Gamers, for decades, have always strove to play games in different ways than just the norms we’re used to seeing. For example, there are gamers who play hard titles like Dark Souls without using a controller but instead, use guitar peripherals that would normally be used for games like Rock Band/or Guitar Hero. Then there are those who seek to 100% titles which means they spend hundreds of hours finding every collectible and/or beat every side quest regardless of how minor the quest is. Though today, we here at Honey’s Anime are looking at another gaming revolution that has continued to gain popularity over the years. Today, we discuss speedrunning in games and how it has grown over time.
Dubbing our article How Speedrunning Became a Global Phenomenon, we here at Honey’s Anime dove into the internet feet first to do some research. We wanted to see why has speedrunning become such a huge thing with gaming and equally, why we think it has. For those who may not understand speedrunning, we’ll explain that first. Speedrunning is simply the idea of beating any video game as fast as you can by adhering to the rules of the game. While you can’t cheat to beat your time, players can utilize in game flaws to help them beat the game as that is just utilizing elements from in-game and is considered fair play. Now with that out of the way, let us explain how this way of playing a game has caused such a phenomenon to occur in the gaming world.
A new form of competition
There isn’t one way to play a video game. Some play for relaxation and others play games to vent their frustrations in a safe way. Other gamers play for narrative driven stories and some like to challenge themselves. Speedrunning adheres to the latter gamer who likes a challenge but equally resonates with competitive players. There is a sense of drive and competition with those who aim for the best times and as other players rise to the call the challenge gets harder. One minute a gamer might beat The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in 1 hour and then months later, someone dethrones that gamer by beating it in under 30 minutes. For those who can’t believe such gamers exist, let’s look at some examples we found of this exact thing occurring.
Going back to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, there are numerous people in the world who compete to beat the game in the fastest time yet. Thanks to a website called Speedrun.com, we can actually see people put in their game completion times and when they last hit that number. The top three players currently have times around 17 minutes of completion and each was done in the span of a year. Clearly, this shows that gamers want to past their fellow player and are actively trying to do so. Even the tougher games like Dark Souls III have people as we speak playing to achieve a time quicker than the leader who has 35 minutes and 9 seconds for their completion time. Needless to say, gamers have something to prove while playing video games and speedrunning allows a new form of competition to thrive.
If you’re someone who loves watching others play video games then you probably frequently visit sites like YouTube or Twitch. On these sites, you can watch people play video games to hear their commentary or just watch to see if the game will be something you’d like to buy. Known as Let’s Plays, for many, these videos or live streams are just another form of entertainment to enjoy. That same idea is also applicable to speedrunning in video games. Watching people play some of the more popular games of yesteryear and today all while trying to beat the game in no time at all is both exciting and thrilling. Plus, some people don’t just speedrun in a traditional sense and we have some examples of that below.
Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts is considered one of the hardest titles ever made because essentially, you have to beat the game twice and doing it once is a nightmarish task. That’s why many gamers have adopted specific ways of beating Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts to make the game a bit more tolerable. However, one speed runner named PJ actually made Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts harder by picking up every weapon and still flying through the game in under an hour. Then you have a Megaman X 100% speedrun done by CalebHart on Twitch while people watched him play! That’s why just like Let’s Plays and various other gaming videos, speedruns in games are just another form of entertainment at the end of the day.
Make the game harder
We’ve mentioned this already but some people love to make games harder. Here at Honey’s Anime, we can’t blame people for doing this as sometimes playing a game traditionally can be stale, especially if you’ve beaten said game multiple times. That’s where speedrunning can change the game up. Now, instead of enjoying a tough game or even a simple one for that matter, you are forcing yourself to make the title ten times harder by doing it as fast as you can. It might sound outlandish that someone would want to make a game harder but many gamers do it—just look at video game difficulty levels—and speedrunning accomplishes this task for many.
For example, many gamers—or anime fans—know about Pokémon video games. These games require you to beat gyms, catch Pokémon and explore large worlds filled with various story elements. Usually, most Pokémon games can be beaten within 30-40 hours if you’re just going through them without collecting all the Pokémon and/or doing every little side story found. That’s where speedrunning spices up the Pokémon games formula. Now, players are racing to either beat every Gym Boss and/or find every Pokémon in a record amount of time. One of our favorite Pokémon titles—Pokémon Emerald—actually has a speedrun record at 2 hours 33 minutes and 23 seconds which was found on Speedrun.com. That to us here at Honey’s Anime is extremely impressive and also shows that for some, they want to beat games fast because otherwise, it’s just too easy.
Now, not every speedrun is going to be super impressive for some gamers. There are times where playing a game as fast as you can isn’t to set a new world record but to accomplish a whole other task. Some games have internal clocks that when you beat them before a certain time, they unlock various items or in-game concepts to enjoy. This means that the developers of the game are actually egging you on to beat their titles by set times to gain access to hidden game items. Don’t believe us? Well, we have some proof of games that do exactly what we mentioned above.
Capcom’s Resident Evil series is actually notorious for having post game items unlock through beating the game on various difficulties or beating the game before a certain amount of time passes. In Resident Evil for the GameCube, players could unlock a powerful and iconic rocket launcher if they completed the game in under 3 hours. This means you literally have to remember where to go in the game and when to avoid enemies and when to kill them if you want to beat Resident Evil before the 3-hour mark hits. Then in Resident Evil 7—the most recent Resident Evil title to release—players can actually unlock running shoes for Ethan if they complete the story mode in under 4 hours. Trust us folks, Resident Evil games aren’t insanely hard for most gamers but they still aren’t super simple titles either. Learning the layouts of maps and how to kill bosses in the fastest time takes a bit of practice and for many gamers, beating either Resident Evil or Resident Evil 7 in a specific time can be consider their own speedruns. That’s why we here at Honey’s Anime have to wonder if game developers are also fans of speedruns if they wish players to accomplish specific goals to nab post game content.
Speedrunning in video games has definitely grown in popularity over the last few decades and honestly it doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down anytime soon. Though that’s a good thing in our minds here at Honey’s Anime HQ. Speedrunning is fun to watch, fun to do and offers gamers some extra ways to play their favorite titles. What do you folks think about speedrunning and those who try to accomplish this tough challenge in video games? Comment down below to let us know and feel free to share some of your favorite speedrunning titles and/or personal stories you have with speedruns. For more articles like this one, be sure to keep returning to our hive here at Honey’s Anime!