Do you want to be recognized as the best player in the world at your favorite video game? It’s really tough to prove such a point in a single-player game, but connecting yourself with the internet’s circle of speedrunners makes it possible. It is possibly the most intense way to experience and play a game. Speedrunners are regarded as the most skilled and dedicated of gamers. They pick a game, and they out find how to dominate it in the lowest possible time.
It’s not as easy as it sounds, either. To become recognized within the community, you’ve got to be entirely dedicated and prepared for what’s in store for you. In this article, I’ll help you do just that.
Discover Your Love for the Existing Community of Speedrunners
I’ve done an article in the past here at MakeUseOf that offers insight on three of the best places where you can find gaming speedruns. All three come attached to a community that follow it like a cult! Through forums and chat communities, fans of speedrunning are some of the kindest and most supportive people I’ve come across on the internet. I really mean that. It’s just a bunch of nerds, like myself, who are extremely passionate about video games. Games are what they care about, and if you’re the same way then you’re in.
Another huge perk of this community is their generosity. Awesome Games Done Quick (ACDQ) is a speedrunning marathon orchestrated by the guys at Speed Demos Archive. During ACDQ, a huge group of gamers get together to play a whole mess of different games and entertain a live stream of thousands. The best part is that all of the donations and proceeds go straight to charity.
Find a Game that You Care About and That Can be Effectively Run
Not every game should be classified as a game that is eligible for a speedrun. Some games are so painfully long or filled with so many unskippable cutscenes of side content that it just won’t make for an enjoyable experience. Disgaea is a pretty good example. Without countless glitches and exploits, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time would be another great candidate as being “unrunable.”
Typically, platformers are at the head of the class when it comes to games worth speedrunning. Why? They are generally not incredibly long games, they aren’t filled with cutscenes, and there is a high skill cap. This lays the groundwork for a game that is going to be fun to run and will have a very competitive world record time for you to have your eye on. There’s not much fun in running a game that has been perfected to the point where the only way that you can improve on your personal best time is merely by getting better RNG (random number generation) during one boss fight. There are some games that have been run so often that you get to a choke point several hours in where you have some ridiculously low rate of surviving or making it passed an obstacle. Most of us don’t want to be the guy that spends five hours a night playing a game only to reach a point where you have a 20% chance to advance. That’s awful.
Practice, Study, and Get Used to Failing
I’ve played through a game on the PC called Bastion a total of (I think) seven times in the past two years. That being considered, there’s no way I could start the game up right now and expect to run it with a competitive time. Playing through a game because you love it and speeding through a game are two different animals. You must study the game. You must know every glitch and secret. I never realized how severe the learning curve was until I started watching people competitively run Super Mario 64. Then, I started seeing people jump backwards onto staircases, allowing them to glitch through walls and access areas that progress them further into the game without having to advance through certain content. Heard of the Midgar skip from Final Fantasy VII? It’s things like these that you must master!
The most painful part is accepting that you can be four hours into a run and then die. Anything could happen: your electricity could flicker out, your computer could freeze, a peripheral might come unplugged, you may get some annoying pop-up that costs you a critical amount of time, etc. Failing, learning from your mistakes, and preserving the desire to keep on going is the key to becoming a speedrunner.
Have a Pre-run Meal and Keep a Snack and Drink Nearby
This is a big one, guys. Once you get down into the nitty-gritty and you’re at that point where you’re recording your runs, you’re confident, and you’re ready to feel proud of a personal best then you’ve literally got to prepare yourself like some sort of virtual athlete. I learned this one from my favorite speedrunner ever, CarNage64. However, it’s completely dependent on the game you’re playing.
For runs that should last less than three hours, this might not be a big deal. For those of you speedrunning RPGs and other games that are going to stretch out over a long period of time, it’s essential. Please don’t let hunger be the reason you fail a run. Keep something to snack on near you. Plan out when you’ve got break time or a cutscene during the game and toss something edible in your mouth.
You might even want to keep an empty bottle near you.
The point of entry to becoming a speedrunner is simple. Becoming a great one isn’t. Some do it for fun and others have actually made a job out of gaming. If you practice hard and find a game that you really love, it’s not unrealistic that you can put together one of the best speedruns anyone has ever seen. When you’re passionate and skilled at a game, that’s all you need.