With the legitimization of eSports happening (see my last post here: https://scorum.com/en-us/cybersport/@reverendrum/the-legitimacy-of-esports), we can discuss a lot about the ins and outs of the sector. Today I want to discuss something I’m particularly a fan of yet many eSports fans aren’t familiar with: speedrunning.
What is Speed Running?
Simply put, speed running is “beating a video game really really fast”. That’s the simple definition, anyway. Speed running, boiled down to it’s most basic component is playing a game as efficiently and quickly as possible, to try and be the fastest player of a specific game in the entire world. Leaderboards are kept and world records are tracked as gamers compete to be the best of the best.
So it’s just beating a video game fast...what’s so cool about that? Well, it’s not necessarily just beating a game really fast. Speed runners typically employ and arsenal of various tricks and sometimes glitches into their runs to save time (or “frames”). Frame-perfect tricks, for instance, could save fractions of a second on their overall time, potentially making or breaking a world record pace, but the risk-reward of a maneuver that difficult might not be worth it, especially for a longer game. For reference, most games run at 60 frames per second. “Frame-perfect” means a speedrunner has just 1/60th of a second to do a correct input. It’s kind of insane.
My personal favorite aspect of speed running are the races. Generally, runners just compete against each other to get the best overall completion time for their games, but this is a solitary activity. They can do this alone, all by themselves (or with an audience on a streaming site like Twitch), posting their times and proof online. Sometimes, however, they compete in head-to-head races, starting their games at the same time and trying to finish first. These are an absolute thrill to observe, and when the racers are at peak performance, you can watch them trade off their lead in milliseconds due to minor errors and mistakes.
It’s hard to explain in words just how neat speedrunning is, so I’m going to drop a few links to insane speedruns. Take a few minutes and check them out, and I think you’ll understand why I think speedrunning is so cool:
Kosmic’s previous world record run of Super Mario Bros (in 4 minutes and 55 seconds!):
Stennis beats Dark Souls 2 in 14 minutes (it took me like 72 hours to beat Dark Souls 2…):
Super Metroid race between oatsngoats, sweetnumb, zoast, and Behemoth87 (at SGDQ 2016, something I’ll get into in another post):
Additionally, Summoning Salt is a revered speedrunner who also does documentary style histories about the progression of world records in some very popular games. This is an absolute must see channel if you’re interested in speedruns:
Well, if that didn’t get you hyped, I don’t know what to tell you. There’s speedruns of just about every genre and game out there. Go search one up on Youtube.
I know there’s a few speedrunners here on Scorum. Feel free to sound off in the comments and promote your blogs!