Thoughts on Speedrunning HEARTBEAT

Ever since I first caught GDQ quite a few years ago the idea of speedrunning a game is something I have been very interested in. Whether it was watching the different events or watching people stream on Twitch, it was something I wanted to be involved in. The difficulty came in trying to find the right game for me.

I first caught Games Done Quick in 2014 when I had moved down to Florida and watching the event became a form of escapism. It was an interesting way to pass the time and there were people online that were also interested in it. It quickly became one of my favorite pastimes.

Until recently I hadn’t really gotten into actually running a game. The huge delay realistically came down to three things:

Finding the Game

I’ve read quite a few posts online that give people advice on finding a game. One that most resonated with me was finding a game that you feel wouldn’t be ruined for you if you played it over and over again. The other bit of advice was to first take on games that were short and sweet rather than on the longer side.

Two of my favorite games, Earthbound and Final Fantasy IX, were both games that I had considered after a while, but ultimately never really followed through with. In the case of Final Fantasy IX the run is really lengthy (probably over 10 hours for me starting out) and while you can practice while playing segmented, actually completing a run means doing it in one sitting. While Earthbound is a shorter game in terms of the run, it seemed really involved and would take a lot of practice to be able to get a run down to a time that would both be respectable and realistic in terms of being able to play it on a regular basis.

Tetris Attack is another game that I have considered (and am still practicing), but it’s hugely tied to skill and I don’t believe I am quite at the skill level to be able to get a good enough run to want to submit it to the leaderboards. It’s not something I am completely away from doing, but it won’t be any time soon.

Self-Esteem

While I admit there are times where I can be incredibly self confident, overall I have some major self esteem issues that I have a difficult time dealing with. When going into running a game, I never really feel quite confident and as a result, I never end up streaming any practice or anything like that. Realistically, if I am going to get involved in speedrunning, I would need to be streaming the runs both so when I get a good one I already have it recorded on the platform and to also be able to get feedback from others.

While I understand that it’s pretty silly, I hate showing people my failures. I understand that failure is how people improve themselves, but every minor mistake has a tendency to weigh on me.

Optimization

Most games that I look into feel highly optimized and as a result I feel like I both won’t be able to contribute to the game at all and will not be able to reach the highest level of play. While even a highly optimized game can have a lot of competition, thinking about the time investment needed for a highly established demotivates me in a sense. It’s a silly way to look at things since it’s supposed to be an enjoyable activity, but I really wanted to find a game where I could actually make an impact.

Why HEARTBEAT?

In a previous post I had discussed what it was that drew me into the game and why I think it is a great game despite the preconceived notion that many have with RPG Maker created games. Once I had cleared the game in around eighteen hours I went to speedrun.com to see how fast others had cleared the game. I wasn’t too surprised that the game wasn’t listed on the site, but that made me think about figuring it out on my own. I had always wanted to try to route a game myself and this was a solid opportunity.

I felt and still feel like it is a game that I cannot ruin by playing it repeatedly. After I had beaten the main story, I started to look into the end game stuff, but ended up starting the game over as I felt the story was a lot of fun. The game has a great soundtrack which contributes to me never tiring of the game.

As a result of these thoughts and looking into getting a game added onto the website, I immediately started to route the game. I’ve been playing the game a lot over the past few weeks to better learn the story, faster ways of doing things, and different strategies for defeating bosses. One of my focuses has been on making my route a lot safer by taking less risks while also not making the run much longer than it needs to be.

Tonight I will be streaming an attempt at a full play through of the game with an expected time of around 4-5 hours overall. It could actually be shorter than that as I am not sure how much time I can save by not doing safety saves very often or needing to remember what I am doing as I have notes for the run now. Once I get my full run done and submitted to speedrun.com, I fully intend to write out in-depth notes about the run to help others understand the route I take and the decisions I make.

The end goal is to be able to build a community around speedrunning the game as it’s a game that has quickly become one of my favorites. It has a heartwarming story that I feel more people need to experience and if speedrunning can be a way that I can get more people involved, then it is something that I want to do.

Avi is the best character. I’ll fight you if you disagree.

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