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Watch Doom brought to its knees in this speedrun

AGDQ charity speedrun festival shows you how it’s done

artwork of the Doomguy fighting hordes of demons id Software/Bethesda Softworks
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Charity speedrunning festival Awesome Games Done Quick (AGDQ) has already broken through the $500,000 mark as of this afternoon. Yesterday one speedrunner cut a bloody swath through Doom, the franchise reboot from id Software and Bethesda Softworks and Polygon’s game of the year. It was, in a word, mesmerizing.

That’s because, as speedrunner Blood_Thunder said in the opening moments of his run, the game is “extremely broken.” But for a speedrunner, whose goal it is to get from the start screen to the kill screen as quickly as possible, broken games are kind of the best.

In his 54-minute run, Blood_Thunder makes use of a few classic speedrunning exploits. In the clip above, you can see him literally running past many of the enemies starting at the 45-second mark. Speedrunners treat these low-level mobs like orange road cones. The fewer of them you touch, the faster your time.

Then things start to get weird.

At the 1:14 mark, Blood_Thunder starts trying to use a glitch in the game’s signature “glory kill” animation to warp through a door. He’s able to do this because his rig is set up to run the game at a blistering 200 frames per second. His high fps gives him more wiggle room to make it happen.

These are the kinds of technical tradeoffs that hardcore speedrunners make on a daily basis.

At the 2:53 mark, he takes advantage of Mars’ extremely low gravity to jump all the way across the level. While he’s out of bounds he watches the level itself fly by while offering narration like a demented tour guide. It’s amazing.

His final time, just over 54 minutes, is well short of the current world record of 38:54. But this wasn’t about breaking records. This was about showing off, and inviting the audience to join in the fun of bringing Doom to its knees.

You can learn more about running with Blood_Thunder at the Speed Demos Archive. Watch the entire run when it’s posted on Reddit. For more on AGDQ, check out our list of tonight’s must-watch runs.

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