Have you heard of speed running? I’ve been a casual fan of it for a few years now. It’s a way of playing games that prioritizes finishing the game as quickly as possible, with as many or as few restrictions as possible.

A lot of why I like it is because its generative aspect. It takes a game that already exists, and then pokes and prods it using a variety of methods to make the playthrough faster. The process of taking an already established piece of art (or content or software, whichever word you want to use) and push it to its limits in order to finish it faster is absolutely fascinating. And as a player of games myself, seeing games I loved get turned from 40-60 hour monsters to under 60 minutes is creativity is thrilling.

It’s a real triumph of creativity, focus, luck, and just plain persistence. If you like video games, I encourage everyone to look into speed runs of games they have fond memories of. I promise you’ll get a kick out of it.

First, here is a video of the current record holder for the Super Mario Bros. any% (that is, beat the game as fast as possible through any means necessary).

And here is a (slightly) outdated history of said category, to offer up a little more context.

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