Some gamers aren’t too keen on the notion of gaming being a leisurely pastime, and instead focus on completing lengthy campaigns in a matter of minutes. Introducing the speedrunner.
The new era of gaming is largely focused around the principles of direct competition and multiplayer. Free-to-play battle royale titles including PUBG and more recently Apex Legends and Fortnite are encapsulating and retaining audiences like never before, and single-player experiences – though still relevant – have taken a backseat.
However, it isn’t just multiplayer games that are feeding gamers’ insatiable desire to compete. There’s a whole subdivision of players out there that take a perverse pleasure in completing drawn-out single-player experiences in a matter of minutes. And you’d best believe they take their ‘hobby’ very seriously.
And it’s this fact that provides an extra element of challenge for speed runners. They spend hours in preparation studying and perfecting their routes step by step with the ultimate goal of setting world record times, and the results are mesmerising.
Platformer franchises such as Mario, Sonic, and Crash Bandicoot have always promoted a ‘race to the finish’ mentality, and so we’re choosing to focus on the AAA titles that speed runners are blitzing through instead.
Here are five world record times from recent years:
Dishonored – 32:53 minutes
Bethesda’s stealth action-adventure franchise is a prime example of a story created for the most systematic gamers out there. Situated in small districts, the player embodies an assassin with a handful of regeneratable powers, tasked with carrying out a series of hits on well-guarded targets.
With limited combat mechanics and high damage intake, a gung-ho approach is essentially suicide.
This makes the world record run of 32:53 minutes all the more impressive. Avoiding a single death, seeker TV employs a heavy use of the teleport (blink) mechanic to dart past guards without giving them a single second to react, showing incredible aim with both projectiles and firearms to dispatch the chief targets at mystifying speeds.
Around 40% of his run was spent in the boat listening to Samuel’s exposition and he still clocked in a run of 32:53 minutes in a campaign that typically takes 14 hours to complete. Madness.
Outlast – 08:13 minutes
As someone who actively platinumed the original Outlast game, clocking in a time of just over 90 minutes, I’m puzzled as to how HorrorDoesSpeedRuns managed to traverse the endless maze of Mount Massive Asylum in just over eight minutes.
There’s something about being chased by knife-wielding psychopaths that obviously encourages players to run through the game’s eight chapters, but to complete the game in under 10 minutes is astounding.
HorrorDoesSpeedRuns had obviously studied the levels and AI patterns of each assailant in copious detail to ensure safe passage with what was essentially one long sprint from start to finish.
Fair play though, it normally takes people around eight minutes to stump up the courage to climb in the first window.
Minecraft – 03:59 minutes
Minecraft is probably the last title you’d expect on a list of speed runs, given that its appeal relies almost entirely on open-endedness and slow-burn enjoyment. NikocraftHD managed to beat the current world record however by rapidly gathering essential armour, weaponry, and magical resources before taking out the Ender Dragon, all in just under four minutes.
Does this method of play kind of miss the point of Minecraft in the first place? Sure, but it also takes on one of the game’s most ambiguous challenges (it’s notoriously hard to understand how exactly you get to the Ender Dragon if you’re a newbie) and reduces it down to a handful of trades and calculated swipes of a pickaxe.
It’s odd to see a game intended for long-term enjoyment be completely demolished in mere moments, but it’s impressive, nonetheless.