Getting into Speedrunning

What games are recommended for those who want to get into speedrunning?

The usual recommendation I see people give is, pick a game you’re into. People speedrun nearly every game under the sun, there’s almost bound to be a community for whatever game you pick.

What I can say beyond that is, it’s a matter of finding a game you want to learn more about and get better at. It’s good to pick a game that has good documentation on it because then you’ll have other people to ask about how the game works and you have readily available information on what you should be doing to try to get faster, like tutorials on how to perform various tricks.

Unless you want to become leaderboard style competitive it doesn’t matter if you’ll stick it out for 1000 hours or only 100 or 30. Speedrunning is just another way of having fun with a game. Speedrunning is a way of testing yourself, finding out new things about a game and working to do better. It’s a way of turning single player games into something you can do with friends in a comparable and measurable way, even competitive.

Good games to recommend depend on what you’re into, even though speedruns are collectively a community, it’s filled with subcommunities that can be rather divided. If you want an easy run, then Dark Souls 2 current patch and Deus Ex are both really simple and easy to learn. If you want something with more complex movement, try Mirror’s Edge, Half-Life 1 or 2, Megaman X2, or Mario 64. If you want something really focused on improvisation, try Minecraft, Binding of Isaac, Hotline Miami, or Animal Crossing. Lots of glitches, go 3d Zelda, castlevania sotn, dark souls 2 broken%, portal, megaman 1 and 2, or morrowind. Combat focus, go Dark Souls, DMC4, or Bloodborne. If you want pay2win, go Warframe. http://www.twitch.tv/celestics/c/6769673 If you want something technical, go for Dishonored, yoshi’s island, super metroid, metroid prime, F-zero GX, Shadow of the Colossus. If you want something somewhat straightforward and less glitchy, go for Super Monkey Ball, Portal 2, a Kirby game, Dark Souls 2 or Bloodborne current patch, Super Puzzle Strike, Super Mario Bros, Smash Bros Melee’s event and adventure modes. For stealth go for Deus Ex Human Revolution, and Metal Gear Solid 3 European Extreme. For something classic, try Contra, Gimmick!, Metal Slug, Ninja Gaiden NES, Castlevania 3.

Check some of them out, pick something for yourself.

To repost something older I wrote on this:

Picking a game isn’t just a matter of picking a game you like I think. It’s a matter of finding a game you want to learn more about and get better at. It’s good to pick a game that has good documentation on it because then you’ll have other people to ask about how the game works and you have readily available information on what you should be doing to try to get faster, like tutorials on how to perform various tricks.

That and unless you want to become leaderboard style competitive it doesn’t matter if you’ll stick it out for 1000 hours or only 100 or 30. Speedrunning is just another way of having fun with a game. Speedrunning is a way of testing yourself, finding out new things about a game and working to do better. It’s a way of turning single player games into something you can do with friends in a comparable and measurable way, even competitive.

Here’s how you get into speedrunning: Pick a game, grab a timer, work out the shortest route you can manage on the tricks you can currently do, have a playthrough. Don’t worry so much about getting the best times, just try to do better than you did previously. Check out the latest tricks, talk to other people working on the same game as you, make some friends who can help you out and who eventually you might help out. Try the route again, see if you can integrate some new tricks. Give the stuff you’re close to being able to do an attempt or two every run. Maybe even stick it out for an hour on the same trick if you really want to get it. Try thinking of it like a risk/reward type of thing. You got a good run going, and you could do this trick that saves 5 minutes or you could take the safe route instead of spending 10 minutes repeating a trick that doesn’t work.

Then do another run, maybe take this one slow. Go through the route at your own pace, try out the tricks you can’t do yet. Maybe this time you’ll get a few. Try working out how you did it on your correct attempt. Look at the other stuff around you that isn’t in the route you’re following. Since you’re probably not following the official route yet, there’s probably stuff that doesn’t make sense in a world record run that would still help you shave off some seconds.

For the timer, it’s there to both tell you your score as well as tell you how well you’re doing on each segment, help inform where your problem areas are and where you could save more time. Make up some splits based on what you think the major segments are or borrow some from the better players. As you do more runs it’ll be able to tell you how well you could be doing from your best split times.

Back on game choice I’m gonna relate a personal experience that lead me into speedrunning. I previously had an interest in it because I have an interest in glitches in all games, however I didn’t like the idea of resetting a billion times to replay what was essentially the same string of inputs until you matched the perfect string of inputs. It seemed to me like speedrunning was an efficiency race without a lot of the dynamics of the games when played more normally. So I enjoyed watching speedruns and learning about the glitches and tricks in the game and just seeing how cool the run was, but I thought I’d never do it personally since I loath repetition. (I’m not even the type to practice combos for fighting games, the few games I do have thousands of hours in)

What ended up happening for me was a friend challenged me to speedrun something, and we both happened to have mirror’s edge. He had beaten the game like 4 times and I had only beaten it once like a few years prior. Mirror’s edge is short and I figured it would be worth a go. I ended up getting lost a lot, and wasn’t even close to winning the race. We ended up also running crysis warhead and sonic generations, both of which I also lost because the guy knew the games better than I did, and then we returned to Mirror’s Edge. I looked up some strategies so I could win the race that time. I figured out I could go a bit faster with things like the fall break kick and the side dodge boost, as well as a simple short skip in chapter 1 I was able to pull off. I lost that race too, but my time was way ahead of where it was previously.

So I continued trying to play Mirror’s Edge and learn new strategies to beat my friend, and eventually I started really picking stuff up. In my older routes I used to use the kick glitch exactly once in this one spot where it was safe even if I messed it up and I seemingly always got it for some reason. I started watching more mirror’s edge streams and what I noticed was that every runner had their own strategies. Every time I’d watch someone play through I’d learn some new thing about the game. I watched OvenDonkey’s old videos, done on PS3, with advice for chapter runs, and those used ridiculously outdated strategies that were optimized for a controller. However in those old strategies, I found easier tricks I could use that would help me go a bit faster in the places where I couldn’t do the skip. I did slow runs of the game where I’d just look around for faster ways to do things and try out tricks until I could do them consistently and was sure I could use them in my route.

In the process I was frankly addicted, I loved every new thing I found out about the game, how the geometry worked in this one place to enable this thing, the proper way to get the most speed off this trick, how speedvaults weren’t random or based on geometry but something players specifically controlled. It was cool. I was never really into mirror’s edge. I thought it was a screwed up game from my first time playing it that didn’t really live up to its speedrunning promise with incredibly linear levels that limited all but really dumb and obvious shortcuts. As I learned the game and speedran it, I came to understand it in a way I completely hadn’t before. I thought the controls were kinda clunky, I thought the levels didn’t have much to use for alternate routes, and as I learned the whole game, as I saw all the little bits and bobs people used to get to new places, I realized that Mirror’s Edge was like, the perfect speedrun game. There was a beauty to the controls that I just hadn’t seen being unacclimated to them, and I loved how the advanced techniques expanded how everything worked.

So hey, for me speedrunning Mirror’s Edge changed it from a game I didn’t have all that positive an opinion on to being one of my favorite games. In large part because it was so well documented, because I think I took the right approach to it, and because it’s a game with such huge growth potential for a player.

So hey, don’t be nervous, think it over. Play your favorite games a lot, be open to trying something you see potential in, have fun.

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