Ah the joys of speed running. Seeing people with encyclopedic knowledge of classic games careen through them at breakneck speed is a sight to behold. The obsessive familiarity with the intricacies of each level pales only in comparison to the carefully orchestrated use of exploits and glitches. As the top speed runners always say, it is passion and love for a game spurring them on to find the fastest way to complete it. If you’ve ever felt a desire to get involved of your own accord and are having trouble making that first step, here are 6 games that are ideal starting points for beginners.
1. Metal Gear Solid
Resting on its laurels as a staple of many of our childhoods, Metal Gear Solid stands out as a likely contender for speed running due to spectacular section skipping glitches and the overall difficulty of the game. The stealth elements require patience during a normal playthrough, but once acquainted with patterns and timing, running through guard invested areas becomes a carefully coordinated maneuver. The game is also a blast to play with a compelling story and endearing characters. The end game rankings are also a good set of challenges to aim for.
Another classic speed running game, Quake offers a run through timed in the tens of minutes for the best and is all about speeding through levels as fast as possible. Forget killing those monstrosity trying to down you, using knowledge of hallways and corridors is the key to speed running Quake. As an added incentive, the game is ridiculously cheap to buy so you’ve really no excuse.
3. Dark Souls
Dark Souls presence on this list is specifically for the sadists among us who want a real challenge. A normal play through is an arduous experience as it is, so trying to do so as fast as possible is down right ludicrous, but oh so rewarding. There’s something truly poetic about beating a game specifically designed to throw obstacle after obstacle in the player’s direction ridiculously quickly. Knowledge of the shortcuts and glitches is also a joy as it means avoiding some of the tough parts of the game.
4. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Given the popularity of Zelda titles in the speed running community, we had to include one. Ocarina of Time is glitched speed running by excellence, packed full of little exploits with so much impact they can alter the timeline of the narrative and avoid big boss fights altogether.
Valve games have the uncanny knack of being particularly suited to speed running. Half-Life and its sequel are great examples, with Half-Life arguably being the game responsible for setting off the speed running craze. However, Portal trumps both those titles. I mean the game’s central mechanic of a gun that opens up glitchy portals was always going to lead to speed running. Familiarity with the puzzles is key as is the strange mechanic of running backwards to increase movement speed. For the most skilled, Portal is a matter of 10 minutes, but for beginners it’s a great way to get into speed running without dedicating a stupid amount of time to the task.
6. Super Mario 64
Probably the most popular speed running game around, Super Mario 64 is another title infused with nostalgia for many gamers, hence its appeal. Beyond this, Super Mario 64 speed running is all about knowing the game in and out to trigger glitches to skip parts of the game. The infamous level skip glitch activated by placing Mario in specific positions then jumping backwards has become the stuff of gaming legend. Making the glitch work for the first time is a special moment. The huge list of speed running categories also makes it ideal for finding a niche and the vibrant community is sure to help out with any questions and tips to improve your runs.