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3 reasons people love watching speedruns (and 3 why they don’t)

Is speedrunning still impressive? Or has it become a party trick?

Since FromSoftware’s latest RPG epic Elden Ring dropped in February, the game took the world by storm. While there are many months left to come in 2022, the game quickly became the best-selling game of the year. With over 10 million copies sold by the first half of March, it’s clear gamers love this title.

Two main reasons Elden Ring became a modern classic so quickly are standard FromSoftware tropes. Following tradition from the developer, the game features notorious difficulty. Pair this with its massive amount of content, and it takes most players around 40 to 50 hours to complete the game. Keep in mind, this time varies depending on how you approach the game. Players who wish to explore every nook and cranny can get hours more in playtime.

Yet, the time it takes to beat Elden Ring also varies dramatically on the other end of the scale as well. Speedrunners like Distortion2 and Mitchriz shaved the time it takes to get from start to finish to mere minutes. From 18 minutes to 13 minutes and finally down to 7 minutes, various exploits and glitches make it possible to complete the game faster than some players spend just in its creation suite.

Distortion2’s 7-minute Elden Ring speedrun

However, the ongoing trend of Elden Ring speedruns rejuvenated the controversy surrounding that ongoing phenomenon. Although some fans find value and appreciation in watching streamers find new ways to finish games faster and faster, others scoff. Regardless of whether you think speedrunning video games is a skilled art or a cheap party trick, however, the trend shows no signs of slowing down.

With that, here are three reasons why some people love speedruns and three why others don’t.

Why they love it: Speedrunners share a niche community

One of the primary reasons people love speedrunning is how it brings together a gaming community. One Mega Visions fan explains that appeal very well. “It’s a gaming community, and it brings a lot of fun to a lot of people to watch how people can find these glitches and make use of them to beat the game.”

That’s because since speedrunning games became such a cult phenomenon, it developed a niche fanbase with similar interests. Whether you’re interested in participating in the action to get the fastest time, or you simply like to watch others beat their personal records, everyone comes together for a similar cause. As a result, speedrunning games remains a popular challenge among these likeminded people.

hbomberguy explains why speedrunning is awesome

In addition, speedrunners show off the tips and tricks that make their swiftness possible. As a result, more people become inspired to participate and learn how to try for themselves. This feeling of inclusiveness and encouragement for people to get involved in the hobby helps keep speedrunning a popular gaming trend.

Why they hate it: Obsessive speedrunners become toxic

One reason some people developed a distaste for speedrunning is because of toxic players and fans. Although the speedrunning community is full of friendly competition and supportive players, every group has its bad apples. In turn, some speedrunners take the competition too seriously and developed a superiority complex.

For some gamers, the whole “better than you” attitude among certain people in the speedrunning community leaves a bitter taste. And as something seen as unimpressive by many outside of the niche, the poor attitude pushes some people further away from finding any enjoyment. Along with that, there are also speedrunners who take the hobby too seriously, often resulting in some humorous rage moments. Just check out this compilation to see some examples.

13 minutes of speedrunners raging

In addition, some players made note of certain players in multiplayer dungeon crawlers who expect everyone in the game with them to participate in a speedrun. The idea of being essentially forced into keeping up or being left behind instead is a major turn-off to many players.

Why they love it: Friendly and competitive races

Although some people may ruin the image of speedrunners, the overall community leans on friendly competition. Since the community mines new tricks to beat the latest titles on a consistent basis, people constantly strive to improve their personal bests. This influences healthy competition since speedrunners watch each other to learn new ways to improve their craft. keeps track of world records.

Gamers who participate in the community find solace in embracing and harnessing a unique talent. Additionally, the competitive nature of speedrunning means that the record for fastest time often changes just as fast as the speedrun itself. Even a news article about the fastest Elden Ring speedrun became quickly outdated within a day of posting.

Ultimately, the community thrives on friendly competition. For those who watch speedrun streams, it’s exciting to watch someone attempt to lower the time even further. Each attempt at a speedrun is another potential historical moment to break a world record.

Why they hate it: Racing through the game kills the fun

Another primary reason some people loathe speedrunning is that circumventing most areas in a game destroys the fun. They argue in particular that games like Elden Ring are intended to take hours to play. When players blatantly skip most of the game and rush through it, there’s no purpose.

Speedrunner Vs. other gamers

After all, aren’t games intended to be fun? And if you spent $60 on a new release, wouldn’t you want to get the most out of it? As one Mega Visions fan states, “This is like entering the Boston Marathon and driving a car instead of running.”

Continuing off that point, one Reddit user elaborates on the reason behind gaming. The user explains that the point to playing video games is simply for the sake of playing. When gamers focus their efforts on rushing through content to get the rewards as quickly as possible, they miss the heart and soul behind video games. In a way, it’s pointless to avoid the fights in a game, as it dodges gaming’s real meat and potatoes.

Why they love it: Speedrunning takes a different skill-set

While some people argue that speedrunning defeats the purpose of playing, others counter that it takes a different skill-set altogether. That’s because speedrunners don’t just learn how to finish games quickly overnight. In fact, most speedrunners pour hundreds of hours into playing the game to learn its ins and outs first.

In addition to studying and mastering a game’s mechanics, speedrunners also take time discovering and perfecting the exploits needed to circumvent areas of the game. Contrary to some people’s beliefs, learning and mastering glitches does take a degree of skill. After all, game developers don’t advertise how to break their game on their own.

How to practice speedruns

The counterargument then comes in the form of people saying that once a glitch becomes publicized, other players can simply copy it. While that’s true to a degree, glitching often requires precise combinations and positioning within a level. Overall, people who love speedrunning appreciate that the art requires time, dedication and a completely different skill-set than conventional gaming.

Why they hate it: Using glitches feels like cheating

Arguably the main reason some people have such a disdain towards speedrunning is the use of glitches feels like blatant cheating. Sure, it takes effort to know how to break the game to get through it faster, but it also takes effort to know how to get away with robbery. Just as stealing is looked down upon ethically as a means to make money, some gamers look down on glitches as a means to finish a video game.

Flying through the game

Instead of enjoying the journey and playing the game as the developers intended, some people argue speedrunners take the easy way out. Oftentimes, these people also state that 100% speedruns without glitches are perfectly fine. To them, it’s not the speed that kills the fun, it’s the exploits.

However, no matter where sit on the fence about speedrunning, the fact is that the phenomenon is here to stay. As Twitch streamers continue pulling in countless fans on their speedruns, the trend will continue breaking headlines. Love it or hate it, speedrunners will continue to make gaming news headlines for the foreseeable future.

What do you think about speedrunners? Do you enjoy the skills it takes to finish a game in minutes? Or do you think the novelty should have died out long ago? As always, share your thoughts with us below!

Sam Fronsman

A writer with a love for video games, both new and old. A collector of games, CDs and DVDs. Can sometimes be found behind a camera or playing guitar. The X-Men games for SEGA Genesis will always hold great memories.
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