Speedrunning games, as we know them today, are a developed and more refined way of playing the games we always used to. Look back in your time when there were no online services for the games or go even further back to the time when video games only came into existence. There was always a sense of competition between you and your brother or you and your friends, to see who can beat a game faster than the other.
As the time passed, internet connected the world and made it such a small place where people from any part of the world could see and interact with people from any other part of the world. It globalized the concept of friendships and along with it developed the circle of competition of who can beat the game faster than the other.
Today, every game or series of game has its own speedrunning community, where people who like a game try to beat each other’s time and see who can make it the best in the world. Communities of some games are way too small to know that they even exist, but there are communities. These communities prescribe the rule-set of a speedrun on a game and further categorize it into different categories. These games and their categories maintain leaderboards of the people speedrunning the games. And one of the most known website to maintain these records is www.speedrun.com.
Q. What game should I speedrun?
A. You should only speedrun the game, which despite beating many times, you just don’t feel like playing enough. It’s because speedrunning a game is a tough grind, in which you keep doing 1 thing over and over again. So if you plan to speedrun a game that you don’t feel like playing otherwise, you may not get the best results.
Q. Why speedrunners use glitches to beat the game?
A. There is a common perception about speedrunning games that speedrunners glitch the game to make it easier. This perception can only come from a person who hasn’t been in a speedrunning stream and has watched only a recorded run on YouTube or speedrun leaderboads. A speedrunner will only do the thing which saves him time, even in seconds, without caring much for dying and resetting the run to do it all over again. There are many examples of using a glitch to bypass the boss fights, but speedrunners won’t do it because bypassing glitch takes more time than fighting the boss itself. Major example of it being a boss fight named “the One Reborn” in Bloodborne. This fight is complete RNG (Random Numbers Generated) for speedrunners, and they reset a lot on this boss, but they don’t skip him despite having a glitch present in the game, because that is a few seconds slower than actually fighting and killing the boss.
Q. If so, why the skip the bosses/areas despite completing it the way Game Developers intended?
A. You can only speedrun a game fine when you can beat the game any time of the day. Beating the game deathless for a speedrunner will never be a challenge. But since it’s not “You vs. Game” rather its “You vs. Game vs. Top Runners”, to squeeze every possible second from the run to overtake other’s time, they use anything they can without using any third party apps like Cheat Engine or Trainers etc.
Q. We heard some speedrunners saying glitches are harder to execute than beating the game itself, is it true?
A. Depends. There are really some skips and glitches in some games which can take months for you to practice and still not consistent. Glitchless runs will always be considered easier to run since beating the game easily is basic essence for a speedrunner, not a challenge.
What you need:
You don’t need anything special to speedrun a game. If you have a machine, be it a console or PC, which can run the game smooth, you’re good to go. Use of any external/third party app or even macros are barred universally for a speedrun. And unless you’re running a co-op speedrun, every other type of speedrun requires you to be offline (most cases), so you don’t even need an internet connection to speedrun a game but for submitting your run to leaderboard, since you need a VOD to be uploaded on any website to be accessible. But when you speedrun a game to compete with the top times, you might end up needing beefy machines equipped with CPU, GPU and SSD etc (depending on the game). You need to achieve the maximum amount of FPS (Frames Per Second) in a game to compete with the top runners running the games at maximum capacity.
Apart from the equipment you need, you need to stay in the community of the runners running the same game. Watch the top runners streaming their runs, because when someone is going for a World Record, he obviously has the most updated strats for the run along with anything new that the Word Record might be missing. Watching runs over and over gives you enough experience to try it yourself without much difficulty. Unlike every competitive community, speedrunning communities are very helpful, if you ask a streamer about strats, depending on individual exceptions, you’ll never feel disappointed. They tend to help each other a lot and they welcome every new runner and help them as much as they can.
What is the benefit of speedrunning as a professional streamer?
It is a common point of hesitation for anyone who wants to start speedrunning. Yes there are not as big of tournaments and events happening when you compare it with any eSports. But if you’re new to speedrunning, and you’re good at it, it helps you build a small community of your own without much competition around. And since speedrunning communities are not that competitive with each other, they tend to support every good runner by hosting him and letting others know that you run this game. Depending on your skill at the game, this community can actually help you a lot.
But less events and tournaments doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Some games get bounties issued on them for Word Records. There are tournaments organized at times by communities with prizes. So it’s a win-win situation if you are passionate about speedrunning.
Rudraaksh is a dentist by qualification but a gamer by heart. He has written in the past for adventure sports website and volunteered for a Germany based Newsletter. Currently trying to make his way into eSport