I’m always fascinated when the GDQ events come around by the skill and effort people put into speedrunning. While I’m not familiar much with the community behind most games, I’m often prompted to try running one of my favorite games just to see how I do. Of course, I’ve never got far enough into this to put a full run together, but I’m going to keep trying until I get something! Does anyone here Speedrun games? If so, how’d you get into speedrunning your favorite?
Speed runs are a lot like sports for me. I can appreciate the skill display but I can’t imagine dedicating the required time given my current obligations.
I speedrun Universal Paperclips. As to how I got into speedrunning it…the game sort of naturally encourages speedrunning due to having in-built checkpoint timers, and the theme of the game being about an AI that is single-mindedly focused on achieving a specific task. I saw the potential for optimising a route in this game, and live-streamed my 2nd playthrough of the game, which took me a little under 4 hours. I shortly after found out that Frank Lantz, the designer of Universal Paperclips, watched the tail end of my stream and commended me for the run, so that made me feel great about speedrunning it. We had a short conversation on twitter about it after, wondering about what the best time could potentially be (he didn’t know himself, though a post he made later suggested from the start he was also interested in his own game’s speedrunning potential). I think he said at the time 3 hours is probably the time to beat, though at the moment, the WR is a few minutes under 2 hours.
From then, a few speedrunners and myself have been engaging him from time to time to chat about the game and as a result of our conversations, the game was patched a couple of times to fix things that us speedrunners broke/discovered. Some of the changes were also to improve the design rather than fix certain bugs. It’s a bit slower now, but I think overall a better, more engaging game thanks to the patches.
Sort of ish? Necrodancer has built-in timers and leaderboards, so speedrunning is an “official” way of engaging with that game. But it’s procedurally generated, so it isn’t about perfecting routes, learning glitches, etc.
Like @RyleeEllison, I do not really think I can dedicate a lot of time to improving my Personal Best (the top runners can finish a five-zone Cadence run in five minutes and change – more than twice as fast as my personal best for four-zone Cadence!), but like you, I enjoy watching speedrunners (and racers, too, personally).
I started playing the Link to the Past Randomizer last year and typically go for faster and faster times, but I am very bad at it! It’s similar in spirit, though, and I’m hoping to keep with it long enough to get under 2 hours for a run. My first run took 5 hours, but I’m currently able to reliably finish in under 3 and it’s felt really good to steadily improve with time and practice!
AGDQ is doing a randomizer race on Saturday at 8 PM EST and I can’t recommend it enough, they’re a lot of fun to watch. I like randomizer speedruns in particular because they’re less specifically about technical proficiency and largely about knowing the game layout very well and having good routing decisions/understanding of item-gating logic.
In terms of getting into it, it was honestly just from watching youtube videos and seeing game devs tweet about their own runs. It’s very accessible and has few technical requirements - the community is fairly open and has a lot of good tools for tracking item locations! I fell into the rhythm of running just from having played the game growing up and watching a bunch of runs on youtube during lunchbreaks.