Watch This Jaw-Dropping Sonic the Hedgehog Speedrun

Have you ever wondered just how quickly the classic 16-bit Sonic the Hedgehog video game can be completed? Speedrunning, the practice of finishing games in the shortest time possible, has revealed that Sonic can be blitzed through at mind boggling pace by master players. In this guide, we‘ll break down exactly what speedrunning is all about, the different types of runs, look at current Sonic speedrun records, and highlight an incredibly impressive speedrun accomplishment by a top player. Let‘s do this faster than Sonic grabs those gold rings!

What Exactly is a Speedrun?

For those unfamiliar, a speedrun involves playing through a video game with the singular focus of completing it as fast as possible. This requires intimately knowing a game‘s mechanics, levels, shortcuts, glitches, and more to devise an optimal route. Speedruns are timed from either the start of a new game or from the beginning of a level, depending on the type of run.

There are a few common types of speedruns:

  • Any% – Complete the game using any means necessary, usually with heavy glitch exploitation
  • 100% – Finish the game having collected all items/objectives
  • Low% – Complete with as low of a percentage as possible
  • Glitchless – No glitch usage allowed

Runs can also be segmented, using saves and loads, or single-segment straight shots. And they may or may not employ tool-assisted inputs.

Now let‘s see how this applies to blazing through Sonic!

Sonic the Speedrun King

As one of gaming‘s fastest icons in Sega‘s answer to Super Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog seems designed for speedrunning. And competitive players have used advanced techniques to conquer Sonic games at breakneck speeds.

Most Sonic runs are Any% affairs focused on simply finishing the game using any necessary tricks or exploits. This means heavy use of strategies like:

  • Spin dashes and momentum conservation
  • Springboard and launchpad sequences
  • Glitch exploits to clip through walls and bypass chunks of levels

Completing Sonic quickly requires precision movement and control of the game‘s notoriously floaty physics. Mastering when to dash versus when to platform is key in these punishing speedruns.

To get an idea of just how quick Sonic can be demolished, check out this leaderboard of Any% speedrun records:

Sonic 10:08:36eandis
Sonic 30:33:02Kirua

As you can see, Sonic 1 has been completed in an astonishing 8 minutes and 36 seconds! We‘re going to highlight an especially exciting speedrun of Sonic 1 shortly. But first, let‘s cover some history.

History of Sonic and Speedrunning

Sonic the Hedgehog first released in 1991 on the Sega Genesis as Sega‘s answer to Nintendo‘s Mario. With a focus on speed and impressive visuals made possible by the system‘s "Blast Processing", Sonic became Sega‘s breakout mascot that still stars in games today.

Meanwhile, players have been competing over record completion times likely since video games began. However, tools like video capture and the rise of sites like YouTube brought speedrunning into the gaming mainstream in the 2000s as a visible competitive scene. And live streaming has only increased interest to make top players minor gaming celebrities.

Breaking Down an Amazing Sonic 1 Speedrun

With history covered, let‘s spotlight one particularly awesome speedrun of the original 16-bit classic by a YouTuber known as Tee-N-Tee. While far from world record pace, Tee-N-Tee‘s run is mighty impressive for the following reasons:

  • Single-segment – Completed straight through with no save/loads
  • Unglitched run – Uses no tool assistance, just raw skill
  • Exemplary use of precise movement and tricky exploits
  • Final time of 13:26 would place 16th on the leaderboards

Despite a few hitches from enemies, Tee-N-Tee demonstrates rock solid precision and consistency from years of Sonic speedrunning experience. All while making one tiny blue hedgehog move at speeds the developers likely never intended!

For comparison, the current Sonic 1 world record holder eandis has set an untouchable time of 8:36 – so Tee-N-Tee is no slouch to have a time so close to the top runners. After this video, Tee-N-Tee has improved further to reach 10th place on the all-time Sonic 1 Any% leaderboards, an amazing accomplishment for any speedrunner.

Following in Sonic‘s Speedy Footsteps

If you watch masterful displays like Tee-N-Tee‘s and feel inspired to become a Sonic speedrunner yourself, awesome! Here are my top tips for getting into it:

  • Study Sonic movement intricacies and level layouts extensively. Knowing level routes is critical.
  • Start practicing Any% runs on easier Sonic games first before attempting unforgiving Sonic 1. Sonic 2 and 3 give more leeway.
  • Work on individual levels incrementally, memorize enemy patterns
  • Watch world record run videos to learn new optimizations
  • Join speedrunning communities to ask questions and find resources

Getting competitive times will likely take hundreds of hours of practice. Prepare for lots frustration! But pushing games to their limits provides awesome challenges.

Now watch Tee-N-Tee‘s impressive Sonic 1 run again with your newfound speedrunning appreciation!

Spin Dashing to the Finish

Thanks for following along on this speedy guide to Sonic running! While once a niche hobby, speedrunning has hit the gaming mainstream with incredible displays of skill like we covered here. Top runners grind away tirelessly to shave mere seconds off times in childhood favorites we thought we knew inside out already!

Hopefully this gives you a newfound appreciation for speedrunning. And maybe you‘ll even be inspired dip your toes in attempting some Sonic speed time trials yourself! Just don‘t get too discouraged by the hours of practice needed before you too can make a tiny blue hedgehog break the sound barrier.

Got any fond memories of blazing through classic Sonic games back in the day? Let me know! And stay tuned for more classic retro gaming guides and stories here soon!

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