Communities are the key to speedrunning

Communities are the foundation of speedrunning. They're a source of support, friendship, mutual celebration, and cooperation to optimize speedruns.

By Cam "Meta" Enright

Filed Under: opinion

You make speedrunning as good as it is

The greater speedrunning community has some of the most amazing individual communities on the internet. I am constantly reminded how passionate and friendly the members of our communities are, on top of being so patient and willing to teach new runners.

It’s not uncommon for new runners joining a speedrunning Discord to be embraced with a friendly “welcome!” and an offer to answer any questions the runner might have, or at the very least some help in finding premade community resources and guides. It warms my heart to join a community and be welcomed so sincerely.

Now that I’ve been in a few communities myself, I make it a priority to make sure new runners feel just as welcome as I did when I first started. Without the communities in speedrunning, I don’t think it would be quite the same.

Before I picked up speedrunning myself, I had seen a few runs and thought it was incredible that a game could be beaten in a single sitting. Looking back, I suppose it was only a matter of time before I picked a game to speedrun - my first speedgame. When I finally did get into speedrunning, it was because I had just finished a game casually and absolutely loved it. Shortly after finishing it, I got curious as to how quickly it could be beaten. As I watched the run, I sat there in awe as the runner blazed through the game in under ten minutes. By the time I had finished, I had already sunk 30 hours in! I was blown away. It looked complex, but even if it took me 10x as long as the world record, I knew I needed to try it.

Shortly after, I found a streamer who was doing PB attempts of the same game, so I decided to join. This streamer was incredibly patient and kind. He answered all the questions I had, took time to demonstrate some tricks, and even showed me how to find the tutorial and Discord server for the speedrunning community. That Discord was filled with even more friendly runners who had no problem with helping me to learn the game and find my way around LiveSplit as well as Speedrun.com. To this day, I consider these runners my friends. We’ve run multiple different games together and still talk most days about speedrunning or even just regular life stuff.

Speedrunning is special

Not only because it offers a unique experience of playing games in a whole new way, but because the communities within it are so damn remarkable. The majority of communities that I’ve been in since starting speedrunning have been a great source of friendships. Aside from that, they’ve also created a culture of support, education, and overall a positive atmosphere. I think that's what makes speedrunning special to me, and I believe there are lots of you who’ve been around for a while that can relate.

I started speedrunning because I was simply interested in trying to play a game I liked kinda fast, but I’ve stayed because of the amazing friends I’ve made along the way. I likely would’ve dropped the hobby all together by now if it wasn’t for all the extraordinary people I’ve met doing it.

Competing through cooperation

Speedrunning is a competition, and it can undoubtedly get very competitive. Some of the world’s top speedrunners have pushed their times down so far that it takes incredible precision and dedication to push them further even by just a few milliseconds. That said, it’s safe to say that no single person would ever be able to push a game down as low as we’ve seen without the passion and dedication from a community full of people routing, glitch-hunting, strat-finding, tool-making, and even just encouraging through support and celebration. Without the fierce enthusiasm from all sides of a community, speedrunning simply wouldn’t be the same from either a competitive or an entertainment standpoint.

Having everyone working together to push a game’s time down as far as possible is especially unique compared to other forms of competition because rather than speedrunning being player versus player, it’s more focused on the players versus the game.

Of course, players are competing for times on a leaderboard with other players, but as previously mentioned, the cooperation of the entire community is almost crucial for a speedrun to reach its highest potential. I think it's this difference in opposition compared to other competitive hobbies that allows speedrunners to bond over their chosen speedgame, focusing on improvements to beating the game rather than directly focusing on beating each other. This single degree of separation allows for a unique balance of cooperation and competition that I don’t think many other hobbies can offer.

In conclusion, you’re the reason why communities are important in speedrunning.

Whether you run, route, hunt, or watch, you are a part of the greater speedrunning community and you make speedrunning what it is, the hobby that I and thousands of others get to enjoy. Without you, your communities, and everything you do, this hobby would simply not be the same. Thank you for being here.

Do you have a favorite community? Tell us about them by sending us a tweet @speedruncom with the hashtag #SpeedrunCommunities! Also, if you have a community or individual you think deserves more attention, have them submit to our Spotlight Nomination form!

Header image is a derivative of "Awesome Games Done Quick 2019" by Angel Cano

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