cleartonic Mar 7th, 2016 554 Never
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- Speedruns in 2016
- This isn't actually any discussion about what I'm up to, it's about some observations I've made regarding the speedrun community over the year or so.
- Prior to AGDQ 2015 (just a benchmark in my mind), there was a lot of interest growth in the speedrun community, reflected by the popularity of the major Twitch streams & the marathon events. But overall, it felt like there was quite the barrier between people who invested time & effort into speedruns and their fans, who were fairly separated from the process but admired the gameplay.
- After AGDQ 2015, I felt like a unanimous shift occurred among many communities, which was to approach the idea of breaking down the barriers between speedrunners and fans, which would essentially grow the whole community. Anyone who's been around could see the rise of user tutorials, discussion forums, and competitions on SRL to help foster people to enter the scene. This is a good thing for sure, and it was cool to witness.
- With that background, what I'm really writing about is the effect this has had for my viewing experience as a Twitch viewer. I don't watch a ton of streams, but I've always been someone who is primarily interested in the speedrun process that dedicated runners go through, which is the learning process, the competitive nature of trying to improve their best times or compete for the fastest times, and the pursuit to furnish the best run they can.
- I think these types of streams & speedrunners in general have dropped off considerably in the last year or so.
- In my opinion there's a few reasons for this:
- 1) Community events are dominating the speedrunning scene right now. Everywhere you turn there's another tournament (that lasts half a year like FFVI), or weekly races, or GYS events (not frequent), etc. People may not realize it cognitively, but you only have so much time to dedicate towards a hobby. The effort that goes into crafting a stream schedule around community events like practicing before your race, warming up before your MT match, creating tutorial videos can be a considerable amount of time. Speedrunners may have shifted their focus from top level practice, researching new strategies & analyzing their frame data to creating safety & backup strats to win races, practicing consistency to get their next tournament victory, on and on.
- 2) Even if the barrier for entry for newcomers becomes less difficult, the barrier for having respectable times generally gets more difficult as time goes on because of how strong some records are, likely turning off activity. For instance, older players who might be interested in returning to a game may think that their time has passed. In 2013, an older player could probably relearn a game they once played and be competitive, but with the amount of grinding & competitiveness of popular game records in late 2014 through 2015 that occurred, the best times are in much better shape than they once were for many popular games. I've witnessed it be intimidating to older players who might think to not bother with returning at all or focusing their efforts elsewhere, and it's definitely intimidating (sometimes inspiring) to new players. Trying to put an hours estimate on how long it'd take you to be a top 10 SM64 player starting from scratch would definitely intimidate many.
- 3) I think some talented speedrunners are just burnt out and have moved on. Top level speedrunning is a mentally exhausting process and can sometimes leave some people jaded. Personally I've just seen a lot of people go the casual gaming life, or playing races with friends with no real incentive to win (more like hanging out), or just not speedrun anymore. This is just an observation, anyone can do anything they want - do races all day with your friends if it makes you happy. But I definitely think the propensity to see this sort-of loose approach to speedrunning has increased a lot recently, and it caters a lot to the newcomer to the community. You too can speedrun! But you don't have to put too much effort into it, because many other people approach it casually at most.
- Like I said briefly, when I do watch Twitch, I really enjoy watching players go through the burden & struggle of improving, learning from their mistakes, practicing offline and showing up with solid streams of their improvements to their PBs, and of course competitiveness for the fastest times. I think the days of watching many of the best players have their meteoric rise from the grave to take a record back from the clutches of a competitor are sadly not present right now. As a viewer or just as a speedrun community member, that's what I love the most, and I feel like it's fallen off a ton.
- There's definitely exceptions, and those exceptions are the people I like to follow their current progress the most (for example, shoutouts to SMRPG boys right now). These are all just my observations as a speedrunner & a Twitch viewer, but I'd be pretty stoked to see speedrunners take improving their PBs more seriously, and also I'd be stoked to see the return of back & forth competition between top level players.
- That being said, I've embarked on my own action-platformer BOP project as of about a month ago or so, so see you soon~
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