Speedruns Explained To Parents

Speedrun ecran partage featured

If you know little about video games, listening to your children or friends talk about them with passion can be dizzying. The jargon is broad and complex, and often mixes the terminology of several languages. Don’t worry, Shared Screen is here to help you better understand the world of video games. Let’s demystify one of the most popular terms: speedrun!

History And Definition

Speedrun is a term used to describe the act of completing a video game in the shortest possible time. Players who engage in speedruns are often referred to as “speedrunners” and they seek to exploit every advantage and trick to beat their personal best or the current world record.

Speedruns have a long history, dating back to the golden age of arcades in the 80s. Back then, players were looking to finish games like Pac-Man or Space Invaders using effective game techniques to maximize their score. Over time, video games have become more complex, with more elaborate stories and larger environments to explore. Speedrunners continued to adapt to these changes, finding ways to complete games faster.

A Global Phenomenon

Speedrun is now a global phenomenon with an active and ever-expanding community. Speedrunners can be found on platforms like Twitch, YouTube, and social media, sharing their exploits with thousands of fans. Live speedrun events, such as Games Done Quick (GDQ), gather hundreds of thousands of spectators to see the best players compete live.

Some events take advantage of speedrun by inviting players from around the world to participate in marathon-type events to raise donations or awareness for a cause. This is particularly the case of the Speedons event, of Médecins du Monde in Paris, which invites players to perform different speedruns for 75 hours in a row to collect donations.

In Quebec, the Fondation des Gardiens virtuels(FGV), an online beacon for people in distress, also organizes many other activities that aim to raise funds for causes and raise awareness about the responsible use of the digital world. NoReset, a sister organization founded by Dimitrios Lianopoulos, is developing the local scene through speedrun marathons, among others!

Speedrun records are still evolving, as speedrunners continue to come up with new tricks and techniques to finish games faster. However, here are some examples of current speedrun records for some popular games:

Super Mario Bros: The current world record in the Any % category for Super Mario Bros, a classic platform game from Nintendo, is 4 minutes and 54 seconds. This record is held by speedrunner Darbian, set in 2016.


The Legend of Zelda – Ocarina of Time: The current world record in the Any% category for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, an action-adventure game from Nintendo 64, is 16 minutes and 58 seconds. This record is held by speedrunner Torje, set in 2021.


Dark Souls: The current world record in the Any% category for Dark Souls, a dark and challenging action role-playing game, is 25 minutes and 35 seconds. This record is held by speedrunner LilAggy, set in 2022.


Minecraft: The current world record in the Any% category for Minecraft, a popular construction and survival game, is 1 minute and 10 seconds. This record is held by speedrunner Illumina, set in 2021.

It should be noted that these times do not necessarily represent the normal playing time for these games. Speedrunners often use tricks, shortcuts, and inconsistencies in programs to finish games faster than what was expected by the developers. This shows how creative and resourceful speedrunners are at finding ways to complete games more efficiently.

Types of Speedruns

Speedruns have a variety of different categories and game modes. Categories can be based on time, score, difficulty or any other parameter of the game. Game modes can be unique to each game, but they often include categories like “Any%”, where the player can complete the game using all possible tricks, or “100%”, where the player must collect each item and complete each quest in the game.

Speedrunners often use tools to help them improve their times. Emulators and state saves can be used to practice specific parts of the game without having to start from scratch. Scripting programs can be used to automate certain parts of the game, allowing speedrunners to focus on the more difficult parts of the game.

Minecraft beaten in 1 minute 57 seconds!

In popular culture

Speedruns also have their own jargon and culture. The tricks used by speedrunners are often referred to as “glitches” or “exploits”. Speedrunners are also known for their jokes or viral quotes, such as the famous quote “Everything is RNG” (Random Number Generator), which refers to how video games generate random events.

Ultimately, speedrun is a community of passionate gamers looking to push the boundaries of video games. Whether you’re a seasoned gamer or a novice, speedruns are an exciting and fascinating way to experience video games from a new perspective. If your kids are talking about speedruns, encouraging them to discover ways to exploit the game and discover new tricks can help them develop problem-solving skills and a rewarding and motivating sense of accomplishment. However, be sure to always check your children’s interactions in online communities.


Photo highlighted by Ketut Subiyanto.

About Myriam Baulne

Traductrice agréée aussi détentrice d'un DEC en animation 3D et synthèse d'images, Myriam est constamment à la recherche d'opportunités afin d'allier ses passions pour les jeux vidéo, les TTRPG et la rédaction. Armée d'un solide bagage journalistique, elle est outillée pour vous rapporter toute l'actualité et l'information sur vos jeux favoris.

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