Playing the game as fast as possible.


Speedrunning is associated with video games and classic titles get the most following. There is a tough competition for the World Record, plus cash bounties and spectator events so players look for every possible trick and have extraordinary results both in research and in performance. For example Super Mario Bros from 1985 was in 2018 done at the pace of 4:55 (4m 55s, if you played the game you know it's not easy).

As a spectacular activity, it gathers considerable viewership on streaming platforms. Games Done Quick (GDQ) is a charity event that collects enormous donations for diverse causes, centered around watching speedrunners beat their games.

Speedrunning happens also with physical games like toys or puzzles, with Rubik's Cube as the most famous example (4.22s WR). It shares with the computer the situation of external verification. Computer or a mechanism serves as a referee for the player. This objectivity is difficult to achieve in music games, but the potential for similarities is rich.

In music

Playing a composed piece as fast as possible is done sometimes and Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee" is notorious for such a competition. This type of "speedrunning" suffers from imprecise victory condition, because the piece is supposed to be played "properly" and that's a hard call, always with some subjective weight to it.

Music gaming potential

Manual dexterity and quick decisions are key skills in many music games. Especially rhythmic games can be approached in such a way. You can set up a demanding tempo and minimalise the amount of repetitions. As an example of an almost runnable music game you can try Musical tetris. There is a problem though — you'd need a way to exclude trivial strategies that players could use. For a good speedrunning game you need a precise victory condition, and music games are maybe too flexible as for allowed "musical quality" of playing.


As you may see below, speedrunning a computer game may also directly cross with non-idiomatic music and it is a generally interesting area of "alternative controllers" with different musical instruments occasionally in use.

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