Who knew speedrunning could be so comfortable?
When I was growing up, the sound of sports always filled our house. My dad enjoys pretty much every sport imaginable, from football to baseball to track and field. A lot of times I don’t know what’s going on, but having a game in the background makes the perfect soundtrack for my Sunday afternoon naps. Sometimes, when I want to feel more cozy, I’ll find an old NFL game on YouTube to play while I fall asleep.
Nowadays, the closest thing I get to watching sports is eSports. It’s a whole different world, as I learned from my friends who work in that field, but there’s also a lot of crossover there.
For one thing, esports has taken a lot away from traditional sports when it comes to how they set up their broadcasts, especially when it comes to commentary or how they refer players. . As someone who has played sports all my life (I have a sibling who is very athletic), it was fascinating for me to see how we moved the competition into the digital space and how we chose to move the information forward. that message to those who are watching.
I think of running speed as a little cousin of e-sports
More than esports, I’ve been more interested in speed running lately.
At this point, I’m pretty sure everyone is familiar with the concept, but in case you’re not, the basic idea is that players have competitions to see who can play through a game the fastest and The rules may be different it’s up to the speedrunner if they want to do a bug free run (known as a glitch run), if they choose not to use certain items, if they choose to just run to a certain part of the game, etc. on.
Running fast as a concept was popularized in the mid-1990s by players who would run Super Metroid, but these days, you can get things up and running quickly by implementing a few creative rules. While eSports can be pretty rigid with its rules, hero/champion bans, and tight training schedules, I find it very enjoyable to run fast that I find very seductive.
In recent years, players have started running games like Stardew Valley, Cooking Mamaand Little Mermaid NES game, to name a few. Seeing speed players lean into that silence from time to time speaks to how this community feels like a celebration of the games we love. I mean, you have to love a game so much to play it for hundreds or thousands of hours to know it’s enough to run fast in the first place, right?
So now, when my best friend and I get together but don’t know what to do, we just watch the speed games of our favorite games. I love to sit back and watch these great players explain to me all the intricacies of their runs, and all the work they have to do to complete even the brief seconds of their run. surname.
This sounds familiar…
We recently watched highlights from Game finished quickly, a semi-annual speed-running event that raises money for charity and has some really cool clips in it. While most players participate at home, there are some games where players have to do their runs in person at the event.
In particular, a moment that I will always remember is the clip of four speed runners performing a speed race against the aforementioned athlete. Super Metroid since 2014.
The commentators were explaining the running track to the audience in the room with the players, so they spoke softly so as not to disturb their concentration.
There were moments of tense silence as the players went through difficult sections, only to be met with cheers when they made it through. As we were watching this unfold, I suddenly realized: this sounds exactly like when my dad watches golf on TV.
Now I’m using speed races to watch for fun or just to run in the background. With household things being a bit complicated right now, it’s comforting to me to have something that sounds familiar, but also caters to my taste, unlike traditional sports. I’ve always known that I love speed running, but this gives me a whole new meaning.
There’s nothing I love more than watching enthusiasts do what they’re good at and that’s exactly what speed is all about. I probably won’t watch any more traditional sports in the future, but maybe speed is something I can show my dad in the future in return for the favor.
One of the things sports and speed have in common is that we share the love of others together to do something better than we can.