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Speedrunning: the Hidden Gem of Competitive Gaming

By: Spectrolyte

Are you tired of toxic gaming communities? You know, the ones who are quick to point fingers

and throw matches prematurely? Or maybe you’re familiar with players who only game with the sole purpose of ruining it for others? It seems like being a competitive gamer goes hand-in-hand with tolerating toxicity. But does it always have to be a two-for-one deal? Spending your precious game time with disrespectful players can quickly become exhausting and discourage you from playing at all. What if I told you there’s another way to be competitive in gaming that doesn’t involve toxic communities -- an alternative where you could freely improve your competitive edge with a supportive community? Such a place exists, and it’s truly a hidden gem of gaming: Speedrunning.

What Is Speedrunning?

Speedrunning is the act of completing an entire video game as fast as possible. Yes, you read

that right: an entire video game. The task may appear daunting at first, but trust me when I say

this: learning how to speedrun your favorite game, while challenging, is one of the most

rewarding things you can accomplish as a gamer. You may think, “I don’t think my favorite game can even be a speed game” or “I don’t see how this is competitive like other esports titles.” I had similar thoughts before I even attempted a speedrun. With some research, guidance, and a whole lot of grit, you can learn to speedrun any game you want. The competition is fierce, especially for popular titles. Top runners are constantly breaking World Records to this day, even on games that are more than 25 years old.

What makes Speedrunning competitive?

Speedrunning has a unique competitive scene. Most games have head-to-head competition in the form of matches with clear winners and losers. In Speedrunning, you have PB’s (Personal Bests) and leaderboards. Leaderboards list the names of runners and their times for a specific run category ranked by time in ascending order. You can think of the leaderboard as a gauge for how well you measure up against other runners. Competing against other people’s times is very straightforward -- you just need to be faster than them. While this is a great starting point and a source of motivation to improve, the true competition is not against other runners but really with yourself. This is my personal favorite aspect of Speedrunning. Working on breaking your PB consequently allows you to compete with others. A faster time and more optimized run inherently carry you towards the top of the leaderboards, all without directly competing with others in the community. Speedrunning challenges you to analyze your own gameplay and improve yourself as a runner rather than blaming teammates or the game. This is all possible with the idea of a collaborative yet competitive community.

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