chapter  3
15 Pages

Curiositas and Critical Glitches

Speedrunning The Legend of Zelda
WithEthan Smilie

Speedrunners are among the most skilled and experienced players; their live broadcasts attract 1000s of viewers and their videos even greater numbers of views. Nonetheless, the art of speedrunners—their skill and strategy—can pose an antithesis to the art of the Zelda games. Their techniques, analogous to those literary critics typically employ on texts and akin the vice of curiositas as defined by medieval thinkers, largely side-step the immersive aspects of the games and, therefore, often disrupt the narratives of the games, diminishing the wonder they can produce. At their worst, speedrunners murder to dissect. Paradoxically, though, the artistry and skill of speedrunners invoke their own wonder in audiences and can, therefore, bring some part of Tolkienesque Faërie into the real world.