The Speedrunner Who Wasn’t: How a Community Dealt with an Elaborate Cheater

In April, Ryan did what a lot of speedrunners do: attempted a world record, trying to beat a video game faster than anyone else, in ways the developers never anticipated. His speedrun, a full eight minutes under the previous record, was met with suspicion, leading to the unprecedented formation of an investigatory council, the expunging of Ryan’s runs, and weeks of vitriolic back-and-forth. On one side, a community trying to protect the integrity of their game. On the other, a person claiming they were targeted for the great crime of having good luck.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/59755n/the-speedrunner-who-wasnt-how-a-community-dealt-with-an-elaborate-cheater
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This whole writeup comes off as really weird and vague when it’s done without in any way identifying the player, the game, or the runs themselves. People want to see the receipts, as it were, and when you deliberately leave them out it becomes very difficult to see the article as anything but a free floating allegation.

Also, FWIW, when a person goes around trying to create disgruntled allies they “sow” dissent, not “sew” it. The metaphor is planting seeds, not handicrafts.

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Patrick says that he was only allowed to write the story on the condition that he would keep both the identity of the speedrunner and game in question out of the discussion. He also talks about how the person in question nuked their online presence, so who knows where there are any receipts left to see. (For curiosity’s sake, I did some digging and found the issue the article refers to with about 30 seconds of googling, so it’s not exactly impossible to look into it if you’re curious.)

I think this is article is really more about the speedrunning community than it is about this one particular cheater anyway. Fascinating read!

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typo: it’s speedrun.com not speedrunning.com

while I respect the journalistc courtesy of keeping the game secret and all, it’s very easy to find if you’re curious

tbh I think changing the runner’s name is A-OK but the secrecy about the game in question strikes me as weird

especially when the guy in question, like, kept lying to you?

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also considering how small some speedrunning communities are, it wouldn’t be a good idea to put a giant spotlight on them.

Yeah, I think too much attention could be an issue with a community this small, but in some ways it seems to me that this article is sort of a love letter to those communities and how tight and non-toxic they can often be compared to others. So while I’m glad this doesn’t point the finger at the particular community this article is concerned with, I do hope it helps speedrunners get a bit more recognition for their (often unbelievably cool) accomplishments.

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It’s possible for a person to be blessed with the kind of run that grants favorable RNG over and over again, but what are the chances of that?

While it’s obviously not what happened here, this is a weird kind of red herring thing to focus on as RNG manipulation is a thing in the glossary the article links to

RNG Manipulation
Manipulating a game’s random number generating algorithm to make what should be unpredictable predictable. Certain RPGs can be manipulated to the extent that runners know exactly when and where they will encounter random enemies, level up, and so on.

This was an interesting look into a community that I don’t really engage with. Weird stories are always fun to read. This must have been a pain in the ass to edit, so congratulations to all involved for still managing to produce a good read.

Also that sow/sew thing drives me crazy. I saw it in an ad for some game or another and got UNREASONABLY mad about it. I think it’s because of all the horrors in the world, grammatical mistakes remain small and easy to comprehend.

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What struck me about the article was the description on “Ryan’s” actions, in how he behaved one way publicly yet privately was seeding dissent. In fact, his actions seemed to basically be “Lie, keep lying, and undermine those investigating you”.

Sounds familiar. It’s a plan followed by people in all manner of instances, from the largest, most impacting roles in the world all the way down to a tiny speedrunning community.

I quite liked the article and the telling of a weird event in Patrick’s journalistic career.

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