Since video games have been a cultural phenomenon, players have been wondering how to optimise their runs. Super Mario games are famed for having the occasional cheeky warp pipe that flings you forward across the land, and they are not the only ones.
Developers can also be wily beasts, and sometimes they really love to challenge players to find the quickest and most efficient ways around their games. In doing so, developers will hide these paths of least resistance in the most unlikely places, leaving players to ferret around all the nooks and crannies of any given level, hoping to tease that extra nugget of speed out of the gameplay.
It would be unfair to the ingenuity of the gaming community to give game creators all the credit, however. Since the original Super Metroid games, the term "sequence break" has existed, denoting the practice of completing events out of order to finish games quicker.
In this article, we will run down ten of the most devilish shortcuts we can find in games. Some are hidden behind dialogue options most would not even think to click, and others require incredibly precise inputs to leapfrog over half of the game's planned content. Sometimes it is as easy as closing a door.
Want to zoom through some classic titles? Read on as we explore the 10 secret video game shortcuts that you definitely missed!
10. Cave Story - Getting Dra-Gone From The Island
Cave Story is an absolute cult classic, one of the early paragons of indie gaming. The game has been through two development cycles, from original creator Daisuke "Pixel" Amaya to enhanced edition developers Nicalis.
Nicalis ended up in hot water due to vicious DMCA claims on the freeware PC legacy edition of the game, despite it not being the company's original IP. The outcry this generated serves to show just how beloved the little indie title was - both for its addictive action platformer gameplay, stunningly drawn pixel art and beautifully realised story.
The story, one about loss, reclamation and the encroaching terror of environmental destruction rings close to home to many, especially in the current moment. One thing that separates Cave Story from other games that tangle with this theme is it gives players the dangerously tempting option to just not engage.
We have all felt it at one point, the desire to pull back and just not think about the terrible things around us. In Cave Story, you are presented a choice after rescuing the Sky Dragon Kazuma. This dragon offers you an early reprieve - you can choose to not stop the maniacal scientist threatening the innocent (and very cute) rabbit-like Mimiga.
If you select this dialogue choice, one running counter to the very premise of games like this, the dragon flies you away to the mountains, and then game ends - dooming those you were meant to save. Harsh.