Writing Prompts: Speedrunning

There are two definitions of speedrunning. One relates quite literally to vehicles, and that is of no interest to me. The other concerns video games, and that is of great interest to me.

Speedrunning in gaming is the art of completing games quickly. It may involve taking the fastest route across any given game, or it may involve completing the game 100% in the shortest possible time. Either way, speedrunning is a display of skill, reflexes, and practice. Some games are fiendishly difficult, but that hasn’t deterred speedrunners from getting through them in amazingly quick times.

One of the greatest speedruns I ever watched was a duel between two players, who were racing each to complete The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, as quickly as possible. This was also for a good cause (raising money for a cancer charity), and the players had a great camaraderie as they set about pulling off moves and attacks I would never even think of, much less pull off. Frustratingly, I cannot find this original race, but it was breath-taking. I love that game, and have played it on many occasions, and found myself completing it more quickly after watching this speedrun, but I have never come close to what they achieved.

Speedruns can hinge on random variables, and a player’s ability to react to them. Whereas older games are predictable in terms of where and when enemies and traps will spawn (the original Super Mario Bros is a well-known quantity), a lot of newer titles tend to have enemies pop up unexpectedly. The two most recent Zelda games, Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom, are good examples of this. They certainly have scripted moments, but dangerous enemies can randomly appear, and this certainly changes the map in terms of speedruns. As I said, good players will adapt.

As for me? Well, this meerkat does not have the patience to stress himself out trying a speedrun. I’ll gently steer you towards YouTube, if you want to see the pros in action!

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