There’s something incredibly fun and irreverent about breaking all-time classic video games, isn’t there? That’s the reason Ocarina of Time is so popular to speedrunners—and it’s why I love watching people figure out how to totally dismantle Final Fantasy VI.
In May of this year, the speedrunning community discovered a unique new glitch in Square’s seminal RPG: If you hit the Game Over screen 52 times in a row on the world map—and no, I have no idea how they figured this out—the game will enter total glitch territory and will either freeze or cut to a random cut-scene with missing characters and screwy sprites.
Thanks to this glitch and some clever ROM hacking that you can read about in-depth here, speedrunners Keylie and Kadmony figured out how to make this 52-game-over trick trigger the ending, which meant they can “beat” the game not long after meeting Edgar for the first time in Figaro Castle. When they do trigger the ending, it’s all sorts of buggy, replacing many of the main characters—who haven’t been introduced yet—with the moogles that help rescue Terra at the beginning of the game. (If you’re curious to read more about FFVI script manipulation and how this ROM hacking works, I recommend some of Keylie and Kadmony’s other work.)
So behold, a new tool-assisted speedrun (TAS) world record for completing Final Fantasy VI, thanks to this new glitch, quick kills, and other emulator-enabled bugs. It’s meticulous, incredible work.
In case you’re curious, the non-TAS record for Final Fantasy VI—which involves random-number manipulation and heavy use of the Vanish/Doom insta-kill glitch—is 4 hours and 43 minutes. (That’s without using the Sketch glitch—with Sketch, it’s an hour shorter.) Speedrunner LCC’s walkthrough and explanation for the run is really interesting and worth reading.
If you want to try breaking FFVI for yourself, I recommend the early airship trick. General Leo lives!