One of the most challenging aspects of video-games culture for a newcomer, especially for a busy parent, is trying to learn and understand the many, many acronyms and specialised terms. GameHub HQ entries are jargon-free, so you can get the information you need as easily and painlessly as possible, but there are still some words worth knowing. Every Monday, we break down one Word Worth Knowing from the world of gaming.

What is speed-running what do you need to know and why do you need to care?

What It Is: Speed Running = Playing a game through from start to finish far faster than it was originally intended to be played.  Speed-running is a public entertainment performance, broadcast online by talented individuals as well as at large-scale sponsored entertainment events.

What It Means: Speed-running is when a player utilises known bugs, glitches, shortcuts, console commands and tricks in order to play a game through at high speed. Games which would take an ordinary player many hours to complete can be “completed” by talented speed-runners in mere minutes. The Games Done Quick events are the most famous example of an international speed-running event and, as with most gaming events, has a strong element of community and charitable giving, with money raised for cancer charities, autism charities, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières and for emergency relief during the aftermath of the 2011 Japan Earthquake.

Why You Care: Speed-running requires an expert level knowledge of the target game, delving deeply into the code, theory and structures of how the game is put together, in order to rip it apart and find new paths. This meticulous research and play-testing takes hundreds of hours, and can appear obsessive. Speed-running is a public entertainment form – a sort of “magic tricks with video-games” – and often with a competitive or faux-competitive angle. When speed-runners are online, they are performing under immense pressure. If the young people in your life want to take up speed-running, they will likely need a level of support from you to ensure they take regular screen breaks and are able to channel their stress effectively when on camera. Good speed-runners become celebrities within their own communities, who recognise the hard work and talent required to execute the most impressive speed-runs.

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