Speedrunning isn’t a category on Twitch, sadly, but it is one of the most popular ways to play games which does attract quite large crowds depending on the game and skill of the runner. We’ve covered the basics of speedrunning and now we’re going to give some tips on which games are some of the best to get into as a beginner.
We’ve made this list with two things in mind – what are the best games to speed run for beginners and what are the best games to speeders if you’re new and trying to grow your twitch in this niche.
Gotta go fast!
Best Games To Speedrun With
Any game that is new
The best games to get into speedrunning with are often new releases for the following reasons.
The record times to beat (if you speed run competitively) are not hardcore from years of competition and refinements, the second reason is that new games are often designed with speedrunning and replay-ability in mind making them accessible to people who are new to speedrunning.
Bayonetta 3, Resident Evil 2/3 Village, Sonic Frontiers, Pokemon Violet/Scarlet, Horizon, Gotham Knights are all examples of new releases which are perfect games to speed run.
Super Mario 64
Despite being released in ’96/’97, Super Mario 64 is still one of the most popular games to speed run on Twitch. With 2.5m followers of the game and 6,400 active speed runners it is a buzzing community with still plenty of space for new players to run. Even if you’re not the fastest, people just love watching gameplay for pure nostalgia.
Good to start speedrunning because it’s a fun game to play, the categories are expansive and the strategies are well established to learn quickly.
It might be tough getting world records, though as it is pretty established.
Minecraft is one of the most watched and played games on Twitch – it is also highly speedrunnable by simply completing a seed and reaching the credits. What makes this a good game to begin your speedrunning journey is that it’s a fun game to play and the “runs” are very short making it easy to keep trying and trying.
Hard to ignore the 50 million followers the game has, plenty of interest left in this old dog.
There’s a competitive world record scene, too, with new records only days old at time of writing meaning the records are there to be beaten!
Portal 2 has an impressive speedrunning community and has gameplay that viewers can enjoy making it one of the most popular games to play fast. It is glitchy as anything which makes it interesting and fresh time and time again.
What sets it apart is the fact that the gameplay lends itself to playing fast, its almost the point of it. Backed up by an actual speed run mod, Portal 2 is both great for new players and for existing players. The newest World Record was only set 10 days before this article was posted so there’s plenty of opportunities for new players to grasp the game and aim for the top.
Runs typically go on for an hour or so.
Celeste is a game made for speedrunning in a classic Metroidvania style. Its a fantastic game to speed run as its a retro style game with modern features and gameplay which is exciting to watch with plenty of active speed runners despite the lower Twitch followers.
The runs take between 30-40 minutes so there’s great scope to practice quickly.
The entire top 10 fastest times have all been in the last 6 months meaning there’s plenty of opportunity for even the newest of players to practice, master and crack the top 10!
We could have picked Fallout 3, and to be fair we could have also picked Oblivion or Skyrim here but they all have similar stats. If you’re looking for a more RPG style game either would do but Fallout is the most modern. Fallout 4 is a smashing speed run game with runs lasting only 15 mins in some cases but a plethora of extended categories to boot.
A high number of followers but a low number of active players means there’s a huge opportunity for new players to enter, practice and take the leaderboards by the scruff of the neck.
Resident Evil 2 (2019)
The Resident Evil series is huge in the speed running space with almost all of the games going back to the ’96 original being regularly played. You could pick up and play any of these and get good at them in a short space of time.
We’ve singled out Resident Evil 2 remake from 2019 because it’s a modern game which looks great but still holds nostalgic value which is a huge factor. Two huge personalities in the RE world are Bawkbasoup and CarcinogenSDA which we recommend.
Runs take less than an hour with multiple scenarios and category extensions for you to niche down and find the perfect place to start.
Super Metroid is perhaps the most famous of the series to speed run but it is quite hard to make a name for yourself there now as it’s so established. Instead, give Metroid Dread a go as its relatively new with plenty of scope for new players to crash the scene and make a dent on the leaderboards.
A low amount of followers but high amount of active speed runners means that most people who will play this game will play it for speed!
Diablo 3 was lukewarm, Diablo II was really showing its age so when Diablo II was completely remastered it brought back to original back into the gaming scene with aplomb. Who knows how Diablo IV will pan out.
Diablo II is great for new speed runners because the records keep being updated and the routes to complete the game do offer enough RNG (random number generator) for any player to get lucky and get a great time.
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
When it comes to retro, the Legend of Zelda series is right up there with Mario and Sonic. Ocarina of Time is the stand out title with the most followers and active players still finishing the game as fast as possible.
It would appear that this game isn’t too accessible and perhaps that’s true in terms of getting world records, but that’s balanced by the vast numbers of people who still follow and watch this game being played.
If you’re a Nintendo player or into retro in general then this game could be great to help you get into speedrunning with.
Like Minecraft, Roblox has a huge fanbase. Roblox’s fanbase is particularly young and it’s a good game for younger streamers to try and crack into via the way of speedrunning, which is highly competitive by the way.
The unique niche of Roblox is the huge library of different versions of the game, this gives an easy opportunity for new players to pick one and master it very, very quickly. Roblox viewers are usually interested in the series as a whole so this is a huge chance for new streamers to get going quickly.
Sonic Adventure 2
|Platform||DC, GC, Emulator|
We debated putting Sonic 2 and 3+Knuckles and Mania here but went for Adventure 2 (Battle) because the speedrunning community is so big for a game that wasn’t even that big when it was released! There’s a clear demand for this underrated gem and a good place to start for SEGA fans wanting to crack speed running.
- Streets of Rage
- Dark Souls
- Classic Mario
- Classic Sonic
- Final Fantasy
- Devil May Cry
- Grand Theft Auto
What makes a game good to speed run for beginners?
Those who have never tried speedrunning before should look for games which are “easy” to get a decent time. Easy means games with establishes routes, low levels of RNG and without punishing difficulties.
To make things even easier for beginners, look for games that have chapters and not one long run. Retro games are good for this as they tended to have levels and stages – beginners can simply plastic levels at their leisure and get better gradually. An example of a hard game for beginners to speedrun is Dark Souls – you could get some parts right but one mistake in the middle and the run is over.
Secondly, attention should be placed on how popular a game is to begin with, if the goal is to attract new viewers and grow your channel. Speedrunning games with very little interest isn’t going to draw viewers to your channel, no matter how many records are set.
A handy tip we can give you is to see what games are showcased at Games Done Quick, which is a huge speedrunning event that runs a couple of times a year. These games are picked based on how fun the run is and their ability to draw crowds. It can also give some insight on who the big personalities are – you can watch their streams and join their communities to really sink yourself into the world of speed running.
Many have said to not speed run the games you love, because it can ruin that love you have. Speed running can be frustrating, world record holders often play the same game for hours on end with no personal best at the end of it.
Best Games for PC players to start speedrunning
PC players have the advantage of being able to pretty much play any game either because it is a PC game or on Steam or through the use of emulators. Most retro speed runners use emulators, anyway, meaning PC players are not the niche community but the vast majority.
Best short games to start speedrunning
There are plenty of short games to start speedrunning with. In our experience, retro games are usually the shortest to play as they are short but difficult by design in contrast to modern games which tend to be long and easy. Some examples along with their world record times are:
- Sonic 2 (Sega Genesis) – 16 minutes
- GoldenEye 007 (N64) – 19 minutes
- Minecraft random seed (PC) – 9 minutes
- Resident Evil 2 (98) (PSX) – 49 minutes
- The Terminator (Sega Genesis) – 6 minutes
- Strider (NES) – 7 minutes
- Super Meat Boy (PC) – 17 minutes
- Hades (PC) – 5 minutes