The Impact of Speedrunning on the Gaming Industry: How has it Influenced Game Development?
Speedrunning, the art of completing video games as quickly as possible, has been a phenomenon in the gaming world since the early years of gaming. However, it wasn't until the rise of the internet and the popularity of streaming that the speedrunning community exploded. Speedrunners, equipped with their knowledge of game mechanics and lots of practice, have managed to achieve some impressive feats, breaking world records and pushing the boundaries of what was once thought possible. But what impact has speedrunning had on the gaming industry, and how has it influenced game development? Let's explore.
A Brief History of Speedrunning
To understand the impact of speedrunning on the gaming industry, we need to first look at its history. Speedrunning first emerged in the early days of video games, with players trying to complete games like Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda as quickly as possible. As games became more complex, so did the speedruns. Players began to exploit glitches and bugs in the games to achieve faster times, leading to the creation of categories like glitchless runs and any%, which allow or prohibit glitch exploits.
With the advent of the internet, speedrunners were able to connect and share their knowledge and techniques, leading to a boom in the speedrunning community. Streaming platforms like Twitch.tv allowed speedrunners to showcase their skills to a wider audience, and donations and sponsorships helped support their efforts. This community has led to the creation of dozens of categories and subcategories for games, allowing speedrunners to compete and set records in a wide range of categories.
The Impact of Speedrunning on Game Development
With the rise of speedrunning, game developers have had to take notice. Speedrunners have shown the gaming world that games can be beaten in ways that developers never intended, and this has led to changes in game design. Here are some ways that speedrunning has influenced game development:
1. Glitch Hunting
As mentioned earlier, speedrunners have been exploiting glitches and bugs in games to achieve faster times. While these glitches were once seen as bad design, some game developers have embraced them and even created games with bugs on purpose. Games like Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy and Clustertruck are designed to be broken, with players encouraged to exploit glitches and find new ways to complete the game.
Speedrunning has also shown developers that players crave replayability. By creating games with multiple paths or levels, developers can encourage players to play through the game multiple times, trying different paths and routes each time. Games like Celeste and Super Meat Boy have done this exceptionally well, with players being able to replay levels to try and achieve faster times or complete certain challenges.
Timing is important in speedrunning, and game developers have started to take notice. By including a timer or clock in the game, developers can encourage players to speedrun the game or compete with others. Games like Super Mario Odyssey and Hollow Knight have included timers in their games, allowing players to time their runs and easily compare their times with others.
4. Online Leaderboards
Finally, speedrunning has shown developers that players want to be able to compete with others. By including online leaderboards in their games, developers can encourage players to speedrun their games and compete with others for the top spot. Games like DOOM (2016) and Dead Cells have done this exceptionally well, with players being able to see how they stack up against others and what times they need to beat to get higher on the leaderboard.
Speedrunning has had a major impact on the gaming industry, influencing game development in a number of ways. From glitch hunting to replayability to timing, speedrunning has shown developers that players want games that are fun to play, can be beaten in new and interesting ways, and allow them to compete with others. As the speedrunning community continues to grow, it will be interesting to see how game developers continue to respond by creating games that are optimized for speedrunning and cater to the needs of the speedrunning community.
So, as a fan of speedrunning, you can now appreciate its impact on the gaming industry, and how speedrunners have helped shape the games you love to play. From finding ways to break games to pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved, speedrunners have shown us the true potential of gaming. So, whether you're a speedrunner yourself or just a fan, keep pushing the limits and showing the world what gaming can truly be.
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