After SGDQ 2022 raised three million dollars for charity, speedrunning has become a popular hobby to have. While it looks intimidating to jump into, there’s a surprising number of games that are very friendly to new runners. These games are either easy to learn, or the transition from completing them to speedrunning is extremely natural.
Note: if you plan on submitting runs to the leaderboards for these games (which are usually found on speedrun.com) then I highly recommend finding software to record your games with. OBS and GeForce Experience are perfect for this and will require little configuration to work.
If you’ve always wanted to try speedrunning then here are the best games you should try running today.
Curious about our favorite runs from SGDQ 2022? Here’s our list of the runs we were looking forward to the most!
1. Monster Hunter Rise
Recommended Category: Any%, Magnamalo
Estimated Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Any% Magnamalo is a category where you have to start a new game then complete enough quests to slay a monster named Magnamalo.
An important note is that Any% allows you to use all of the items from the postmaster. One of those items is the Defender weapons/armor set which gives you near-endgame gear, removing the need to acquire stronger weapons and allowing you to focus on just movement and combat.
If you’re not a fan of glitches or skips and want to speedrun a game that just focuses on knowledge and mastery of the game then you should try running Rise. These runs aren’t hyper-technical – it’s very close to how you’d normally play this game, just faster. RNG will play a heavy part, but consistently low times will come from efficient movement and fast monster slaying.
Recommended Category: Any Heat Unmodded
Estimated Time: 30 minutes+
Hades Any% runs are straightforward to get into because it’s such a natural progression from the regular game. Once you’ve completed the story, there’s little else to do besides increasing heat (difficulty) or performing faster runs. Plus, there’s an in-game timer that helps you figure out how fast you’re going.
Much like Monster Hunter, there are no glitches or major skips in a Hades run. What defines how fast you go will be how comfortable you are with the mechanics of this game, and how well you can capitalize on times where RNG goes in your favor.
I recommend reading through wriste13’s guide or watching SleepySoul’s guide to on the fundamentals of Hades speedruns. They’re both wonderful tools to learn the basics and what strategies the community is using to achieve world record times.
Recommended Category: Any% or Chapter 1: Forsaken City
Estimated Time: 1 hour+ (Any%), 5+ minutes (Chapter 1: Forsaken City)
Another game that has a natural progression from beating its story to speedrunning is Celeste. On a normal playthrough, Celeste is a stellar game about climbing a mountain through a series of rooms. Each room is a unique puzzle that requires precise movement to solve.
In a speedrun, Celeste becomes a testament to just how fun going fast can be. High-speed movement is a joy to perform here and you don’t have to aim for the World Record to enjoy it. Just turn on the speedrun clock and see how fast you can beat the game. Plus, Celeste also allows you to replay specific sections, so you can practice those parts instead of playing through the entire game.
Learning how to use Celeste’s advanced movement techniques and figuring out unique solutions to each room adds to the addictive nature of these runs. I recommend starting with this reddit post since it shows you what guides to look up and what to do next.
4. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Recommended Category: Any% NSC (No Special Code), Alucard
Estimated Time: 30 minutes+
Symphony of the Night (SotN) is one of the most popular entries into the Castlevania franchise. As a speedrun game, it’s also one of the easiest and most rewarding games to learn. SotN runs tend to be relatively short, which means you don’t have to spend hours of your day trying to finish a single run, and instead (once you master the basic movement of the game) you can finish it in less than an hour.
Its community has also created a series of amazing guides that will help any new speedrunner get their footing. Alucard is the most popular to run since his movement requires some easy-to-learn-hard-to-master techniques that are rewarding to execute well.
5. Super Hot
Recommended Category: Any% or Katana%
Estimated Time: 40 – 50 minutes.
Super Hot is a game where the goal is to murder your way through a series of rooms as fast as possible. At its core, Super Hot isn’t a very complicated game which makes it very easy to learn. While a casual playthrough will teach you the solutions to all of the rooms, a speedrun will challenge you to do those challenges faster and more efficiently. There are still plenty of techniques to learn but the best way to practice is to watch fast runs and emulate their strategies.
The only technical challenge in Super Hot runs is just the skips. Super Hot skips aren’t difficult to perform, but theywill require specific timing. A runner named Bullets! has made a wonderful guide to performing these skips.
6. Super Mario 64 (16 Stars)
Recommended Category: 16 Stars
Estimated Time: 30+ minutes
Super Mario 64 takes a bit of setup depending on which platform you use. But once everything is ready, Super Mario 64 offers a bite-sized summary of why speedrunning is so much fun. The fluid movement and fast shortcuts are satisfying to pull off. Glitches require some practice but they are both hilarious and efficient to use. Plus, because of how old SM64 is, the routes and glitches runners will use are extremely well-documented in the community’s wiki.
16 stars is the perfect category for new runners since its runs aren’t very long and there are different routes to take as you improve your speedrun. Beginners will eschew the more mechanically demanding sections like the red coins in Dark World, in favor of an easier route through Hazy Maze Cave, which will provide more practice for movement and more completed runs. I highly recommend following this guide by Drogie to get started.
Gaming on a budget? Here are the best Steam games that are under $10. If you’re looking for retro games, check out our list of the best retro games on GOG.com.