Karl Jobst’s most important moments in speedrunning history

Jacob Hale
Karl Jobst and speedrunning games

[jwplayer mzA0v9fV]From the release of Doom in 1993, to that awkward Mirror’s Edge speedrun fiasco, to cheese’s clutch Super Mario 64 record, there have been many memorable moments in the history of speedrunning.

It is a form of competition unlike any other and, on June 26, Doom Eternal speedrunners will be looking to add their names to the history books by becoming world record holders at Break the Record: LIVE.

One person who knows more than most about speedrunning, though, is YouTuber Karl Jobst, He’s recently produced ‘The Evolution of Speedrunning’, a video which takes a look at the history and growth of the competitive esport.

We spoke with Karl about speedrunning ahead of Break the Record: LIVE, and he revealed what he believes to be the most important moments in speedrunning history. Here’s what he said:

Release of Doom in 1993

Doom 1993
Doom was released in 1993 and has been a hugely popular speedrunning game since.

Jobst: Doom came out in a time that was perfect because the Internet was coming to be, and all the ingredients came together at the same time to create the first game that people could really compete in and have fun with.

So, the release of Doom is one of the most important things [in speedrunning].

Quake Done Quick 1997

Jobst: In 1997 there was Quake Done Quick, which was a project that a bunch of Quake speedrunners put together. Doom was popular on online bulletin boards and everything, but nobody really talked about it in the general gaming sphere. But, when Quake came out and the Quake players made Quake Done Quick, where they played the whole game and made a video out of it, that was the first time speedrunning spread outside of speedrunning and into gaming in general.

You didn’t need to be a speedrunner to know about this, you could just be a gamer and you knew that people were speedrunning Quake. So that was the first time, I think, that speedrunning spread outside of its own niche, and people realized “this thing that people are doing… It’s pretty cool.”

Speed Demos Archive opens its doors

Speed Demos Archive homepage
The Speed Demos Archive collated the world’s best speedrunning times for all manner of games.

Jobst: The popularity of Quake Done Quick led to Speed Demos Archive becoming a popular website, which was the website people hosted Quake demos on.

When Speed Demos Archive opened its doors to other games, that was really important too. That was the first central hub for speedrunning. If you wanted to find a speedrun of a game, you would search on Speed Demos Archive, there would be a place you would know to search for them. That was the first place that started to host videos for speedruns, because there was no YouTube back then.

Speed Demos Archive was the first website where you could search for videos and you could see it, and that really increased the popularity dramatically, so that was another very important moment.

Narcissa Wright’s 18:10 on Ocarina of Time

Jobst: Most speedrunners would agree that the most important speedrun of all time was Narcissa Wright’s 18:10 in Ocarina of Time. That was the first speedrun that really went mainstream. It was the first time legitimate news organizations were taking notice and talking about speedrunning. It was a big deal.

The thing about that run is, it wasn’t like she beat someone else’s record. It was just herself, over a long time, just kept beating her own record. So it wasn’t like a duel between someone else. It was just a solo effort, which is a lot of what speedrunning is, it’s just doing better than you’ve done before. So you don’t need to beat someone in order for something to be special. It’s just the result of hard work over a long time. And then doing something you can be proud of. This 18:10 was a really big deal. That would be the best speedrun of all time.

The launch of Twitch

Twitch logo purple
Twitch, and livestreaming in general, has completely changed the speedrunning landscape.

Jobst: Obviously, Twitch coming out is another important moment. Again, it increases the visibility of speedrunning so people could watch grinds. Before, you could see the result but you could never see the work that goes into it.

Streaming, in general, was the first time you could see what it takes, and if you do watch some of these speedrunners, they play a lot, they play many hours every day, and this was something people had never seen before, which was why, when speedrunning first was able to be streamed, it was really, really popular. It was game-changing.

So could breaking the Doom Eternal speedrun record with no major glitches be another one of these moments? Well, according to Karl, it will hopefully get more Doom fans engaged with speedrunning.

“Doom Eternal is amazing to watch,” he said. “It’s amazing to watch these speedruns, especially the categories without glitches. I think the spectacle of Doom Eternal is there, and it’s worth the watch in itself, and then breaking the record is going to be the cherry on the cake. There’s a lot of people out there that haven’t watched these types of speedruns, and hopefully this gets it out to more people and gives them a taste of what it’s all about.”

You can can watch this year’s Break the Record: LIVE event live on ESAMarathon.com, so be sure to tune in on July 26, 2020 at 10:00 am  – July 27, 2020 @ 1:00 am CEST.. We’ll keep you up to date with all the records as they’re broken.

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