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So I couldn't really find anything actually resembling this topic as I'd approach it, surprisingly.
But fair enough, so I'm asking here. Sorry if that's completely wrong or something, I'm 100% new.

I'd love to get into speedrunning, but don't really know where to start. I do know enough about it; the rules, the terms, the people. But just picking that first game to get going with, it's tough.

What was your first game? How did it go?
Any advice on making a choice?
Thread title:  
F*ckin' sanity effects...
This is always my advice to people who start: play something that you really like/love.  And if you want to get really good at it, play something that you're happy/willing to play for hours on end and months at a time.

I might not be the best person to ask: I've only ever done one run (Eternal Darkness, segmented) seriously (like practiced and practiced and practiced and was willing to get the equipment to record and submit).  Three plus years later (with no other runs in between), I'm improving that same run, before possibly doing a segway into a single-segment run after I've completed the segmented version.  It's fun! (If occasionally stressful/aggravating.)  I did have to take like a six-week break halfway through the run three years ago because I was burning out.  There's barely any other activity out there on my game, so it's basically competing against myself.  That's pretty much why I picked it actually...there wasn't a good run of the game out there and I wanted to see it (the run on SDA before mine was rather primitive...I beat it soundly).  The routing is probably my favorite part, though I really enjoy watching it after I get a good segment.

Anyway, play something you really like.  Without (almost) any other caveats: no matter how popular/unpopular, no matter if you don't think you'll be able to "compete" on a high level at first, etc.
Heavy Metal Powered
Definitely begin by picking a game that you really like to play, that you can consider playing A LOT, and that you want to make a deep dive into regarding testing and researching. Do not be discouraged if the game you pick lacks runners / interested. Do it because you want to, not to gain fame.

My first game was No One Lives Forever (PC version) (segmented, easy, new game), and the run is published and can be found in the game list. I need to begin with: Do not start speedrunning with this game, the run does need an update, but I do not recommend this game as a starter game, even though I would give you support if you did pick this. This game has very little in terms of community, specially for speedrun strategies. Some information was posted here at SDA but most of the stuff we had to discover ourselves. The run comments contain most of the stuff we found.
The reason for the warning is that the published run took around 5 years to make, on and off due to motivational issues. The game is not kind, a lot of the tricks can take hundreds of tries, and missing the trick usually means to reset.
Why did I say "we" had to discover the tricks ourselves? Well, at one point I got so demotivated I almost gave up, and then SDA member ymh came around to offer his help, in order to make the run happen we teamed up and co-ran the game.

Finally, I wish you good luck on your running.
Edit history:
Antilles58: 2015-01-06 11:26:29 am
I only started recently myself (about 9 months or so ago) and echo some of the advice already offered.  Pick a game that you're really interested in - one that you find to be a lot of fun.

But I'd like to offer a slightly different take than what's already there - I'd say try to find a game that has some really great online tutorials already.  Mario games and Donkey games come to mind (I run the three Donkey games myself, so if you have interest in any of those, let me know and I'd be happy to offer any help I can).  I'd recommend going to SRL and pinning the games that you're interested so you can find other runners who are doing them.  Asking people how they got involved in a particular game and where you can learn to play it is a great way to start.  Looking on YouTube for old GDQ videos of a game you like can also help give you hints, as runners/commentators will often explain tricks or where you can go to learn.

Lurking in the chat on SRL is good, too, as you can learn how to start doing races, if a game you like is one that comes up.  SRL is also doing something in a few weeks called "get yourself speedrunning" - basically some introductory races with Mario 3, Sonic 2, and Zelda:LttP, in which they're trying to help new people get up to speed.  If you like any of those games, could be a chance to meet some other new folks.  I'd recommend checking some of that out.

As for me, I started with Super Metroid because it was the first game I ever saw speedruns of, and it's just insanely fun to play fast.  I quickly moved on to DKC 2, though, because I loved those games and there were very few people who did the 102% category, but still some good walkthroughs.  I've always been something of a completionist, and I thought it would be fun to do that.  And indeed it has - the community has been pretty great and supportive and I've been able to put in a lot of work to improving my time pretty quickly.

Whatever you choose, I'd recommend taking it step by step.  In Donkey, for example, I've learned the games world-by-world - basically not moving on to the next world until I felt comfortable enough doing it without dying TOO frequently.  This way, whenever I put together my first full run, I was able to do it in a reasonable amount of time.  Of course, other games are different, but you should be able to segment things reasonably well in any game.  After getting a run or two in, you'll learn the parts you need to work on and be able to keep improving.

Best of luck!  Speedrunning's been a lot of fun and really breathed a lot of life into games for me recently.  Feel free to pop in to my channel any time or shoot me a PM here if there's anything else I can do to help!  Don't be ashamed to ask questions!  People remember what its like to be new and are usually happy to help others along.
Also, if you're planning to stream, don't get discouraged if you don't have a lot of viewers right away.  It takes time to build up some regulars.  People don't necessarily want to watch those who are just the best, they want to watch people who are having fun and interacting with chat.  If you just keep it relaxed and enjoy yourself, the rest will take care of itself.  (Of course, if you're not planning to stream, ignore this - but if you are wanting to do that and are new to it, I could also offer advice for that).
I am quite new as well.

I am referring to this good topic to get started.
Pick a game you like and play it until you get sick of it.

My first game was Pokemon Crystal. After a month of trying to speedrun it I switched to Castlevania. 13 minutes to beat cv is a huge difference over the 3:30 - 4hrs it took to beat crystal. I could never do an rpg again :p

Best tip is patience and practice (LOTS of it)
As others mentioned, pick a game you enjoy because you will be playing plenty of it.

My first game is Jurassic Park on Sega Genesis. It was my favorite childhood game, AND it's easy. There are many games I love from the Genesis, such as Batman & Robin, X-Men 2 Clone Wars, but these are difficult games so I figured I should start with something easy.

For me personally, I find it more effective if I look at it as a casual speed run where my goal is simply to finish the game as fast as I can (rather than as fast as what the others are doing). Don't compare your time to world records, those time are difficult to come close to even for the veteran runners. The goal here is to see improvement in your game play time, rather than judging the time on it's on by comparing to what others are doing.

So what I did was to first play through the game several times without worrying about routing or glitch. Here I'm just trying to be good at the game, and get a consistent time. Once I am able to minimize mistakes and get a base line, then I start looking the routes people are using, try out the glitches and find those easy ones that can be done consistently, and incorporate them into my gameplay. Don't punish yourself by trying to learn every single strategies or glitches you come across at once. The approach here is to gradually improve your time.

This may not be the best way to start for everyone, but at least it has worked for me, and my experience has been fun, which I think is the most important thing. Don't make your learning process an agonizing one.
Edit history:
SCXCR: 2015-01-12 03:11:57 pm
No, the OTHER Marvel!
My first game I seriously tried to speedrun was 720° on the NES.  I went with this for three reasons:

1. As mentioned by others before, it's a game I like.
2. Also mentioned before, it's a game I was willing to practice and research ad nauseam.

This last one is merely my take on it and may not apply in your or anyone else's cases:

3. It's a relatively short and simple game to start out with.  Trying to dive into a game that's hours long right away can be potentially overwhelming at first.  Starting small let me ease into the micro-managing aspects of running and apply them later to longer and/or more involved titles.

On a similar note, you can also try not necessarily running an entire game at first.  You could approach it by running an individual level or section of a game and then branch out from there.

Whatever you decide to get off the ground with, godspeed!
Edit history:
chirs3: 2015-01-22 07:33:19 pm
chirs3: 2015-01-22 07:32:45 pm
Quote from wiredguy:
What was your first game? How did it go?
Any advice on making a choice?

I'm new too, and my case may be a bit too specific, but here's the story behind it anyway. Tongue My first game is Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, and I picked it for a few reasons.

1. I played the bajeezus out of the demo when it first came out on X-Box (demo disc nostalgia trip!). Just through playing it over and over again I got better and faster and before I knew it, without even trying too hard, I was clearing the Lighthouse in about five minutes. Then I thought "Huh, I wonder if I did try, how fast could I do this?" Which then turned into "I wonder how fast I could 100% it?" This was before I knew speedrunning was even a thing. This probably doesn't apply to you Tongue , but I would say that it's probably good advice to go beyond picking a game you just like - pick a game you already know, inside and out, or the closest thing to it. Even if you've never speedrun it before. I can name tons of games that I love but know nothing about - Super Metroid is one of them. One of my favorite games of all time, I play it casually at least once every year, but I learned more about the game's mechanics watching one AGDQ run than I did in a decade of playing it. If you want your first speedrun to be easier, don't just pick a game you like - pick a game you really know.

2. You could pick a game that others have already done - I can't comment on whether or not that's a good idea, because I didn't do that. Tongue It might be a great idea! But from my perspective, I picked Splinter Cell: Chaos theory because Splinter Cell seems to be fairly underrepresented in speedrunning. I found no community for it, and there are only a few games represented on SDA. There's currently an Any% run of Chaos Theory on SDA, which is why I'm choosing to do 100% instead. I'm finding it's much easier to stay motivated if I know that I'm attempting something that hasn't been done before, and that I'm producing something (currently Youtube videos) that people most likely haven't seen before. I imagine if I were to try a game that I love but that's super popular, like Sonic 2, I would get discouraged at seeing how amazing dozens of runners already are at the game. By picking something relatively unpopular, I don't have to deal with the pressure of living up to someone else's run.
Quote from wiredguy:
What was your first game? How did it go?
Any advice on making a choice?

My first game was Mike Tyson's Punch Out. It went just ok but it is a game I've loved for much of my life and that made it easy to play each match over and over again trying to get the strats right.

However, the first game I ran successfully was Mega Man 2, which I started running after casually playing through it and thinking "hey, I didn't game over til the first Wily stage, I bet I can speed run this!" If you're not familiar with the game, that's probably one of the most arrogant statements I've ever made, but fortunately I didn't realize what I was getting into until I had already learned quite a bit about running the game.

When you choose a game to run, it's got to be one you love and one you want to play obsessively. I'd recommend a short game to start, but that's not mandatory. You know your level of skill, so pick something that is in line with that and dive in head first. The great thing about running any game is that you can always change what you're running whenever you'd like, so don't feel beholden to one game just because you think that's the one you have to run. If you love it, keep at it. If not, surely something else out there will capture your interest.

Good luck!
i just started speedrunning myself, its been about 2 months and i found if you play something you really like and set not such huge goals right off the bat you'll definitely enjoy it more.  i started with super mario bros and its really fun for me, by setting small goals and working toward them then finally accomplishing feels rewarding and makes you hungry for more.  just play something you'll enjoy(for the first week) regardless if there is huge interest in the game, if youre not having some fun then whats the point?
I know a lot of the responses here seem like common sense but they honestly make load of difference to someone like me who really has no idea where to start. Thank you for being so welcoming.