Prey 2017 Speedrun


Speedrunner seeker_ found ways to glitch and clip through Prey 2017 to finish it in 7 minutes.



People that good make me want to quit playing video games altogether, lol.


The thing I don’t get is how people even find those gaps in the level geometry. Wow.

I know intellectually that it’s just a different way of having fun in a game. (Which I support, BTW.) Most people will play to “beat” a game; I play to explore the dynamic systems of a game; but these folks apparently could not possibly care less about story or systems or mechanics – all that stuff (on which the developers worked so hard) is just invisible to them.

Instead, they poke at every object in every possible way. They find ways to climb unscalable mountains, to move unmovable objects, to equip unequippable gear, and they test every inch of every seam in the geometry of every level to see if there’s a hole in it – and that is “the game” for them.

There’s a story I tell in my Personality Types and Playstyles article on Gamasutra about Ryan Creighton, who found a way to hack a live in-person social game at the GDC 2011 game conference.

As everyone entered the “Game Rants” session room, a Conference Associate (basically a con gofer) would hand them a single chip from a bag. They were then told that whoever had the most chips by the halfway point of the session would get to do a guest rant of their own.

It should be completely unsurprising that most people followed these rules. They talked to their neighbors, trying whatever verbal tactics might persuade others to hand over their chips. Some of the people in the room were Legendary Game Developers. Who could compete directly against that?

So Ryan didn’t. I’ll let him describe what happened next in his own words.

"I strode back to the entrance, to where the deliciously young and impressionable [Conference Associate] was handing out the coins. In an urgent voice, I said ‘Excuse me! Chris Hecker, one of the panelists, said he only really wants about half the room to get these coins. He sent me to get the bag and run it up to him at the front of the room.’

Then, with no skepticism or suspicion, the CA pleasantly purred ‘sure,’ and handed me the bag."

The whole bag. With all the remaining coins in it.

While gaming luminaries continued to work the room for the coins previously disbursed, the realization that someone had weaseled the bag containing the rest of the coins hit the session moderator… but by that point it was too late; the session had to start.

Panelists took their turns, exhorting their fellow developers to respect the integrity of social games, to appreciate the positive relationships that could form through social gaming interactions.

And then it was the halfway point, and session moderator Eric Zimmerman asked how many coins folks had collected.

There were a few desultory “I’ve got two” or “five.” Jane McGonigal proudly displayed the collection she’d obtained.

At which point Ryan clambered up on his chair, held aloft his massive pile of coins, and declaimed, “I HAVE THE ENTIRE BAG.”

There was disbelief. There were scowls. There were complaints. (“He broke the rules…!” “No, this was specifically described as a ‘social’ game.”) There were demands for proof, at which point Ryan emptied the bag over his head.

And then the room declared that he had cheated. And he wouldn’t get to do a rant. And they awarded the guest rant to Jane McGonigal instead.

But during the rest of the rants, Eric told Ryan he could do a mini-rant as long as he agreed to limit it to 10 words or less. So Ryan agreed. And later, he was allowed to address the audience, bearing in mind the rule that he could only speak ten words or less.

At which point he broke that rule, too.

And the moral of this story is that there are gamers – lots of them – who absolutely delight in being shown a rule-based reward-offering system, and then bypassing every damn one of those rules to claim the prize. I think these are the champion speedrunners. It’s simply their nature to instantly perceive the gaps in any rule-based system, and to take a special glee in perplexing and annoying the gamers who believe with zero doubt that failing to follow every developer-imposed rule is “cheating.”

I might not like these tactical geniuses if I were the operator of a multiplayer online game, which depends on everyone following the rules to ensure fairness of outcomes.

But if I were developing a game, the folks like Ryan Creighton are exactly the people I would want to test my game. Because they are the ones who will find the gaps in the systems that no one else would even imagine looking for.

Basically, if you’re not getting some speedrunners to QA your game (once it’s at a reasonably stable point), you’re missing a vital opportunity to harden your game against what’s going to happen to it the moment it’s actually released to the public.


I know several speedrunners and they all enjoy having fun with games the regular intended way. It’s only on repeated playthroughs when they start routing the game and finding ways to cut corners.

Also, this is not happening in a vacuum. There’s an entire community participating. Not just the watchers, but the other speedrunners too. Most runs are built on things someone else has discovered or improved upon. I think it’s really hard to get the motivation of speedrunning when you’re looking at it form the outside, but I’d say it’s less about showing a middle finger to developers and everyone else by breaking the game, but more about things like the the adrenaline of being the best at a something, the camraderie of figuring out nearly impossible feats and seeing other people execute them, the ability to enjoy your favourite games in a completely new way, and so on.


That’s a really excellent story, FlatFingers. I’m not OCD enough to appreciate that kind of fun–to me, gaming is about creating seamless world, and letting us loose in that sandbox. I’m not sure what kind of fun can be had in breaking the fourth wall, but oh well, I play rogue-likes and rogue-lites, and text-based MUDs, so I can’t really complain about how people choose to have their fun, and how they use or abuse a game’s mechanics.