A speedrunner’s quest to (re)build the perfect N64 controller | The Vergecast

A speedrunner’s quest to (re)build the perfect N64 controller | The Vergecast


  • Speedrunning is a hobby where gamers try to beat games as quickly as possible, often using glitches and shortcuts.
  • Some speedrunners can even do it blindfolded.
  • The Nintendo 64 (N64) is a popular console for speedrunning, but the controllers are wearing out and becoming increasingly difficult to find.
  • Speedrunners are resorting to buying used controllers on eBay or building their own joystick parts.

Beck Abney

  • Beck Abney is a legendary Mario Kart 64 speedrunner known for his shortcut runs and holds the world record for the fastest shortcut run on Choco Mountain.
  • He aims to become the shortcut champion and is currently ranked third in non-shortcut driving.
  • In 2019, Beck faced controller issues due to joystick failures and parts shortages.
  • He struggled to adapt to new controllers after getting used to playing with a half-broken one.
  • Beck identified the worn-down plastic bowl inside the controller as the problem and tried swapping parts to recreate the feel of his old controller.
  • Despite his efforts, including 3D printing custom parts, he couldn't perfectly replicate the old controller and lost his competitive edge.
  • Beck is committed to finding a solution and is currently working on shortcut records on individual courses.
  • He admits that without his stream and viewers, he probably wouldn't play the game as much due to the controller frustrations.
  • Beck is currently practicing a difficult shortcut in Yoshi Valley, which involves precise button presses and movements.
  • Despite the challenges, Beck remains determined to rebuild the perfect controller and continues to experiment with new parts and combinations.

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