If you’ve caught Awesome Games Done Quick 2022, you’ve probably heard of a particular event – or at least seen people tweeting about it after. AGDQ 2022, the first major speedrunning event of the year, was organized by Games Done Quick. Every year it hosts several events like the AGDQ, entertaining viewers with a week-long “speedrun-athon” while raising millions for charity. But this year’s show had something that surprised many: a series of Sekiro: Shadows die twice… played by a blindfolded player.
The race was conducted by Michriz (he’s named after Twitch), who completed the game without using his eyes in just over two hours. But for Mitchriz, a two-hour run just isn’t fast enough. The runner told me after his AGDQ 2022 race about his love for Chopped, how he prepared for the race and Ring of Elden world record he is already aiming for.
How did you discover speedrunning?
I played Chopped, I loved the game. I said, “I want to play some more”, so I did the other endings. Then I said, “OK, I want to play this some more, there’s not much else to do, so I’m going to have to find something new to do, because I just want to keep going. to play this game.”
So that led me to speedruns and challenge races. But in the end, it was mainly because of GDQ that I opted for speedrunning. I had watched it for several years by then and said, “That looks so cool, why not give it a try with this game?” And so I started learning the tricks and learning the jumps and putting everything together, and it basically became a way to keep playing my favorite game for longer with new things to do.
So was Chopped the first game you ever speedrun?
Yes, the first game I ever speedrun.
This is impressive, considering the infamously difficult Chopped is. Did this difficulty translate into speedrunning the game?
Surprisingly, not really. I mean, yes, it’s still very difficult. There are many things that can go wrong. But I would almost say that the game’s speedrun felt easier than playing it casually because you have a plan for everything. The hardest part is just “I don’t know what to do next” and then in the speedrun it’s just “Oh yeah, do it 1,000 times until you know exactly what to do. ” You ingrain it so deeply into your memory that it becomes a routine rather than a challenge.
Was speedrunning Chopped Blindfolded just trying to get more playing time out of it?
Partially. I mean, you could keep doing speedruns, there’s always more time to win, but I wanted a new challenge that no one had ever done before. Maybe out of vain popularity or something, but I just wanted to do something new. This is what led me to run blindfolded. It’s the only thing that has never been done.
How did people react when you told them you were going to do a series of Chopped?
Honestly, I had some “are you sure, is it possible?” but few people say “you can’t do that”. When I started it, it was a floating idea. It was almost inevitable that someone would. People were like, ‘Well, we can do this boss blindfolded and this boss blindfolded’, you know, and it was getting closer and closer to the point where I just said I was going to put it all together .
“Speedrunning the game felt easier than playing it casually…”
What was your method to understand how to do this race blindfolded?
Three words: trial and error. Perhaps a few more words: trial and error.
It took several hours to try out different types of movement for a minute of actual in-game movement. Basically, I would like to get to a specific location from a specific angle, and I would have these tools at my disposal to make that happen. How do I just take these tools, put them together, and get where I need to go? I would keep trying things until something worked.
So how was your first run blindfolded?
It was basically to the point where I had strategies that would eventually work. But I just dove into it. It ended up being about four and a half hours, which is a long time to be blindfolded, but it was better than I expected. I thought the whole thing would take six hours.
It ended up going relatively well outside of the bosses, but the move went surprisingly well. It’s surprising how clean the movement can be using the in-game tools. They’re very consistent, very standardized, so once I had a setup, as long as I could remember everything, I could win the race.
How did you prepare for your GDQ run?
I prepared for this by doing it over and over again. Making sure I don’t reset, finding all these ways things can go wrong, so I can fix them. That was the main thing, running it over and over and fixing everything.
Were your nerves different during GDQ than they would be during a good run?
The nerves were much stronger, but the good thing was that I didn’t feel like I had to continue immediately after making a mistake. I felt like I had time to stop, catch my breath, think about it, realize what I needed to do, and then get back into it. It was a lot more nervous, but I also had time to dissipate those nerves.
Is there a part of the GDQ race that you are extremely proud of?
The end, getting the first try of the Guardian Ape and Emma Isshin. It was the two at the end where I thought, “Everything can fall apart here.” Fortunately, they both turned out very well. I don’t even think I deserved to kill Isshin on the first try. I made a mistake in there, nobody noticed it, so I looked like I was perfect, but there was a little mistake in there that could have cost me my death. I’m glad everything went well – the first try on two of the tougher bosses is really good.
How do you compose your installations? It seems that everything is dictated by sound signals.
Yeah, for the movement, it counts almost entirely. I try not to use too many sound cues. For example, at Blazing Bull, there’s a blaze that will prevent me from entering the arena, so I have to break it, and it’s a beep. But for the most part, it’s just me counting a number of dashes. For example, after killing Gyoubu, I count 22 times, and that’s how I get to the idol.
I want to be number one Ring of Elden any runner percentage is my goal.
How far do you want to push the speedrun Chopped? After recovering the world record, I mean.
Realistically, I think I can get this game in under an hour and a half. I think, I don’t know, maybe it can go as low as [80 minutes] with most current strats, maybe a slight optimization here or there. But honestly if I spend less than an hour and a half I’ll be super happy with that and I think even if the world record is taken back after that time I’ll still be happy with that and okay with the start my legacy of less than an hour and a half as I go to Ring of Elden and novelties.
Well, I was going to ask you what you were planning on speedrunning next. Chopped, but it looks like you already know that.
Oh yes, it’s already planned. I’m definitely going to Elden Ring. I want to be number one Ring of Elden any runner percentage is my goal.
It may be too early to think about it, but are you going to try this race blindfolded?
Well, you never know. Could happen. We will see with this large open world. I don’t think counting the dashes will get me to the next boss, but we’ll see.