World record ‘Spelunky’ speedrun exposed as fake

Plumbing new depths

A world-record speedrun completion of developer Mossmouth’s cult favourite indie game Spelunky has been exposed as a fraud, after standing for almost a decade.

For the unfamiliar, Spelunky is a beloved but notoriously difficult platformer designed by Derek Yu, which challenges players to accumulate treasure while mining ever deeper into a cave with randomised layouts to navigate and numerous hazards to avoid. First released in 2008, it went on to become a major success, seeing further releases on just about every platform of the last thirteen years and spawning a direct sequel in 2020.

Over eight years ago, BarryMode, a then-unknown speedrunner – someone who aims to complete video games as swiftly as possible – set a staggering record of clearing the classic version of Spelunky in an astounding two minutes, thirty seconds. It’s a record that challengers have unsuccessfully attempted to beat, or at least replicate, ever since – but it now appears the reason they have been unable to is that BarryMode’s original run was achieved using cheats.

Advertisement

As spotted by PC Gamer, YouTuber XanaGear has done a deep dive on BarryMode’s run, revealing how suspicions amongst the Spelunky player base have been escalating since February 2021, when it was noticed that a background tile was missing from the blindingly fast run.

In and of itself, a missing tile wouldn’t enable a cheat, but XanaGear points out that it was likely a side effect of a mod used by BarryMode. It also appears the record-setting run made use of edited saves, and spliced together footage, which allowed the player to present the seemingly flawless run through the game.

Speaking to Waypoint, BarryMode said “I do apologize for that deception. It was bad character and I can admit that.”

The speedrunner’s video of their fraudulent record has been removed from YouTube, although some re-uploads remain on the site at time of writing. The actual record now appears to stand with a runner known as Groomp, with a time of two minutes, forty seconds.

“This is definitely the most major cheating situation I’ve heard of in Spelunky speedrunning. Actually, it’s the only one I’m really aware of, off the top of my head!” Spelunky creator Yu told Waypoint, in relation to BarryMode’s cheat being uncovered.

Advertisement

Yu added that speedruns are “part of the game’s history”, and that authentic speedrunners “deserve proper credit for being the first to do something in the game.”

Elsewhere, Amazon’s MMO New World now enjoys a “mostly positive” review aggregate on Steam, while rumours persist that the recently released Nintendo Switch OLED Edition may have some hidden 4K capabilities.

Advertisement
Advertisement