Twice a year the speed running community gets together for a week long marathon to raise money for charity. This time it is the Prevent Cancer Foundation. The winter version is Awesome Games Done Quick (hereafter to be referred to as simply AGDQ) and it starts this Sunday, the 6th. It goes live on Twitch at 11:30am Eastern.
What is speed running? I’m glad you asked. Despite images the name might conjure, you won’t find it in the Olympics and Usain Bolt has no medals in it. Speed Runners play video games. They play them as fast as they can, competing to claim records and titles. It may sound silly to some and I’ll be honest, the first time my brother told me about it I had no strong desire to watch, but when I did, I was hooked and have watched both the Summer and Winter marathons for the past several years.
There is just something insanely fun in watch people play a game that kicked my ass when I played it as a kid (I’m looking at you Rygar) and seeing them rush through it in a matter of minutes. These people don’t simply play the game over and over trying to hone their reflexes (although they do that to), they study the game to plot the optimal path, the timing of certain actions, they analyze the code to determine how many sprites can be on the screen at one time to minimize lag, how close can you get to a critter without touching it’s hit box. You don’t often see records broken during the event (although I have seen it a couple of times) because either the runner or a partner will be explaining what they are doing and why throughout the entire run. The event is almost never boring. Many of the runners participating are veteran live streamers and know how to keep an audience entertained. When you donate, not only will you be entered into drawings for prizes, but you can direct your donation to any of the incentive drives happening throughout the marathon. Incentives can range from just what to name a character or save file, to bonus level runs, additional games, increased difficulty or getting the runner to play the game one handed or blindfolded! Yes, blindfolded and you’r jaw will drop when you watch them actually succeed without being able to see.
My favourite events are the races, two to four speed runners playing at the same time to see who is fastest and the ‘any %’ runs. The speed records have many categories for each game. 100% means you have to go through every stage of the game as fast as possible, any % means you just have to get from the start to finish as fast as possible and in those runs you will see the player do things you had no idea the game was capable of. Using glitches to skip levels, walk outside of the map, or even take advantage of physics errors to launch you from one side of the world to the other like you’ve been shot out of a canon.
I usually drop in and out when I have time to watch, but the schedule can be found here if there is a specific game you want to see. How long did it take you to finish Super Mario Bros? Did you ever complete Super Ghouls and Ghosts? Is there an actual end in Tetris? Wanna see Semblance played one handed? Everything starts Sunday January 6th at 11:30am Eastern
Ps. kill the animals