SpongeBob Speedrunners Are Smudging Discs To Improve Times
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom speedrunners have discovered smudging the disc can help them shave a few seconds of their time.
Speedrunning is serious business, and even games that are decades old have communities dedicated to discovering ways that they can be completed faster. That includes a group of speedrunners still playing SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom. 18 years on from its release, a rather unorthodox way of shaving some time off of the game’s speedrun times has been discovered.
Purposefully damaging the disc. Loopholes and tweaks, whether frowned upon or not, are usually discovered and implemented on-screen. In this instance, a well-placed smudge on the SpongeBob disc allows something called lag clipping to become more reliable. Simply put, lag clipping is the process of repeatedly pausing and unpausing a game so quickly that it can’t keep up and the player can glitch through something as it tries to catch up.
As explained by speedrunner SHiFT in the video below, in SpongeBob’s case, the game struggles to switch between the game’s music and the pause menu music. When played on the right console, in this case the original Xbox, it slows the game down enough for lag clips to happen in four specific places. It is often up to chance whether it is successful or not, but damaging the disc correctly seems to significantly increase the odds of it happening.
Despite confirming it works, SHiFT is very much against the smudge method. Other than bragging rights and self-satisfaction, one of the main aims of a speedrunner is to preserve a game. Damaging a disc on purpose isn’t going to do that. If the smudge or scratch is off by even a millimeter or two, then that almost 20-year-old copy of SpongeBob could be rendered unplayable.
Some of the more popular games to speedrun feature everyone’s favorite plumber, Mario. In particular, Super Mario Bros, and Super Mario 64. No disc smudging necessary. However, when it comes to the former, one of the game’s best speedrunners believes the community has almost reached a point where its record can never be broken. The unassisted world record is closing in on the tool-assisted record. Once those two records are equal, there will be nothing else to do.
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Josh has been gaming for as long as he can remember. That love began with a mild childhood addiction to the Sega Genesis, or Mega Drive since he lives in the UK. Back then, Sonic 2 quickly became his favorite game and as you might have guessed from his picture, the franchise has remained close to his heart ever since. Nowadays, he splits his time between his PS4 and his Switch and spends far too much time playing Fortnite. If you’re a fan of gaming, wrestling, and soccer, give him a follow on Twitter @BristolBeadz.
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