If you look at different types of videos related to gaming, or the types of streams available online, you will notice that there are a lot of speedrunners. It’s popular content, even if it is about the same game because people really want to know what is going to be the next record. Here we will talk about speedrunning, all of the reasons why it’s enjoyable, and whether designers want to cater to speedrunners.
What Is Speedrunning?
Basically, speedrunning is competing how fast you can beat a certain game. That means playing it from start to finish without breaks, and without making any mistakes. Content creators know that this is very popular and even small clips can get a lot of views because it looks amazing. You might have seen a lot of Super Mario gamers who beat the whole game within minutes and let you know that you struggled for hours to get there.
However, those earlier games are very speedruns-friendly. At that time you couldn’t save your progress, so designers had to create a game that can be beaten within an hour or two if someone is playing flawlessly. The videos that are popular today are of people completing Dark Souls or Bloodborne, in under an hour. These are new games and the regular players will complete them within weeks.
Reason Behind the Fascination
Given how the Souls series are known to be the toughest games around, it’s fascinating to see anyone who can complete it in such a short time period. Of course, the same goes for other games that gamers speedrun, but Souls games require an extreme skill. That’s why it is so fascinating. You know that it takes hours to master a single boss fight, and there is no easy way to do it, you just need to play over and practice. So, seeing someone execute everything flawlessly, means he or she practiced that like crazy.
Another reason why games with 40+ hours of content can be beaten so fast is exploited. Communities all over the world collaborate and share their findings, so sooner or later someone figures out a glitch or a bug in a certain section that allows everyone to skip some major sections of the game. That’s why speedrunning is in a way a collective effort of the community, given how many people collaborated in order to make these exploits possible.
There are also legitimate exploits that work as intended but make the game feel broken, and it’s because the person playing is an expert gamer. They know exactly how to time their jumps, what combination of items to use, and what moves they need to make to deal massive damage for example. So everyone can learn from it.
Are Games Designed for Speedrunners?
Currently, this does not seem to be the case, because the speedrunners are using some software exploits, and some of them tend to be patched. Meaning devs don’t want their hard work to be reduced to an experience that will last under an hour. However, given how this trend is popular it’s entirely possible we will get titles that are aimed at the speedrunner community. Maybe there will be a special mode with shortcuts that need to be discovered, and item combinations that feel broken if used correctly.