What happens when a player pushes a game to its breaking point? The best players in the world test the strength of their techniques in speeding matches, sometimes after tens of thousands of hours of practice.
There is a bug to assist — SpeedRunners
Any method of accelerating the game—including those not offered by its creator—is considered speeding. The variety of tools is broad, ranging from software bugs that let players slip through gaps in a particular scenario to joystick advancements.
The founder of the Italian speedrunner scene, Jidano, is adamant that “people get into speedrunning because they love the game so much that they want to play it over and over again and learn every little detail”.
Experienced players can pass it much more quickly by exploiting flaws in the game’s code. A glitch may enable the player to move their character to an area that is normally out of reach or assist in combat by preventing the enemy from using their weapons. Some speedrunners communities go one step further and alter joysticks, enabling, for instance, faster racing.
Associations of SpeedRunners are increasingly volunteering their services to raise money for good causes. They managed to amass $3 million in 2021 by planning speeding marathons.
The European SpeedRunners Assembly (ESA) gathers gamers twice a year in Sweden. These marathons are played seven days in a row, day and night, opening the game to streaming for viewers, who are expected to contribute funds in exchange for vivid emotions and learning new game techniques.
Alzheimerfonden, a foundation for the study of Alzheimer’s disease, received more than $106,000 in donations from ESA in the winter of 2022. Gamers recall that donations at a time ranged from a few dollars to several thousand dollars and that the audience gave voluntarily.