Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Speedrun Curse To Save Time

Did you know that it's really easy to cheat when you're speedrunning video games? I'm an avid fan of speedruns. I think they are a unique, fun way to play some of our favorite games by providing new challenges. Speedruns are not for the faint of heart. They require more concentration, level knowledge that surpasses the average player, and all the tricks to get to the end as fast as possible. Some speedruns focus on completing the game as fast as possible. Others, it's all about collecting every star/gold/banana in the shortest amount of time. It's quite an accomplishment when you are able to rush through a game and meet those goals.

TheNo1RetroGamer, one of the top speedrunning gamers, recently released a video showing how little effort it takes to trick viewers into thinking that they are watching a legitimate speedrun. A string of runners who have set records for Super Mario 64 and GoldenEye 007 have been exposed for cheating their way through the game. Cuts in the video or time code, slowing down the timer (most speedrun videos will have a timer so viewers can track the gamer's progress), even splicing in older speedrun footage to shed seconds off a new time - this stuff happens a lot!

It's an old tale of "never trust anything you see on the internet." Photos and videos can easily be altered to fit the story that the gamer wants to tell.

So how do you know if what you're watching is a real speedrun?

Stick to live streams. Most of the cheats happen in the editing room for the nice, neatly packaged video that gets uploaded to YouTube later. But it's difficult to cheat in a live speedrun when people are watching. Viewers, gamers in particular, are not shy to call out inconsistencies they see. If the timer is slow, or if they see the player force a glitch in the game to shed off a few seconds, you can bet people will speak up. It keeps the streamer honest, and the speedrun accurate. The community helps keep the "sport" alive and true to it's roots, even to those who try to cheat their way through it.

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