To anyone who's played Spelunky before, this is going to sound totally crazy: someone has beaten the game in 1:55.35. That honor goes to Pibonacci, who used a combination of the jetpack, compass, and teleporter to beat the previous world record of 2:01.396. Watch the first two minutes of this video to see the madness unfold:
It takes more than a dozen hours to start feeling comfortable playing Spelunky. It's a game full of constantly shifting variables that will surprise even the most veteran player. That's what makes Spelunky so exciting, especially when it comes to world record attempts. It could happen at any time. For Pibonacci, everything fell into place when it came to items, and it's his expert use of the teleporter that even makes the run possible.
A little confused? Let me help.
If you piss off a single shopkeeper in Spelunky, they're all angry at you for the rest of the run, and they carry shotguns. When you're first learning Spelunky, you'll desperately avoid making them upset, but eventually, it's critical to grab items from the shopkeepers without paying for them. Pibonacci doesn't have time to collect treasure, nor wait for a bomb to blow up, so he uses a jump 'n whip technique that allows him to quickly disable the shopkeeper, grab his items--jetpack, teleporter--and move on. There are several techniques for stealing.
When I started playing Spelunky, I'd pick up the teleporter to mix things up if I was frustrated. The teleporter seems random, but it's not. The item moves the player a specific number of spaces in a targeted direction but it's entirely possible (and likely) to teleport yourself into an enemy or chunk of wall that's offscreen. That's what gets most people. But if you spend hundreds of hours with Spelunky, you'll begin to recognize pieces of geometry, and you can start making accurate calculations on which sections can be safely teleported through. That's what Pibonacci is doing here, using a mixture of gut and memory. Just blindly using the teleporter will, inevitably, result in death, but it's clear Pibonacci generally knows where his character is going to end up.
What really sets this run apart from any other run with a teleporter, though, is stumbling upon the compass. The compass allows Pibonacci to know exactly where the level exit is. It doesn't take very long to explore a stage in Spelunky, but during a speed run, every second counts. Each moment applied to the right direction is critical. It's unlikely he would have have gotten the record without the compass.
While it might seem crazy, watching Pibonacci's run reveals room for improvement. It's definitely possible to beat Spelunky faster than 1:55.35. The problem (and genius) of Spelunky is that it's not reliable. If Pibonacci was to practice this exact map layout over and over again, he could shave tons of time off his run, but that's not possible. Every time you head into a new game of Spelunky, you have to be prepared to realize this is "the one." There are tools that allow players to lock the map in Spelunky, but those don't qualify for records.
Someday soon, someone will beat this run. It might even be Pibonacci himself.
As for me? I'll continue to remember my greatest moments in Spelunky in GIF form.