Sometimes, game developers like to put their creative eggs all in one basket. A good example is Rockstar Games. Despite releasing other successful series, the game developer is famous for Grand Theft Audio (GTA). The action-adventure game has over a dozen titles, and pretty much all of them have been very well-received by critics and gamers alike.
San Andreas, with the open-world concept, is among the popular games in the series and, without a doubt, one of the best video games ever made. Since the game includes a lot of exploration and customizable elements as well as tricks and glitches, it’s become popular within the speedrunning community. Come with us as we examine one of the most impressive San Andreas speed runs ever.
What is a Speedrun, and Why Do One?
Most players tend to play games as a form of casual enjoyment, not really observing how much time they’re taking. However, this is not the case within the speedrunning scene. The game’s aim is to complete objectives or the entire game as quickly as possible. Unsurprisingly, this takes an awful lot of dedication, skill, and practice. But it also offers a huge sense of accomplishment for the most competitive gamers who love to challenge themselves.
Being part of the community is also a big benefit for players. The sense of camaraderie co-existing with the competitive environment is hard to match, especially within the gaming world. These days, gamers tend to watch speedruns on Twitch or YouTube and interact with the players as they go. Sharing tips and morale is also common. Various levels of completion are allowed depending on the type of speedrun. This often involves the use of exploitable glitches to shorten the run. Typically, fast-paced games tend to be more popular. Sandbox-style games, as is the case with San Andreas speedruns, can be an interesting choice.
What Restrictions Do Speedruns Have?
Gamers are an inventive bunch and, as such, have come up with several ways to do a speedrun. Each type comes with its own challenges. These usually involve adding restrictions on the gameplay. This could be using or forbidding glitches and including or excluding optional upgrades and sidequests. While the San Andreas speedrun in question is any% type of run, let’s look at other speedrunning terms below.
|Allows for any percentage of completion of optional extras, like sidequests, items, and upgrades. The main aim is to complete the game quickly.
|The objective is to obtain as few optional items and upgrades as possible while still completing the game in as short a time as possible. Glitches are generally allowed.
|Completing the game fully, including everything that’s optional.
|Completing the game in one segment without pausing, saving, or loading at a later date.
|Completing the game without dying, even once. Generally, if the game is completed in a single segment, this is the goal.
|Using any bug or glitch to gain an advantage is strictly forbidden.
|The player is blindfolded and can’t see what they’re doing.
|In Game Time, where the in-game timer is used instead of a real-life timer.
|Real Time Attack, where a real-life timer is used to count time rather than an in-game timer.
|Tool-assisted or non-tool-assisted. Tools often include emulators, which give options like unlimited savestates and changing the pace of the game. This can give a big advantage to the player.
How do the Different Speedruns Compare?
It’s safe to say that undertaking any type of speedrun takes a lot of thought. None of them are easy in any sense. If you want to do a speedrun competitively, you must put several into the title. Knowing every aspect of the game inside-out and developing muscle memory for the maneuvers you must pull off are critical for completing a run successfully.
Naturally, a blindfolded run is among the most difficult. Gamers must be so familiar with the game as to remain competitive without even looking. Adding glitchless and 100% or low% completion to this would likely make one of the most challenging runs. These types are extremely difficult, even without being blindfolded. Generally, any% runs are among the most forgiving, as you’re allowed to obtain any or all optional extras if they give you an advantage. Considering San Andreas speedruns, glitches are basically necessary to obtain the best scores. Depending on the title, low% is very challenging. You often have to rely on optional upgrades to strengthen your character.
When did People Start Doing Speedruns?
Almost as soon as video games hit the stores, speedrunners came to fruition. The earliest example of a title entirely dedicated to this agile objective is Drag Race, but this wasn’t exactly competitive speedrunning as we now know it. The 1990s arrival of Doom upped the ante since an in-game timer debuted with this title. This allowed an easy comparison between players’ scores and is often credited as being the era where speedrunning took off. Nowadays, we have emulators, streaming platforms, and more user-friendly and advanced recording technology. As such, speedrunning has evolved into a burgeoning online community, and the majority of gamers are at least familiar with its existence.
GTA San Andreas Speedrun: A Closer Look
Moving away from the basics, it’s time to dig into this San Andreas speedrun conducted by “RealKev3n’, and see what makes it stand out from the rest.
GTA San Andreas Speedrun: Highlights
- The world record at the time
- Makes use of a complicated glitch to skip to the final mission
- The glitch only works in the Windows remastered edition
- Took 2 years for someone to beat his record
- The normal game usually takes around 30 hours to complete
Now, this was the former world record and has since been beaten. However, it’s still a ridiculously impressive time considering an average run-through of the game takes around 30 hours. Before the remastered version came out, a competitive speedrun for the title usually took around 3 hours. So, this new glitch is certifiably crazy.
Taking advantage of the glitch is invariably difficult and requires executing a number of complicated and precise perfectly. Essentially, the glitch exploits a bug in the game’s code. If you have the in-game timer set at a very specific variable, you can skip to any mission. But, in the case of speedruns, the goal is, of course, the final mission. And you need to complete some steps to achieve this. These often involve avoiding certain gameplay elements which can undesirably update the variable. You can see the result of pulling off the glitch at around 8 minutes and 40 seconds.
Just as impressive as the run itself is the fact it remained the world record for a good 2 years. Unless you’ve literally reached the limits of what’s humanly possible, it’s very rare for a world record to stick around this long. The new world record by “PeeBee” is only 5 seconds shorter than the previous, although those 5 inconspicuous seconds surely feel like a lifetime to RealKev3n.
The History of GTA San Andreas
Being the 5th title in the main GTA series, San Andreas hit the shelves in 2004. The game was available for the PS2 and Xbox, like Vice City and GTA III, but also on the Xbox 360. The game took open-world exploration to the next level, giving players the freedom to play the game however they desire. The story is also fairly poignant, revolving around “CJ,” a former gang member who returned to his hometown in San Andreas to figure out how and why his mother was murdered. This focus on gang culture is a significant change to the series, which traditionally centered on mafia-like organizations. San Andreas set a standard for both the GTA series and video games as a whole, and many elements introduced here would see improvements in later titles.
San Andreas is an incredibly fun game to play, for the casual gamer but also for the competitive player. While not quite as linear or fast-paced as many popular speedrun choices, the explorable environment adds its own challenges and intrigue to a speedrun. The remastered version added even more insanity to the speedrunning tactics. It’s possible to skip the entire game by taking advantage of a lengthy glitch process. This has resulted in some incredibly swift runs hitting the internet, such as the former record-beating San Andreas speedrun by RealKev3n. Only time will tell if he manages to claw back the top spot for the title.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Dmitriy Prayzel/Shutterstock.com.