Have you ever watched or participated in a speedrun for a video game before? Whether you have or not, you might want to consider giving it a try: the developer of Stardew Valley has created a new speedrun competition where the prize for the winning team totals $40,000.
Now, if you've played Stardew Valley before, I'm sure your first thought is along the lines of what mine was: How the heck do you speedrun Stardew Valley? It's a game that is literally designed to be relaxing and leisurely, with absolutely nothing that compels you to have to complete any aspect of the game with any sense of quickness or urgency.
Speed running is a hobby that has grown in popularity over the years. For most, it's a form of friendly competition, usually without any stakes or prizes involved - just honor and the pride of being #1. It usually features older games, like games from the NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, and Nintendo 64 days, but people are always finding new games to speed run. But now, five years after its initial release, Stardew Valley has entered the realm of speedruns.
Eric "ConcernedApe" Barone announced the competition on Twitter over the weekend. He teamed up with a prolific Stardew Valley YouTuber named Zach "UnsurpassableZ" Hartman and came up with over 100 special challengse for players to complete in order to earn points and move up on a leaderboard. Rather than a race to beat the game, players are limited to 3 hours in order to try and conquer as many of the challenges as they can and rack up the most points. It feels sort of like a scavenger hunt, and honestly, I am here for it!
Most speedruns are a solo attempt, but this competition will make use of Stardew Valley's popular multiplayer feature by utilizing teams of 4 players each. Some examples of the challenges players might face are:
- Win the ice fishing contest (10 points)
- Complete a monster eradication goal (20 points)
- Reach level 120 in the mines (10 points)
- Give a "loved" gift to your assigned villager at the Feast of the Winter Star (25 points)
Players will also get an additional point for every item that they ship during the competition, and the team with the most gold at the end will get another 20 bonus points.
Perhaps my favorite part of this, however, is the fact that Hartmann will be regularly revealing surprise challenges throughout the three hours, forcing the players to process and react right on the spot in order to net some pretty substantial bonus points. Hartmann talks more about these challenges and his hopes for the competition in a YouTube video.
This competition seems like it will be fun to watch for both Stardew Valley veterans and beginners alike. The main event takes place on Labor Day weekend - September 4th at 12:00pm ET. Barone and Hartmann will be live streaming and commenting on the action on both Twitch and YouTube.
What are your thoughts on speedruns - do you enjoy watching them? Do you think you'll tune in and check out some of the Stardew Valley competition? Let me know!