Portal player achieves fastest-ever test subject death thanks to a speed-boosting cup

A player has achieved the fastest-ever death in Portal thanks to some questionable physics and a cup. "I surprisingly got this pretty quickly," says Pr0tal, "I am now the king of dying in Portal!" The previous record for the Death% speedrun had stood at 1.3 seconds but Pr0tal smashed this, managing to kill themselves in the opening room in 0.885 seconds.

Pr0tal's run is above and I'll put the previous world record at the end: both are short and sweet, and both use similar methods. Portal opens with Chell in an Aperture testing room containing a few objects, including a cup and a radio, and in the previous fastest time the player tossed the radio into the air and positioned themselves under it for a quick death. Of which I feel GlaDos would approve.

The trick with the new record is bringing the cup into things. Pr0tal says it only took them "a couple hours of grinding" so perhaps this record can yet be beaten itself, but the whole thing rests on what may be a bit of a glitch whereby the cup is granting Chell extra speed. Thus Pr0tal spawns, immediately runs forwards and hops on the cup in the direction of the radio, hits the radio, and dies faster than any test subject on record.

"When I actually jump onto the cup for some reason it gives me a bunch of speed," says Pr0tal, "launching me into the radio which kills me. So think of it like the radio being a brick wall and the cup is a high speed vehicle and I'm the passenger."

Curiously enough, this run is likely to lead to a whole bunch of new Portal records, because when it happened the news travelled around fans but some couldn't find the Death% category rankings. This has now been addressed by the repository speedrun.com such that Portal has a new bunch of easily viewable categories (listed as 'levels')—some of which don't have records. We can also see on the Death% leaderboard that the player Hrvatskii has managed to emulate the cup-surfing trick and equal Pr0tal's time already.

Well, it's probably the easiest way to amuse yourself with Valve's peerless puzzler for the foreseeable (you could also play an N64 version). Two near-flawless games then nothing else is the Valve way, after all, even though one of Portal's writers has been on the press circuit in the past year trying to gin up interest in a third. Valve "has a starting point that we like a ton" for Portal 3 but, unless it decides to do anything about it, that's all it will be: but even if they just released a starting point, clearly, players could still set records in it.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."