How Speedrunning Has Made Its Own Fan Base

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Completed a 30 hour long game in 15 minutes?

Story Highlights
  • Speedrunning became rapid due to the first Doom’s built-in demo feature that allowed players to record and share their finished gameplay in the least amount of time.
  • It was also made common after the rise of the internet when streaming and video platforms became widespread.
  • Glitch exploitation is the basis for most speedrunning since you can’t possibly finish 10-hour-long gameplay without manipulating parts of the games in your favor.
  • Games like Hitman 3 and GTA San Andreas have insane speedruns that keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

Today, speedrunning has made its way into the hearts of fans worldwide. It’s as if it is a new genre for streaming and recording gameplay. But how did it come into being? Let’s find out in this article! 


How Did It Begin?

The act of speedrunning started in the arcade era where a few friends competed with each other in games like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong. However, none of this was either recorded or televised so many players were still unaware that this existed.

Games like Metroid (1986) and The Legend of Zelda (1986) gave rise to the speedrunners since these games came with timers, which encouraged players to finish the game in the least amount of time. 

Doom
First Doom

1993’s Doom game was the one that made speedrunning common globally since the game’s built-in demo feature allows the players to record their gameplay and share it with others. This enabled players to compete and compare their results with others.

This gave room for players to compete from all around the world and comparison forced them to try even harder. 

Age Of The Internet

After the internet became widespread, Speed Demos Archive (1998) became a popular website, that resided the speedrunning videos posted by many users. With sites like these, people have found a mainstream solution for sharing videos.

After 2005, YouTube became the platform for speedrunning showcasing videos. Streaming sites like Justin.tv (2010) hosted a live event called: “Awesome Games Done Quick” (AGDQ) which was globally streamed.

Then Justin.tv transitioned to Twitch and to this day live streams of speedrunning are being held there and on YouTube.

Common Speedrunning Games

Now speedrunning is widely common in most games. Since it’s common, games from each genre have entered the list of being completed in the least amount of time. This includes classic games like Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

YouTube video

Some modern games include Celeste, Hades, Ghost of Tsushima, Control, The Outer Worlds, Horizon Zero Dawn, Cyberpunk 2077, It Takes Two, and Death Stranding, just to name a few. 

Glitch Exploitation

Surely players cannot possibly complete a 30-hour long game in the least amount of time and call it a speedrun. That would be an extremely long stream that even viewers couldn’t watch without resting in between.

This was a problem speedrunners faced and they overcame it by exploiting a few glitches that are already present in games. These glitches often give players a head start and usually allow them to reduce the time of the game.

YouTube video

Let’s take one example from the infamous GTA San Andreas speedruns which garner a lot of admiration due to its creative ways of glitch exploitations. When you’re on a Ryder’s mission and on your way to the barbershop, you can use this glitch.

The trick is to exit the hair option menu as soon as you get a haircut. This leads CJ out of the shop. Then, during the cutscene, you can move your character and now you must re-enter the barbershop. 

Then once you leave the shop, you’ve got to repeatedly toggle the menu after Ryder says his first dialogue. This enables a loop where Ryder repeats his statement and you do this until you reach back to Grove Street and re-enable Ryder’s mission. 

Now throwing a grenade to kill Ryder and perfectly timing the Vigilante button on your police bike will lead you to the last mission, enabling you to complete the game within 20 minutes.

Hitman Trilogy 

Similarly, Hitman is a long game but due to its interactive environment, there are many creative ways to kill your targets and finish the game. With mastering the game, speedrunners have found ways to finish the game and set new records.

YouTube video

This is as easy as throwing a muffin to a particular spot where you’ll be elevated to a certain height which will enable you to take a sniper shot on a specific map. This creativity has opened up a Hitman Trilogy speedrun community, which is ever-evolving to this day.


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