The Art of Any% Speedrunning: A Deep Dive

For countless gaming enthusiasts around the world, speedrunning captures the thrill of mastering beloved video games and pushing their skills to the very limit. Any% runs represent the purest form of speedrunning – completing games as fast as possible by any means necessary. Let‘s dive deep into the world of any%!

Defining Any%

As an avid gamer and speedrunning fan, I love the creativity and "no holds barred" nature of any% categories. The rules are simple: get to the end of the game however you can, as fast as possible.

Any% emerged organically in the 1990s as players started competing to set fastest completion times. It became an official speedrun category focused on unrestricted gameplay. As speedrunner Clint Stevens puts it, "the percent doesn‘t matter, all that matters is how fast can you beat the game?"

Distinct Categories

While any% is all about pure speed, other common speedrun categories provide different creative challenges:

  • 100% – Complete all content as fast as possible
  • Low% – Finish the game with the minimum content possible
  • Glitchless – No major glitches or exploits allowed
  • Warpless – No warping or teleports allowed

The variety keeps speedrunning exciting for both runners and fans. The same game can be strategized and optimized in very different ways across categories.

History & Evolution

In the early days, most speedrun records were any% by default – players were just competing for the fastest overall times. As the scene grew more organized and competitive, any% became codified as a category focused on exploiting sequence breaks and glitches.

New tricks are still being discovered today that completely transform any% run strategies. For example, wrong warps in Ocarina of Time have cut times down from over 4 hours originally to under 20 minutes now! Often new console releases like PS5 allow further optimization as well.

Notable Any% Runs

Some of the most iconic any% runs that demonstrate route optimization and technical mastery include:

Super Metroid

Original Record 1:41:53 (1994)
Current Record 41:31 (2022)

Sequence breaks like mockingbird allow large portions of the game to be skipped.

Elden Ring

Original Record 59:38 (2022)
Current Record 13:58 (2022)

Wrong warps and out of bounds clips used to reach the end incredibly fast.


Original Record 16:32 (2007)
Current Record 5:50 (2022)

Precise portal placement and momentum conservation shave off seconds.

These records showcase the dedication and creativity of speedrunners – and how far optimization can be pushed!

Controversies Around Cheating

Due to the competitive nature of being the absolute best, there have been some controversies around cheating allegations in speedrunning. This highlights the need for verification and legitimacy standards.

Most famously, Dream had his impossibly fast 16 minute Minecraft run invalidated after moderators found he had modified the game code. Situations like this underscore how seriously the speedrunning community takes upholding integrity.

Skills and Mindset

What does it take to compete at the top level? Here are some of the abilities and traits shared by expert-level speedrunners:

  • Deep game knowledge and mechanics mastery
  • Pattern recognition and route planning skills
  • Fast reaction time and precise control
  • Patient grinding to optimize every second
  • Ability to perform under pressure
  • Creative problem-solving using glitches
  • Technical skills like code injection or frame counting
  • Meticulous attention to detail

The commitment and consistency needed is immense – but pays off in achieving those incredible record times!


To me, any% speedrunning represents the pinnacle of game mastery and optimization creativity. I love following along as iconic records get shattered again and again thanks to new tricks and strategies. It‘s always exciting to see a new route or glitch completely transform a run.

The speedrunning community has made mastering favorite games into a widely loved spectator sport. While the records seem unreal, they represent the hard-won skills and perseverance of expert gamers. Any% runs distill these passions down into their purest form – completing games with lightning fast skill, creativity, and dedication.

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