The Perfect Play-through
Every new video game release brings new players, many of whom will play a game and move on. However, with every game comes a select group of players who will stop at nothing to beat the game with the fewest mistakes possible and achieve the perfect playthrough. These players specialize in completing games at record-breaking times.
This community of gamers has been growing over the last decade along with the increased popularity of online social platforms. These self-described “Speedrunners” compete to find new inventive ways to complete their favorite games as fast as possible. By replaying a game over and over these specially gifted individuals are able to find exploits in the game design and find the patterns that will allow them to abuse these exploits to achieve things even the developers didn’t know were possible. Speedrunners are well known within the larger gaming community as people who abuse “bugs” or simple game malfunctions in order to gain a special edge over the regular player. These bugs can be anything from the game character being able to phase through a wall in certain places or as strange as jumping on a wooden crate, grabbing it and using it to propel yourself through the sky at astronomical speeds. Very strange, yet fascinating gameplay can arise from these speedrunners.
With an online database of the fastest times achieved in any game recorded and maintained by volunteers, it’s easy for speedrunners to compete in an asynchronous manner. Runners are even able to watch video clips of the competition. This social aspect of speedrunning makes it a very unique experience in gaming. One great example of this social aspect is a rivalry that went on between two players in a game called “fancy pants”. This quarrel went on for years between these two players, with neither one knowing the other personally before it began. But when they would go back and forth beating each other’s time trying to finish the game in the lowest possible time it allowed the multi-year-long rivalry to grow into a lifelong friendship built on a shared interest in their favourite game.
For anyone interested in speedrunning, it’s really quite simple to start, just open up any game with a clear ending and try to finish it as quickly as you can. Some online times can help you track your progression and with a free screen recording software like OBS (Open Broadcast Software) for PC you can verify your times on the online database.