Over the weekend a brand new glitch for the Windows Store version of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was revealed. The glitch is incredibly specific, but, pulled-off correctly, it will shave a good three and a half hours off of anyone’s speedrunning time. Honestly, I don’t see why anyone would try to speedrun these open world, and very deliberately time consuming, games, but with a glitch like this the concept seems a bit more reasonable.
Speedrunning Rockstar Games Titles
Rockstar Games is well known for producing huge, sprawling games that can potentially take hundreds of hours to complete. From Grand Theft Auto 3 to Red Dead Redemption 2, a player could spend their lives enjoying the content on offer, as long as they take their time. For example, one of the best memories I have of playing Red Dead Redemption 2 was while doing something that the game doesn’t have any sort of side mission option for. I found a homestead, made a camp, and waited until night. Once the moon had risen, I quietly snuck in to rob the poor people living inside, but there was a complication. A dog showed up, barked, and forced me to murder everyone inside, including the dog.
Once I’d taken everything within the home, which was a single cigarette card, I decided that I had to fix this before someone stumbled upon the bodies. I picked up the man of the house and walked him over to the pig sty in a nearby field. Inside I found an already dead pig, whom I’d hoped would eat the evidence of my crime, and a dead man next to it. Upon further inspection there was a wedding ring, and a disturbing note that really set the scene. Needless to say I dumped the body and rode away, but I’ve never been able to put the night out of my mind.
I’m telling you this because it’s an example of the thousands of stories players have from their time with the catalogue of titles from Rockstar Games. Speedrunning doesn’t allow for this, it requires you to be precise, and do things in a certain order with no room for deviation, and to a degree enjoyment. However, with the news of this glitch, I think I understand now why people speedrun these games.
Discovery and Exploration
My example of playing Red Dead Redemption 2 is exactly why people speedrun it, and every other game from Rockstar Games. There’s a level of discovery and exploration occurring that isn’t based purely in the game’s world. Interactions with missions and side activities are definitely part of speedrunning titles such as Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, but they’re done more in the pursuit of exploiting gaps in the game that haven’t ever been discovered before, parts of code that don’t resolve themselves, or even just walls that a player can clip through.
The newly announced glitch for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas tasks players with activating a vigilante mission at some point in the game’s start, which will make it jump to a random line of code that’s determined by the amount of time that’s passed. Knowing that the glitch does this, speedrunners need to work out how much time should have passed before they activate the glitch. However, there’s much more to the glitch, such as needing a certain amount of money.
With a game like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, there are no guarantees. The streets might be filled with police vehicles, or they could be devoid of them for the next hour. It might be easy to find a drug dealer, kill them, and take all the cash you need. Or you might find that it’s impossible to get all of the money required before the time limit is reached.
It’s here where I find speedrunning anything made by rockstar Games to be ridiculous once again. If a speedrunner can’t meet all the requirements for what is named ‘Arbitrary Jump In Skip’, they need to reset their run. Granted, the new world record for the run is 25:52, as opposed to what it was, 3:52:07, but I can see the run still taking hours to get right. I have the upmost respect for anyone speedrunning games like Grand theft Auto: San Andreas, but I still think the concept is crazy.
Smaller titles such as Mario or Metroid games make sense as a speedrunning pursuit to me. They’re titles I think I could get a decent time in if I practiced. Every year I tune into Awesome Games Done Quick and watch on as players break my favourite games in the name of charity. When it comes down to it these players are still making discoveries in games that are decades old. Even this news about the Windows Store version of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas surprises me, because it’s something that’s new in a game I remember picking up new whilst I was in school (a very long time ago). Speedrunning titles from Rockstar Games might be ridiculous, but it’s also brilliant fun when you hear about the things those speedrunners get up to.
Check out the new world record speedrun for Grand theft Auto: San Andreas below.