Also, just the sheer endurance required to use a DDR machine for over 4 hours straight. Golf claps all round for this one.

 

3. Portal Airboat%

Portal and its sequel is perhaps one of the most exciting games to speedrun, largely because of its titular mechanic. Valve used the game’s Portal Gun to create a variety of brain-bending puzzles, while Portal’s physics and momentum based movement make speedrunning the game a true test of dexterity, and an absolute delight to watch. Naturally though, this led to a bunch of runners deciding to utilize precisely none of that, instead breaking Portal as much as possible to create a run category that’s barely recognisable as the same game.

Known as Airboat%, this Portal speedrunning category makes use of the in-game cheat commands in order to spawn in a Half-Life 2 airboat. By entering and exiting the boat (or boats, as the case often is), you can glitch through a lot of the game’s walls and skip entire puzzles, allowing you to finish the entire game in less than twenty minutes. The run was first conceived back in 2017 by streamer 097Aceofspades, but in the years since, it’s been refined and improved on even further.

 

4. Pokémon Yellow Ash%

Pokemon
Pokemon

Pokémon and challenge runs seem to go hand in hand for some reason. The most popular run of this kind is the Nuzlocke run, which acts as a higher difficulty run of sorts and has many rules, such as forcing players to only catch the first Pokémon they encounter in a new area, naming every Pokémon you catch, and if a Pokémon faints, it’s dead. It’s a brutal yet popular category, but there’s another one more catered towards speedrunning that’s ridiculous in other ways: Ash%.

Taking its name from the protagonist of the beloved anime series, Ash% speedruns are a category of Pokémon Yellow speedrunning which forces players to essentially follow the exact steps that Ash took during the anime. You need to catch the same Pokémon in the same order (including the 29 Tauros), you must have Pikachu in your party at all times, and you need to release Butterfree and Primeape at specific times during the run. It’s an RNG dependent run, but that hasn’t stopped a few people from running it over the years.

 

5. Ocarina Of Time Milk All Of The Cows Speedrun

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is arguably one of the most popular speedrunning games of all time, perhaps second only to Super Mario 64, and with that level of notoriety comes a wide array of meme categories. There’s the “Go Home And Die%”, which is about being the fastest to kill yourself in your own home, or “Dank%”, which is about being the fastest to use Ocarina Items while holding a burning stick, which makes it look like Link is blazing that dank herb. You get me? The Chronic. I’m cool.

However, we’re going to focus on a category that’s a lot more wholesome and fun for the family, which is the “Milk All The Cows%” category. The rules are simple, as players simply need to be the fastest to obtain Epona’s Song, then subsequently milk all 16 cows that can be found throughout the game, including the one back at Link’s house. Run categories like this are interesting, because instead of tasking players to memorize the locations of mission critical items, they have to use their knowledge to do the most arbitrary and silly challenge possible. It’s great.

 

6. Sex%

Baldur's Gate 3
Baldur’s Gate 3

From wholesome to just holes being filled (what happened to “fun for the family?”), there’s no shortage of games that allow players to get nasty with the various NPCs and party members you can encounter. Because we’re a competitive sort though, those elements naturally led to leaderboards based around who could finish first. Literally. Well, literally in a virtual sense. You get the joke, hopefully.

The Sex% speedrunning category as a meme has been around since about 2017, with a content creator and speedrunner by the beautiful name of “Tomatoanus” uploading the first Sex% speedrun of Fallout 4. Since then, the category has found a home with other Fallout games, Cyberpunk 2077 and, most notably, Baldur’s Gate 3. Widely considered to be the horniest game ever made, we probably shouldn’t be surprised that people were able to reach climax in just two minutes from starting the game (before Larian made all the characters less horny, boo).

 

7. Super Mario Odyssey Nipple%

Super Mario Odyssey
Super Mario Odyssey

From a category based entirely around jumping the bones of some characters, to a category all about seeing the nips of the most iconic character in gaming. Pretty much any Super Mario game is a haven for speedrunners, but Super Mario Odyssey’s mechanics, abilities and open-ended level design in particular have made it a speedrunner’s dream in the years since the game launched.

The two usual categories of speedrunning, Any% and 100%, are well represented in Super Mario Odyssey, but there’s a large selection of category extensions listed on Speedrun.com too. Some are pretty straightforward, like “Damageless”, while “Minimum Captures Any%” functions like a Low% speedrun. Then you get runs like Nipple%, which is about who can buy the Boxer Shorts outfit for Mario from the in-game item shop the fastest. Get those nips out for the lads, eh?

 

8. Spider: Rite Of The Shrouded Moon 100% No Time Manipulation

Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon
Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon

As much as speedrunning is all about completing games as fast as possible, there’s a certain sense of sick curiosity that comes with seeing how long a speedrun can go. Usually exemplified by the 100% categories, there are a certain few games that truly push the limits of patience and sanity when players attempt to speedrun them. Many often cite the ridiculous Baten Kaitos 100% run, which takes two weeks of in-game time to complete, but Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon goes one step further.

You see, Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon is a smart game in the sense that it uses local weather and the current location of the lunar cycle to affect the events, puzzles and even enemies that spawn within the game. You can manipulate the weather and time in-game in order to progress, but the “No Time Manipulation” category makes that a no-go. You have to wait for each phase of the moon to occur in real time. There’s only been one run recorded for this category on Speedrun.com, and it clocks in at over 22 days.

The runner, Snowfats, has spoken on the Speedrun.com forums about the technical side of the run, stating that for the most part, the No Time Manipulation run essentially works out as a segmented speedrun, with the majority of time taken up by waiting for next stage in the lunar cycle. In Snowfats’ own words: “This is nowhere near as impressive as sitting down and playing a game for several weeks straight as the time alone implies, but is nonetheless the fastest I was able to complete the game given the month and year I ran it during.”

 

9. Two Worlds Any%

Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon is a perfect example of how a speedrun can be ridiculously long because of the systems involved, but there’s a few examples of how oversights and exploits can turn what would be a 100 hour game into a brief couple of minutes. Bethesda RPGs in particular like Fallout and The Elder Scrolls have been routed to an exact science, allowing the main game to be completed in a matter of minutes, but the biggest timeskip comes from the obscure Xbox 360 RPG Two Worlds.

An Any% run that was famously shown off at Games Done Quick, Two Worlds will take place around 50 hours+ to complete the main quest and the majority of the side content, but thanks to one oversight, you can finish the game in less than two minutes.

After leaving the area where you start the game, you can find the main villain chilling out next to a village, and while he’d be impossible to kill right now, it’s possible to get him to aggro the entire village, who’ll proceed to whoop him everywhere. Once he goes down, the credits roll, and you’ll have finished the whole game in less time than it would take for your kettle to boil.

 

10. Refunct Dog%

Refunct
Refunct

Since the popularity of Twitter accounts like “Can You Pet The Dog?”, there have been a few speedrun categories in established games that focus on petting all of the dogs you can find. Breath of the Wild in particular has a speedrun category all about finding every single fluffy canine friend and giving them a treat (so they can lead you to some treasure), but Refunct has everyone beat. Why have virtual dogs when you speedrun with an actual dog instead?

For the uninitiated, Refunct is a small, parkour focused game built for speedrunners, with speedruns coming in at under 3 minutes. Because of the simplistic nature of the game, Speedrun.com hosts a few category extensions designed to test the game’s limits, including One Handed, No Camera Movement or holding the Crouch button the entire time. Then, there’s Dog%, where you have to beat the game as fast as possible while you have a real dog sitting in your lap. If the dog gets up at any point during the run, it’s game over.

Yes, it’s the cutest speedrunning category ever made, and no, I doubt Crufts will add it as a new show category.

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