The Rise of Speedrunning Communities: A Look at the Online Communities that have Formed around this Niche Hobby
Are you a video game lover? Do you like to play games? Do you have an insatiable thirst for competition? If so, then you're probably already aware of the phenomenon that is speedrunning. For the uninitiated, speedrunning is the act of playing through a game as quickly as possible, with the goal of finishing it in the shortest amount of time possible.
But speedrunning is much more than simply playing through games quickly. It's a community of passionate gamers who share a love for the art of breaking games down to their core mechanics and pushing them to their limits. Online speedrunning communities seem to have exploded in numbers in recent years, with people from all over the world gathering online to share tips, tricks, and strategies for various games, and even setting up virtual races to see who can finish a game the fastest.
This article offers an in-depth look at the phenomenon of speedrunning and the online communities that have formed around this niche hobby.
What is Speedrunning?
Speedrunning began as a fringe hobby among dedicated gamers in the early 2000s but has since become increasingly popular. Now it is a well-known and well-respected segment of the gaming industry, with its own set of rules, conventions, and even international competitions.
The goal of speedrunning is simple: to finish a game as quickly as possible, using any means necessary. This means that speedrunners are constantly looking for exploits, glitches, and tricks that can be used to their advantage. They research how the game works and try to break down every aspect of it to its simplest parts, searching for any possible ways to manipulate the game mechanics.
As a general rule, speedrunners do not look for cheats or use external tools. Instead, they use in-game mechanics to the fullest, relying on a combination of clever strategies and intense practice to achieve the fastest time possible.
In terms of style, speedruns can be categorized into two main types: glitched and glitchless. Glitched speedruns make use of game-breaking bugs and glitches to finish the game as quickly as possible. Glitchless runs, on the other hand, use only the intended mechanics of the game in order to beat it as quickly as possible.
The Birth of Online Communities
With the rise of the internet came the birth of online communities devoted to topics large and small. It's no surprise then that the speedrunning community quickly migrated onto the digital space. People began sharing their strategies, discussing glitches, and offering tips for a variety of different games. They also began organizing online races or Speedrun Marathons (or, Marathons for short) which brought together players from all over the world to show off their skills, engage in friendly competition or even to raise money for good causes.
Discord servers, forums, and live streaming sites like Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook Live became the primary venues for speedrunners to connect, discuss and engage with each other. They became the platforms where the community congregated, shared their successes and failures, celebrated world records, and encouraged one another to keep going.
Types of Speedrunning Communities
With the growth and variety of speedrunning games, it's not surprising that the speedrunning community has diversified. As it stands, there are various types of speedrunning communities, each catering to different niches or goals.
Multi-game communities bring together players of different backgrounds and skill levels who share an interest in a variety of games. These communities tend to be more casual and welcoming, as players can share expertise, so someone who has mastered one game can offer tips or tricks to someone playing a game for the first time. One example is the SpeedGaming network on Twitch, which regularly organizes races for different games and has also established its own chat platform, used to coordinate race times and scheduling.
Single-game communities, on the other hand, focus on one game or series of games. These groups usually draw more hardcore players, striving for top records, and uncover every last secret that the game has to offer. Twitch is a great place to find single-game-specific communities, with pages dedicated to famous titles like Super Mario 64, Sonic, Dark Souls and many more.
Charity-based communities organise speedrun marathon events with the goal of raising money for good causes such as cancer research Children's Miracle Network, international catastrophes, and more. They run these "Speedrun marathons" to promote their good deeds, bringing people from all walks of life together to do something positive for the world. One example is "Games Done Quick", one of the longest-running charity organizations in the industry. They organise bi-annual speedrunning marathons that bring together hundreds of runners from around the globe, raising millions of dollars for charity in the process.
There are also communities focused on learning, offering a space where new or experienced players can catch up on the latest strategies and techniques. Experienced players can serve as teachers or mentors, sharing their wealth of knowledge with newcomers looking to try their hand at different games. One example is Speedrun.com, which features guides and resources for casual and professional players alike.
The Benefits of Speedrunning Communities
The benefits of joining a speedrunning community are many. For starters, these communities can offer camaraderie and a sense of belonging to anyone who may seem isolated or distant from the traditional gaming community. It's always nice to have a group of people who are passionate and knowledgeable about the games you love, people who understand your interests and can share your excitement.
Another benefit of speedrunning communities is the opportunity to learn. Newcomers can find valuable resources, tutorials, and mentorship from skilled players to help them learn new games or improve their skills. Expert players can learn from each other and can study different techniques to improve their skills or even create their own speedrun strategies.
Finally, speedrunning communities are a great source of entertainment. Fans can watch the best players compete against each other, offering them lots of entertaining content that can last for hours. Watching others play games is more than just seeing them finish games quickly; it's about watching their decisions, reactions, and taking in their expertise. It's an immersive experience that can help inspire others to take up speedrunning.
In conclusion, speedrunning is a fascinating niche hobby with a passionate and devoted community. It offers a unique way to experience the games we all love, trying to uncover every possible secret to finish them faster than anyone else. The online communities surrounding speedrunning provides a welcoming space for players of all skill levels to connect, support each other, and create something meaningful. Whether you are a newcomer to the world of speedrunning or an experienced player looking for new challenges, there is no better time to connect with like-minded gamers and see just how far you can push yourself.
So, what are you waiting for? Join your local speedrunning Discord server, organize a race with your fellow community members, and see for yourself what you can accomplish in the world of speedrunning. The possibilities are endless, and with speedrun.video at your fingertips, there has never been a better time to get started!
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