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Speedrunning dog raises thousands of dollars with classic NES game

And they almost broke a world record

AGDQ 2024 is in full swing, and on the schedule this time was a special Gyromite dog speedrun, starring Peanut Butter the Shiba Inu. Peanut Butter was a very good boy indeed, but some technical glitches meant his and handler JSR’s exceptional run ended just shy of breaking the Gyromite world record.

Gyromite is a short video game that follows a sleepwalking professor who’s always on the move through a series of dangers. The idea is that you press a button corresponding to red or blue pipes, or both, to open new paths and guide the professor safely to his destination. Gyromite is one of a handful of NES games that used R.O.B., a robot companion from Nintendo who you probably know from Super Smash Bros., who would, in theory, press the buttons and help you through the stage.

“In theory” is key here, as JSR said R.O.B. often malfunctions and won’t press the right button or keep them pressed down for long enough. Not so with Peanut Butter. The unendingly patient Shiba Inu would press the right button with his paw and hold it there while JSR offered ham or cheese as an incentive and then release on command.

The pair were on course to break the previous Gyromite world record of 24 minutes and 56 seconds before a pair of disasters struck. The controller button that lowers both the red and blue pipes failed to register Peanut Butter’s input during one of the game’s trickier levels, and then at the end, a surprise enemy that isn’t even supposed to be there ended their run in a game over.

Viewers were undeterred and kept up their encouraging messages and donations while Peanut Butter got back on track. The pair raised over $10,000 toward AGDQ’s $350,000 goal, proceeds of which go to the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

Awesome Games Done Quick continues through Jan. 21, 2024, with future runs including Starfield, Baldur’s Gate 3, and Metroid Dread.