This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)(Learn how and when to remove this template message)
A speedrun is a play-through (or a recording thereof) of a video game performed with the intention of completing a goal as fast as possible, most often to complete the game. Speedruns may cover a whole game or a selected part (such as a single level) and may impose additional requirements beyond quick completion. They are mainly attempted for the purposes of challenge, entertainment and competition.
Commonly, speedruns are recorded by the players who refer to themselves as speedrunners. Speedrunners use these recordings for entertainment, to verify the completion time, to verify to other speedrunners that they didn't cheat, and to spot ways to improve their own run times.[Note 1] The use of speedruns as entertainment stems from their conception by game enthusiasts, who would often compare each other's playing skills via videos exchanged over the Internet. As speedruns have grown more competitive, however, enthusiasts often demanded more proper speedrun recordings, so that anyone could verify that a play-through went by the implicit or specific speedrun rules it claimed to follow. This verifiability is needed to count a speedrun as an official attempt to beat any previous personal records or the current world record. Speedrunners often live stream their gameplay if they are aiming for a world record. Streaming a speedrun also proves that the runner actually achieved the time they were aiming for, and the runner often uploads their video to YouTube and submits their time on a leaderboard to compete with others.
In order to reach the highest possible quality of play in a speedrun, the runner usually has to reason about the game differently from the way that many ordinary players might. Speedruns are usually planned out carefully before they are attempted, because the separate areas in which gameplay takes place are often complex and demand skillful planning to complete quickly. Speedrunners often exploit imperfectly designed game mechanics to do unexpected and unusual things that save time. Although game mechanics are usually vastly different between games, they often share common traits in the speedrunning context, such as having opportunities to break the intended sequence of events in a game and skip entire parts of it — often called sequence breaking — and exploiting programming mistakes, or glitches, that a skillful speedrunner can use to their advantage.
Some games are considered to be particularly suited to speedrunning and have online communities dedicated to them, which can provide an active platform for discussing, publishing and improving speedruns. Although speedrunning originally encompassed a small community of enthusiasts sharing their speedrun attempts online, it has since become a phenomenon that involves several active websites and an increasingly expansive assortment of speedrun videos and livestreams that are freely and widely circulated on the Internet.
- 1 Common procedures and preparation
- 2 Tool-assistance
- 3 Segmented speedruns
- 4 Softlocks
- 5 Completion
- 6 History
- 7 Speedrun Marathon
- 8 See also
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Common procedures and preparation
There are several important things that one needs to keep in mind during the making of a speedrun. These pertain to how good one is at playing the game, which primarily means that the player must be competent at using the gameplay mechanics, and must instinctively know the workings of the in-game physics[Note 2] and any techniques or tricks that can be used to one's advantage. Secondly, good knowledge of the game and the events that occur within it are crucial, as one needs to know exactly what to expect during a "run" through the game, and also realize the optimal method to do so. Additionally, runners require perseverance, as it is quite difficult to be able to do a run correctly in a single attempt. As it requires some degree of luck to be able to perform all important events to a satisfactory degree, runners will usually have to simply try again constantly until they are all done right in the same recording (although this differs per run type; different run types were briefly mentioned in the abstract and will be explained further down). The requirement to do this depends on whether the runner is trying to beat another record. When attempting to do so, making mistakes could annul one's chances of doing so (especially if the holder of the current record did not make that same mistake). For some speedruns records, especially those of popular games such as Quake or some games from the Metroid series, years of intensive competition have brought about very high quality standards. Runners therefore practice intensively to attain the ability to play at such a high level of skill. In some cases, Internet communities that relate to speedrunning are able to keep active improvement on a particular speedrun going for years.
As mentioned, the actual recording of a run is preceded by a research phase. The things a runner can do during this phase pertain to finding out possible ways to save time, most of which are likely specific to the particular game under consideration. Naturally, it must be known beforehand that there is a certain route through the game that will yield a fast time. Such a route can describe various things, including a number of abilities that the game's character must obtain or avoid, which enemies to gain experience points from, or which levels to play (in case there is a choice at all). The devised routes can be highly creative and may include doing things that are out of ordinary or intended play style. It is not uncommon for routes to even "skip" parts of regular gameplay in events known as "sequence breaking", sometimes through the use of programming errors (called "glitches" in this case) that can work to the runner's advantage. Both these things pertain to route planning, the most important preparation work.
Before one begins creating a speedrun, it is of importance that the most feasible route that leads to the completion of the game be determined. A route, in this context, is a course of action by which to get from one point in the game to another—it could cover only a single level, or the entire game in general.
The need for determining such a route stems from the complexity of the separate areas in which the gameplay takes place; runners must ensure that, in order to be as fast as possible, they know which actions to take in which order to avoid having to do unnecessary things. If one does not take the game's flow of events into proper consideration, the resulting speedrun may be tainted by requirements such as having to pass through more levels, having to use less effective means of fighting enemy characters, or having to level up more. The amount of planning per section of a game differs. For example, extensive planning is required to find the best possible method for passing a level that contains a lot of traps or enemy characters, more so than levels in which most such obstacles are optional and can be easily avoided. Even in games in which the levels seem fairly straightforward, it is often required that a route be taken that ensures some kind of advantage, such as a certain degree of safety or the possibility of picking up beneficial items or weapons along the way; an "optimal" route is designed not only to be fast, but also to take into account the effect it might have on other resources that might affect later levels.
Some games lend themselves to this better than others. Generally, non-linear games will have more branches of possibilities, as the lack of a fixed sequence of events causes there to be many choices that the player can make that require extensive research to appraise.
During the making of a route, it sometimes becomes apparent that some of the goals in the game do not need to be achieved for completion. While the route itself pertains mostly to the way levels or their segments are passed, additional elements of the game that may be seen as integral to its natural or artistic flow, or the continuity of its gameplay, may sometimes be avoided partially or entirely. Such elements include cutscenes that need to be watched before the player can progress, items that the player needs to possess in order to continue to a next stage, or even entire parts of the gameplay that may convey a part of the game's plot or subplot. Skipping a part of the game in such a fashion that it can be described as a disjunction with the game's intent or common sequence of events, is referred to as sequence breaking.
The term sequence break was first used in 2003 in an online discussion forum thread concerning the Nintendo GameCube game Metroid Prime.[Note 3] This thread was called "Gravity Suit and Ice Beam before Thardus"; using the since then common "x before y" notation in the nomenclature of speedrunning. Thardus, a fictional creature in the Metroid series, was designed to be a mandatory boss before the Gravity Suit and Ice Beam could be obtained, hence the novelty of bypassing the boss while still obtaining the items. The author of the thread was Steven Banks, who reported to have successfully performed this sequence break on January 18, 2003, after the possibility of such an act was suggested by "kip". Banks posted his findings about the act being possible on the Metroid Prime message board on GameFAQs in a thread which attracted a number of interested gamers.[Note 3] The gamers fast became a separate community and strove to accomplish more and better feats in the game. It is currently assumed that the term, as used in this context, was first used by a person known online as "SolrFlare" in this thread on February 5, 2003. Since its initial discovery, sequence breaking has become an integral part of speedrunning and has been applied to many other games.
An example of sequence breaking as a result of a glitch can be found in the "16-star" run of Super Mario 64: in this game, the protagonist, Mario, normally needs to collect at least 70 of the 120 power stars before he is allowed to play the final level and challenge the antagonist, Bowser, for a final time, but a glitch makes it possible for a runner to access that level with only 16 stars. More specifically, with the right kind of movement, the runner is able to pass through the boundary of a wall by pushing into it in a certain way while holding onto MIPS, an NPC. Since then, similar tricks have been found to complete the game without collecting any stars.
While some speedrun rules require that the skipping of such events be avoided, it is often desirable—connate with the act of route planning—to make full use of such possibilities. Websites, such as Speeddemosarchive and their associated wiki constitute that a glitch run falls under its own category of glitch run, as opposed to a run without glitches, allowing for multiple categories. Thus is it possible for two separate times for a 100% speedrun of a game, a 100% speedrun utilizing glitches, and one without using them forcing the player to complete the game in a standard fashion. It is agreed upon that glitches, which are the fault of the games programmers and not the player, are legitimate and allowed, however cheating or using cheat devices (this includes cheat codes that are implemented by the programmers such as an "Invincibility" cheat) are not accepted, even if the cheat is a glitch from something such as improperly inserting the cartridge.
Removing or altering a game disc/cartridge/files while the game is running is forbidden. Examples of this are the crooked cartridge trick in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and the CD streaming trick in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. If you're not sure what this rule means, think about it this way: don't mess with your system while playing the game, and don't modify the game itself at any time.
There are some glitches in video games which allow the player to become invincible to enemies by delaying death and it can also result in skipping some stages. The Oddworld series has been known for this type of glitch. Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee has the glitch that can skip Paramonia and Scrabania which is not meant to happen for a general player of the game. There is also a similar glitch in Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty but only Scrabania can be skipped. There is no glitch that can delay death in Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus, but there is a glitch that can skip everything in the entire Feeco Depot which would have resulted in going through Slig Barracks, Bonewerkz and the Feeco Office. This is done using an Auto-Turn delay glitch at the start of the stage, which involves delaying Abe's ledge hoisting animation and using it at a further ledge in the game. Games from the Grand Theft Auto series also have an invincibility glitch too.
While it is typical of generic speedruns, as described in the opening paragraph, to be recordings of skilled playing of the game, there is one particular branch of the phenomenon called tool-assisted speedrunning (commonly abbreviated TAS) which removes the need for the recording to be devised by typical means (such as recording the speedrun on a VCR tape while it is being played on the original hardware) and instead allows authors to use tools to aid their playing. Essentially, these tools can be anything that eases the game-play and thus improves the final result; some prime examples, commonly provided by the use of an emulator, include the usage of save states that allow the author to go back in time and revise mistakes (in this context, this is called re-recording), and programs that read variables from the game's memory, giving the player information not normally available to them, such as enemy attack patterns. One common requirement of tool-assisted speedrunning, stemming directly from the abilities that said tools provide, is the attainment of perfection; the knowledge that it is not possible, by current abilities, to record the speedrun in any way that would warrant a lower completion time. The practical result is that human limitations, such as skill and reflex, are no longer an issue in the creation of a run; tool-assisted runs have (sometimes significantly) lower completion times than their unassisted equivalents.
It has been argued by members of TASVideos, a major tool-assisted speedrun community, that the runs produced by them could be considered a form of art, claiming that they significantly hold "creativity, variability, surprising outcomes, and speed", which makes them "beautiful to watch". Additionally, these members have outlined the qualities that, according to them, make a tool-assisted run entertaining: they should be interesting to watch (the play should not be slow or repetitive), they should surprise the viewer (the runner must perform the unexpected), and they must depict a very high level of play (the runner must be able to handle awkward situations efficiently and creatively). When a new run is submitted to the site, it first gets voted on by the site's members to assess whether it is suitable for publication; in case a run is found to be substandard, it is rejected.
The usage of tools to aid the player is mostly forbidden in regular speedrunning, and it is for this reason that tool-assistance is seen as controversial by some. When a tool-assisted speedrun of Super Mario Bros. 3 was released in mid-2003 by an anonymous speedrunner using the nickname Morimoto (もりもと?), its incredible quality of play became a phenomenon; since few people knew how the video was made, it was widely believed that it was played in real-time by an extremely skilled player. When Morimoto detailed the making of the run on his website, many felt deceived and turned to criticizing the video's "illegitimacy" instead. In 2006, Joel Yliluoma, the webmaster of TASVideos, had been quoted as saying "Two years ago, I fought against claims of cheating and other bad-mouthing. Today, although I still see some people who hate the movies and consider them cheating, I see more people who recognize the value of both types of speedruns." Another point of criticism is that a properly executed tool-assisted speedrun may disillusion runners from making an unassisted version.
Another phenomenon of speedruns exists, called segmented speedruns. These differ from single-segment speedruns in that unlike single-segment speedruns, which are played and recorded entirely in one sitting, segmented speedruns are speedruns that are attempted in several non-consecutive pieces or segments from various save points. The advantage of segmented speedruns is that one can attempt a segment multiple times until it is perfected completely, and group the best segments into the final result. This also allows for one to use dangerous or unreliable tricks that may be otherwise crippling in a single-segmented speedrun. Because of this, segmented speedruns are ranked separately from single-segmented ones.
A softlock is an occurrence during the speedrunning of a video game in which the events of a game are triggered in an order unintended by the developer, resulting in making further progress impossible. This impediment of progress is a result of a game's script being broken due to events being performed in an incorrect order. This is different from a "crash", where the game ceases operating and stops working, requiring the system to be shut down or possibly reinstalled due to corruption.
What differentiates a softlock from a crash is only one factor: during a crash, the game ceases operating entirely and is no longer working. The player must either reset their game or obtain a new, working copy. Crashes can be triggered for a variety of reasons, but permanent crashes have a myriad of reasons for happening that are typically only permanent if the game's code is ruined or the game itself is physically damaged. During a softlock, the game is still working and may even be able to allow continued play, but progress in the game cannot be made, forcing a reset or a restart. The player may not be able to operate their character any further, but the game itself is still operating and any onscreen game assets will continue to function as normal (music, character movements, environment, enemies, etc). Softlocks can range in design: ceasing progress, locking a player in a cutscene that they cannot end, or possibly causing the character to be stuck in the environment in such a way that they cannot be freed to allow the player to continue. Whether a softlock can be repaired is entirely dependent on the sotflock itself. In Paper Mario, for example, the only way to permanently ruin a save file is to save when the player has softlocked the game which requires the save to be deleted, however a number of softlocks do not allow the player to save at all, meaning the player can simply reset and reload their save. Like crashes, softlocks happen for a variety of reasons. Some require intense misbehavior in the game's intended path to trigger, while others can be easily triggered accidentally by a speedrunner. As a result, softlocks are an important aspect of speedrunning a player should be aware of and understand how to avoid, otherwise a speedrun can be entirely ruined and force the runner to have to start over.
An example of a softlock can be found in Bloodborne on the PlayStation 4. It is possible to skip a large portion of the game from the beginning, from Central Yharnam to the Forbidden Woods. If upon doing so the player activates the moon phases in the unintended order, no further progress can be made. This bug has been removed as of software update 1.03.
Speedruns are further categorized into various levels of completion, or how thoroughly a game is completed, which are as follows:
- Any%, or fastest completion, refers to completing the game as quickly as possible, and can often involve sequence breaking. Any% is the most common category, as it has the least amount of restrictions on what you can and can not do.
- 100%, or full completion, requires the player to complete the game to its fullest. This often includes collecting all key items or upgrades, finding all secret features, or anything else that may be deemed important. Specific requirements for a 100% speedrun are different depending on the game.
- Low%, or minimalist completion, requires the player to complete the game by obtaining the least amount of key items or upgrades possible. If the fastest way to complete the game already involves the player picking up the least amount of key items or upgrades, a low% category may not exist for that game's speedruns. As with the 100%, low% speedruns have requirements that vary from game to game.
In addition there can be game specific categories that change how much of the game must be completed. These categories usually include completing or avoiding specific aspects of the game and/or not allowing certain glitches or game exploits to be used in the run. A good example of this would be the medallions/stones/trials category in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time; this category requires the runner to beat all major levels in the game and restricts some of the glitches that can be performed. In Donkey Kong Country 3, there is a "Water%" run which constitutes collecting every DK Coin in the game, which requires the player to collect every Bear Coin to access the Lost World, but does not require a player to actually 100% the game and ignore the Banana Birds. 
Historically, speedruns have been performed by members of online communities pertaining to video games in general. When the activity became popular enough to accede to subculture, the first sites dedicated to speedrunning started appearing—usually specializing in just one or a few games. Some of these sites have sustained activity for a long time, sometimes even up to today, providing coverage of its members' achievements and serving as a platform for related discussions.
December 1993 saw the release of id Software's Doom. Among some of its major features, like at that time very sophisticated 3D graphics, LAN- and Internet-based multiplayer support, and user modification possibilities, it also gave the players the ability to record demo files of their play-through. This particular feature was first picked up by Christina "Strunoph" Norman in January 1994 when she launched the LMP Hall of Fame website.
This site was, however, fast followed up by the DOOM Honorific Titles (also known as the "DHT"), launched in May 1994 by Frank Stajano, which introduced the first serious competition between players. This site, designed around a notion of earning titles by successfully recording a particular type of demo on one of the pre-determined maps in the "IWADs", would create the basis for all Doom demo sites that would follow. These so-called "exams" became very popular as the player had to earn each title by sending in a demo of the feat to one of the site's judges to justify his application. Doom II: Hell on Earth was released in October 1994, and the DHT conformed to the new additions as well as the new Doom version releases. At the height of its popularity, the DHT had many different categories and playing styles. For example, playing with only the in-game fists and pistol, while killing all monsters on a map, became known as "Tyson" mode, named after the heavyweight boxer and former champion Mike Tyson. "Pacifist mode" was playing without intentionally harming any monsters. Each category had "easy", "medium", and "hard" difficulty maps for players to get randomly chosen for. As an authentication method to prevent players from submitting demos made by other people, it was required that they performed a distinct "dance" during their demo (often at the very beginning). With such varied categories, the DHT was appealing to a diverse group of players. However, the DHT had trouble retaining a permanent Internet location. This, combined with the constantly changing rules and the diminished importance of most of the titles, caused public interest to wane as the years went by.
In November 1994, the definitive installment Doom speedrunning scene, in the form of the COMPET-N website, was launched. Its creator, Simon Widlake, intended the site to be a record scoreboard for a variety of Doom-related achievements, but unlike its predecessors, they were all based on the idea of fast completion, thus making it the first actual speedrunning site. Players were required to run through Doom's levels as fast as humanly possible in order to attain a spot on the constantly updated COMPET-N scoreboards, leading to demo material gradually amounting to hundreds of hours of recorded gameplay.
Like the DOOM Honorific Titles, this site experienced multiple location changes over time; it was hosted on the Simtel servers for a while, before Istvan Pataki took over as maintainer and moved the site to a now defunct FTP server of the Technical University of Budapest. From there on, since early 1998, it has been administered by Adam Hegyi, who was maintaining the site, but left around 2007 without a notice. In 2012, COMPET-N player Zvonimir 'fx' Bužanić took over maintaining the site and re-created new database for WAD-s and PWAD-s. It is currently located at http://www.doom.com.hr/compet-n.
As of November 2007, COMPET-N contains a total amount of 6072 demos (on both official and custom maps), accounting for a total time of 462 hours, 8 minutes and 20 seconds.
As of January 2012, COMPET-N contains a total amount of 9122 demos (on both official and custom maps), accounting for a total time of 31 days, 5 hours, 41 minutes and 47 seconds.
Speed Demos Archive
Following the success of the Doom speedrunning community, people first started recording demos of Quake playthroughs when it was released in June 1996 and sharing them with others on the demos/e directory in Simtel's Quake file hierarchy. There were two distinct kinds of demos: those in which the player killed all monsters and found all secrets on the map (called "100% demos") and those in which the player ignored these goals in order to finish the level as fast as possible (called "runs"). All levels were, at that time, recorded solely on the "Nightmare" difficulty level, the highest in the game.
In April 1997, Nolan "Radix" Pflug first started the Nightmare Speed Demos website to keep track of the fastest demos. In June that same year, the first Quake done Quick project was finalized; Quake done Quick, unlike the conventional record demos, featured a full playthrough of the game, carrying over one level's finishing statistics to the next. The project members ended up making a movie in which the entire game is finished on Nightmare difficulty in 0:19:49; it was a collection of the best runs that the members of the site had been made thus far, and at that time, there was no other run that came close. The run was "recammed", reconstructed so that it could be also viewed from a third-person perspective, which gained it its machinima status. It received widespread attention from gaming magazines, being distributed as part of the free CDs that they came with. This popularized speedrunning for a much larger audience than before and attracted many newcomers. Not all of those newcomers agreed with the old-timers' standard that runs should be made on the hardest possible skill level. Thus, in August 1997 Muad'Dib's Quake Page came to be, run by Gunnar "Muad'Dib" Andre Mo and specializing in "Easy" difficulty runs. One month after that, the Quake done Quick movie was superseded by a new movie called Quake done Quicker, on September 14, 1997, which shortened the game's fastest playthrough to 0:16:35.
In April 1998, Pflug and Mo merged their pages, thus creating the Speed Demos Archive, which, as of 2007, is still the dominant community for Quake speedrunning and also acts as repository for demos, maps, statistics and software pertaining to the practice. Ever since its creation, a large variety of tricks have been discovered in Quake's physics. Despite being released as early as 1996, Quake has steadily remained popular with its players, who subsequently released the Quake done Quick with a Vengeance movie on September 13, 2000, which featured a complete run through Quake in 0:12:23. Primarily tricks that had not been used in both its predecessors allowed for this improvement, as the run's manual states that it "[makes] use of every known trick, including unrestricted bunny-hopping, to represent the state-of-the-art in Nightmare running".
As of September 2014, Speed Demos Archive can be found at the web address http://speeddemosarchive.com/ and contains a total amount of 9535 demos (on both official and custom maps), accounting for a total time of over 250 hours. In December 2011 a new run was produced and called Quake done Quickest. The improvements that were made resulted in a time of 0:11:29 for the entire game, an improvement of 54 seconds over Quake done Quick with a Vengeance.
Metroid 2002 (Metroid series)
Released in August 1986, Metroid was one of the earliest games to introduce special rewards for fast completion times. As is the case for the rest of the games in the series, highly non-linear gameplay makes it possible for runners to search extensively for different routes towards the end of the game. In particular, the ability to perform sequence breaking has been researched thoroughly, leading to the discovery of ways to complete the games while obtaining only a small percentage of items. Prior to the inception of Metroid speedrunning there were special websites which documented these so-called "low-percentage" completion possibilities.
The first game to be exceedingly popular with the speedrunning audience was Super Metroid, released in 1994, which proved to lend itself to fast completion purposes very well. It featured a physics system that allowed for a wide array of skills for mobility, like "wall jumping" or the "Shinespark", allowing players to skip over large areas of the game, or play through the game in different manners based on how well they can perform these tricks in contextual situations. Additionally, it had the same non-linear gameplay as its predecessors. Due to the way the game was laid out, several different run types or tiers that incorporate different completion percentages have been performed.[Note 4] One type of run is the maximum or 100% run, in which all items in the game are obtained. Speedruns which focus solely on finishing the game as fast as possible with no other prerequisites are described as any% runs.
As the Internet became more available to the general public, groups of players started collaborating on message boards to discuss these tricks with one another in what became a community based on playing the games speedily.
The first Metroid community that was created for the purpose of fast completion was Metroid Prime Discoveries, created and led by Jean-Sebastien "Zell" Dubois. Rather than being a site that focused on speedrunning, it was dedicated to documenting the possibilities of sequence breaking in the game Metroid Prime. When the interest arose to begin the documentation of other games in the series, however, the new site Metroid 2002 was created by Nathan "nate" Jahnke in August 2003. Initially, the only incentive was to document the two Metroid games released in 2002—Metroid Prime and Metroid Fusion—but this changed when Nathan was asked to take all content of Metroid Online—another site that had been developed at that time and contained sequence breaking documentation, a message board, and a 1% Metroid Fusion run—and relaunch Metroid 2002 as "the one resource for Metroid Prime sequence breaking info." This relaunch happened less than two weeks after the proposition and came to be in November. Ever since, it has been the central repository for everything related to speedrunning the Metroid series.
It was also in November 2003 that Metroid speedrunner Nolan Pflug released his 100% run of Metroid Prime, in which he finished the entire game in 1 hour, 37 minutes.[Note 5] Since it was featured in the games section of Slashdot, it gained widespread attention. Publications in numerous different languages ran stories on the run, and topics about the run were made on gaming message boards around the world. The first segment of his run was being downloaded over five thousand times a day at the peak of its popularity. The Metroid 2002 IRC channel was flooded with people who had heard about the run and wanted to know more about it, fast dwarfing the original population, and its message board saw its member count double in size the month following the run's release. As a result of the popularity of this run, it was decided that in order to best serve the growing bandwidth consumption, Metroid 2002 would have to merge its array of videos with Speed Demos Archive, which was at that time being provided nearly limitless server capacity for their runs on the Internet Archive.
As of August 2015, the best completion time for the North American version of Metroid Prime is 53 minutes by "T3." The best 100% time has been reduced by "MilesSMB" (later matched by "T3") to 1 hour 13 minutes, making "Bartendorsparky"'s and "MPZoid"'s runs obsolete.
TASVideos (tool-assisted speedruns)
It was in early 1999 that the term "tool-assisted speedrun" was first coined, during the early days of Doom speedrunning, although they were also called "built demos", in accordance with the "demo" terminology. Players first started recording these special demos when Andy "Aurican" Kempling released a modified version of the Doom source code that made it possible to record demos in slow motion and in several sessions. A couple of months afterwards, in June 1999, the first site made for the purpose of sharing these demos, aptly called "Tools-Assisted Speedruns", was opened by Esko Koskimaa, Peo Sjoblom and Yonatan Donner.[Note 6]
Like other such communities, the maintainers of the site stressed the fact that their demos were for entertainment purposes rather than skill competitions, although the attempt to have the fastest time possible with tools itself became a competition as well. The site became a success, updating usually several times a week with demos recorded by its maintainers and submitted by its readers. The site was active until August 10, 2001, at which point a news message was posted to state that the site would cease its regular updates and act as archive from then on. The popularity of Doom tool-assisted speedrunning has dwindled since then.
In mid-2003, an anonymous speedrunner using the nickname Morimoto (もりもと?) released a video in which he played through Super Mario Bros. 3 with an unprecedented level of skill: he beat the entire game in just over 11 minutes without making a single mistake, and managed to accumulate 99 1-ups throughout levels during which he had to wait. In addition, he put himself in dangerous situations over and over, only to escape them without sustaining any damage. Although it was widely believed that the video was made by an extremely skilled player, it was actually the first tool-assisted speedrun made with a special emulator to generate widespread interest.[Note 7] When Morimoto detailed the making of the run on his website, many felt deceived and turned to criticizing the video's "illegitimacy" instead. The knowledge that the video was constructed through tedious and careful selective replaying also raised some questions about the authenticity of video game replays; after all, if it is practically impossible to tell the videos of both kinds apart, one cannot possibly know whether a run was made with or without the use of a special emulator. It was even feared that this fact would cause the downfall of competitive speedrunning. Neither the Speed Demos Archive nor Metroid 2002 have ever published runs that were known to be made with a special emulator. Nolan Pflug, the former webmaster of Speed Demos Archive, has been quoted as saying "My basic thought is 'don't like them, haven't made them, don't watch them,'" when asked for his opinion on the subject.
Thus, in late 2003, the first public website that served tool-assisted speedrun videos from multiple authors, TASVideos (then known as NESVideos), was created. It was originally created by Joel "Bisqwit" Yliluoma for the purpose of showcasing, sharing and discussing speedruns made with special emulators—at first, the site only held videos of Nintendo Entertainment System games, in part due to the fact that the only emulator suitable for this specialist purpose was, at that time, the Famtasia NES emulator. Besides just serving the speedrun recordings in the emulator's original format (which, much like Doom and Quake demos, required both the emulator and the game in order to be played back), the site also held AVI files, which were made available using the BitTorrent protocol. As of March 2016, it holds over 3,000 complete speedruns.
A speedrun marathon is a fan convention where runners get together to speedrun their favorite video game often to raise money for charity. The most popular speedrun marathons that take place annually are Games Done Quick around the United States and European Speedrunner Assembly (before it was called European Speedster Assembly) that takes place in Sweden. Before the marathons, discussions take place on a forum and runners submit their game choices. An online schedule is created that will show what time of day, who is speedrunning and what game they are speedrunning. Their runs are streamed live at Twitch.tv and runners often provide commentary throughout the run to give a better understanding on what is going on. Runners who are speedrunning often practice their game in a practice room at the event before their scheduled run as a warm up, or they practice at home before hand. Speedrun marathons such as the Awesome Games Done Quick 2016 marathon have raised $1,216,304.02 for the Prevent Cancer Foundation charity.
- List of video games notable for speedrunning
- Time attack – a mode in which a player attempts to finish a portion of a game as fast as possible
- Although many speedruns are released as video recordings, which are often preferred due to being more universal, some communities use a game's native demo recordings (such as the DEM format in by Quake) since these are much more compact and easier to share with others. Such recordings require specific software to view, usually a version of the original game. Some communities release speedruns in both formats, so that they become accessible to a larger audience.
- The so-called "in-game physics" is used to refer to the possibilities that the game's engine offers; such as how high a character can jump, how fast bullets travel, how the character reacts after being hurt or otherwise damaged, et cetera; all of which can strongly influence the direction and execution of the speedrun.
- Metroid 2002, a major Metroid speedrunning website, has retained back-ups of these topics that can be found at http://www.metroid2002.com/home.php. See section "Metroid 2002 (Metroid series)" for more information on Metroid 2002.
- This speedrun has since been replaced with an improved version, and as such, its original host, Speed Demos Archive, no longer makes mention of it. The original announcement, however, may still be found using the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine at http://web.archive.org/web/20031202174746/http://planetquake.com/sda/mp/.
- Doom tool-assisted speedrunning is sometimes referred to as "tools-assisted speedrunning", after the first site used to share these demos. A news post after the creation of this site, however, read "Indeed, I was wrong and the site should be called 'Tool-Assisted Speedruns' rather than 'Tools-Assisted Speedruns'. I'm not going to redo the logo though."
- There is evidence that several tool-assisted speedrun videos had been made before then, including a few others by Morimoto himself, but the Super Mario Bros. 3 video was the first to become popular with a general audience.
- "Speedrunslive FAQ". Speedrunslive.
- "Rules". Speed Demos Archive. 2007. Retrieved August 10, 2014.
- "Speedrun.com". Speedrun.com.
- "SpeedRunsLive". SpeedRunsLive.
- "SpeedDemosArchive". SpeedDemosArchive.
- Turner, B. (2005). "Smashing the Clock". 1UP.com. Retrieved August 13, 2005.
- Totilo, S. (2006). "Gamers Divided Over Freakish Feats Achieved With Tool-Assisted Speed Runs". MTV News. Retrieved April 11, 2007.
- TASVideos contributors (2006). "Route Planning". TASVideos. Retrieved August 11, 2007.
- "Banks17" (2003). "Ice Beam + Gravity Suit before Thardus using Triple Jump". Metroid 2002. Retrieved May 6, 2006.
- "SolrFlare" (2003). "Metroid Prime Sequence Breaking (v. 4.0) [Previously Ice+Grav before Thardus]". Metroid 2002. Retrieved May 6, 2006.
- "Super Mario 64". Speed Demos Archive. 2005. Retrieved March 25, 2006.
- "Speed Demos Archive - Rules". Retrieved March 22, 2016.
- "Rules". Retrieved March 22, 2016.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3d394vrsfeA Sligfantry's Death Delay Glitch Tutorial
- Oddworld Glitch Tutorial: How to do Ledge Glitch. May 5, 2011. Retrieved March 22, 2016 – via YouTube.
- GTA 5: God Mode / Fully Invincible Player Glitch Online! [GTA 5 Multiplayer]. October 18, 2013. Retrieved March 22, 2016 – via YouTube.
- TASVideos contributors (2006). "Why And How". TASVideos. Retrieved March 27, 2006.
- "もりもと" (2003). "emu". Internet Archive. Archived from the original on December 3, 2003. Retrieved December 3, 2003.
- "Softlock". SourceRuns Wiki.
- "Top 10 Softlock Glitches in Paper Mario 64". YouTube.
- "Bloodborne - How To: Skip to Forbidden Woods [PATCHED]". YouTube.
- "Bloodborne Patch Notes v1.03". Bloodborne Wiki. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
- "low%/100% definitions". Retrieved March 22, 2016.
- "water% definition". Retrieved June 19, 2016.
- Merrill, D. (2003). "A Brief DOOM Demo History". Doomworld. Retrieved October 16, 2005.
- http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/Research/DTG/~fms27/dht/[dead link]
- "COMPET-N Database". Doom2.net. 2006. Retrieved March 25, 2006.
- Sandy Petersen. "e4m3 – The Elder God Shrine". Speed Demos Archive. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
- Speed Demos Archive contributors. "History of Quake speed-running". Internet Archive. Retrieved November 29, 2007.
- "Quake done Quick". Retrieved March 22, 2016.
- "PlanetQuake". gamespy.com. Archived from the original on January 31, 2009. Retrieved March 30, 2008.
- Donner, Y., Belz, M., Pflug, N., & Bailey, A. (1997). "ALL_1949". Quake done Quick. Retrieved December 25, 2005.
- Machinima.com Staff (2001). "Showcase: Quake done Quicker". Machinima.com. Retrieved March 30, 2008.
- Speed Demos Archive contributors (2000). "Quake Done Quick: QdQr". Speed Demos Archive. Retrieved March 30, 2008.
- http://web.archive.org/web/20060423162351/http://qdq.planetquake.gamespy.com:80/qdqwav.html. Archived from the original on April 23, 2006. Retrieved March 25, 2006. Missing or empty
- Quake done Quick contributors (2000). "Quake done Quick with a Vengeance". Quake done Quick. Retrieved February 13, 2007.
- "Quake (PC) – Speed demo collection". Internet Archive. 2007. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
- Speed Demos Archive contributors (2011). "Quake done Quickest". Speed Demos Archive. Retrieved April 12, 2012.
- "Lycos.com". Retrieved March 22, 2016.
- Jahnke, N. (2005). "history of metroid 2002, part 1 (was: happy birthday, m2k2!)". metroid 2002. Retrieved April 20, 2009.
- "Metroid Prime Done Even Quicker". Slashdot. Retrieved January 7, 2011.
- Jahnke, N. (2005). "history of metroid 2002, part 2". metroid 2002. Retrieved December 31, 2005.
- Speed Demos Archive contributors (2012). "Speed Demos Archive Knowledge Base". Speed Demos Archive. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
- Koskimaa, E., Sjoblom, P., & Donner, Y. (2000). "Information about Tools-Assisted Speedruns". Internet Archive. Archived from the original on April 11, 2000. Retrieved April 8, 2006.
- Koskimaa, E., Sjoblom, P., & Donner, Y. (2001). "Tools-Assisted Speedruns". Internet Archive. Archived from the original on August 13, 2001. Retrieved April 8, 2006.
- "NESVideos - Backup". Nintendo Entertainment System "superplay" videos.
- "List All Movies". tasvideos.org. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
- "Donation Index". Games Done Quick 2016. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
- The dictionary definition of speedrun at Wiktionary