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Higher, faster, better? No problem for the speedrunners from all over the world who compete in the Break the Record: LIVE Speedrunning Gaming Marathon starting July 26! But what exactly fascinates players enough to attempt a game or level's completion in record time, even when the game has not been specifically designed with speedrunning in mind? What kind of skills are really needed to break a record? We sat together with Karl Jobst to understand what drives players to learn game mechanics minutia, and each virtual inch of a map well enough to vie for a world record in this budding esport. It turns out, quite a lot!
Karl is a multiple-time world champion speedrunner for Perfect Dark on the Nintendo 64, and also one of the best Goldeneye 007 speedrunners of all time - in which he was involved for over 20 years, and set some of the most famous records of all time. He is now also one of the leading commentators and speedrunning advocates in this closely-knit and passionate community.
"To be the best speedrunner in one of the most competitive games you would have to treat it like any other career: devoting most of your time to perfecting your craft."
The Evolution Of Speedrunning www.youtube.com
Jack: Who is speedrunning for, and why is it something you would recommend they check out?
Karl: Speedrunning is for people who absolutely love gaming and want to explore it on a deeper level. Not only will it allow them to test their skill against other players, but it also involves a lot of learning about how games work. Speedrunning requires an intimate knowledge of video game mechanics, which is really interesting to many people.
Jack: Where would you tell someone wanting to get into speedrunning or learn more to start out?
Karl: Start with your favorite games. Games that you enjoyed growing up and that bring a lot of nostalgia. Search for the game on speedrun.com which will list all of the resources, including community links. You can also watch videos of all the best runs and see if it is something you want to be a part of.
Jack: For you, what are some of the most interesting and exciting aspects that ESA Summer and Break the Record: Live bring to the table, that you may not experience that much at other gaming events at the moment?
Karl: Break the record highlights something that has been severely lacking in previous years: competitive speedrunning. Usually speedrunners are playing from the comfort of their own home, spending hundreds of hours trying to get that one perfect run. Break the record is great because it forces players to perform with the added pressure of a live competition brings. It requires them to to be on top of their game and play well on the day. It adds excitement and hype to the genre.
Jack: Can you give us a taste of the kind of dedication needed to break a record in a couple of the most competitive speedrunning games?
Karl: The best speedrunners are notorious for practicing up to 12 hours a day. To be the best speedrunner in one of the most competitive games you would have to treat it like any other career: devoting most of your time to perfecting your craft. The best speedrunners have strict and structured practice sessions and their progression is always well thought out and planned in advance.
"Generally, communities will work together to find new strategies, rather than target specific records."
Jack: What was one of the biggest, or your favorite moments in speedrunning in recent times?
Karl: Without question it is Cheese breaking the 120-star world record for Super Mario 64 during the first Break the Record: LIVE. It is one of the most difficult and respected speed runs in all of speedrunning, and to perform the record during a live event in front of thousands of people is one of the most amazing feats we have ever seen in this niche.
UNBELIEVABLE Super Mario 64 120 star Speedrun former world record set at LIVE event by Cheese www.youtube.com
Jack: Where do you personally see speedrunning in the future?
Karl: The classic games will always be popular, and they are classic for a reason. They are timeless games that will always be fun to play, no matter how far technology progresses. However, I do think the future will involve speedrunning competitions featuring new releases. I think it would even be in the interest of developers and publishers to nurture and facilitate such events to bring attention to their games. I'd like to see similar events to the upcoming doom eternal event, but for many other new games. They showcase how quickly speedrunners can understand and break apart a game.
Jack: Bearing in mind the current trends within speedrunning, are there any longstanding records that the community are currently eying or pivoting towards for a concerted attempt?
Karl: I'm unsure about any current world records being chased after. Generally, communities will work together to find new strategies, rather than target specific records. If this question was posed a few years ago I could give you easy answers, as in Goldeneye we had a handful of extremely old records dating back to the early 2000's. However they were all recently beaten.
It is a pretty big deal when an old record is broken:
GOLDENEYE N64 - DAM AGENT 0:52 - UNTIED WORLD RECORD www.youtube.com
- -GoldenEye 007's most untouchable speedrun record falls after 15 years
- -The name's Jobst, Karl Jobst! Gamer smashes legendary 15-YEAR GoldenEye record and sends the internet wild (but it did take him 250 hours!)
- -GoldenEye speedrunner breaks 15-year-old Dam record
"Speedrunning has always been grassroots, built from the ground up by passionate players."
Jack: What needs to be done in your opinion to establish speedrunning as an esport on par in viewership/popularity with current mainstream esports?
Karl: I doubt speedrunning could ever compete with the largest mainstream esports, however it definitely has potential to be quite large, and well worth investing into professionally run events. Many of the bigger esports had backing from large sponsors or the developer itself, it takes money to run a good event. Speedrunning has always been grassroots, built from the ground up by passionate players. This is why is has taken a while for it to grow in popularity. Now that it has become more popular, we are starting to see some money come in from businesses looking to capitalize. This is a great thing and will help take the niche to the next level. We need more effort put into to creating entertaining events that look and feel legitimate, similar to what we see in other esports.
Do you have what it takes to lead a tech start-up?
Feeling like you're back to the same-old, job? It's frustrating when your ideas at work go unrecognized, for reasons outside of your control. What if you were making all the decisions? Do you have what it takes to lead your own tech start-up?
Here are six qualities that make a successful tech entrepreneur, coming from those who've broken the mold of what it means to be one.
1. You embrace diversity and don't let your gender hold you back<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTUxMzkwOS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0ODk1ODE5N30.jg7Bkw8n0XuzrplK4QKbrLdWA6vmZqrw0pMACBIsbYc/img.jpg?width=980" id="15281" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a49b04421925ef22c9fa90b54541eebb" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="3875" data-height="2580" />
Christina Morillo - Pexels.com<p>The tech industry benefits from diversity. But there are still perceived barriers for women, like lack of role models, stereotypes and inflexible working hours. The good news? Change is underway. A new <a href="https://kas.pr/wit2021" target="_blank">Kaspersky study</a> shows over half of women working in tech feel women are represented in leadership roles, and 7 in 10 feel confident and respected at work. </p><p>There's some way to go to having gender-balanced tech teams: only 1 in 10 work in female-majority teams, while 1 in 2 work in male-majority teams. Let's be the change we want to see – don't place limits on what you want to achieve in your career. </p>
2. Uncertainty doesn't faze you<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e279b9b5cf175f28af1deb8f11f2d528"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OSE6Ja_vup8?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Starting a tech business is riddled with uncertainty. You need to be able to make a plan when the goalposts, and the ground beneath your feet, are moving. And you'll need to be able to adapt to change fast. You'll never have all the answers, but you'll still be able to see ways to move forward. Did you know that Tesla and SpaceX, both flagship companies of Elon Musk, came close to failing? The first electric car created by <a href="https://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/news/a29378/elon-musk-admits-to-shareholders-that-the-tesla-roadster-was-a-disaster/" target="_blank">Tesla, the Roadster, had big production problems</a> and <a href="https://timeline.com/spacex-musk-rocket-failures-c22975218fbe" target="_blank">SpaceX had many launch failures</a> before its final effort was a success.</p>
3. You're willing to develop, improve and even throw out your ideas<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="44880f393043d8c33c5dd6a095874418"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6s2nzg2wxUw?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Tech entrepreneurs don't decide their 'baby' is the right solution and doggedly cling to it. Stories like that of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Holmes" target="_blank">Elizabeth Holmes – inventor of the blood-test biochip that never existed</a> – show just how destructive hanging onto a dud idea can be.</p><p>Great tech entrepreneurs want to solve the problem more than they want to be right about how it's best solved. They're more interested in being useful than in being popular.</p>
4. You can be persuasive, but you're more substance than style<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="3406bbc59ae87c317b61874c3d06ec90"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ofz3iwX_x-o?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>When you run a start-up, you need to win people over to your idea, time and again. From securing funding to motivating your team, you need to be tireless in inspiring people to give you their best. And you're not just selling your product, you're selling yourself.</p><p>Contrary to popular belief, leaders don't need star quality – <a href="https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/insights/lindred-greer-great-leaders-understand-fundamentals" target="_blank">experience and skills predict success better than charisma</a>. But you do need to make people believe in what you can do. </p><p>The famous author and pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once said: "If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."</p>
5. You're happy to do whatever needs doing<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="34991cff9a653726279b601b5342c050"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/dN2JIp6u4r0?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Early in the life of your start-up, you'll need to turn your hand to all kinds of tasks that won't feel like what you were born to do. If you're the kind of person who tends to think, 'that's not my job,' or you've developed advanced skills in avoiding tasks you don't like, tech entrepreneurship may not be for you.</p><p>Did you know that the search engine and company we know as Google today, <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2018/09/04/8-surprising-facts-you-might-not-know-about-googles-early-days.html" target="_blank">has started as a PHD project</a>? At the beginning, the world wide web wasn't that big. As a matter of fact Larry Page, one of the founders of google collected the links on the web by hand. He didn't know exactly what to do with it but it seemed to be a good idea, because no one had ever collected the links before. This seems inconceivable today!</p>
6. You can cope with imperfection, and you're willing to put your ideas to the test<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQxODY2NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxODEzNDg4N30.a6hft0WkTI5jrPrYxRpJcoojp8HMd2n2nCq_oxKSZIU/img.jpg?width=980" id="8a97d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ac67d2d45957c27d9971c6709b1505c5" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1280" data-height="959" />
Free Creative Stuff - Pexels.com<p>Gone are the days when entrepreneurs jealously guarded their ideas up until the moment of a giant, glitzy launch. <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect_is_the_enemy_of_good" target="_blank">Perfect is the enemy of good</a>. And in tech, it's usually much easier to get a prototype or beta version out to gauge the response than it is with other kinds of products.</p><p>As anyone who's done <a href="https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/user-research-what-it-is-and-why-you-should-do-it" target="_blank">user research</a> will tell you, the biggest shortcomings of products often aren't what the team thinks they are. Testing with real people isn't a luxury; it saves time and money.</p><p>Leading your own start-up almost always means working long hours and testing your skills to their limit. <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/neilpatel/2015/01/16/90-of-startups-will-fail-heres-what-you-need-to-know-about-the-10/#7f685a416679" target="_blank">Few succeed</a>, but if you have these six qualities, you have a great chance of being among those who do.</p>