The most common method of lagging the game is by pausing and unpausing rapidly, using the Back and Start buttons on Xbox for example. Most lag clips are done with a slow cruise boost to allow a cruise bubble to come out, making the clip easier. Other methods include the thunder clouds from thunder tikis, or on Playstation 2, some areas slow the game down enough that simply pressing L is all that is needed.
The cruise boost is important because in order to clip downwards, the player requires downwards momentum. Without a cruise boost, your momentum is reset to 0 when on the ground. However, while in a cruise boosted state, your momentum does not reset until abilities that affect your momentum are used such as the bubble wand or jumping.
Xbox, Xbox 360, and Playstation 2 users can all lag clip to varying degrees of difficulty. Gamecube/Wii is able to stay at 60 fps much more easily than the other versions of the games and therefore, while theoretically could lag clip given the lag, struggles to produce that lag in any scenario.
Lag clipping on emulators, specifically Dolphin, is banned in speedrunning, due to its reliance on a user's own PC hardware rather than that of the system.
The first lag clip discovered was Art Skip, and was discovered in early-2019
Lag clips used in speedrunning
- Art Skip is a lag clip used to clip under Mrs. Puff and set a dev flag stating spongebob has collected all the art
- Goo Cage Lag Clip, or GCLC for short, is used on top of the goo cage in the Flying Dutchman's Graveyard to skip a clam and spongeball movement
- Swamp Clip is a clip inside the cage in the Kelp Swamps to collect the Tiki Roundup spatula without pressing the button and watching the cutscene
- Drain the Lake Clip, oR DTLC for short, is used to skip Draining the Lake to collect the spatula in Jellyfish Fields much more quickly
- Poseidome Clip is used to clip under the arena in the Poseidome, collecting the spatula and skipping the Robo-Sandy boss fight. This does not grant the bubble bowl.
- Industrial Park clip lets spongebob navigate the out of bounds geometry in Industrial park to lag clip under, collecting the spatula. This does not grant the cruise bubble. Hans must be enabled for this or the player will softlock as the animation for the spatula will never begin or end. This means the player cannot pause to leave the arena, unless they wait a minute for Hans to grab them if Hans is enabled.