what happened at Dampé? by lyndsey young


what happened at Dampé?
lyndsey young

July 29th – 30th, 2013
5:25 pm – 5:25 pm


Speedrunning[1] is all about numbers; from time splits, to PBs, to RNG, to the programmable numeric makeup of the games themselves. Numbers are what allow for the games to be manipulated. By discovering how a specific game engine is built, you can trigger glitches and other exploits to modify the existing numeric data to (among other things) represent incorrect/differing values, interrupt cut scenes/animations, or instigate major sequence breaks, allowing for speedier progression through a game; anything that allows for a quicker completion time. 
Over the course of 24 hours, I will be simulating a speedrun using a set of parameters that are in keeping with their nature. The 24-hour marathon itself is an integral part of the speedrunning method. The repetition of the run routes (recorded by players as unintelligible arrays of numbers and letters) lend themselves well to not only the practice, but development of new strategies that would serve to reduce time further.

Following these conventions, I will be playing one single game throughout the entire 24 hour duration, one which has a time trial element where the goal is to eliminate opponents in order to gain time, thus extending the opportunity to perform a 120 combo string which is dependent on maintaining a steady pace of elimination as to not drop the combo (with only 5 seconds allowed between each target). Akin to speedrunning, this requires a certain amount of expertise and dedication to the game in order to perform. Repetition on my part is required to keep my “run” advancing, accumulating round after round, with each one lasting nearly 10 minutes. For each successful 120 string I perform, a numbered mark will be made onto the paper. The sheet of paper is next to the mock living room setup within the gallery space I will inhabit (complete with fresh pot of coffee), which serves as the site of the performance. This recording of the number of “wins” will act as my version of time splits and also create tangible documentation of the event, becoming visibly sloppier as time progresses and thus recording time as well. The adjacent room in the gallery will display a timer counting down the number of hours I have left until the marathon is complete.

Onlookers are encouraged to watch through the windows; however direct interaction between them and myself will be limited. The real interaction and participation will take place within the multiplayer aspect of the game, where I will be able to communicate via headset with my fellow players. This mimics the solitary nature of the speedrunner as well as the immersion in the digital, through the use of multiple projectors, laptops, peripherals, and console. It is through these devices that I will also be recording myself, and the interactions with spectators, in the same way a speedrunner would stream their gameplay live with an interactive chat.

Lyndsey Young

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speedrun