Darbian, a video game speedrunner from Virginia, recently set a new world record for The Super Mario Bros., by shaving off .35 seconds from the previous title. Watch the video; it’s an impressive bit of skill, requiring near instant reaction time and over 20,000 practice attempts. One neat visual I hadn’t seen before was a real time display of Darbian’s heart rate. I bet we see more of that from speedrunners in the future.
Reading through the comments on this particular run, I like the way Matthew Panzario, Editor-in-Chief of TechCrunch compared this display to traditional sports:
eSports are sports, and speed running is the 50 meter (or golf, depending on the lens). Look at the stream. Informed, loyal spectators, getting amped as hell as he gets closer. The culmination of 26,000 runs. It’s no less an achievement than many in sports. It’s just done in a small bedroom with boat-bordered wallpaper. With 80,000 watching.
I agree. Esports and sports are both competitive forms of entertainment, and esports are becoming more normalized by the year. The only real questions left in my mind are related to style. Do we lowercase the ‘s’ in esports? Is speedrunning one word? For now, I’m saying yes for both.