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6 speedrunning tips you should know to get started

At first glance, speedrunning seems like an impenetrable wall as players engage the game furiously trying to finish games or break the record in as little time as possible.

Speedrunning is not easy, but neither is it impenetrable. With the right strategies such as research, practice and investing in the right equipment, you will end up performing the almost superhuman feats you see other players do. Ultimately, the process becomes more enjoyable rather than intimidating.

Let us look at six simple tips that will take you from watching in awe as others speedrun, to being the one that awes people with your record-breaking speed.

speed running

Research and take notes

The first place to find information on speedrunning is on speedrun.com. On this site, you will find resources, leaderboards and forums for speedrunning.

Before you start a game, always make sure you have a notepad to write down what you learn. Keep pausing the videos to jot down notes. These notes will be super useful down the road if you forget what to do.

Finally, look for online guides that cover useful strategies and the best games to speedrun. All this research is to familiarize you with the basics of speedrunning before you fully immerse yourself.

Watch speedruns, a lot

Watching a lot of speedruns equips your mind with what situations to expect. You learn the speedrun terms and strategies that are used and how to apply them in your games.

For example, you might learn how a speedrunner will sacrifice something they have in order to move to the next part.

As much as you are tempted to think practicing speedruns is better than sitting back and watching them, you are wrong. First watch, as many as possible. Learn what you need to, and then put into practice what you have learned.

Join a speedrunners’ community

There is something homely about being in a group of people who share your interests. At least if the people around you don’t see the point in speedrunning, you have a community that shares your seemingly weird hobby.

A community of other speedrunners is a good platform to share tips and encouragement (yes you need encouragement) because as we said, speedrunning is not easy and some players give up when they feel it is too challenging.

Mind the hardware and software

It’s now time to get the right software and hardware. When you started, you probably used only the basics but as your experience is increasing, so should your equipment. A game like Half Life on your computer may not need any hardware, but the examples below do:

  • Playing Super Mario Bros needs hardware to record NES speed runs.
  • Live streaming your speed runs requires you to install OBS, a free program.
  • Tracking your times to compare against others requires software like Livesplit.

The above hardware and software are just a few examples and you don’t have to buy expensive equipment at all.

Always finish and record your runs

As a beginner, do not consider resetting your runs. If you are always resetting instead of finishing the game, you will not become familiar with the later stages of the game.

Each time you play a game till the end, you become familiar with every detail. Doing so also helps you know which areas to work on improving.

Remember to record your runs even though you are not streaming. This is important because if you encounter a glitch, you will later review it to see what caused it and whether it helped you or worked against you.

Practice, practice, practice

You are now dipping your toes in, and what once seemed intimidating is becoming exciting. If you are having trouble in a couple of areas, save-state practice and individual level practice will help you get rid of the trouble areas.

For some games, the way to practice is to have full game speedruns because you get to experience unexpected variables, splitting and everything else all at once. Try the full game speedruns to help you improve on your time.

If you notice you are at the bottom of leaderboards, don’t sweat it. Remember that speedrunning is what you wanted in the first place and you have come too far to look back.

Ready to start speedrunning?

Speedrunning, as intimidating as it may seem, is quite addictive once you get a grip on it. With the right strategies, you will be able to get through the initial discouraging moments when you are at the bottom of the leaderboard and feel like quitting.

To help you pass through this phase, do a lot of research and practice what you learn from researching and watching others play. Join a speedrunning community to get even more tips from fellow speedrunners. Again, though it won’t come easy, who knows? One day you might be the world record speedrunner.

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