What is Speed running Have you ever tried to consciously do something as fast as you can? This could be a race versus a direct opponent or this could be a small task where you are challenging yourself to do something as fast as you can. This is at its heart what speedrunning is for video games. Players pick a whole game, a game level, or some other goal; and they compete with others and/or with themselves to get the best time. Some players make careers out of this by streaming their runs to viewers who watch them make hundreds of attempts to shave seconds off of the current record. From the casual runner to the hyper competitive there is a space within speedrunning for everyone. Speedrunning can be most compared to track & field. It’s a solo sport that is about improving one’s personal best time as it is with being faster than an opponent. Speedrunning is playing a videogame as fast as you can, just like track’s goal is to run a certain route as fast as possible. The big difference is that speedrunning is about beating the game by any means necessary. If you can run off the track to save time that can be part of the rules for a speedrun. This means in most cases beating the game in ways not intended by the developers. These strategies are called glitches. A run can allow or ban glitches and this greatly changes how the game is played. For example you could speedrun the first level of Super Mario Brothers. You would time from when you spawn into the game and race through the level until you hit the flagpole. This style of racing allows for testing speed, one’s knowledge of the game, and skill with the game mechanics.
Create an Inclusive Culture Speedrunning can be used to connect students into feeling a part of the school. You can use it as an incentive to improve and maintain their grades in school like how players on a football team have to maintain their grades to stay on the team and not get benched. If videogames in general are more treated in this way students will want to be more involved in their school. I know for me when I found out about my college League of Legends club I joined and after a few weeks I felt more a part of my university than just a student who happens to take classes at the school. If speerunning was offered in a casual or competitive manner at my high school, I would have felt more a part of the school community because my interests were reflected.
Organizing a Speedrunning Group or Club When you first learn about speedrunning it can be daunting. There are so many games to choose from. There are people who have been speedrunning for a decade with thousands of attempts under their belt. But remember that everyone starts somewhere. Start small. What’s a game that you and your students have an interest in? Then look up if there is a pre-existing community for the game. It might be small but there is probably one out there for your game. If there isn’t a community, you can start one with your students. The next step is to decide what to run within the game: the whole game or a segmented run. Watch some of the different kinds of runs to decide which one your students are interested in doing. Keep in mind how long a run is to complete before picking one. Now start speed running the game. It’s important to time the runs. Using the timer function of a smartphone is an easy step. Or use the video app to record split attempts. Splits are subsections of the game that are also timed to see progress. For example level one might be the first split, level two the second, and level three the third. Splits aren’t always a level, sometimes it might be doing a certain objective or an important goal. A recording can also be measured for the time after the run is completed to ensure accuracy.
Methods for Timing and Recording There are several ways to record a run. They include downloading a program, buying hardware or recording using a video app on a phone, tablet, or camera device.
- Download a program
To record on PC, Mac or Linux for free use OBS. A good pay option is Camtasia for PC or Mac. They do have a free trial.
- Use console hardware
To record on console for free use a phone to record. Record with high quality means shelling out money. The premiere brand is Elgato. For a second option there is Avermedia.
- Recording from a phone or tablet
Take any phone or camera device and point it at the screen for playing the game and record gameplay that way. This is not the best way because of the video quality to see all the action.
Speedrunning is a fun and dynamic hobby that many people enjoy. It is a great way to connect a wider population of your school. You now have the knowledge to choose, play, time and record the game of your choice. For more information on speed running here is a curated playlist about speedrunning. Now start a school club to begin your journey into speedrunning.