Column: Minecraft speedrunning adds dimension

Ryan Meyer

Minecraft is a game known for its simplicity and tranquility. A player spawns into an entirely unique world, gathers wood, crafts tools and begins to prepare for the upcoming monster-filled nights ahead. While there is a final boss, part of the beauty of the game is that there isn’t really a final objective. Players have the freedom to build, explore, battle or engineer efficient technology.

Some players use this freedom to play the game at the highest level. Their objective is to beat the final boss, the Ender Dragon, as fast as possible. These players are known as speedrunners, and they are probably the most skilled Minecraft players I’ve seen. Their knowledge of the game runs deep and their mechanical skills are honed over the course of long Twitch livestreams.

The main category that players speedrun, or at least the one I enjoy watching the most, is random seed glitchless. This basically means the runner spawns in with no knowledge of the world around them and must beat the game without using any glitches. There are dozens of other categories, some more niche than others, played across different versions of the game.

In less than a year, I’ve watched as so many new strategies have been implemented to try and optimize categories and help runners achieve faster and faster times. I don’t even know how many times world records have been swapped since speedrunning exploded a while ago.

Although the community is growing, it’s important to note some of the people who were speedrunning Minecraft before it blew up, like Illumina. His former world record video in the version 1.7.2 was one of the first videos I saw that got me interested in playing the game fast.

Watching others play the game is the easiest way to pick up new tactics and other things to improve your own playstyle. Also, when a streamer gets on a good pace and you’re watching live, it’s incredibly exciting to feel like a part of it.

One of my favorite streamers is Feinberg, who is not only one of the most cracked Minecraft players I’ve ever seen, he is also hilarious and not afraid to speak his mind.

The community is at a size where a lot of people know when there’s a new world record, but it’s small enough that it doesn’t feel like a mass of people clamoring for attention, like other Minecraft communities.

Speedrunning has reintroduced an aspect of Minecraft to me I never considered as a kid, and I’m grateful for this. It’s fun to play the game slow, but it’s fun and exciting to play the game fast.

 

Ryan Meyer  is a sophomore  journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]