The Global Speedrun Association, which manages online events for those who try to beat video games at breakneck speeds, is preparing its first live event—a gaming tournament complete with prizes and fan panels.
An association devoted to a niche part of gaming culture is seeing some major growth at the moment—and that growth is coming in the form of events.
The Global Speedrun Association (GSA), a competitive league for speedrunning—a form of competitive gaming in which players try to finish a game (generally an older title) in the lowest possible time, using any technique possible, including relying on glitches—recently announced it would launch PACE, an in-person live event.
We're excited to announce our first competitive speedrun live event: PACE
Watch the Grand Finals of our SM64, SMO and Celeste Leagues, panels with some of your favourite speedrunners and much more!
Happening April 2019
Location and ticket info to be announced in the coming weeks! pic.twitter.com/zxId46nJ20
— GSA | Global Speedrun Association (@GlobalSpeedrun) December 22, 2018
The event, revealed on Twitter, would effectively represent a grand finals for its online leagues for three specific games—Super Mario 64, Super Mario Odyssey, and Celeste—but would also include events for fans.
The April event’s location has yet to be announced, but what is known is that there will be prizes given out, including a prize pool minimum of $5,000 for Celeste—which will be played in an Any% format, meaning that the player to get to the end of the game fastest wins, even if they somehow manage to find a cheat that allows them to skip half the game. (As of this writing, the fastest Celeste player beat the game in 28 minutes, 40 seconds, 638 milliseconds—a mere 10 seconds faster than their competition.)
The speedrunning community, which is fairly tight-knit, has been known to put on big events in the past. For example, the twice-annual Games Done Quick events, which are livestreamed from a hotel, have raised millions for charity over the years.
GSA, meanwhile, represents one of the organizational arms of the speedrunning community, and helps support SpeedRun.com, which tracks speedruns as they take place.
Often, speedrunners share tactics with one another as they try to cut a few more seconds off of a given game. But the element of competition and a cash prize, similar to e-gaming, has created something of a stir, per PC Gamer, with some expressing concern that the prize may discourage the collaborative nature of speedruns.
Nonetheless, GSA is clearly showing signs of growth, driving hundreds of thousands of views on its various livestreams. It has also entered into lucrative marketing agreements to help fund its prize pool, including with online gambling firm Esports Entertainment Group.