Awesome Games Done Quick is the speedrunning equivalent of the Olympics, only more frequent and featuring way more pizza. But what happens when a speedrunner has the equivalent of a loose shoelace?
Semanari was due to complete a tricky Divinity: Original Sin 2 speedrun on Friday, January 11, with an estimated time of 19 minutes on the schedule to complete the game using an old patch.
17 minutes in, Semanari had faced quite a bit of bad luck already, with enemies not dying when they were supposed to, or teleporting away from his attacks. To top it off, he also didn’t have a couch behind him—the usual speedrunner’s companion of fellow runners and people who know the game or his specific run well enough to comment and help out. According to Reddit, his friend couldn’t get a ticket in time, and there wasn’t anyone else available who knew the run.
The Divinity speedrun heavily relies on one thing: Deathfog. In the game, Deathfog is a poisonous gas that kills everyone except skeletons, who are already dead. If you play as a skeletal character, you can carry barrels full of Deathfog with you, dropping them at strategic points to skip battles that might otherwise take too long.
Semanari was one barrel short at 17:50. He couldn’t complete the run without it. But he also didn’t have an earlier save that he could load—he’d saved over all of them to pull off a glitch moments before.
“Uh oh.” Semanari realized his mistake quickly, but there was no way to rectify it without restarting completely—losing his 18 minutes of progress. But there wasn’t time. AGDQ is measured so precisely that the schedule often has games starting at 7:02 and 5:58. GTA: Vice City was up next. There just wasn’t time.
“I would do literally five perfect runs in a row, and then as soon as I’m on the camera I have to restart the game, every single time,” Semanari said on the stream. Luckily, AGDQ is a wholesome place, and the crowd cheered him on even as he berated himself.
“I never had troubles with that area [before],” he wrote on Reddit after his run. “I just didn’t think about making a safety save at the time.” Other commenters were quick to reassure him, saying that being at the mercy of RNG—the Random Number Generation that determines certain events in a game, something a speedrunner can’t control—was “just the nature of speedrunning.”
Speedruns are great when they’re pulled off in their entirety, but even the speedruns that fail are still testaments to the runner’s skill.