What Makes a Good Speedgame?

I sometimes like to watch SpeedRuns, one thing that I noticed is that Sonic doesn’t appears as famous in the speedrun community as I thought it would be, It is somewhat popular but its really small compared to Mario and Zelda. Its a design thing or its simply due to the overall quality and sales?

This raises an interesting point, the distinction between what makes an actually good speedgame (game that people speedrun) and what people think correlates with a good speedgame.

People tend to think of what would make a good game to speedrun as being a game which involves speed and has a fairly linear track, much like a footrace, or a car race.

The games that tend to work out best for speedruns are more like an obstacle course or a playground, things with multiple possible means of approach. Mario and Zelda tend to be a bit closer to this generally speaking than Sonic games, which tend to be a bit more straightforward, usually. Of course it does help that Mario and Zelda are more popular games overall.

I was more specifically referring to Classic Sonic. Modern Sonic is more a linear track, but Classic Sonic have multiple paths that intersect and have physics that encourage experimentation with both the paths and physics to get the optimal route, at least on paper that’s how I viewed it

I was including classic sonic. I’m aware of the multiple tracks thing, but I don’t think the classic sonic games are amazing speedgames (though they are good ones).

Oh, and to add onto the previous post, a good speedgame isn’t necessarily fast or slow in its pace; instead a good speedgame has a lot of opportunities to apply skill to go faster than the normal means of progression, and a lot of different possible progressions that affect one another in an intertwined relationship, making total optimization of the game extremely difficult, both to attain skill-wise, and to discover routing-wise. It’s about allowing players to demonstrate a range of competency at the game, rather than simply going fast in a time pressure scenario (literally running with speed) as some people tend to interpret it (like mario maker level creators, or people who intentionally try to build games that cater to speedrunners, but don’t understand what speedrunners actually enjoy).

Is it impossible for a Linear 2D game be an excellent game for Speedrun? I can only think of 3D games or 2D games that let you choose at least the stage order. I don’t really remember any 2D game that is populer to Speedrun but uses a linear stage order

Super Mario Bros is probably the biggest example of this, but it has warp pipes, so you may not count it. Similar for Super Mario World and the other 2d mario games.

Super Meat Boy lets you pick which stages of a world you want to complete before unlocking the boss, but is otherwise mostly linear.

I’m not sure if Cuphead lets you pick stages, but it probably counts. (update, it lets you pick stages)

Shovel knight lets you pick stage order, but you need to play all the stages.I don’t think the 2d sonic games let you pick or skip stages.

Ducktales lets you pick stage order, but all stages are required.

The Megaman games are popular, but let you pick stage order.

Contra, Castlevania, and Ninja Gaiden all do not let you pick stage order. These are not among the most popular games, but they each have at least 100 players on speedrun.com, making them more popular than Wind Waker HD.

Metal Slug X has 50 players, putting it above Link’s Awakening.

Kero Blaster has 18 players.

I think the bigger question here is, how many linear 2d games that don’t let you pick stage order are there actually? Probably the most common would be arcade games, which I don’t think are that popular as speedgames. There don’t seem to be that many games that fit this description in the first place.

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