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#1 Posted by TheMasterDS (2015 posts) -

I really enjoyed the AGDQ marathon earlier this year and going back and looking at earlier marathons. Really fascinating stuff in the speed running scene. It's highly competitive, super friendly, there are world records that are maintained in various categories for each game, it's got a lot to it and it can be done for basically every game under the sun except purely competitive multiplayer ones I guess.

I like to think of Speed Runs as a sport like Track is for physical sports. A somewhat different beast from your DOTAs and your Divekicks and your Hearthstones but definitely still eSports. This also has the upside of making every game an eSport except for the FGC that refuses to recognize they are eSports even though they act exactly like eSports only with no class. And analog games that aren't electronic. And Visual Novels. And...

Yeah I think Speed Runs are eSports. I think they should be and I think they are.

#2 Edited by Vuud (1943 posts) -

Yes, speedruns have always been eSports and speedrunners compete all the time. Most speedrunning is lame but THIS IS REAL ESPORTS:

#3 Posted by crithon (3080 posts) -

It's in Guiness World Records, so it should be considered

#4 Posted by Jesus_Phish (611 posts) -

I think speed running is an e-sport for sure and one thing I really like about it is that unlike some other e-sports the whole speed running community seem to gel really well and will share their tricks and strategies with each other. Most of them seem more interested in just seeing how quick a game can be beaten as opposed to being the one who holds the record.

You should check out BOILER (Binding of Isaac League Racing) where they've set up a league in which the objective is a race to beat Moms Heart between two players. It's really good stuff.

#5 Edited by Damodar (1301 posts) -

I feel like Speedrunners would probably laugh at the classification. Kinda seems to me that the only time anything actually gets labelled as e-sports are when there are corporate interests involved, the sort of people that would use terms like synergy etc (you know, fucking scumbags). The speedrunning community do amazing things, but their scene is totally their own grassroots thing. It's the same thing with the fighting game community. These guys do things themselves, run all their own events etc and the word esports is never uttered seriously unless in the case of rare outlier events put on by companies that usually do Starcraft, DOTA, whatever.

The term e-sports has always sounded so wrong to me, like there's a desperation for acknowledgement of legitimacy. Kind of feels like they're trying to make it sound like more than playing video games, out of some sort of shame. The speedrunning community certainly doesn't seem like one to adopt such a mentality. They wear their love for what they do on their sleeve and make no bones about it.

If you just define e-sports as competitive gaming, then yeah, speedrunning is absolutely competitive gaming. But in a more nuanced sense, I think e-sports is an ill-fitting label for how their community works.

The other difference I think of, and again, I think this applies well to fighting games as well, when I think of things like the highest level competition of MOBAs and RTS and whatever, it's about a lot of people watching the very top players compete against each other. Speedrunning and fighting game tournaments feel a lot more about everyone actually getting involved and playing.

#6 Edited by Bollard (5250 posts) -

None of the people I chat to in the GTA speedrunning community have ever even compared what they do to eSports. Not saying that it doesn't qualify, but I don't think the people taking part consider it so. I could be wrong, I'm only exposed to a small slice of the community.

EDIT: I'd also like to clarify that I am in favour of the term eSports. Big fan of professional Starcraft and people who shit on it still are dumb. I just don't know if speedrunners consider themselves part of that crowd.

#7 Edited by Fattony12000 (7041 posts) -

vSports

#8 Posted by CaLe (3910 posts) -

It is to e-Sports what Parkour is to real life sports.

#9 Edited by Gamer_152 (14051 posts) -

I feel like "esports" isn't a solidly enough defined term for us to be able to give an objective answer, but I'd say speedrunning is at best an esport on technicality, although obviously not what people are usually referring to when they talk about "esports".

Moderator
#10 Posted by Vuud (1943 posts) -

@gamer_152: eSports is any organized competitive video gaming. Having a LAN party with your buds: NOT eSports. Some website holds a ladder tourney: eSports. Sponsored event, either live or streaming: eSports. etc.

#11 Edited by groin (837 posts) -

Cosmo is my favorite cyberathlete.

#12 Posted by AlexW00d (6182 posts) -

@cale said:

It is to e-Sports what Parkour is to real life sports.

This is a pretty great analogy actually.

#13 Posted by Nightriff (4915 posts) -

As the great Vincent Caravella said "I would rather watch speed runs than any esport" and I've always agreed. And I do think it is more impressive to go through these incredibly difficult games without dying and beating it as fast as possible. Glitch speed runs aren't as interesting to me but I can appreciate them. Basically I look at the two speed runs shown on UF last year, the OoT was super interesting because he beat the game in 22 minutes with a glitch, but watching the FunkDoc beat the original Castlevania like it was nothing was damn impressive.

#14 Posted by Rafaelfc (1313 posts) -

I really enjoy watching speedruns and completely despise anything that's related to eSports.

So Speedrunning is not eSports I guess..?

#15 Posted by EXTomar (4496 posts) -

A game can be designed around anything including "fastest clear". But the big issue with this in general is that this is such a highly specialized area that you can't have much competition. On the entire planet there are probably a dozen people who can even attempt to speed run Quake. What kind of "competition" is that?

#16 Posted by FLStyle (4576 posts) -

This also has the upside of making every game an eSport except for the FGC that refuses to recognize they are eSports even though they act exactly like eSports only with no class. And analog games that aren't electronic. And Visual Novels. And...

Yeah I think Speed Runs are eSports. I think they should be and I think they are.

That was a very poor choice of words, the FGC is not esports only with no class. Don't be ignorant.

Speed Runs are all about beating times, not people. If anything speed runs are more like professional wresting than esports. It's not watchable because of competition but entertainment.

#17 Posted by Lyisa (328 posts) -

I would say speedrunning is more like the FGC than it is esports, and even then you have to stretch the definition of esports really thin to make it apply.

Outside SRL there isn't really any head-to-head competition and speedrunning tends to be viewed through the lens of collaboration. I don't want to speak for every speedrunner, but being lumped into the same category as Dota 2 and LoL seems kind of shitty. At best, laughable.

But the people to ask would be the people on a speedrunning website like SDA.

#18 Posted by hermes (1370 posts) -

I have issues calling sport to something that focus on exploiting bugs...

#19 Edited by cloudymusic (1051 posts) -

Depends, is shooting for a high score in a solo score-based game also "eSports"? Because that's what speedruns basically are.

I'd argue not, because, to me, "eSports" implies head-to-head competition, along with some corporate backing, sponsorships, centralized leagues, etc. Saying "all competitive gaming is eSports" seems like an overly broad catch-all.

#20 Edited by Karkarov (2981 posts) -

@damodar said:

The term e-sports has always sounded so wrong to me, like there's a desperation for acknowledgement of legitimacy. Kind of feels like they're trying to make it sound like more than playing video games, out of some sort of shame. The speedrunning community certainly doesn't seem like one to adopt such a mentality. They wear their love for what they do on their sleeve and make no bones about it.

Absolutely agree. E-sports is nothing but a pathetic corporate label that people who are desperate to legitimize playing a video game latch on to. Playing video games is not a sport, neither is poker, or any of this other modern crap. If the worst injury you traditionally get doing the activity is a paper cut or a stubbed toe it just isn't a sport.

@crithon said:

It's in Guiness World Records, so it should be considered

It also has a record for "Longest Fingernails in the World", is having long fingernails a sport too?

#21 Edited by TheMasterDS (2015 posts) -

@flstyle said:

@themasterds said:

This also has the upside of making every game an eSport except for the FGC that refuses to recognize they are eSports even though they act exactly like eSports only with no class. And analog games that aren't electronic. And Visual Novels. And...

Yeah I think Speed Runs are eSports. I think they should be and I think they are.

That was a very poor choice of words, the FGC is not esports only with no class. Don't be ignorant.

Speed Runs are all about beating times, not people. If anything speed runs are more like professional wresting than esports. It's not watchable because of competition but entertainment.

My impression was the only difference between the FGC and any other competitive video game scene was that FGC didn't like the term and hated the idea of suits trying to clean up their misogynistic attitudes. This is still my impression.

You're right, competition in the speed running scene is super collaborative and very good natured. More about moving the times forward in a general sense through lucky runs, new discoveries and better execution. There's also races which are fun. They're a very close knit community that is chiefly about getting things down better and better over time.

I do not think this makes them not a sport. To me it makes it like Olympic Sports and AGDQ and SGDQ are like the Olympics. Not at all the same as Basketball and Football but still definitely considered sports.

@cloudymusic: Is Spelunky/Issac an eSport? If so than the answer is yes.

#22 Edited by cloudymusic (1051 posts) -

@themasterds said:

@cloudymusic: Is Spelunky/Issac an eSport? If so than the answer is yes.

Unless competitive Spelunky Deathmatch mode somehow gets huge, no, my opinion is absolutely not.

#23 Posted by Gaff (1650 posts) -

@themasterds: Ok.

So who won at AGDQ 2014? Who got 1st place? Who lost? What does the record holder get from SDA? What happens to the runners-up, if there are any? How is the organisation? Are there brackets, double elimination? Are there actual competitive elements, besides trying to get a faster time?

It might be a bit reductive or pedantic to boil down competition to its dictionary definition, but at least it's far more preferable to reducing an entire community to its worst negative stereotypes.

#24 Edited by TheMasterDS (2015 posts) -

@gaff: There were some races that some people very much did win. You're right in that unlike the Olympics the AGDQ/SGDQ don't have to prove anything and it isn't a gathering of all the athletes in every category rather one runner from a selection of categories with a few 2-4 player races thrown in and perhaps a coop run or two. This is due to a variety of reasons. One speedrunners of a category can compete and collaborate just fine without meeting up physically unlike the Olympic Athletes throughout the year. Two ADGQ is primarily about entertainment, charity, fun and exposing speed running to a wider audience. As a consequence you have one run from a bunch of games and a few races for most likely a few of the most popular games. That said it is very much like the Olympics in other respects such as how it appeals to a broader audience and makes for a great way to watch obscure events/categories that you otherwise might not know existed. That's super Olympicsy.

#25 Posted by Darkstalker (703 posts) -

It's not esports buts awesome, it's kinda it's own thing

#26 Posted by Bollard (5250 posts) -

@gaff said:

@themasterds: Ok.

So who won at AGDQ 2014? Who got 1st place? Who lost? What does the record holder get from SDA? What happens to the runners-up, if there are any? How is the organisation? Are there brackets, double elimination? Are there actual competitive elements, besides trying to get a faster time?

It might be a bit reductive or pedantic to boil down competition to its dictionary definition, but at least it's far more preferable to reducing an entire community to its worst negative stereotypes.

http://speedrunslive.com/races/

*Cough cough*

#27 Posted by JJOR64 (18907 posts) -

Not really. I remember that there was going to be a Speed Running competition for money with Machinima hosting it and the Speed Running Community HATED it. They got so much negative feedback that the whole thing got canned in like a day.

#28 Posted by Lyisa (328 posts) -

@gaff: There were some races that some people very much did win. You're right in that unlike the Olympics the AGDQ/SGDQ don't have to prove anything and it isn't a gathering of all the athletes in every category rather one runner from a selection of categories with a few 2-4 player races thrown in and perhaps a coop run or two. This is due to a variety of reasons. One speedrunners of a category can compete and collaborate just fine without meeting up physically unlike the Olympic Athletes throughout the year. Two ADGQ is primarily about entertainment, charity, fun and exposing speed running to a wider audience. As a consequence you have one run from a bunch of games and a few races for most likely a few of the most popular games. That said it is very much like the Olympics in other respects such as how it appeals to a broader audience and makes for a great way to watch obscure events/categories that you otherwise might not know existed. That's super Olympicsy.

You're either trolling or intentionally reducing terms to fit your argument. Why does competition automatically infer sport? What is the expressed purpose of speedrunning?

If you want to settle it in simple terms: nobody, or very few people, make money directly from speedrunning as an activity. They can make money streaming attempts, they can recieve donations, but there is very little money in speedrunning in and of itself. The number of people who have made money off speedrunning directly are very few, and those who made more than a few hundred dollars are even fewer. There isn't any prize for SRL races. Nobody pays you for getting the 106% Super Meat Boy record. CosmoWright (as much as it might seem like it sometimes) isn't sponsored by Starbucks.

So what, beyond the competitive aspect of speedrunning, defines it as an esport?

#29 Edited by GorillaMoPena (1926 posts) -

I watched a tournament where people did speedruns of random games against each other.

It seemed pretty e-sports to me

#30 Edited by TheMasterDS (2015 posts) -

@lyisa: I don't think you know what that word means. How can I be a troll in my own topic?

I am 100% serious that I think it's an eSport. Excluding the races, which are very explicitly competitions, It's a very scene that's always looking to collectively improve its times and is host to a wide variety of events and streamers that while probably are not able to make a living off streaming (I actually don't know the economics of streaming speedruns. Maybe they do make a living) are quite prominent in the manner any eAthelete is on Twitch.

I reject the notion that just because some elements of eSports have a corporate element we should reject the term. I see the term as hilariously apt similar to how I imagine Dave Lang sees it. I also like applying it wherever it can be applied and find it annoying when communities insist they're not eSports. That makes the definition of eSports "any competitive video game scene whose community thinks it's an eSport" which is absolutely mad. It should just be the first half of that.

#31 Posted by sadsadsad (102 posts) -
@cale said:

It is to e-Sports what Parkour is to real life sports.

It's the figure skating of e-sports.

Online
#32 Posted by McLargepants (361 posts) -

I think esports has to do with venue more than competition type. So I would say BoILeR, which are well organized races of Binding of Isaac that often features prizes are close, esports is so corporate that I probably still wouldn't call it that. There are competitive gaming scenes that aren't eSports either, for instance the FGC would probably not like to be referred to as "eSports".

I'm just rambling at this point, but to me eSports have to do with corporate sponsorship and direct competition, speedrunning doesn't really fit that.

#33 Edited by freakin9 (1101 posts) -

Well I guess it fits into that big mold that is sports for the unathletic. Which of course bowling fits into as well.

#34 Posted by GorillaMoPena (1926 posts) -

@cale said:

It is to e-Sports what Parkour is to real life sports.

It's the figure skating of e-sports.

Well no because figure skating is judged. It is sort of like bobsledding kind of deal where people race with the same course but not at the same time.

#35 Edited by GaspoweR (2802 posts) -

@flstyle said:

@themasterds said:

This also has the upside of making every game an eSport except for the FGC that refuses to recognize they are eSports even though they act exactly like eSports only with no class. And analog games that aren't electronic. And Visual Novels. And...

Yeah I think Speed Runs are eSports. I think they should be and I think they are.

That was a very poor choice of words, the FGC is not esports only with no class. Don't be ignorant.

Speed Runs are all about beating times, not people. If anything speed runs are more like professional wresting than esports. It's not watchable because of competition but entertainment.

Yeah, saying that the entire community is an eSport with no class is a really poor misconception. Sure it has individuals that people who don't follow the community closely would say they "don't have class" but really don't label an entire community as such. There are even people who are as bad or worse in other competitive gaming communities too but I don't go around putting those kinds of labels on them.

Also I also don't like the term e-Sport in general. Competitive video gaming is more apt IMO. Speedrunning is pretty sick, I think we can all agree.

#36 Posted by Lyisa (328 posts) -

@lyisa: I don't think you know what that word means. How can I be a troll in my own topic?

I am 100% serious that I think it's an eSport. Excluding the races, which are very explicitly competitions, It's a very scene that's always looking to collectively improve its times and is host to a wide variety of events and streamers that while probably are not able to make a living off streaming (I actually don't know the economics of streaming speedruns. Maybe they do make a living) are quite prominent in the manner any eAthelete is on Twitch.

I reject the notion that just because some elements of eSports have a corporate element we should reject the term. I see the term as hilariously apt similar to how I imagine Dave Lang sees it. I also like applying it wherever it can be applied and find it annoying when communities insist they're not eSports. That makes the definition of eSports "any competitive video game scene whose community thinks it's an eSport" which is absolutely mad. It should just be the first half of that.

I don't know why you bothered replying to me. You're espousing a belief and addressing very little of my points except the part that you're not trolling.

I understand that you believe everything in gaming is esports, and I'll leave you to that view. I think your definition is far broader than it was ever meant to be. The term came about as a way to define the difference between playing ranked Starcraft 2 online and playing Starcraft 2 in a professional setting. This isn't just a corporate element, though it helps with the funding and professional part, its the part where people are capable of making money off of it. Its the part where people making a competitive online game say, "Now lets talk about our eSports strategy!"

By playing Starcraft 2 on the ladder you're not participating in esports, you're playing Starcraft 2. If you're playing CoD at MLG Anaheim you're participating in esports.

#37 Edited by TheMasterDS (2015 posts) -

@lyisa: What a term means when it's created and what it means to those who use it are two entirely different things. Words change. They're also not subject to the intentions of their creators. Some people, like you apparently, reject the word eSports as you find it distasteful. I quite like it and wholly embrace it and will try to apply it wherever it fits. Way I see it Streamer culture and eSports go hand and hand. Where there is Streamers who are extremely good at a game far as I am concerned there is eSport. That means the Spelunky Pros who have big streams and sometimes race each other in tournaments. That means Fighting Games which are definitely sports (If they're not eSports they should at least be fauxSports). That means MOBAs, RTSes and Hearthstone, all three of which are definitely eSports. That means speed runs.

I say every game is an eSport when Speed Runs are taken into account. On some level I say that only because I find it an amusing notion but on another level it's totally true. In some senses anyway. If video games ever made it into any weird futuristic Olympic Games I'd hope Donkey Kong Country 2 and Super Metroid would be just as well represented as Starcraft and Hearthstone. I'd imagine Speedruns are at the Summer and Throwdowns are at the Winter or vice versa. Or maybe they'd keep the electronic events to two new Olympics in Spring and Fall. I dunno.

#38 Posted by Poppduder (460 posts) -

I argue that speedrunning is THE MOST esports of all

#39 Posted by FLStyle (4576 posts) -

@flstyle said:

@themasterds said:

This also has the upside of making every game an eSport except for the FGC that refuses to recognize they are eSports even though they act exactly like eSports only with no class. And analog games that aren't electronic. And Visual Novels. And...

Yeah I think Speed Runs are eSports. I think they should be and I think they are.

That was a very poor choice of words, the FGC is not esports only with no class. Don't be ignorant.

Speed Runs are all about beating times, not people. If anything speed runs are more like professional wresting than esports. It's not watchable because of competition but entertainment.

My impression was the only difference between the FGC and any other competitive video game scene was that FGC didn't like the term and hated the idea of suits trying to clean up their misogynistic attitudes. This is still my impression.

You're right, competition in the speed running scene is super collaborative and very good natured. More about moving the times forward in a general sense through lucky runs, new discoveries and better execution. There's also races which are fun. They're a very close knit community that is chiefly about getting things down better and better over time.

I do not think this makes them not a sport. To me it makes it like Olympic Sports and AGDQ and SGDQ are like the Olympics. Not at all the same as Basketball and Football but still definitely considered sports.

What is the FGC? Where is it? USA? West Coast? East Coast? Or is it Japan? France? Australia? Are all these separate countries' fighting game fans misogynistic? Am I misogynistic? (I'm not. I'm also from the UK.) Sure the bad eggs are what draw the views on the video game journalism websites, but they're solely what you base your impression off of? Really? Question Marks!

Truth is, esports has developed multiple meanings over the past 5 years. There's the original esports that's getting referred to more day by day as competitive gaming, the over-arching umbrella that includes fighting games. And there's the more recent "esports!" that companies like MLG are trying to turn into big corporate cash cows with their fanbase that's almost exclusively middle class straight white/Asian male dominated and attempts at trying to clone ESPN programming.

Then you have the various USA branches of the FGC, the ones you hear of the most, who are of every skin colour under the sun, who back in the day couldn't afford PCs and turned arcade and garage gatherings into hotel ballroom events in Las Vegas like EVO. So you see the whole esports vs. FGC thing is more of a culture clash then anything else.

There is a misogynistic element, but I don't see it as any worse than any other community. Just has a bigger spotlight on it ever since the Cross Assault incident of 2012.

TL;DR version, basing your entire impression on the bad eggs of the FGC who get reported on websites is like saying you base your entire impression of people from the south of the USA entirely on what you see on FOX News.

------

Agreed, I can definitely see Speedrunning as one of the fringe sports you see in the Olympics. I watched a lot of the Winter Olympics last month and there are comparisons to be made.

#40 Posted by Lyisa (328 posts) -

@themasterds: I don't find the term distasteful I think you're being insulting to two entirely different groups of people. I watch and participate in speedruns. I also watch a lot of Dota 2 and LoL tourneys. I don't think bringing the two under a single term is helpful to either especially when the two things couldn't be more different in culture. Video games already have a banner to unite under: video games. They don't need a term that is fairly valuable as a way to differentiate forms of competition to be used as a way to homogenize competitive gaming.

#41 Posted by xaLieNxGrEyx (2605 posts) -

Maybe if you're competing against another player in real time.

Otherwise you're competing against AI for the best outcome. It's like professional Solitaire.

Praise the Sun.

#42 Edited by TheMasterDS (2015 posts) -

@lyisa: I don't think eSports is the term you're looking for, it's too meaningless and broad. Invent words along the lines of Speed/Score eSports and Versus eSports.

#43 Posted by Three0neFive (2288 posts) -

Depends, are obstacle courses a sport?

I'm pretty sure "sport" implies some kind of direct human competition, no?

#44 Posted by Slag (4001 posts) -

I don't think they are. There's no formal leagues etc that I know of.

They are fantastic though!

#45 Edited by Clonedzero (4091 posts) -

I think speedruns using glitches or bugs are bullshit and don't count. Just saying...

Oh and dont give me that "oh it still takes skill to pull those glitches off blah blah" I don't care. you still cheated to do it.

Maybe an E-sport based on who cheats the best! UGH WORST THING EVER! I can beat FO1 in like 15 minutes legit though.

#46 Posted by MB (11971 posts) -

Depends, are obstacle courses a sport?

I'm pretty sure "sport" implies some kind of direct human competition, no?

Downhill Skiing is an Olympic sport...it's one person at a time going through a course trying to get the fastest time possible. That's direct competition.

Moderator
#47 Posted by tariqari (430 posts) -

Speedrunning was a thing before eSports was. So I'd say it's beyond eSports.

#48 Posted by Tom_omb (336 posts) -

I'm not into the whole eSports scene, so take what I say with a grain of salt. When I think of eSports, I think highly competitive simultaneous play. The term "eSports" feels like they want to take competitive gaming to the level of the big team sports leagues.

You could classify speedruns and high scores as eSports, but in the way track and field and bobsledding are sports. Take away the spectacle, and you have people a small community of passionate people. They don't need to pretend to be anything bigger, so maybe the "eSports" label isn't necessary.

#49 Posted by JJWeatherman (14557 posts) -

Life is esports, and esports is life.

I find it really amusing how this term is, against all odds, actually growing in popularity.

#50 Posted by TheMasterDS (2015 posts) -

I think speedruns using glitches or bugs are bullshit and don't count. Just saying...

Oh and dont give me that "oh it still takes skill to pull those glitches off blah blah" I don't care. you still cheated to do it.

Maybe an E-sport based on who cheats the best! UGH WORST THING EVER! I can beat FO1 in like 15 minutes legit though.

There are categories to restrict certain glitches either directly or indirectly. For instance there's a No Reverse Bottle Adventure/Wrong Warp category in Ocarina of Time that forbids those glitches. An indirect example of that would be the All Cards category of Paper Mario which requires all the Star Spirits to be collected and makes it so you have to complete all chapters and not just skip them never to return. There are also glitch less categories outright.

What kind of run people run depends on what kind they want to run.