As an active, rather than a passive medium, the way most video games look in motion is uniquely linked to the relative skill of the person playing them. As a result, in the hands of a skilled (or in some cases an inhumanly skilled) player such as a computer, some video games look totally different to how they would during casual play. For example, consider the following videos showing that…
10. Smash Bros becomes a Dragon Ball Z game
The Super Smash Bros series is a mascot brawler exclusive to Nintendo consoles in which iconic characters from the company’s history – and the occasional guest star – attempt to punch each other to death. Famous and in some cases infamous for its depth and impenetrable competitive scene, human players have continually pushed games in the series to their absolute limit, discovering new tech that makes high-level play unrecognizable to a casual player. However, even these players, some of whom have spent literally more than a decade plumbing the depths of the game’s code, haven’t even scratched the surface of what’s possible.
For example, check out this video of pitting Ryu against Cloud in which their movements have been decided in advance by a player with the ability to ensure perfectly timed inputs. If you can’t click that link, spoiler: they spend most of the battle trading blows on top of a crate moving at Mach 3. Or how about this fight between Mario and Luigi in which gaming’s most famous set of siblings kick each other’s asses while doing instant transmission combos. Things get even funnier when you make the two, perfectly infallible computer-controlled characters work together, allowing them perform insta-kill combos on any character in the game by combo-ing endless flying knees. Even if you try to turn the odds on a character being given frame-perfect inputs by pitting them against 3 AI opponents set to the highest possible difficulty, they can still effortlessly defeat their opponents without taking a shred of damage themselves. Proof that there’s still a lot to learn when it comes to this game.
9. Mario 64 turns Mario into the greatest parkour expert in video games
For anyone who’s played the game Mario 64 you have to admit that for a guy with a fairly sizeable amount of junk in his trunk, Mario is pretty nimble. For anyone impressed by Mario’s ability to leap 25 feet into the air and do a triple backflip from a standing position, you mind is going to be blown when you see what the portly plumber can do when his movements are controlled by an impossibly accurate machine programmed by a human with a full understanding of the game’s mechanics.
In short, Mario goes from being a plumber who can jump kinda high to a master of time and space who can propel himself along the ground at high-speed, ass-first. When controlled by an inhumanly skilled computer, Mario can phase-shift through solid walls, scale several story high walls in seconds by diving straight into them, and fly through the air by leaping off of invisible walls in the environment only he can see.
8. Gradius turns the Gradius ship into an unkillable god-king
Ordinarily, Gradius is a video game where you control the little ship that could; a tiny, inconsequential speck of metal that challenges the entire universe to a laser fight and somehow wins, usually after being killed dozens of times by a hailstorm of bullets. With the reflexes of a robot and the gentle guiding hand of a human who knows exactly where every threat is going to be, though, the little ship that could becomes the deadliest force in the galaxy.
In this video you can see the Gradius ship effortlessly dispatch every boss in seconds while doing sick loop-de-loops to avoid every conceivable threat. With the knowledge of how the game’s hitboxes work, the ship can additionally flit between targets, getting right into the face of enemies and in some cases, gliding straight through them like a Shadowcat doing the moonwalk across a crowded dance floor. In the specific video linked, you can even see the ship spell out the name of the hero who programmed it to move like an oiled snake because it’s bored of the effortless slaughter.
7. Mario Kart 64 turns the karts into planes
From a design standpoint, games in the Mario Kart series are fairly straightforward, which doesn’t mean you can’t utterly tear the game apart if you understand exactly how it works. For example, consider this Tool-Assisted Speedrun by Drew Weatherton showing that it’s possible to complete some levels in Mario Kart 64 in seconds by using your competitors as living ramps.
Weatherton’s astonishingly well-made run that, according to him, took some seven years to create, shows Toad fly-leaping through levels and using items to hit himself so that he can bypass seemingly impassable walls and obstacles. Because Weatherton knows exactly where the game places specific checkpoints, Toad also spends most of his time leaping straight off the edge of the level because it’s marginally quicker than driving properly.
6. Brain Age can be solved with memes
The Brain Age series for the Nintendo DS mostly involves solving a number of simple math problems using the console’s built-in touch screen. The thing is, you don’t really need to understand math to be able to succeed at the game, just memes. You see, in 2016 at the annual Awesome Games Done Quick event, a robotic gaming legend known only as TASbot showed that you can answer most any given question in the game with a drawing of a meme.
This works by manipulating the handwriting-detecting-algorithm the game uses in order to fool the game into thinking a drawing of Doge or Tux the Linux penguin is the number 12 or something. The end result is 20 solid minutes of hilarity where a tiny robot is answering math questions with random scribbles.
5. Tony Hawk turns skateboarders into Jedi
The Tony Hawk games usually put you in control of a radical indie superstar from the world of skateboarding and task you with performing a host of increasingly sick tricks to impress the virtual denizens of whatever city or skatepark you happen to be roaming around.
With a comprehensive understanding of the game’s mechanics and the steely, unshakeable determination of a machine, it’s possible to turn the Birdman into a freaking Jedi. Your skateboarding avatar goes from being a guy or gal who can do a kickflip over a taxi to a flying master of the board who can leap dozens of feet into the air and chain together like a million tricks while sticking to every surface in the world like it’s made of glue.
4. Mario 3 isn’t even a game anymore
At the time of writing this article, the fastest a human being has ever been able to complete the game Super Mario Bros 3 by taking advantage of every known glitch and bug is 3 minutes and 4 seconds. As impressive as this time is, it’s still marginally slower than a computer, which has been able to accomplish the same feat with one robot managing to finish the entire game in less than 3 seconds flat.
How is this possible, you ask? Well, by forcing thousands of inputs per second into a NES via a convoluted set-up of eight controllers, it basically becomes possible to program the game to do whatever you damn well want. Something you can see a more visually impressive example of here. As a result, it’s possible to beat the entire game less than 3 seconds after it starts by forcing the game to immediately break and say you won.
3. Pokemon Red and Blue, One Pokemon is all you need
For most people, their first run of the original Pokemon games for the OG Game Boy likely took in excess of a dozen hours. For some people, this is an unacceptable amount of time to become a Pokemon master and for several years a group of dedicated players have continually pushed the total time required to beat the game down to the point it’s possible to defeat the Elite Four and become the undisputed Pokemon Champion in less than two hours.
As if waking up the morning of your 10th birthday and becoming the Pokemon Champion before lunch isn’t impressive enough, the players who’ve pulled this off usually have a single Pokemon do all of the heavy lifting. What makes this more impressive is that said Pokemon is usually kept on the edge of death almost the entire time because it being in pain stops it from screaming its name when a fight starts. In other words, in some people’s version of Pokemon Red or Blue, the main character wakes up, leaves their house and within two hours they’ve become the best known Pokemon trainer on the entire planet.
2. Hitman, the world’s greatest assassin pushes everyone over and makes it rain
The Hitman series puts you in control of Agent 47, an impossibly smooth-headed master assassin who can end the life of anyone on Earth with a pinpoint accurate shot to the balls from a quarter mile away. Thanks to the way the physics work in most Hitman games, though, the quickest and easiest way to assassinate most targets is to simply push them down a flight of stairs or into a pool of water, at which point the game’s physics think they’ve drowned or broken their neck, killing them instantly. As an added bonus, this also counts as an accident, meaning nobody will suspect that an assassin is responsible for the death of anyone killed in this way… even if you’re standing two feet away from the body.
Additionally, it’s also possible to distract virtually any NPC in the game by simply throwing a coin onto the floor, allowing you to walk into any restricted area in the game or even pull out a handgun and shoot the distracted NPC in the back of the head. The coin is also amongst the deadliest weapons in the entire game, allowing you to kill targets simply by throwing it at a glass ceiling. Along with being hilarious, this also counts as an accident.
1. Devil May Cry turns Dante from a devil, into a God
Most of the Devil May Cry games put you in control of Dante, a half-demon hunter of evil who swaggers through most of his games like he has the biggest unit in the entire world. A master of all forms of combat, cutscenes establish that Dante is effectively untouchable and the games give you a veritable arsenal of weaponry to dispatch enemies with. Now, most normal players will never achieve the kind of flair and style displayed in those cutscenes, but skilled players can turn Dante from a humble half-demon bounty hunter into a god.
With frame perfect inputs and a full understanding of Dante’s skills you can dispatch any enemy in the game with 200-hit combos using every weapon in your arsenal while simultaneously taking no damage whatsoever. Speaking of which, with good enough timing it’s possible to quite literally make Dante invincible thanks to the existence of a skill in the game that allows you to avoid any damage whatsoever by slapping the blow aside with your giant man hands. Few players know, though, that it’s possible to do this to any attack in the entire game, allowing you walk in a straight line toward any enemy in the game and emerge completely unscathed.