I respect the dedication that goes into speedrunning and I am in awe at the dexterity required to pull these feats off. I also respect the amount of research and discovery that these communities do to find the little glitches and nuances that shave hundredths of seconds of runs. I love the combination of programming intuition and hardware limitations that make these discoveries possible. Since a lot of these amazing speed runs are older games, nostalgia plays a huge role in my enjoyment, as well.
But for my money, give me a video that delves deep into the mechanics of speed runs over the actual speed run. I came across this one from kottke.org recently that is in my wheelhouse.
The video is a bit long (5 times longer than the actual speed run itself) but is fascinating. It clearly spells out how Kosmic accomplished what he did, but it doesn’t discount the skill needed nor the luck he had during his run. I remember finding the first warp zone in 1-2 thinking I was the ultimate gaming wizard. I can’t even imagine pulling off some of the stunts needed to complete this type of run. (Crazy thing is? Just a couple months later Kosmic’s record was broken by somewes)
Enjoy the whole thing.