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Peanut Butter Overcame Catastrophe To Complete His First Speedrun In Front Of A Live Audience

Behind the scenes of a true underdog tale

Games Done Quick

At this year’s Summer Games Done Quick speedrun marathon, Peanut Butter did it again. And this time, he upped the ante. The Air Bud of video games speedran Ken Griffey Jr Presents Major League Baseball, but unlike his remote performance during January’s Awesome Games Done Quick event, he did so in-person/dog, amidst the potentially-distracting din of a live audience. The crowd went absolutely ballistic as Peanut Butter cracked a homer to seal the deal. But the big day wasn’t without its hiccups.

It is one thing for a dog to press buttons and eat treats from the comfort of his own home; it’s something else entirely to get an excitable pup to repeat that performance in front of a horde of screaming people. But JSR, the speedrunner and electrician who’s spent years teaching Peanut Butter how to game, had faith that he could pull it off. The man-dog duo would just need to eliminate as many distractions as possible. SGDQ’s organizers helped by restricting access to the room after the run began, to provide “the most comfortable environment” possible for PB.

Everything was going according to plan. Then somebody fell over.

"I asked [organizers] to keep staff and photographers away from PB's backside during his run, as PB gets distracted when he knows people and goings on are behind him,” JSR told Aftermath. “Of course, 15 seconds before we went live, somebody tripped and fell [onto] the stage. If you watch the run back, PB was very distracted during the first inning." 

It was a less-than-ideal turn of events, but JSR had prepared Peanut Butter for all eventualities. 

"To prepare for SGDQ, my buddy Chrispy and I took him to PetSmart to train in front of dogs and puppies, as well as his house where he has four small children living with him,” JSR said. “If PB can perform with screaming kids throwing objects five feet from him, I knew that [the] GDQ crowd wouldn't be any trouble for him."

While things got off to a dicey start, Peanut Butter locked in after the first inning. The rest, as they say, is dogstory.

“After that initial shock of the stage trip, which admittedly had me worried he wouldn't perform, he was wonderful!” said JSR. “It was what we trained for, and he performed admirably and almost perfectly. By the end of the game, he had more energy and vigor than he usually does. That was the most energetic he's ever been near the end of the game. I assume it's because he was feeding off the crowd in the vibe, but whatever it was, he was getting stronger as the game went on.” 

This culminated in Peanut Butter’s end-of-game home run, a moment so iconic that it made both Sportsnet and ESPN. Immediately after, Peanut Butter scampered into the crowd to receive hundreds or perhaps thousands of pets while chants of “PB” echoed through the room. For a dog, it’s hard to imagine a better outcome – and not just because dogs lack our capacity for pre-visualizing hypotheticals.  


But it does raise an obvious question: What’s next? Now that Peanut Butter has climbed his Everest, where does he go from here? As far as JSR is concerned, the sky’s the limit. In part this is due to Peanut Butter’s formidable intelligence and composure, but it’s also because he’s working with a new, hyper-versatile dog controller that cost around $1,500 to construct.

"We built it with multiple configurations in mind," said JSR. "There are 29 holes where a button can be placed, [though] not at the same time; the max amount at once is 21. This affords us a plethora of different options for a setup. Now, we can do multi-button inputs, PB can do two inputs at once, and much more."

JSR isn’t entirely sure which game he’ll have PB focus on yet, but he’s got “a few” options in mind. One possibility? An all-too-fitting speedrun of Silent Hill 2's secret dog ending.

"I've successfully been able to do a run myself, and during that ordeal I figured PB would probably be able to do it too," said JSR. "The inputs are quite simple."

For now, the canine sensation is taking a much-deserved break after the weekend’s hooplah, but soon he’ll begin training to overcome his next big challenge.

“Chrispy and I are going to start working with him soon,” said JSR, “and we're hoping for something even bigger and better.”

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