Thanks to the rise of streaming, speedrunning has become a key part of gaming culture. However, contrary to popular beliefs, speedrunning has been around for decades. Arcade machines prompted speedrunning styles of play promising the reward of leader board-topping high scores. Modern speedrunning is thought to have originated in 1993 with the landmark release of Doom. Doom included a feature where players could record and playback gameplay. This allowed players to provide evidence of their record-setting gameplay.
Speedrunning at its finest
To put it mildly, speedrunning takes immense effort. Players attempting to break records by finishing games in as little time as possible have to go beyond playing the game as is. To do this, top speedrunners avoid exploring game worlds, opting to stick to elements absolutely necessary to progress in the game. This also includes taking advantage of exploits or flaws in design to move along faster in the game. The best-timed speedruns often require a lot of skill and dedication. Dedication marked by concentrating for hours straight to beat records. Speedruns can require multiple attempts, often forcing players to restart several times in the event of scuffed runs.
Of course, where records and competitions are, you can be sure to find world records. Records exist for all kinds of games, with several genres being preferred over others. This makes platformers, arcade-style, and racing games excellent places for speedrunners to not only start but elevate themselves to record-setting status as well. Below are several world records for games that might just surprise you.
|Game||Number of runs||Country with fastest time||Best Time (Hours:Minutes:Seconds)|
|Super Mario 64||28426||United States||01:37:53|
|Super Mario Odyssey||18460||Italy||00:57:21|
|Mario Kart 8 Deluxe||12348||Japan||01:54:16|
Overall game length does factor into what constitutes a fast time. Speedrunning The Witcher 3 versus speedrunning The Order: 1886 would result in vastly different times. So note, records are weighted to game and genre.
Looking to join in on speedrunning?
Gamers looking to jump in on speedrunning can certainly do so, but there are some key things to keep in mind. First, have the passion. As noted above, speedrunning requires dedication whether to the game or the spirit of competition. So, it’s good to choose games you love as speedrunning will require hours of play in order to master the mechanics. This doesn’t just mean knowing when the game says to use them but also how to use them in ways the games might not have intended. This requires some critical thinking as you’ll essentially be fitting a cube into a cylinder hole.
While speedrunning is about what’s on the screen, it is important to not forget to keep your body topped up with food and water. Be sure to eat well before a speedrun session, take breaks when necessary, and keep some snacks and water on hand at all times.
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