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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.
Ultra-fast gaming and the sports of tomorrow, with Break the Record's Fredrik Lidholt
Completing a game more quickly than opponents is the goal of the esport of speedrunning. It could be Super Mario, Doom or any other game. This week we'll see which elite players can break the speed record playing Minecraft.
Speed is the name of the game
The Break the Record Live Series is a live-streamed event where elite gamers compete to be the fastest ever player. Next week, they'll try to break the Minecraft speed-playing record. The brains behind Break the Record, Fredrik Lidholt (aka Edenal) chats about the future of esports with Marco Preuss and Rainer Bock in the latest episode of Unlocked.
Find out more about next week's Minecraft event here!
Intro to cryptoart and non-fungible tokens (NFTS)
A non-fungible token (NFT) of digital kitten art sold for 170,000 US dollars. These tokens could change how we buy, sell and own digital media. What are they, and could they build a new creative economy? To start, check out the video above from CNBC!
Is this the art of true ownership in the digital age?
Most of us can make a GIF, take a picture or record a clip, but what if you could sell those and other digital media for hundreds of thousands of dollars? With the rise of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), pictures, short clips of comedians, GIFs and every other form of digital art is now being tokenized and sold just like a physical painting.
What is an NFT?
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are a digital certificate of ownership of a piece of digital information that can be bought and sold. It works the same way as cryptocurrency: Secure transactions made between two parties recorded permanently through blockchain. The difference is, with bitcoin – a popular cryptocurrency using blockchain – you can trade one coin for the other and it has the same value, but NFTs are one-of-a-kind. Each NFT is unique and can have a different value.
You can make NFTs of almost anything digital, but the big news is they're starting to be used to buy and sell digital art, known as cryptoart.
Why NFTs can benefit digital artists and art buyers
Uniqueness has always been central to the art market. Digital art is hard to sell, and for buyers, hard to 'own' because of the potential for an infinite number of copies. NFTs could solve that problem.
For creators, NFTs are super trendy and therefore add to your enigmatic status, and they have a handy sell-on feature. If you sell a GIF using NFTs, you get a percentage every time the NFT is sold to a new buyer. Imagine Van Gogh selling a painting, then getting a slice of every resale, forever.
And if you're a buyer, you have a concrete claim of owning a piece of digital art. And speaking of buying, you might want to see this.
A world gone mad for NFTs
The best way to understand the NFT market explosion is to see some pieces that have fetched crazy sums. Brace yourself.
This Nyan Cat GIF sold for almost $600,000 US dollars.
Grimes - The NFT goldrush continues
This 50-second video by Grimes sold for almost $390,000.
Watch the video here.
Beeple - Authenticated by blockchain
This video by Beeple sold for $6.6 million.
Watch the video here.
Crypto financial and environmental impacts
Many financial experts have warned that this could be an investment bubble that, if it bursts, could mean big losses.And while NFTs are making the digital art world fairer, they come with a warning. The sale of a crypto art piece can use the same amount of energy in one transaction as an art studio uses in two years.
How artists can benefit
If you're an aspiring or established artist or content creator, no promises, but this could be big for you. First, prepare your work ready, whether it's a GIF, picture or video. Then, when you're happy with it, start on NIfty Gateway. On Nifty Gateway, you can apply to create a project for them to sell.