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A speedrunning great returns to claim a new Zelda world record

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Narcissa Wright sets Breath of the Wild record, if only for a day

Nintendo via Polygon

To speedrunning newcomers, Narcissa Wright may be known best as a legend of the scene. But those who have followed it for years know her as a champion streamer, one who held a world record time for running The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. After time away, she’s returned to speedrun the latest Zelda game, and this weekend, she did so in record fashion.

Wright finished all of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s main quests in just three hours, 43 minutes and 32 seconds, besting the time set by streamer Demoon9 just over a week earlier. This record came after several weeks of playing through the game at a much slower pace.

Yet speedrun records are always in flux. Just one day after Wright streamed her quick playthrough, a streamer known as atz snatched the top spot from her.

“The time was already beaten by a minute and a half, but that doesn't surprise me,” Wright told Polygon. “Every run thus far has had large mistakes. It shouldn't be long before someone gets under 3 hours and 40 minutes. The time could be pushed really far.”

A look at the Breath of the Wild board on Speedrun.com hints at just how often players are breaking and re-breaking each others’ records. (Wright does not log her playtimes on the website.) That’s not uncommon with new or popular games, especially ones as big as Breath of the Wild.

Even though she’s been knocked down the rankings, Wright’s return to speedrunning is something worth celebrating. After gaining prominence in the Super Smash Bros. community and as the fastest Ocarina of Time player, she retired from the scene to focus on hand issues developed from playing hours of Smash.

“If I play too long, it hurts a lot, and it hurts for a long time afterward,” she told Kotaku in January 2016. “It’s been a huge problem.”

She later deleted her Twitch channel entirely, however, due to what she said was rampant abuse from commenters after announcing her gender transition. She returned online several months later, and before Breath of the Wild’s release in March, she decided to try speedrunning once more. She continues to struggle with hand pain, which in part accounts for the steady build toward properly speedrunning the game.

“Breath of the Wild is a great game to run, although mashing through all the dialogue text boxes gets annoying,” she told Polygon. “It actually starts to cause pain in my right hand, because to get past all the text quickly you really need to really hammer the B button.”

Wright told us that next up on the agenda is trying to speedrun the game again once its hard mode downloadable content is released later this year. Keep an eye out for this veteran as the year wears on — she could end up back on top of the leaderboards.