The 5 Best and Most Iconic Speedruns in Gaming History, Ranked

Even if you aren't a speedrunner, these iconic speedruns will have you impressed by what dedicated gamers can accomplish.
The 5 Best and Most Iconic Speedruns in Gaming History, Ranked

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If streaming video games is a niche activity, then speedrunning is a niche activity within that niche activity—one that's growing!

While many gamers prefer to take their time and savor their gaming experiences, some look at their all-time favorite games and wonder how quickly they can fly through them.

Sometimes these high-speed playthroughs—called speedruns—involve the exploiting of glitches to allow players to blink past entire sections of the game. But most of the time, speedruns just demand a lot of practice and endurance through hours and hours of replay.

And while the skill and patience needed to complete a speedrun are impressive, some gamers take those feats to the next level.

For those of you who haven't tried speedrunning yet, you'd be surprised how fun it can be to challenge yourself. But if you aren't sure what speedrunning entails, or how it could possibly be fun or satisfying, then you should check out some legendary speedrun videos.

Here are some of the most iconic speedruns in gaming history that'll get you hyped, especially if you've played these games before.

5. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Any%) in Under 8 Minutes

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is one of the best entries in the entire Zelda franchise, complete with a story that allows players to travel back and forth through time to save Hyrule from the evil Ganon.

Of course, being a game from the N64 era, it's not without its own collection of bugs and glitches—which speedrunner Zudo perfectly exploits to complete this incredible speedrun of the game.

What's really impressive about this run is that while Zudo manages to reach the end credits of the game within eight minutes, you don't actually take control of Link until over three minutes into the game.

From there, Zudo uses something called "arbitrary code execution" to create a series of inputs that trick the game into skipping large portions. What looks like a random series of inputs is actually Zudo tricking the game into running the credits.

Thus, he's able to complete the game and achieve the near-impossible speedrun time of 7:48 in Ocarina of Time.

4. Pokémon Red (Any%) in 1 Hour 45 Minutes

Before an entire generation of people waited patiently for an owl to deliver their invitation to wizarding school, many of us were hoping that a professor would hand us a monster pet to take on an adventure.

Pokémon Red usually takes more than a dozen hours to complete, but Pokéguy managed to complete it in under two hours.

What's really impressive here is that there are no glitches or exploits used for this speedrun. Instead, Pokéguy simply over-levels Pokémon like Nidoking to simply brute force his way through the game.

He also gets lucky on his early trips through tall grass to avoid unnecessary combat, plus some more luck in capturing the right Pokémon at the right time, scoring a world record for the game at the time.

3. Super Mario 64 (120 Stars) in 1 Hour 38 Minutes

Games like Super Mario 64 are popular with speedrunners because they're so well-known and well-loved.

There are numerous speedrunning categories for Super Mario 64, including one for beating the game with any number of stars collected, one for beating the game without any exploits or glitches, and one for beating the game with every star collected.

Getting all 120 stars in Super Mario 64 might've taken you an entire summer to pull off when the game first game out, but speedrunner Cheese managed it in 1 hour and 38 minutes.

The video shows how he uses Mario's jumping and momentum to skip over large portions of each level while still collecting every star and red coin. The amount of practice that goes into a run like this is mind-boggling. The needed endurance is next-level.

2. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Any%) in Under 25 Minutes

There's a near-infinite number of things to do in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, so it's easy to see why people like spending hours and hours exploring every nook and cranny of Hyrule.

However, Player5—who has two of the top five fastest speedruns for Breath of the Wild—clearly prefers to rescue the princess as quickly as possible. He recently registered a time of just 24:15, beating the previous world record by nearly 30 seconds.

Like any massive open-world video game, Breath of the Wild has its share of glitches and exploits. (You'll notice that Link randomly starts flying around the four-minute mark.) But even with bugs, it's an incredible feat to take on Calamity Ganon and save Princess Zelda so quickly.

1. Mike Tyson's Punch-Out (While Blindfolded) in 18 Minutes

Summoning Salt isn't just a speedrunner; he's known for documenting others' attempts at scoring impossible speedrun times.

He iconically decided to take on one of the most difficult games of all time—Mike Tyson's Punch-Out—and ramp up the difficulty even further... by playing with a blindfold and never looking at the screen.

The speedrun video above shows Summoning Salt breaking his own world record with this blindfolded speedrun. There are no exploits or glitches here. It's all muscle memory and practice that takes him through to the world championship against Iron Mike himself.

This game is one of the hardest ever and he completes it in 18:03:54, beating the game in less time than it takes to watch an episode of a TV show. It would be annoying if it wasn't so impressive.