Tomi Salo has run through the complete Max Payne 2 (MP2) game in 33 minutes and 30 seconds! Speed Demos Archive carries a collection of video-evidence of so called ‘speed runs’: “A speed run is a video of a player striving to complete a video game in as fast a time as they can manage. Sound easy? It’s not! A large number of tricks are usually used, possibly skipping whole areas of a game in the process, and there will always be mistakes.” Among goodies like a Half Life 2 (HL2) run by David ‘marshmallow’ Gibbons in 2:14:58, and several others on different platforms, Ben Fichter’s run through Max Payne 1 (MP1). This story has again drawn my gaze on the speed-run genre, which definitely is a part of my idea about ‘playful appropriation of gamespace’, on which I will elaborate later.
As far as I understand the matter until now, speed runs are done by ‘fair means’; the game is not hacked, no cheats, and no bots are used, all is done by sheer skill within the limits of the game as they were intended by the developers. This raises the question about the tacit or explicit ‘speedrun code of ethics’.
On first glance one supposes that gamemodders, investing loads of time e.g. into creating levels and being obsessed with detail, are scoffing on deeds like that. And indeed I remember a discussion, where modders clearly disapproved on running through MP2 as fast as possible. On the other hand the first comment on the MP2-speed-run-record story at Max Payne Zone was an approving “Geil” — posted by MP-modding legend Froz.
for more stuff like speed runs see new challenger.net
artwork by Francois Gutherz, winner of the CGTalk Choice Award