Lately, I've been on something of a speedrun kick. Not myself, naturally—no, I've been watching an inordinate amount of runs lately, primarily of ultra-hard Super Mario Bros. hacks (or Super Mario Maker levels). This Kaizo Mario 3 run has been my jam. The Super Dram World Run up in the header, I've watched three times now, fascinated as I am with the run's execution and the twisted design itself.
And I'm constantly fascinated by watching skilled speedrunners take on brand-new challenges in Super Mario Maker levels, as they do in this "blind" relay.
For some reason, speedrunning tickles my fancy where most other esports leave me cold. I think it's the martial arts-like precision of practicing every move (in this case, every jump, every duck, every frame skip) thousands of times until it's perfect. That dedication to getting the brain and body (hands and inputs) to execute perfectly, effortlessly, purposefully, is utterly captivating to me. Maybe it's also my runner brain, which is obsessed with getting good times. Racing just makes sense to me!
There's also something specific to these runs, and that is the masochistic precision required by the levels themselves. The Kaizo and Dram hacks by designer PangaeaPanga, for example, are brilliant—they use mechanics familiar to almost anyone who played a Super Mario Bros. game in new, unexpected, and always painfully precise ways.
I'll probably never be able to actually complete levels that are this devilishly hard, but I mightily enjoy watching others with skill and perseverance break them down and get through them.
Ok, friends! Now that I've listed a few of my recent favorites, let's take it to the forums. What are some of your favorite speedruns, and what does it for you in this genre?