Saturday, June 20, 2015


I've been interested in speedrunning games for a LONG time.  Nearly a decade ago, I spent hours trying to find the optimal route for picking up all the items in Metroid Prime.  I kept spreadsheets (which I have sadly lost) tracking my times and celebrating my progress.

Of course, this was well before I knew anything about the speedrunning community at large.

More recently, I've followed a number of speedrunners and speed games through livestreaming and Youtube channels.  The annual "Games Done Quick" marathons are always exciting, and I'll occasionally kill time by watching someone demolish an obscure game.

Despite all my interest in speedrunning, I've never really gotten into it.  A year ago, I toyed around with Rogue Legacy a little bit, but it didn't really enthrall me in quite the way I'd hoped.  The biggest issue was finding the right game - if I'm going to spend hours learning everything there is to know about a game, I better love it like no other.

Another obstacle in my speedrunning quest is the fact that the most celebrated speedruns are those that break the game in incredible ways.  I've always been more interested in optimizing a game while playing the way the developers intended.  Finding the most efficient paths for collecting items or completing quests is a fun puzzle, and mastering movement or combat techniques to dispatch enemies quickly adds an additional layer of skill to the whole thing.

This week, I revisited this idea of speedrunning with Guacamelee, and holy hell did I love it.  It's such a fun game with fluid enough controls that there seems to be a pretty high skill ceiling, which leaves a lot of room for optimization.

So here's the deal: my primary interest is completing the game after grabbing all the items (100% completion on the end game screen) without using glitches or save-and-quit or any other random strategies.  I want to play the game as intended and get the fastest completion time I can.

I've been working on that over the last few days (which has been a blast), and my current personal record is 3:14:09.  I will livestream each of my attempts, all of which you can check out on my twitch channel:

One additional note: I'm kind of excited about the idea of investigating a game and learning it inside and out.  A lot of speedrunners will talk about tricks that save 15 seconds or something of the sort, but you rarely get to see the study that goes into determining ideal paths or techniques.

Some of my interest in this speedrunning endeavor, then, is to document my thought process along the way.  Why did I choose the route that I use? How did my movement techniques develop?  I'm hoping to be able to provide an (amateur) view of the process of breaking a game down because I think that would be pretty interesting.

Coming up soon, I hope to have a little document showing all the lessons I've learned to date (and anything else I learn between now and then).  In the mean time, drop into my stream and say hello while I'm trying to master this wonderful game!

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