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Sonic Speedrunners Think They’ve Got The Record About As Low As It’s Going To Get

With retro titles now being speedran for almost 30 years, we're reaching the human limit of what's possible. There are only so many glitches to exploit, and there are only so many seconds to be saved in a run. We're not machines, and one day, we'll reach the limit of how fast we can beat a game.

For the original Sonic the Hedgehog on Mega Drive, that time could be fast approaching. A new record has been set, with speedrunner Eandis bagging a time of 8:55 – the first sub-nine minute run. However, as exciting as this is, many believe this is the last minute barrier we'll see broken in the category, as sub-eight minutes would require a whole new skip to be discovered.

A post on r/speedrunning titled "The Final Sonic 1 Minute Barrier Has Been Broken After 30 Years" might seem a bit presumptuous at first. After all, the 8:55 time comes only hours after the previous record of 9:01 was set, which is a pretty impressive time save for a game that's so old. Yet as we can see in the run for ourselves, everything looks pretty well optimized.

Of course, this doesn't mean that 8:55 is the best possible time overall. It's still likely that we'll see more records in the eight-minute region, just not anything less than that barring a huge discovery.

When speedruns approach the end of what is humanly possible, we often see fans release a TAS, a tool assisted speedrun. By getting a bot to pull off the inputs, it gives us a look at what the fastest time ever could be, even if it's unlikely that a human player could pull it off. At the time of writing, however, all the TAS videos are pretty old, and don't give us a faster time than the actual runners.

It remains to be seen how low the record can go. No doubt other runners are already vying for the top spot, so this might not be the record for long.

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