Spotlight: Four Women in Speedrunning

In March, we spoke with four different women to discuss how they engage with speedrunning, the community, and their favorite games.

By Alice Pow

Filed Under: spotlight

This month, we had the pleasure of speaking with four different women in the speedrunning community. They told us about their speedrunning tastes, the communities they’re a part of, and more. So without further ado, let’s jump in.

t0uchan

A speedrunner and a high school teacher, t0uchan started running games in the early 2010s.

Whether she’s running games she grew up with or something that otherwise has meaning for her, she says, “everything that I run I have some sort of connection to.”

She enjoys trying new games and learning new routes and she gravitates towards games with “fast, twitchy movement.”

But the thing that makes the biggest impact on if she will run a game or not is simply whether she thinks she can get more out of it.

“Have I milked this game of all its vanilla fun and do I want to keep playing it?” she says, comparing speedrunning to another game mode like New Game Plus or Time Attack.

When it comes to communities, t0uchan says she’s met some of her best friends through different speedrunning communities. She’s happy to see the world of speedrunning becoming more connected with runners from different games connecting and turning what was once a loose web of speedrunning communities into an increasingly cohesive community.

She believes that speedrunning is best when it is inclusive and welcoming to all kinds of people.

In addition to speedrunning, t0uchan teaches high school computer science and animation classes and she admits that her students are sometimes impressed when they find out about her game records.

“I get all the cool kids,” she says.

Check out t0uchan’s most recent record in Sonic the Hedgehog - All Emeralds - Glitchless.

Amethyst_Rocks

When it comes to streaming, Amethyst plays Super Mario World and mods of Super Mario World almost exclusively.

In particular, Amethyst_Rocks enjoys Kaizo mods which are designed to push the limits of players with intricate routes that often require tons of practice to pull off correctly.

While she tends to focus more on first plays than on speedruns, certain mods will catch her attention for further practice and honing into a speedrun.

“I’m very, very picky about my speedruns,” she says.

In general, she says the main focus for most Kaizo speedruns is making it through with as few deaths as possible. For this reason, she tends to focus on shorter mods for her own runs.

Despite that preference for shorter runs, her proudest accomplishment as a runner is a 1h 19m 42s run of a mod called Grand Poo World 2.

About the first time she played it, she says, “it kicked my butt so hard.”

But something about the challenge enticed her to run it.

Amethyst is also a former geologist and though she’s a few years outside of academia, for enough channel points she’ll share a rock fact with her audience. An example:

"The oldest terrestrial material we've found on earth is 4.40 billion years old - the age of the earth, for reference, is about 4.54 billion years old."

Lizstar

For Lizstar, speedrunning started as an offshoot of her interest in game collecting. Now, she says the two interests are intertwined.

“I like exploring libraries and trying to find all the interesting things that people don’t pay as much attention to,” she says.

As an extension of both passions, she has undertaken a “Genesis Quest” in which she is streaming through every game ever released on the Sega Genesis. With a library of over 800 games to tackle, she is already more than halfway through.

At the end of each title, a raffle decides who in her audience will pick the next one. The quality of the games varies, to say the least, and sometimes her audience likes to stick her with some of the less polished options.

It’s all in good fun, and Lizstar actually enjoys trying the strange games.

She likes exploring lesser played titles including those that are not as well made but can still be a source of joy while allowing for some fun discussion about just how bad a game can get.

“I like trash and trash is not necessarily bad,” she says. “It’s just things that people don’t pay much attention to and kind of throw out as worthless but there’s a lot of worth in there.”

In addition to her passion for “trash,” Lizstar is passionate about the communities she has found as a runner.

“The community in general is really what lifts speedrunning up even further for me,” she says.

Lizstar has participated in multiple GDQ events. She says that more than once while practicing for the event she’s discovered new time saves (often with help from other top runners). That puts her in the chaotic but exciting position of rerouting a run while still preparing for the event.

As advice to other runners and potential runners, Lizstar encourages everyone to explore outside of their comfort zones.

She says, “I picked up multiple games to speedrun on a dare and they are some of the best games that I’ve speedran and they’ve really helped me grow my community.”

ShesChardcore

ShesChardcore has over 3000 posted runs.

She got into speedrunning after losing her job and getting diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

“So bad things led to good things, essentially,” she says.

She has a preference for games that haven’t received much attention, and newly released games before anyone else has a chance to get in a run, and meme runs.

Most of the time, she focuses on cultivating new strategies and time saves.

“The technical aspects more than the actual runs themselves sort of attract me.” she says.

As an analytical person, she likes to pick apart games and see how she can push them to do strange and interesting things.

When exploring a game, she says, “I think outside the box and think can I do this or can I do that and then try it. And if the answer is yes then we probably found a time save. And if the answer is no then I think of something else to try.”

Any time she sees an empty leaderboard, ShesChardcore wants to put a time on it.

“I may not really care too much about the game but I want someone to have something to beat so if they just happen upon that page or its a game they liked as a kid or whatever. There’s something there for them to accomplish,” she says.

When it comes to meme runs where the goal is to quickly pull off a strange or silly in-game situation, one of her favorites is Hamsteak% for Maniac Mansion on the NES which involves putting an NPC’s hamster in a microwave and getting the player killed. At the time of this publication, she holds the record in this category.

Outside of speedrunning, ShesChardcore used to bowl and has multiple perfect game rings. Comparing speedrunning and bowling, she says, “You can pause in bowling.”

In fact, she enjoys the ways speedrunning forces her to keep pushing through a run.

“It’s a bigger rush,” she says.

*View the Twitch VOD featured in the above tweet here

Thank you to all of these women for taking the time to share their perspectives and experience with us. You can find out more about what each of them are up to at the following links:

t0uchan: Twitch
Lizstar: Socials
Amethyst_Rocks: Twitch
ShesChardcore: Twitch

Want to read about more awesome people involved in speedrunning? Check out our feature on Bobby “TheBlacktastic” Cruz.

Lizstar at AGDQ. Photo via Games Done Quick, photo by Brian. Shared under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/.

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