Speedrunning – Chasing the world record
For as long as video games have been around, so has speedrunning – although not in the form it has taken today. People have always tried to beat games as fast as possible for their own enjoyment, or try challenge runs for the same reason. We asked The Demented Salad, about speedrunning, the community it has garnered and why he loves it.
The earliest known form of speedrunning began with DOOM, which was published by id Software in 1993 and enabled players to record demo files of their playthroughs. In 1994 Christina “Strunoph” Norman thought of how we could share these on the internet and thus created the LMP Hall of Fame. With this act Christina threw the young speedrunning industry forward into the limelight, and later that year Frank Stajano followed with the DOOM Honorific Titles (DHT) which is still used to this day.
The first thing I want to talk about is the main community hub for speedrunners. The website speedrun.com was created in 2014, it is a place where runners from all over the world can create and customize leaderboards for over 17,000 games and allow users to submit video proof of their runs.
When I was first introduced to the site I was immediately blown away by the sheer size of the community, and what struck me most was how many different guides, tips and tricks and help tools were available, all meticulously created by community members and put up for other people to use, even if it means the poster gets their time beaten because of the information.
While runners in the speedrun community are constantly battling against each other in a bid for the world record, it is also one of the friendliest and most caring families I have been a part of, and it’s a huge part of why I love speedrunning.
The first game that I ran was Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, a game notorious for its RNG elements. When I first began I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and was reluctant to ask for help, afraid that I would be talked down to by people who know how to play the game. To my surprise I was bombarded with people giving me different tips and tricks, YouTube and Twitch videos and I was introduced to several bigger streamer who ran the game who were more than happy to answer any questions I had.
I feel like it would be a crime to not mention Games Done Quick. GDQ is a group term for multiple events where runners from all over speedrun to raise money for charities. The event was first held in 2010, and now raises hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, alongside other events around the world including ESAMarathon in Europe. Even though the speedrunning community are spread throughout the corners of the world, we are all part of a larger family and events like this show how when we come together, we can do great things.
One of the things that makes speedrunning so fun is that there is always a challenge, even if you are at the top of the leaderboards. A new strategy could be found, a new skip/glitch that could save minutes in the run and you could topple off your pillar. You can spend thousands of hours speedrunning a game and there is always something you can improve on even if you have world record; no run will ever be 100% perfect.
Speedrunning is obviously not easy, it can be and is taxing to the point where some days you could tilt sideways off the earth from having 50 failed runs in a row, all lost at the exact same place. There are hundreds, possibly thousands of clips of speedrunners raging at a game when the run fails in a bad place or to bad rng, probably myself included. At the same time, however, imagine the feeling of a personal best (pb) after so many fails, you do a great play, you manage to get that glitch/skip that is extremely hard to do. These are some of the things I keep in mind when speedrunning, my goal is to pb and better myself at the game.
I have probably spent about 1000 hours on Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, and after well over 2000 retries I still have not mastered the game. I still mess up in the easiest of places and have lost countless runs to my own mistakes. I keep trying though, I practice what I am bad at and try to improve on what I am good at, so that when I do eventually get that good run, I can secure that pb.
There are also multiple categories within each game which offer a nice variety to what you can run. Things like glitched, glitchless and any% are just some of the multiple categories you can choose from. Each with its own route, strategies and tricks.
If you were ever thinking of getting into speedrunning, pick a game that you love and go for it. I love speedrunning, and I am glad that I accidentally stumbled into it. The friends I have made and the relationships we have forged will stay with me for life. I believe in the future speedrunning will only get more popular, and with a community as great as this I look forward to seeing what we will be able to accomplish going forward.
If you are a fan of Resident Evil, check out the Fanattik collection here. If you enjoy speedrunning or watching, let The Demented Salad know what your favourite games are via Twitch, Twitter or Instagram.