The Psychology of Speedrunning: What Motivates Players to Push Themselves to the Limit?

As a gamer, you might have come across terms like "speedrunning" or "speedrunners" in recent times. You might have wondered how some gamers complete their favorite games at lightning-fast speeds while others take days, weeks or even months to complete them.

Speedrunning involves completing a game as quickly as possible by exploiting glitches, tricks, and shortcuts that normal players might not know about. Speedrunners use multiple strategies like "route optimization" and "sequence-breaking" to skip sections of the game and reach the end credits in record time.

But have you ever wondered what motivates speedrunners to push themselves to the extreme limit to complete a game in such a short amount of time? In this article, we will be discussing the psychology of speedrunning and what drives players to achieve such incredible feats.

The Thrill of Competition

One of the most apparent motives behind speedrunning is competition. Speedrunning is not only about completing a game, but it's also about completing it faster than others. People who speedrun love to compete and take pride in being the fastest in the world.

Speedrunners compete against each other on platforms like Twitch, YouTube, or online forums dedicated to speedrunning. Due to the increasing popularity of this hobby, many speedrunners now compete for prizes and even participate in events like GDQ (Games Done Quick), a bi-annual charity speedrunning marathon.

Speedrunning can be addictive, and individuals who get used to this thrill often pursue more significant goals to attain higher success. In speedrunning, a world record is always up for grabs, making the competition fierce and exciting.

The Feeling of Mastery

Another motivation for speedrunners is the feeling of mastery over a game. While playing the game casually, players usually follow the prescribed path known as the "intended route." Still, speedrunners often look for glitches, tricks, and shortcuts that allow them to complete a game quickly. This approach involves understanding the game mechanics on a deeper level, which makes speedrunners feel more invested in the game and proficient at it.

Once a speedrunner masters a game and breaks its speedrun record, they feel an immense sense of achievement, pride, and satisfaction. The joy of mastering a game can motivate a speedrunner to try out new games, overcome new challenges, and continually improve their skills.

The Desire to Break Records

Record-breaking is another motivation for speedrunners. Every year, hundreds of games are speedrun, and thousands of hours of content are uploaded on different streaming platforms. Speedrunners can keep track of world records for each game and take up the challenge to beat them.

It's not just about breaking records, but doing so by an incredible margin. You might think that succeeding by a couple of seconds would be enough. Still, even a fraction of time can make a world of difference in the speedrunning scene, and speedrunners know it.

These broken records might seem irrelevant to other gamers, but for the speedrunning community, they represent everything that they have worked for. They showcase how much a player has improved their skills over time and the result of their dedication and hard work.

The Freedom to Experiment

Speedrunning also provides a unique platform for creativity and experimentation. The pace at which speedrunners play the game allows them to analyze and experiment with different routes and strategies to complete the game. By breaking away from the intended path, speedrunners can find alternative strategies that suit their playing style better.

The freedom to experiment and succeed by playing the game differently than the developers intended provides immense satisfaction to speedrunners. It offers a level of creativity and self-expression that is impossible in regular playthroughs, which prompts them to continue achieving new goals.

The Community and Belonging

Lastly, yet another motivation for speedrunners are the community and sense of belonging they get from participating in it. The interest in speedrunning is increasing every day, making it easier for like-minded people to come together, share their knowledge and experiences, and discover new strategies.

Many online communities dedicated to speedrunning are available, such as r/speedrun and the SpeedRunsLive forums. These platforms allow speedrunners to share their experiences, ask for suggestions, and make connections with others who share a similar passion for gaming.

Speedrunners go beyond just competing with others; they also create a friendly community with collective knowledge that comes together to find the best strategies and ways to complete a game in the fastest time possible.


The motivations behind speedrunning vary from breaking records to achieving higher levels of mastery over a game. The competition, sense of belonging, sense of creativity, and desire to experiment all play a role in motivating speedrunners.

While speedrunning can be challenging, it offers a unique way of exploring a game and pushing yourself to your limits. If you're interested in speedrunning, don't hesitate to join one of the many speedrunning communities online, and see how far you can push yourself!

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