Content warning: icy uses some colorful and potentially offensive language in portions of the video.
In a wildly entertaining speedrun, Portal runner icy just decimated the world record for the game, in the category where you beat the entire adventure without once going through a portal. He netted a cool 47:51, after nailing an early trick in 5 minutes that he was prepared to spend upwards of 45 minutes attempting.
If you've played the game, you'll know how bananas the whole category is: much of the intended gameplay involves using the portal gun to shoot holes in the level geometry—making a portal that allows you to progress.
Much of the run rests on a massive trick he pulls off early on, but there are a number of glitches he used throughout, including a save glitch that was recently discovered—which allows him to trick the game into letting him on a high ledge early on. Watching the run is wild: in a game that was already constructed to be sliced up by the player, he breaks through the geometry, finding tiny seams and somehow, slipping through. It's like watching a quantum mechanical eel beat Portal.
I reached out to him by email and asked him how he pulled off the record.
What made you want to run Portal in the first place?
I started playing Portal so long ago that I honestly cannot remember why I started. I think I began speedrunning the inbounds category in the summer of 2014 after my friend Noircat showed me the Portal Done Inbounds segmented speedrun by Sourceruns. Now I have around 1300 hours in the video game, two mice with broken scroll wheels, and wrists that I need to go to the doctor for.
Tell me a bit about the run itself—how did you decide to run it, how did you know you could destroy the record, and how many hours do you think it took of practice to get that WR?
This speedrun was thought to be impossible (at least for non-TAS) [Tool-Assisted-Speedrun] for the longest time until a new saveglitch method was found that allowed us to saveglitch in the vault. Then around a month ago, Sunsetbear found a route which allows us to boost to the end of the map using the radio.
In 02 [the second stage/room of the game], I got insanely lucky to get the doorlaunch onto the window sill fairly quickly, as it is generally known as a segmented only route. I was fully prepared to spend 45 minutes attempting it, but managed to get it in less than 5 minutes!
Some Portal speedrunners, namely Imanex and Nan0kub, had been working on a segmented speedrun of this for a couple weeks so on a whim I decided to give it a shot, which was a horrible mistake. I was in a discord call with my friend Wilson, and since we knew that it was possible theoretically, I decided to give it a shot for the challenge of testing my game knowledge. I didn't even realize that I would have to do the trick in chamber 02, but I got it eventually. I got stuck on the map escape_00 about four hours in and had to give up though.
The next day I completed it in around 2 hours, 25 minutes. After some rerouting for camera launches that I wasn't doing previously, I was able to get this run. I knew that I could get WR simply because it had never been done in a single sitting before.
It probably took around 8 hours of routing and running to get this time, but I was already pretty good at the video game before hand since I've played it so much.
On Reddit, a lot of folks seemed shocked that this wasn't a TAS run. Just how hard are the strats here?
Most of the routes aren't super difficult but are simply random because prop physics just does't work in the video game. The maps which were most difficult regardless of prop luck in order are chamber 02, due to the doorlaunch onto the window sill, chamber 18, chamber 19, and escape_00.
So, this run is Portal, but avoiding every single portal. There's a lot of obvious humor in that, and you seem to enjoy joking around on-stream. Let me ask, how important is it to be playful/funny in speedrunning?
Having fun with friends and being funny is the most enjoyable aspect of speedrunning for me. Getting serious about achieving better times and focusing on going fast is fun too, but the side-effect is self-loathing so I stopped doing that.
Having fun with friends and being funny is the most enjoyable aspect of speedrunning for me.
On that note, I noticed that 'fuck my ass' is your phrase of choice when something goes wrong. And you seem to want to stop saying it, which makes it even funnier. Any fun backstory there?
It's my friend Wilson's habit to yell "fuck my ass" as loud as he can whenever he messes up, and since it's such an infectious phrase, I started saying it. I realized that it might not be Kotaku approved though so I wanted to not say it.
I'd like to mention that the current WRs for Portal are 7:27 by CantEven and 10:58 by BiiWiX for the no out of bounds category. One last second to shoutout my man Gonzo_big-cut.png for being epic. Thanks. :^)