Monday, September 9, 2019

Speedruns in Gaming

John B. Marine | 9/09/2019 06:27:00 PM | |
#Speedruns in games have been popular for quite some time. In speedruns, completing the game is not enough- it is about doing it in the quickest time possible. Some of the appeal lies in exposing a game and its engine to make the process of completing a game faster and more efficient than any normal play-through. As part of a blog post that encapsulated many random gaming thoughts, I felt I contributed too much to this topic than any other that it warrants its own full blog post. So this blog post is about speedruns in games.

Before I Begin...

Even though I stated this post is about speedruns in games, I will NOT offer advice or post about any speedruns I have attempted. This is all more opinion-based material than any proper resource. Any links or other media are all provided for educational purposes.

Speedruns in Gaming

It is time to offer some thoughts of mine regarding speedruns in gaming. These are unfiltered thoughts of mine, whether popular or unpopular opinions of mine. Okay... let's do this...

The appeal of speedruns are nothing new. In a lot of today's gaming culture, people challenge themeslves to clear a game as quickly as possible. The most common games in speedruns are usually classic titles. Some people even play specific versions of games because they are easier to quickly play through. The goal of a speedrun is to try to breeze through a game as quickly as possible. Usually, a game has so many different technical bits and other nuances that make a game longer than it really is. A game that seems to last for hours could possibly be beaten in maybe half an hour to an hour. Players often times will try to exploit the technical and graphical elements of a game to try to find the best way to complete it. Even as far back as the late 2000s, I remembered seeing some TAS (Tool-Assisted Speedruns) speedruns of certain games. This is to try to complete games in quicker amounts of time than the actual time. Usually, this was to avoid surpassing the time limit of making certain videos back then. There are even websites such as where people share their Personal Best times.

Personally, I dislike speedruns, especially of games I have never seen or played before. One of the biggest reasons why I dislike speedruns is because I feel like I am disrespecting a game trying to complete it as quickly as possible. I do not want to complete a game as quickly as possible unless I am encouraged to do so to achieve the best ending. The only way I can see speedruns being effective is if you are trying to gauge trying to complete a game efficiently. If I dislike speedruns, then why am I watching speedrun streams on Twitch? I watch because I want to see games being played. However, in the back of my mind, I tend to cringe a lot especially when someone fails to complete a game quickly or efficiently.

I mentioned before that I feel like a game is disrespected in trying to complete it as quickly as possible. I am someone who wants to savor every moment rather than try to complete something quickly. Again- don't ask me or make me want to complete a game quickly unless I am encouraged to do so. I seen games where a Trophy/Accomplishment goal is to complete a game in a certain amount of time. From what I can remember on the PlayStation 3... one goal for "The Simpsons Arcade" that had a goal for you to beat the game in 30 minutes, one goal was to beat "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" in about 50 minutes (or within an hour?), and one goal was to beat "Grand Theft Auto 4" in 48 hours. To me, doing a speedrun is a way of saying you want to get to the interesting parts quicker rather than enjoy each individual experience. That would be like trying to skip through parts of a book or a movie just to see the best parts. Unless a game is best when you try to complete everything as quickly as possible, I don't want to disrespect a game by taking part in any speedrun.

Another example of disrespecting a game with speedruns suggests that people have much better ways to waste time than immerse themselves in a game. Like, is completing a game as quickly as possible more important than enjoying every moment? Think about your favorite books, TV shows, movies, songs, or whatever. You love such media because there are many moments that draw you in and that you enjoy. Now imagine you just trying to breeze through something just to get to the good parts. In my mind, that's disrespecting something to only want to go through some media quickly. If a game is so bad or lengthy that you feel it is important to complete it quickly when you really don't have to, you probably shouldn't play it. Even if a game is horrible in every possible way, at least there is something to it that warrants some kind of respect. You can ask, "who cares?" about the elements of some game that isn't all that good. Only issue is, at least respect what a game has to offer and how it plays even while you are trying to breeze through it. I would gladly play a crappy game in its entirety and experience every horrible moment than try to find the quickest way to get through it. I'll even play the most broken games out there with the same sort of respect even if I don't like a game one iota. I just won't play a game with the intent of quickly trying to clear it.

So my takeaway here is... well, I have two. (1) Are some games so bad that trying to complete it quickly is a priority? (2) Is it of great importance that breezing through a game is more important than enjoying every individual moment and of what a game has to offer? Even with the worst games I've played or seen, I at least respect the game being played. Having said all of this, I am very amused at the tips and tactics gamers employ to try to clear a game as quickly as possible. I see even graphical and technical glitches exposed to try to clear games quickly. It almost makes me feel silly how I am not beating enemies and levels quicker than I actually can. I don't care about efficiency unless I really think I can clear a level or game with efficiency. I am more someone who cares about execution rather than style points. If you are watching online videos or live streams, you probably have more important or more interesting things to do than have time wasted seeing a play-through of a game, so some people would rather see a game being played through quickly rather than see a concise playing of a game- which is understandable.

Final Thoughts on Speedruns.

I particularly dislike trying to complete a game in the quickest time possible, unless I am encouraged to do so to experience the game's best ending. I do think about efficiency when trying to clear games, but I do not feel it is REQUIRED to be completely efficient. You sometimes have to play ugly and sloppy to eventually clear a game. Otherwise, trying to breeze through games is a really unnecessary challenge. I often get disappointed seeing that some games are only being played just to see how quickly you can go through them. Whether a game takes five minutes to beat or five hours to beat, I don't care about trying to beat it in the quickest amount of time. In addition to trying to complete games, I'd rather try to experience and remember every moment of even the worst games rather than try to go through everything like it doesn't matter. I feel like games are being disrespected when people are trying to go through games as quickly as possible. Though many of my thoughts regarding speedruns may not be popular, I just feel all games need respect and shouldn't have to try to clear certain games as quickly as possible. If you had more important things to do with your life than play through certain games as quickly as possible, wouldn't you be trying things OTHER than gaming as opposed to trying to speedrun games? Games, like any intriguing piece of media (books, TV shows, music, etc.) are meant to be enjoyed from start to finish with every moment being thrown at you. There is (at least to me) no enjoyment in trying to complete a game as quickly as possible unless encouraged to do so for the best result or some sort of surprise. While I don't entirely condemn speedruns or speedrun gamers, I don't find anything appealing or intriguing about speedruns. Maybe I am too much old-fashioned and a classical thinker regarding games to be out of touch with today's gaming realm.

People have their reasons for supporting or hating speedruns. I do not entirely condemn speedruns. I do not condemn gamers who consistently perform speedruns. I just don't enjoy them as much as a lot of gaming fans may. Everyone thinks and reacts to things differently.

Well, it is time for me to conclude another blog post. It's your turn if you want to discuss:

How do you feel about speedruns in gaming? Do you mind them?

It is time for you to comment and even interact with my content more if you enjoy my work. I am always looking to gain more support and respect each day and from more individuals. You can help! I hope you found my content great. Be sure to follow my work in any capacity so you keep up with my latest material. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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