As you all probably already know, Summer Games Done Quick 2016 has started. For those of you who never heard of it, it’s a live-stream event where speedrunner collect money for a good cause. Now, speedrunning has had a huge impact on gaming culture for quite some time now, but my personal fascination with it only started a couple of years ago when I saw my first couple of speedruns during said event.
Not only is it absolutely fascinating to see these runners disassemble a game you thought you knew so well right in front of your eyes, it’s also a very educational experience. Games you considered to be perfect show their many flaws in these runs, and it’s like you’re looking behind the curtain. When the player is behaving in a way the designers never intended, playing the game becomes a sport or a performative art. As a speedrunner, you’re not only playing the game, you’re playing it against its designers.
It makes me appreciate certain games more. I’m a huge fan of the Castlevania games for DS and GBA and it’s so much fun to see how speedrunners dash through them in just a fracture of the time you’d need. It also made me interested in games I never thought about too much. This was especially the case with Super Metroid, a game I kept on hearing about how amazing it is, but never really bothered to play. But when I saw the amazing stuff speedrunners can pull off in it, I had to play it. Now it’s on my list of games I try to play at least once a year.
Each year, I also have to appreciate the amount of love and care these speedrunners invest in the games they play and the community they are part off. Even though it seems like a very solitary effort, there are communities of speedrunners sharing every single bit of information they find on a given game. It amazes me that games that are decades old have still some secrets that are still being uncovered. And with each uncovered secret, glitch and skip, the world record for the game becomes smaller and smaller, but all the more impressive for it. Which is why I always look forward to these events.
How about you? Do you enjoy speedruns? Do you even have a favorite speedrunner or a favorite game you like seeing speedruns of?