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“Speedrunning” is a compound of the words “speed” and “running,” which refers to the act of completing a video game in as little time as possible.
Following the release of the ID Software first-person shooter Doom in December of 1993, Christina “Strunoph” Norman launched the now defunct website LMP Hall of Fame in January 1994 to showcase recorded demo files of play throughs of the game. In May of that year, the website Doom Honorific Titles was created by associate professor Frank Stajano as a community for Doom players to share recordings of demos to earn titles. In November, the Doom 2 competition website Compet-N was launched, which became the first community dedicated to speedrunning.
After the first-person shooter game Quake was released in June of 1996, players began sharing speedrun playthroughs in a directory on the Simtel Quake file hierarchy. In April of 1997, the Nightmare Speed Demos website was launched as a place to host the faster Quake speedruns. In June, site Quake Done Quick was created to host speedruns of entire Quake playthroughs. The fastest runs were edited together by the project team into a single movie (shown below).
In April 1998, the Speed Demos Archive was created out of Quake Done Quick. In June 1999, the first tool-assisted speedruns website was launched, featuring speedrun recordings using software that allowed the user to play Doom in slow-motion. The site ran until August of 2001, when it was turned into a tool-assisted speedrun archive.
In late 2003, the tool-assisted speedrun videos site NESVideos was launched, which was later named TASVideos. In November of 2003, a world record was set for completing the 2002 3D shooter game Metroid Prime. On May 14th, 2006, the Speed Run Wiki was created. On April 9th, 2011, the /r/speedrun subreddit was created, which gathered upwards of 7,900 subscribers in the first three years. On July 23rd, YouTube SilentSlayers uploaded a speedrun video for the 3D game Super Mario 64, with a completion time of 1:49:06 (shown below, left). On July 6th, 2013, YouTuber sourceruns uploaded a video of a new world record speedrun for the first-person shooter game Half Life 2, completed in 1:27:51 (shown below, right).
The iA4Studio YouTube channel regularly uploads animated videos featuring “speedruns” of famous films, the first of which featured a cartoon for the science fiction film Back to the Future (shown below, top, left). In the next eight months, the video gained over 1.09 million views and 320 comments. Since then, several other speedrun videos have been published, including animations for The Matrix (shown below, top, right), Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (shown below, bottom, left) and Aliens (shown below, bottom, right).