Grand Theft Auto games are huge, which makes speedrunning them a time-consuming proposition. A complicated new trick discovered for San Andreas has shortened a run that normally took almost four hours to under 30 minutes.
The new trick—whose name, “Arbitrary Jump In Skip,” could honestly use some work—is only doable on the Windows Store version of the game. It’s similar to a technique used by Grand Theft Auto: Vice City speedrunners, and it allows players to skip straight to San Andreas’ climax via several intricate steps. According to details shared by current world record holder Powdinet over on Reddit, starting a vigilante side mission at a certain point during the early “Ryder” story mission makes San Andreas jump to a random line of script code that’s determined by how much time has elapsed since the game started.
The current world record shows how the game skips to the final mission using this trick around the 16:12 mark
Naturally, things must line up just right to pull this off, which can be a difficult feat in the living world of San Andreas. Can’t find a police motorcycle to start the vigilante mission within a strict time frame? Reset and try again. Can’t find a drug dealer to waste for an extra $2,000? That changes some of the steps further down the line. At one point, the convoluted setup causes San Andreas protagonist Carl Johnson to lose the ability to enter vehicles. But time everything right, and it’s possible to make the game think you’re on the final segment of the final mission. From there all runners have to do is complete the story as normal.
Since this discovery was made public last Saturday, the fastest time in which folks have been able to complete San Andreas has been reduced dramatically. The enormous potential of this technique has caused the community to separate runs that utilize the Arbitrary Jump In Skip from those that don’t. The current world record without using this trick stands at 3:52:07, whereas Powdinet recently managed to beat San Andreas in just 25:52.
Over the years, speedrunners have been responsible for some of the coolestdiscoveries in videogames, and this San Andreas trick is just another example of their ingenuity. Expect to see a lot more runs of San Andreas pop up as folks try to push the time even lower.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is filled with some famously annoying and difficult missions. Everyone knows of the infamous mission where the player is tasked with following a train while riding a dirtbike. Or the extremely hard Zero RC missions, which were so bad and challenging that Rockstar actually changed them in later versions of the game. But not everything in San Andreas is impossible or annoying. In fact, there is a mission that is so easy to complete that it is basically impossible to fail.
“Fish In A Barrel” is the name of the mission and it happens towards the latter half of GTA San Andreas. Beware spoilers for GTA San Andreas.
At this point in the game, CJ has been working for the mob and other criminal groups in the city of Las Venturas, which is Rockstar’s version of Las Vegas. After all this hard work and proving himself capable and trustworthy, he is invited to a meeting. At this meeting, he and another character sign a contract and become part owners of a casino on the Las Venturas strip. They celebrate and drink some alcohol.
That’s it. That’s the whole mission. Once short cutscene.
I remember when I first played this game and reached this point. Young 13-year-old Zack had no idea what just happened. I wondered if I had broken the game or maybe the game had glitched in some strange way? San Andreas is a buggy game, so maybe that’s what happened? The mission bugged out and didn’t properly load. So I reloaded my last save and got back to the casino to try it again. But just like before, the mission started with a cutscene, the cutscene ended and that was that.
At this point, I consulted my GTA San Andreas strategy guide, a large book that was filled with a ton of information about the game, including detailed walkthroughs for every mission in the game. I never used this to complete missions or to look ahead and spoil anything. Instead, I used this book as a tome of knowledge, where I could see which car was the fastest or where certain stores or guns were located on the map. Flipping through the book I found the mission, “Fish In A Barrel” and all it said was this is just a cutscene. I was still confused, but at least I knew it wasn’ t a bug or my fault.
Because this mission is literally just a cutscene, the walkthroughs of it online are just people watching the cutscene.
The YouTube comments below this video are wonderful, too. The majority of them are people joking about how hard this mission is or how impossible it is. Others sarcastically claiming it took them years to beat. But there are a few comments left by people who seem genuinely surprised and confused about this “mission.”
“Wait, this is a mission? All you have to do is to walk [to] the marker a cutscene and a phone call,” posted one YouTube user.
A lot of comments call this mission pointless and they aren’t wrong. However, according to multiple GTA wikis, this mission was originally part of a larger mission which would have involved using a golf club to protect the casino owner from an attack of some kind. While this sounds plausible, I can’t actually find any hard evidence of this cut mission. People link back to the various wikis, which include this bit of trivia but don’t include any sources on where this information comes from. Digging around online I couldn’t find any myself. Maybe buried somewhere deep in an old forum post is some evidence of this claim, but as far as I can tell it is more a rumor than a fact.
This isn’t the only mission in GTA San Andreas to mostly consist of a cutscene. An earlier mission, “King In Exile”, also features a similar cutscene and no mission afterward. I’m not sure why I only remembered Fish In A Barrel as the weird cutscene mission and not also King In Exile. And unlike Fish In A Barrel, there doesn’t seem to be any rumors or information about a cut mission regarding King In Exile. Which makes sense. King In Exile is a cutscene where CJ says he is going to leave and then he leaves. Can’t really make a mission out of that.
San Andreas has some absolutely terrible difficulty spikes. Case in point, GTA SA includes these two incredibly easy missions, that are just cutscenes. Yet it also features a series of missions that are so hard and annoying, most players skipped them and Rockstar eventually had to fix them. Modern GTA titles have gotten better at making missions ramp up gradually and follow more of a smooth difficulty curve, with later missions being harder than earlier ones. But back in GTA San Andreas, Rockstar took players on a difficulty rollercoaster.
J16D is a modder who has created a lot of different mods for Grand Theft Auto San Andreas. But one particular idea has been lodged in their brain since at least 2015. J16D has been working on and improving a simple idea: Bring Spider-Man and his web-swinging into San Andreas. After four-plus years of working on it, the latest results are impressive.
In a recently released video, J16D shows off the progress they’ve made. Inspired by Spider-Man on PS4, J16D has incorporated some of those animations and the new suit too. The end result is something that looks like a Spider-Man game. If you’ve never played GTA San Andreas, you might even think this is some mid-2000s Spider-Man game you had never seen before.
The swinging looks so smooth and fluid, with Spider-Man twirling and flipping around. Webs actually seem to attach to buildings sometimes too, allowing Spidey to swing around the skyscrapers of San Andreas.
But it isn’t just web-swinging and flips that J16D is recreating, the modder is even adding the menus, suits, and music from the PS4 Spider-Man game into this mod.
There is no currently released demo of the mod, so for now, we can only watch videos of the modder testing their creation. But J16D does plan to release the mod eventually, after adding even more to it. Currently, they plan on adding more animations, the ability to run on walls, new menus, and better-looking web textures.
Back in 2005, I was almost 15 years old and I was still playing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The game at this point was over a year old. But I was still spending hours every week playing it. It was during one of these sessions that I experienced a strange and spooky encounter with an old car in the woods.
One weekend back in 2005, I was playing some late night GTA San Andreas. I was out in the southern area of the map, where it is heavily filled with trees, rocks and not much else. Suddenly, a car rolled down a hill. It was old, beat up and its red paint job stood out in the dark forest. I ran up to the car, only to find it was empty!? I didn’t know what happened and was a bit creeped out, so I left the area quickly. What I didn’t know at the time was that I had just run into a ghost car, a popular myth in GTA San Andreas.
Not long after the game was released, players began reporting strange cars they found in the woods. These cars would drive down hills as if they had human drivers on the inside. But when examined, the cars were empty. People began calling these strange automobiles “ghost cars.”
An older video from 2008. These types of videos were huge in the years after GTA San Andreas was released.
Unlike other famous mysteries in GTA San Andreas, like Piggsy or Bigfoot, ghost cars could easily be found. If you run around the woods of GTA San Andreas for long enough you will probably encounter a ghost car.
After my first encounter with a ghost car, I began looking online for information about cars. I quickly found now-long lost posts about the ghostly cars from other fans. Some were telling the truth, telling tales that sounded like my creepy encounter. Other fans seemed to be making stuff up. I distinctly remember one player sharing a “real” story about how a ghost car actually chased them and honked its horn as it weaved around trees, trying to run over the terrified player. Another player said they saw a ghost car and while leaving they ran into a UFO.
While this stuff might sound crazy today, 15 years ago it sounded a lot more plausible. GTA San Andreas seemed impossibly big at the time and it was still a new game. I remember reading these stories and thinking to myself that some of this could be true. At the time the game felt like a puzzle box that nobody had cracked yet.
I, like many other players at the time, spent hours searching the woods and deserts of San Andreas for secrets and creepy creatures. I remember spending way too much time in the foggy woods using my jetpack to coast around, looking for the elusive Bigfoot.
Now that we have ripped apart San Andreas and seen all the files and lines of code in the game, we know there aren’t any strange creatures or ghosts. But before we knew all the answers, San Andreas felt like the real world. It was large and we didn’t know everything. Back then, it really did feel like maybe aliens and other strange things could be lurking in the digital world of the game. And when we found ghost cars and could regularly spot them, it almost felt like a confirmation that anything could be in the game.
So if ghost cars are actually in the game, what are they? Is this actually Rockstar including a creepy paranormal event into their open-world crime simulator? The answer is no and the explanation of ghost cars is interesting, but not creepy at all.
There are a lot of vehicles in GTA San Andreas. A few cars in the game have special versions that can sometimes spawn. The Glendale, an old car that looks like it was made in the 50s, has one of these special variants. In the in-game files of San Andreas, this special version is named “glenshit” and is a beat up and ugly version of the Glendale. This beat up version of the car can spawn in a few places in the southernly rural sections of the map. And sometimes it can spawn on hills or small inclines in the woods. When this happens the cars will roll down the hill and appear to be driving. The game doesn’t spawn a driver, so when players investigate they find an empty car. These cars were not, however, actually running or turned off. So any videos or pictures featuring the cars driving around or having their headlights are fake and were made using mods or editing tricks.
Also, these cars can sometimes spawn during vigilante missions because the game can technically spawn any car during these missions, including the shitty version of the Glendale.
So the ghost cars are just poorly placed spawn points for a beat-up old car. Maybe Rockstar placed them here on purpose, to create spooky cars that drive down hills without drivers? But the more likely answer is that Rockstar wanted players to find crappy and old cars in this part of the map, cars that look abandoned or wrecked. Then, because some of their spawn points were too close to hills, these cars would roll down mountains and scare teenagers who were up to late playing GTA.
The GTA series has a lot of mysteries, you can find a whole wiki dedicated to them, but most of them are fake or totally made up. But a few of them, like the ghost cars, turn out to be true. And while the reason ghost cars exist isn’t creepy, these rare proven-to-be-true myths help make it easier to believe that maybe Bigfoot is out there, wandering Mount Chiliad.
I have a lot of memories of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The first time I got to the top of Mount Chiliad. The first time I saw that big Golden Gate Bridge knock-off. Playing the last mission and actually beating the entire game. But my favorite memory from GTA San Andreas is when I got to fly out of the map and explore a small section of Liberty City, the location of Grand Theft Auto 3.
I remember the moment very clearly. I was 13 and it was the weekend. A mission asked me to get into a plane and fly to Liberty City. I expected the game to show me a cutscene of me flying to the city and then maybe a cutscene of C.J. in Liberty City before spitting me back home. Instead, I was shocked to find I was actually going to the city and would get to do a whole mission in this East Coast metropolis.
Grand Theft Auto games rarely let the player truly leave the map and visit another location. Grand Theft Auto V is maybe the only other example of this, sending the player to the snowy town of North Yankton twice in the game. Once at the very start and later on during a story mission towards the end of the game. And while I enjoyed these moments in GTA V, they aren’t as cool as getting to re-visit Liberty City in GTA San Andreas.
The main reason the San Andreas detour is more memorable for me is because of the location. In GTA V you fly to a small town in the North, which is neat. We don’t get to visit rural small towns very often in GTA games. But I don’t have much of a connection to that location.
Liberty City, on the other hand, is a place I know. I can navigate the streets of that digital city better than most real-life cities I’ve lived in. I can get to the Banshee spawn blindfolded. I know where the airport is and where the Dodo is located at that airport. I remember the first time I crossed the bridge. I can still find gun stores without looking at the map. It has a special place in my brain and I’ll never really forget it.
So getting to fly back to Liberty City while playing San Andreas was amazing. Getting to see my old stomping grounds, now covered in snow, was wild. Things had changed while I was away visiting Vice City and San Andreas.
The location C.J visits during the mission is Marco’s Bistro, a location that I remember very well from my time playing GTA 3. This is where you park a car with a bomb to kill a mafia member dining at the bistro during an early mission in that game. Getting to go inside this location, something you never do in Grand Theft Auto 3, was so exciting for young Zack at the time.
The mission C.J. is tasked with completing in Liberty City isn’t very interesting. You just kill some mafia thugs and leave. But getting to visit a snowy Liberty City more than makes up for a dull mission.
To pull this visit off, Rockstar recreated part of the city and then placed it high above the San Andreas map. Weirdly, this area is actually considered an interior, even though it looks to be outside. This is due to how San Andreas handles locations and rooms. Basically, when you fly to Liberty City, Rockstar teleports you inside a big room that is the city and the Bistro. Another fun fact about this mission and trip across the country: This is the first time we got to see snow in a Grand Theft Auto game.
15 years after San Andreas was released, I still think about this mission. I hope in the future, with the inevitable Grand Theft Auto 6 coming one day, that Rockstar lets us fly to another city. Even if it’s just for a mission. These types of missions help make the world and game feel bigger. Plus, who doesn’t want to take a vacation every once and while.