Speedrunning is beating a game as quickly as possible. Perhaps with perfect play and efficient manipulation of the systems, or perhaps by holding a bucket to a particular wall, glitching your character directly into the final boss room.
This week, let’s talk about speedrunning! Have you ever tried to speedrun a game? If you haven’t, and you had the time and means to do so, which game would you want to try speedrunning? And who are your favorite speedrunners, or just speedruns?
I have never done speedrunning for the sake of speedrunning, but sometimes they have strats out of the “work smarter, not harder” category of gaming that I steal.
Had I the time/means to do so, I would probably try speedrunning either the Ratchet & Clank games or the OG Spyro games because those are the most carved into my muscle memory. In that regard, I think my favorite speedrunner is XemmyPoo92, both for being a very good Ratchet & Clank runner and for helping me pick out some opera repertoire. BloodThunder is also worth a watch (a few years back he ran Prey: Mooncrash for GDQ which led to an all-time great picture that I can’t currently find)
I messed around with speedrunning Returnal last summer — I’d finished every objective the game was able to give me and was still too enamored with it to stop playing. (Apparently I’m still 11th on the leaderboard, woo fun!)
I had already played so much of it getting the platinum and unlocking weapon traits that I didn’t have to learn anything new besides a fairly simple movement trick (dash->melee->jump in Returnal lets you do a sort of bunny hop with all your dashing momentum), and the concept for a good run was pretty simple — hope for a good roll of rooms, run past everything using optimal paths through, grab a random weapon hoping its good, and melt the final boss as quickly as possible. The necessary knowledge is just a learned understanding of how to optimally navigate each room — which I basically felt in my bones after 100-some hours. It was fun! Eventually it got a bit tedious (some rooms were an instant reset, and a lot of it was dependent on a good roll), and I stopped. I don’t see myself trying it for any other game, but I’m quite glad I was able to try it out a bit with one I really loved.
I did a Monster Hunter Rise speedrun recently and had a lot of fun with it! There was a recent update that effectively added an easy mode for Low Rank, so I did a speedrun of the entirety of Low Rank (Apex Arzuros%). That particular category is a lot of fun because it’s ~30 hunts back to back, so you’re just playing the game at a high level. My time was 3 hours 21 minutes which is not close to the record, in part because I did a less efficient route that I thought was more fun, but it’s still a respectable time that I’m proud of.
I was just playing the game for 3 and a half hours, which is a great way to keep playing a game I really enjoy after having done most of the endgame stuff. I will probably do another run later in the year, but first “My mission is to kill Chaos”.
I have never really speedrun anything (back when Quake Done Quick came out for the first time, I did briefly flirt with trying to learn Quake speedrunning, but I was (and am even more so now) extremely bad at the movement tricks needed to do so - I still can’t do the fancy air control tricks you need - so I stopped pretty quickly).
Obviously, given that context, I have a soft-spot for low-glitch (or at least, mostly-in-bounds) FPS speedruns - the Half-Life 2 speedruns in Awesome Games Done Quick and Summer Games Done Quick are often highlights for me (although, commentary helps a lot with this kind of thing).
Similarly, I love proper non-glitch platformer speedruns - there’s a whole category of out-of-bounds / messing with collisions to move through walls speedruns in this space which are technically impressive (in that out of bounds usually needs near-frame-perfect inputs to achieve), but just not as much my thing as people just playing the game perfectly by the rules. So, things like Celeste, where the game is already built to have good speedrunning mechanics, are great here - even if watching the best Celeste runs also make me feel super bad about being so awful at it myself.
I had considered 'speedrunning` Ace Combat 7 in the past because the leader board only had a few runs on it, but I didn’t want to set aside the time to record a full play through of the game.
For me personally speedrunning requires playing a game in a very specific way, perfectly, over and over till you get it right seems like a good way for me to stop liking that game anymore.
Love watching runs though, especially the glitchy ones. Something really enjoyable seeing how far runners can push games and how ridiculous some of the glitches/exploits are.
I’ve considered doing an any% speedrun of XCOM 2: War of the Chosen because the times are reasonable and the community isn’t large XCOM 2 - speedrun.com
XCOM is all about controlled RNG and I think that could make for an interesting experience as long as you do not get down into the weeds of finding the perfect seed. That said I am a bit confused why no one has really put in stone what the rules are for doing a run on it?
Timer start when you press launch the first mission.
Any advanced options are allowed
Timer ends when the Screen Fades to black after you killed the last Avatar.
That’s all the rules for War of the Chosen which leaves a few things up in the air like expansions for example. The Tactical Legacy Pack expansion for example gives you straight upgrades for all classes, Shen’s last gift gives you the robot units which can be super powerful if played right, and Alien Hunters is a bit more balanced as the you can get better gear but at the expense of dealing with hard enemies.
There’s also nothing set in stone about mods but there’s basically been an agreed upon cosmetic only rule. However I feel like you could argue that something that just displays information better and is not impacting gameplay is basically just a cosmetic mod for the UI/UX but I don’t know enough about speedrunning to know if that kind of mod is common to use in the community or not.
I do think there’s room for other types of runs in XCOM as a series as well. For example in game day would be an interesting one I think. I’m not 100% sure what the earliest day it is you can see credits in game. Same for turn count. Then you of course just have end of campaign score. Is there a separate community for runs that are not speedruns?
My suggestion is to not really care about the rules, especially if it’s your first time. The fun part of a run without many glitches is playing a game you like at a high level with limited time for decision making, not submitting to the leaderboard. Also, if you enjoy the run, then it doesn’t really matter if the mods reject your submission because you will most likely want to attempt it again anyway and that attempt will likely be much better.
I used to do a bunch of speedrunning for Universal Paperclips. Here’s the leaderboard for that game: Universal Paperclips - speedrun.com
I decided to speedrun the game when I realised one of the central themes of the game, despite being an “idle clicker”, was optimisation and efficiency. So I decided to see how fast I could make the paperclips. I streamed my first attempt and to my surprise, the creator of the game, Frank Lantz tuned in to see the ending, so that encouraged me to keep going with it. I quickly found a small community of Universal Paperclips speedrunners on twitter and twitch, so it was fun to do runs alongside them as we strove towards the sub-2 hour mark. One of the key things about speedrunning this “clicker” is that because of the way it’s programmed in a browser, you can just hold down the enter key to simulate clicking 30 times per second. We all unanimously decided this was fair play because 1) everyone has access to it without any hardware/software modifications and 2) it saves our fingers and hands.
Given that the creator of the game was interested in the speedrunning aspect as well (he says as much when he added an in-game timer to the game), it was interesting seeing how he responded to our various achievements and exploits. The game was actually patched a few times to fix some things he didn’t intend for us to do, make certain things more streamlined, or things he just straight up overlooked when first creating the game.
I did a run of the game for Savepoint 2020 too! The vod of which can be found here: Twitch