Sorry, Minecraft: Subway Surfers has become the most popular speedrun in the world
A viral tweet pointed out that Subway Surfers, an infinite mobile runner, has surpassed Super Mario 64 and Minecraft to become the most-popular speedrun in the world. It holds the number one position on speedrun.com in all major categories: Most Active, Most players, and Most runs.
This is not an easy win, especially with active users. Subway Surfers currently has around 17,950 active users. This is almost 38 times more active users than Super Mario 64, which currently occupies second place. Subway Surfers has over 26,000. This is more than twice the Minecraft Java Edition.
This is surprising for Americans, but it may not be for Brazilians. Many of these runs come from accounts that have a Brazilian flag. The No Coins category has 200 top runners. An astounding 64 per cent of these runners are from Brazil. Twenty-six percent have no nationality, so the number of Brazil-based runners could be even greater.
This development raises a few important questions. It’s an endless runner. How does one even manage a Subway Surfers speedrun? “No Coins” is the most popular category. Here, players attempt to get as far as possible while not collecting coins. The fastest times are the longest, so the category doesn’t fit the traditional definition. However, that hasn’t diminished the popularity of the game. Many other categories feel standards, such as 100 Coins and 38x multiplier.
The big question is where this all began. It’s difficult to determine the exact cause of this trend, but there are some possible causes. TikTok is one. A recent trend sees users upload text-to-speech audio clips from Reddit threads Subway Surfers gameplay. This is combined with the viral trend of recreating gameplay over an acapella cover of the opening music of the game with some big hits from the official Subway Surfers Account, and it’s easy to see why the Subway Surfers hashtag has more than 25 billion views.
A Brazil-specific TikTok trend exists where players have been speedrunning the game to be included on the leaderboards. A few TikToks by user Lexakt_ illustrate the beginnings and evolution of the challenge. These were December with several updates until April. Lexa encouraged her followers to play the game, and they were able to get on the leaderboards by the April update. Although it’s not clear if the video started the trend or not, the video has been viewed millions of times and was posted so many months ago that it seems safe to assume that it did.
Subway Surfers is a very popular game. It was named the most downloaded mobile app of the past decade, with more than 2.7 billion downloads. The game is free and can be played on any mobile device. It’s also very child-friendly, so anyone old enough could submit a run. It’s also extremely short. Most coin runs take less than four minutes. Even the most skilled players can only crack the six-minute mark.
We are still not able to say for sure why or how Subway Surfers have grown in speed running. While the game may have just crashed, I am unsure if there are any Brazil-specific details. Seeing a mobile app take the number 1 spot so decisively is amazing.
Fernanda Prates is a special thanks for the Portuguese translations. Fanbyte’s movie podcast It’s a Movie You Love has more from her.