This article contains light spoilers for Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire. We’ve got one! And by “one” I mean a female Ghostbuster that even jerks might like! Maybe! The last time we got women as Ghostbusters, sexist buffoons making bad-faith arguments about the apparent sanctity of boy Ghostbusters drowned out all discussion of the 2016 reboot Ghostbusters: […]
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For over a decade, the annual Awesome Games Done Quick event has seen some of the most talented video game speedrunners in the world push their skills to the limit to help raise money for charity. Yet, despite their accomplishments, most of those gamers were ultimately mere humans. Opposable digits, dry noses, a distinct lack of tails…disgusting, really.
However, that truly tragic tradition of human dominance was recently shattered by a Shiba Inu named Peanut Butter who just beat the NES game Gyromite during AGDQ 2024.
For those who don’t know, Gyromite is a 1985 puzzle platformer for the NES that tasks players with lowering and raising a series of red and blue obstacles to help a wandering professor reach safety. A painfully simple game even by the standards of its time, Gyromite was really more of an interactive showcase for the R.O.B. accessory that Nintendo used to help them sell the NES as a toy to a generation of wary gamers/parents.
The gimmick was that R.O.B. (short for Robot Operating Buddy) would use two spinners to apply pressure to red and blue buttons that would raise or lower the corresponding colors of pipes in Gyromite. While it’s neat to watch footage of R.O.B. in action and recall a time when everyone was convinced that having a robot in your home was the future of technology, Gyromite doesn’t have much to offer if it’s not being played by something that doesn’t traditionally play video games.
Enter Peanut Butter. In recent years, speedrunner and Twitch streamer JSR_ (real name James) has been training his pet dog Peanut Butter to play Gyromite. How, you ask? Well, it involves a combination of commands, a modified controller, and what dog owners know as “high-value” treats. James uses treats to encourage Peanut Butter to do his best R.O.B. impression by applying pressure to the right button at the right time.
Of course, R.O.B. was an advanced machine designed to play a couple of very specific games. Peanut Butter is a very good boy (yes he is). Despite the inherently simple nature of Gyromite‘s design and input commands, it is still possible for your character to die in that game. That possibility shoots up when you’re trying to get a dog to navigate a contextually complicated series of button presses.
So when James revealed that Peanut Butter would be speedrunning Gyromite during AGDQ 2024, many were understandably surprised and perhaps a bit worried. None who I care to acknowledge would ever deny Peanut Butter’s abilities, but some of the best speedrunners in the world have buckled under the pressure of that event. Could he really do it, or would one of a seemingly infinite series of potential dog distractions deny Peanut Butter his place in history?
Well, despite a few hiccups along the way (including a bizarre glitch that would have crushed a lesser runner’s soul) that prevented Peanut Butter from setting a world record, I’m happy to report that Peanut Butter not only beat Gyromite but did so while wearing a bow tie.
Some are already calling this one of the all-time great instances of a dog beating a video game to raise money for charity. I’m inclined to agree. While this is a bit of a wake-up call for those of us who sometimes still struggle to get our dogs to stop eating napkins off the street (It had cheese on it – Dog’s Note), Peanut Butter’s abilities should ultimately shine a little light on this gloomy winter day and remind us of the healing powers of our best friends.
Of course, given how quickly video game speedrunners typically manage to top each other, I’m fully expecting subsequent ADGQ events to feature dogs beating Mike Tyson in Punch-Out!, dogs beating Super Mario 64 while blindfolded, and, perhaps in time, dogs learning that the doorbell is not a harbinger of the apocalypse but merely a sign that someone is at the door.
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