A Beginner’s Guide to Speedrunning

Speedrunning is one of the most popular forms of game streaming. It can be both a hobby and a reliable source of income for the right person, but getting into this particular niche of gaming can seem incredibly daunting. In this article, Game Observer will guide you in starting a new hobby or career in speedrunning, from general rules to world records.

What are the Rules of Speedrunning?

There are a number of rules regarding speedrunning, and you will most likely see the type of ruleset used for each run in the title of a speedrunning video, in fact, not including this information in your video title can be considered extremely bad practice, or even clickbait.

It is important to understand how these rules work in relation to completion times. For instance, the world record for an ‘any%’ Hollow Knight speedrun (at the time of writing), currently stands at 32 minutes on PC, while the world record for an ‘APB12%’ speedrun currently clocks in at 3h 06m 42s, more than six times that of the any% world record.

So what do these rulesets mean? And how can multiple world records exist for speedrunning one game?

1. Any% Speedrun

An any% speedrun means that a player can complete the game from start to finish using any available glitches, level skips, or any other tricks available in a particular game in order to complete it. This type of speedrun is generally the easiest and fastest way to complete a game, and you can often find new and fun ways to complete your favourite games by watching these types of speedruns online. 

For instance, one of the most popular any% Dark Souls 3 speedruns make use of an interesting skip where the player can glitch through a wall in an area called Farron Keep, and travel through the out-of-bounds map to make it to Irithyll of the Boreal Valley in minutes. This skip saves the average speedrunner precious minutes on their run, and could save the average gamer literally hours on their playthrough.

Credit: Nemz38 via YouTube

This is just one example of the ways that an any% speedrun can be accomplished, in fact, one of the most common glitches that can be found in games is to ‘clip’ out of the map boundaries in order to access hard-to-reach areas, or skip entire sections of a game.

2. 100% Speedrun

100% speedruns consist of playing a game to its fullest, usually by completing all levels, killing all bosses, collecting all items, or gaining all achievements in a given game. More importantly, the rules of a 100% speedrun mean that the player cannot use glitches or skips in order to gain a completion. These types of speedruns are the most difficult to achieve, and will usually have the highest record times when compared to any% or low% speedruns.

3. Low% Speedrun

Low% speedruns require the player to complete a game in the shortest time possible, but does not require them to attain a 100% completion rate by gaining all achievements or items. They do, however, require the player to complete a ‘clean’ run of the game without the use of glitches, mods, or skips.

4. Game Specific Rules

Most games will also have their own specific rulesets that speedrunners will adhere to during their runs. In the game Skyrim, one of the game specific rules is to complete a ‘marriage’ speedrun, in which gamers time how long it takes them to marry an NPC from the moment they gain control of their character – currently the world record stands at 2m 27s.

Credit: Waz via YouTube

Most Popular Games to Speedrun

Below is a list of the most popular games to speedrun, including statistics at the time of writing. If you are looking to get into speedrunning and don’t have a particular game in mind, it might be best to choose one from this list and follow the guidance provided by some of the best speedrunners in the world.

GameNumber of RunsCountry with Fastest TimeBest TimePlatformRuleset
Super Mario 6432,080United States1h 37m 35sN64120 Stars
Super Mario Odyssey16,934United States8h 33m 57sSwitch100%
Celeste16,115France45m 42s 729msPCTrue Ending
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe14,896Japan1h 48m 26s 040msSwitch48 Tracks – 150cc
Portal11,742United States5m 53s 460msPCOut of Bounds
Super Metroid (1994)11,173Palau40m 45sSNESAny%
Data Source: Speedrun.com

Try to Speedrun Your Favourite Game

You could always try to speedrun a popular game using guides available online, however, you may be better off trying to speedrun your favourite game. Consider this, your favourite game of all time is one that you have most likely played a number of times, and you are likely to be more familiar with the maps, mechanics, and completion conditions of your favourite game than one you have never played before.

It is still advised that you look up guidance online to find the best methods of speedrunning your choice of game, but we highly advise that you start with a game you know you can tolerate for long periods of time. You might be trying to speedrun a game, but unfortunately the process of actually learning to speedrun a game can be quite slow, as it takes a lot of dedications, re-runs, and practice to master the different methods or glitches you may need to employ to complete a speedrun, and indeed compete with some of the world’s best.

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