Speedrunning: The Ultimate Challenge

The act of beating games fast is more interesting than you think?


For most people, the hardest challenge of games is beating them to 100% completion. Though for some that’s not enough, that’s where speedrunning comes in. Speedrunning by definition is the challenge of beating a game fast, but it is so much more than that. In this article, we will be discussing the history of speedrunning and how you can start speedrunning.


Forms of speedrunning can be found as far back as the Super Nintendo in games like Super Mario Kart and Excitebike. Even though these games were all racing games they still are counted as some of the first speedrunning games. The first time it became a real community started with the release of games like Quake and Doom. In these games, there were actual tricks to make your character go faster like bunny hopping and other movement techniques. Eventually, more games came out and developed communities like Super Mario 64 which is still very competitively played today.


Modern Speedrunning

Anyone can speedrun due to how accessible speedrunning is. As long as you know what the tricks are you can speedrun, and even if you don’t you can try and learn them. Many games can look daunting to learn, Celeste and Severed Steel are games that could be considered “speed games” and are notoriously fast. For example, the current world record for the fastest time in celeste is 25 minutes and severed steel is 17 minutes. Though they may look tough it’s always fun to try.

Live events

Nowadays in speedrunning, events are often held to show off skills. Events like Games Done Quick and European speedrunner assembly are held and test skills for almost anyone. Most of the time these events are funded by sponsors and most of the revenue from donations goes to a charity which is different each year. There are also speedrun races where two speedrunners try and see who can beat the game faster, these are usually online and held at random times.

How to start speedrunning

If you are looking to speedrun a game it is very easy to start. First what you want to do is go to http://speedrun.com and look for the game you want to try. Afterward, look at the rules of the game which usually tell you what settings and options you must have for speedrunning along with when to start and end the run. You also want to get a speedrun timer and the most recommended is LiveSplit due to it being reliable and open-source. Most runs also require proof which means you need to record or stream with a program like OBS. Lastly, after the run submit it to the leaderboard and continue to learn the game.


As with most competitions, cheating is inevitable. Most often the method of cheating is called splicing which is taking two different runs from different times and combining them. Splicing is only an issue with runs that are being submitted as regular runs and most people enjoy seeing spliced runs that disclaim that they are such. Another form of cheating is called TAS or tool-assisted speedrun. TAS makes the game played in the best way possible by a robot. This allows some inhuman movements like perfect timing on platforms or faster bunny hopping. Like spliced runs, TAS runs are also only an issue when being called regular runs. Many TAS runs are used to discover new tricks in games, a good example of this is the Portal intro skip which was almost 45 seconds saved and was found by a TAS bot.


Wrapping Up

In conclusion speedrunning is a very competitive scene and with so many runners being added each day, it is always fun to see someone rise to the leaderboard. I encourage you to try or watch a speedrun after this and just see how fast it can be. My recommendations are speed games like Celeste, though I also speedrun a game called severed steel and I currently have a personal best of 39 minutes. Overall, I hope this article encourages you to start speedrunning.