That’s never happened before: Games Done Quick video stars speedrunning dog

Peanut Butter the dog speedruns Gyromite at Awesome Games Done Quick 2024.

The twice-a-year video game speedrunning and fundraising live event Games Done Quick has been a source of amazement and joy for years, but we’re still saying “that’s never happened before” even now, more than a decade after the first event.

Case in point: Awesome Games Done Quick 2024, which is streaming live 24 hours a day this week on Twitch, saw the very first speedrun performed by a dog.

A Shiba Inu named Peanut Butter (shortened to PB, also a speedrunner term for “personal best” finish time) completed a 30-minute speedrun of the 1985 Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) game Gyromite.

Gyromite was originally bundled with the nostalgic but failed ROB (Robotic Operating Buddy) accessory for the NES. It’s a platformer of sorts, but not a conventional fast-paced one. Rather, it’s a comparatively slow-moving game where you make inputs to raise and lower pipes to allow a character to pass through the level safely.

In the speedrun, PB took over for the robot in a category called B Game. PB didn’t set a world record or a personal best (most GDQ runners don’t at the event), as there were a couple minor mistakes, but he still finished the game under its estimate by dutifully sitting, pressing buttons, and holding down those buttons at the right moments at owner JSR_’s prompts. JSR_ also prompted PB to periodically bark “hello” to the stream’s tens of thousands of viewers. PB received numerous treats throughout the run, including bits of cheese and ham.

The final time was 26 minutes and 24 seconds, compared to PB’s personal best of 25 minutes, 29 seconds. The human record is 24 minutes and 39 seconds, by a runner named Octopuscal. PB’s PB is currently the world record among dogs, but of course, he’s the only runner in that particular category.

Speedrunner JSR_ adopted PB during the height of the pandemic and has spent a portion of every day training him to press and hold large buttons on a custom controller for treats in order to play the game. “This took years of training,” he said. “I wanted to train him to do something special, when I realized as a puppy that he was much smarter than most other dogs I’ve seen. Since I’m a speedrunner (and PB was literally named after, you know, getting a ‘PB’ in a speedrun) it only made sense to me.”

You can see the full video of the run above. Awesome Games Done Quick is an annual event benefiting the Prevent Cancer Foundation. A sister event called Summer Games Done Quick benefits Doctors Without Borders later in the year. You can watch and donate on the event website.

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