In 2014 the world record for beating Ocarina of Time in the fastest time possible was broken several times. This included the recent New Year run by Jodenstone, who beat the game in an impressive 18 minutes and 7 seconds.

Whenever we’ve posted news about this type of record, we receive a lot of comments that beating the game this fast shouldn’t be possible. For anyone who’s played Ocarina of Time it certainly seems ludicrous, and in fact it wouldn’t be possible without exploiting a series of glitches in the game. Some gamers get upset and consider this cheating when they hear this, so it’s important to point out that there are actually several different world records for Ocarina of Time and other Zelda titles based on the way that the game is played.

Trying to beat a game as quickly as possible is known as speedrunning. For some gamers, it’s a way to add an extra challenge to a game that they may have played dozens of times. In similar ways, some people try to challenge themselves to beat a game with only three hearts or without obtaining certain items. Racing through a game may sound easy, but speedrunners dedicate a lot of time towards finding the fastest path through levels, the most efficient ways to jump, move and attack, and looking for shortcuts to speed up their time. The difference between a new record and a failed attempt may come down to a single mistake, so the game needs to be played flawlessly.

The 18 minute 7 second record for Ocarina of Time falls into a category where speedrunners use glitches or errors in the game’s code to skip through large portions of it, completing as little of the game as possible in order to reach the end. For example, when Jodenstone encounters Queen Gohma, the boss of the first dungeon, he uses a glitch to beat her very quickly. He backs into a corner, waits for Gohma to approach, throws a Deku Nut at her and then backflips, sending Link through the wall. He then slashes through the wall with a Deku Stick until Gohma dies on the other side. Even more remarkably, after Gohma is defeated he performs a series of moves that activates another glitch which takes him straight into collapsing Ganon’s Tower, thereby allowing him to bypass almost the entire game. Learning all of these glitches has taken speedrunners years of trial and error, and when a new one is discovered it can take minutes off the fastest time. Two years ago, at the start of 2013, the fastest run for Ocarina of Time was around 24 minutes.

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Glitching through a game is one thing, but there’s also a category for finishing a game as quickly as possible without using any glitches. The current Ocarina of Time world record of 3 hours, 46 minutes and 8 seconds was set in November last year by enu.

Finally, some gamers race to finish the game as fast as possible while also completing it 100%. This record currently stands at 4 hours, 28 minutes and 22 seconds for Ocarina of Time and was set by ZFG. In order to set a record for completing the game 100%, speedrunners must:

  • Obtain 20 Hearts
  • Learn all songs
  • Collect all 100 Golden Skulltulas
  • Obtain Double Defense and Double Magic
  • Obtain the Gerudo Card and Stone of Agony
  • Obtain the Giant’s Wallet
  • Obtain all items on the Item Select Subscreen (e.g. Din’s Fire, Boomerang)
  • Obtain all equipment on the Equipment Subscreen (e.g. Goron Tunic, Hover Boots, Golden Scale)
  • Obtain all Spiritual Stones and Medallions (e.g. Zora’s Sapphire, Shadow Medallion)
  • Complete the game (reach the credits)

Certain tools can also be used to complete a game faster, including emulators and save states. These are known as tool-assisted speedruns. However these are often not allowed when setting official world records as they’re less about the skill of the gamer. ZeldaSpeedRuns has a strict set of rules that must be followed in order to speedrun a Zelda game in a particular category.

Speedrunning may not be for everyone, but before you dismiss it why not see how quickly you can beat your favorite Zelda game? Rather than not being able to enjoy the game you may just be surprised at how much you learn about it.

  • Jonathan Payne

    I’ve always had a lot of respect for speed runners and what they are capable of doing. I haven’t watched very many, but the ones I have seen are quite impressive in my opinion, and takes a lot of skill to be able to do.

    I have never had any interest in speed running myself, nor do I see myself ever participating, simply because I cannot enjoy the game if I’m trying to beat it as fast as possible. I have, and will always, be a completionist (not sure if spelled correctly) on every game I play, as that is simply the type of person that I am.

    Part of being human is being different. This has to be accepted if we are to survive as a species.

  • Karadom

    Thank you for this post. As a casual fan of speedrunners, I find myself repeating these words every time speedrunning hits mainstream.

  • jp

    i will repeat. speed running with glitch take as much skill as speedrunning without. having less than 30 minutes on a speedrun any% with glitch is hard,

  • Chris

    I hate speedruns that use cheats and glitches, I think they are invalid. Complete the game properly or don’t complete it at all.

    • Mystical ninja ebisu

      you think they never completed it properly before? you think they just jump into a game and can speedrun it immediately? i think you are invalid grow up or don’t comment at all.

      • Chris

        Did I say that? Read my comment again and tell me I typed those words. Of course I don’t think that! I just think speedruns using glitches and cheats are invalid as speedruns. I think speedruns should be finishing the game 100% as fast as possible, not using glitches and cheats.
        Learn to read.

        • Dalan (Odin)

          In all honesty, 100% glitchless runs would be so boring to play, as well as watch. The communities would die out insanely fast because of how easy it would be to get an optimal WR for a game, by adding glitches you introduce the ability to find new glitches that can make the game faster than a previous WR. By doing this you encourage people to keep trying for the new WR and let the communities live forever. OOT speedrunning has been around for years and the only reason it has been is because of the glitches. So it is completely retarded to say what you’re saying.

    • Dalan (Odin)

      I agree! I think that people who play games with glitches are just mad because they can’t do the game fast normally, so they have to cheat to be good. I personally prefer watching 8 hour glitchless runs of OOT way more entertaining than all that frame perfect easy mode crap. Glitches take away my rights as a North American. #killspeedrunners

  • Mike Harding

    I think that you must also pass the trials, because otherwise, there is a Trial Skip.

  • Jon Caleb Dobson

    Let me give you an analogy.

    You’re a marathon runner. You’ve been a marathon runner your whole life, you’ve gotten really, really good at it. Now, you’re bored with Marathons. Marathons aren’t rewarding to you anymore, and you’re looking for something a little more extreme.

    So, you apply for Ninja Warrior (for those of you who don’t know, that’s the TV show where super athletic people do crazy obstacle courses and compete for the best time.) Suddenly, you’re competing in a different category of racing, more extreme and MUCH more difficult than what you were doing before, and then you get really good at it. Finally, you conquer Mount Midoriyama, and you’re the newest Ninja Warrior champion.

    That’s this guy’s story. He got so good at Ocarina of Time, knew it backwards and frontwards, played through the game normally hundreds of times, and probably did his share of normal speed-runs. Then, he got bored. He wanted to find a new way of playing the game he knows and loves, something that would spark his excitement again, provide him a rewarding, refreshing experience and give him a sense of accomplishment. So, he studies hard-to-pull-off glitches, maneuvers that are WAY more challenging than any maneuvers he had to pull off by playing the game normally. He practiced them, realizing that some of these glitches have little success of working even when he does EVERYTHING exactly perfect, and finally, he does the perfect run, and becomes the champion of glitch speed-running.

    The most important thing to remember here is that normal speed-running and glitch speed-running are two different things entirely, just like a normal Marathon is nothing like Ninja Warrior. Sure, it may be breaking the game, but it’s also getting something new and refreshing out of a 15 year old game that he’s played to death over it’s lifetime, and finally wanted to challenge himself in a new way.

    This guy deserves recognition, and he deserves to be a champion. So, kudos to you, Jodenstone.

    • Brendin

      Finally someone who can make sense of this issue.

      This is exactly why there are different categories for speed run times.

      I also think glitches and cheating should be different categories. Plugging in a gameshark and exploiting an in game program error are completely different. Especially in a singe player game. It sucks when people exploit money duplication glitches or wall glitches for online games. Obviously I draw the line in a different spot than someone else would, we all have a different outlook on the topic.

      It’s so cool watching what new glitches people can find in old games, I never try these types of speed runs because I love playing a game front to back as it was intended.

      • Jon Caleb Dobson

        Not only that, but instead of rejecting or being mad about the numerous glitches in the older games (which logical people should be if they come in contact with them during normal gameplay), the Speedrunning culture embraces them and explores them, and doesn’t let glitches get in the way of their love for certain games. Then, they transform them into a competition, cooperating to discover the flaws and seeing who can use those glitches to get the best time.

        I think it’s great, and it’s a fantastic way to not only learn more about the architecture and design of their favorite games, but to play the game in an entirely new and different way.

        And of course it wasn’t intended by the creator, but nobody’s really spiting the creators for it, as it’s their fault these glitches exist in the first place, lol.