Sequence breaking

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In computer and video games, sequence breaking is the act of performing actions or obtaining items out of the intended linear order, or of skipping “required” actions or items entirely.[1] Sequence breaking is often used to beat a game unusually quickly, to beat it while only completing a few objectives or obtaining a few items, to obtain useful items early in the game, to make the game more difficult, or to help push a game as far as possible in some other way.

History of the term[edit]

Though sequence breaking as a concept has existed almost since the inception of computer games complex enough to have sequential storylines, apparently the first documented action in a video game to be called a sequence break occurred in the Nintendo GameCube game Metroid Prime[verification needed], in a thread called “Gravity Suit and Ice Beam before Thardus”.[2]

The rock monster Thardus was designed to be a required boss before the Gravity Suit and the Ice Beam could be obtained, hence the novelty of bypassing the boss while still obtaining the items. When a gamer named Steven Banks achieved this feat on January 18, 2003, he posted his discovery on the Metroid Prime message board on GameFAQs. The thread attracted a number of interested gamers, and the term sequence breaking was incidentally coined.[3] The term has since grown in popularity and is now often applied to unintended shortcuts in any game.

The term has become so pervasive that it has begun appearing in video games itself.[note 1]


There are many examples of sequence breaking in computer and video games, of which the Metroid series of games are perhaps the most famous example. In Super Metroid, by using techniques like the Wall Jump, Bomb Jump and Mockball to jump and run into places normally not accessible, players can skip bosses, acquire items before intended, take shortcuts, etc. This is usually done to cut down on backtracking and allow for 100% speedruns.

Some other notable examples are:

  • Baldur's Gate — Using the spell Dimension Door to enter Baldur's Gate and Candlekeep and then repeatedly exploiting the Chapter 7 introduction trigger to place the game into the final chapter.
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night - By jumping as wolf form on the stairs in the Clock Tower, the player can jump to the high platform without the double jump, and essentially do the entire rest of the area backwards.
  • Deus Ex — Using gas grenades, the player can manipulate the AI to perform unintended actions, such as opening a door that allows the entire first level to be skipped. In addition, grenades can be attached to walls to scale entire buildings.
  • Fallout 3 - After leaving Vault 101, the player can head directly to Vault 112, bypassing 3 quests of the main mission.
  • Half-Life 2 - Using several glitches in the physics engine, huge amounts of content can be skipped. For instance, the bridge battle on Highway 17 can be entirely skipped using a flying glitch.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask — It is possible to warp freely between areas that are connected by "Fairy Fountains" using a glitch called "bomb hovering". This allows the player to obtain all vital items needed in the dungeons and their prerequisites in the beginning of the game. This in conjunction with several skips that allows entire dungeons to be skipped is enough to complete the game from beginning to end in less than two hours.
  • Metroid Prime - In the beginning of the game, it is possible for the player to move Samus Aran over a tall cliff by doing a "scan dash" to obtain the Space Jump Boots, which are usually acquired much later, as the first item, opening up the ability to perform many tricks and obtain other items early.[4]
  • Myst — By immediately retrieving the white page from the dock switch, the primary puzzle (and thus the entire game) can be completed without ever leaving the main island.
  • Super Mario Bros. — The "minus world" warp zone glitch can be used to skip from World 1-2 to World 5-1, possibly the earliest major sequence break in a video game. The warp zone in World 1-2 is intended to go to World 2-1, World 3-1 or World 4-1.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Carless, Simon (2004). Gaming Hacks. O'Reilly Media. ISBN 0-596-00714-0. 
  2. ^ "Ice Beam + Gravity Suit before Thardus using Triple Jump". 2003-01-27. Retrieved 2009-03-27. 
  3. ^ "Metroid Prime Sequence Breaking (v. 4.0) [Previously Ice+Grav before Thardus]". 2003-02-11. Retrieved 2009-03-27. 
  4. ^


  1. ^ Intelligent Systems. Super Paper Mario. Over the Flagpole: Surely you are cheating! You are exploiting a glitch! You are a sequence breaker! 

External links[edit]

  • Tool-assisted console game movies - Speedruns through various classic console games, made with emulators and utilizing slow-motion and savestates.
  • Speed Demos Archive - Speedruns through various games, made without the use of tools such as slow-motion and savestates.