Forums  /  Speedrunning  /  Why speedrunning?

I'm wondering, high scores and time trails are generally well supported by the games that have them. However it seems that very few games natively support speedrunning as most games don't keep a record on how quick you've beaten a game and compare it to previous times.

So why does it seem speedrunning is more popular than getting a high score any game with score, time trails in racing games or other such performance metric? And what makes a game good to speedrun?

Based purely on how well a game supports comparing performance metrics I would expect racing games, shmups and other arcade games would be far more popular to compare performance on, yet this doesn't seem to be the case.

Merl_Merl_ likes this. 

Time trials in racing games are just IL speedruns, and some of them are pretty popular. The popular ones generally don't have a time-trial leaderboard here simply because they already had a well-established one elsewhere by the time got big; but many more obscure racing games do have time-trial leaderboards here.

MrMonshMrMonsh, PearPear and 3 others like this. 

In addition to the IL mention above me, it may seem like speedrunning is more popular than getting a high score but that’s because high score based games aren’t allowed on the site anymore. So, if you’re using this site to compare how many people speedrun vs how many people try for high scores, then it’s always going to be skewed to the former. There are other sites for tracking high scores, you just won’t find a lot of that here.

funadofunado, Bob-chickenBob-chicken and 5 others like this. 

I use to do a decent bit with High Scores as well, and knew a couple people in the community. Some of the more popular sites for High Scores is

If you look around on there you'll see a lot of people who do enjoy going for high scores

It's like mentioned above, it seems like speedrunning is more popular since this site is for speedrunning, but high scores are still something that a lot of people go for and actively try to improve with.

PearPear likes this. 

I'm not talking about this site specifically, but in general. Obviously speedrunning is more popular on a site dedicated to speedrunning. But I'm talking more in the grander gaming sphere speed running seems to be more popular. With far wider "fringe" support, for lack of a better word, in non-gaming media like video's, articles, etc.

To use DarQ's highscore sites as a metric the general threads to is far more populated, roughly at a factor of 4 in the general threads. And introductions on outnumber those of and by a factor of around 18 (assuming new people only ever post a new thread if they are actually new). I find it weird the speedrunning is more popular while being less supported natively by games (as in the ability to compare previous runs to your current one).

Maybe the question can be better worded as "Why has speedrunning attracted more people than other forms of single player competitive gaming, especially considering more games have been build with these other forms in mind?"

(edited: )

All/most games can be speedran in some way while only so many games work/make sense for highscores. You can't highscore stuff like metroid or Zelda games, just to give some examples. Speedrunning is in general way more versatile and applies to a lot more games.
Also events like Games Done Quick made Speedrunning a lot more popular.

PearPear, SymysterySymystery and 4 others like this. 

Like Laxxus mentioned, speedrunning is open to just about every game out there while High Scores are not.

But also, speedrunning gets a lot more publicity then high scores what with AGDQ, other events, famous twitch/youtuber making content on it.


Score points have also lost relevancy in a lot of modern games and genres. Playing games quickly (and improving your skills to be able to move quickly) is not only more natural than an arbitrary points system, but timeless.


I think High Score challenges are kind of a relic of the arcade age. It takes great skill to achieve top score in any game, but the vast majority of games these days aren't built around a scoreboard like that anymore. Speedrunning is appealing (to me at least) because you can take any game and break it down, find new routes, new strategies and new optimizations to get through it quicker and more efficiently. Pretty much any game out there can be broken down like this which opens it up to a wider variety of people from all different gaming backgrounds. If I don't enjoy shmups I can still compete in platformers, or puzzle games etc.