The paper is devoted to the issue of virtual naturalism in computer games, in particular, to such a gaming phenomenon as speedrunning. The author of the study analyzes the essence of speedrunning as a special type of cybersport, as well as a form of counterplay that arose in the minds of gamers around the 1990s. Particular attention is paid to the concept of virtual naturalism, which manifests itself in speed running and can be understood as a form of empirical and materialistic study by gamers of various games and their affordances. The purpose of the work is to establish the features of speedrunning as a research and critical practice, similar to some types of academic analysis, but with different tasks. The central place is occupied by the problem of gamers’ experience during the actualization of speedrunning activity, in which speedrunners study the nature of computer game and call into question game design principles and manipulations, leading to some resistance to artificial prohibitions. This form of confrontation, revealed in different types of speedruns, shows certain nuances of the existence of virtual worlds, which makes it possible to better understand the functioning of computer games as modern cultural artifacts. In result, a conclusion is made about the significance of such borderline phenomena as speedrunning and the need for further study of the counterplay practics.
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