For the uninitiated, Games Done Quick is a biannual speedrunning marathon held over the course of a week to raise money for charity. It’s a wildly fun and entertaining event that provides some of my own personal favorite entertainment of the year. Awesome Games Done Quick, which begins tomorrow around noon EST, takes place every January while Summer Games Done Quick takes place sometime around the end of June/beginning of July every year.
If you don’t know what speedrunning is, it’s a very literal play style for video games. People try to beat their favorite games as fast as humanly possible. This can include using glitches or exploits to literally break the game and can cover anywhere from just simply beating the game to completing the game to 100% completion. Each game has its own categories and rules as determined by the communities. These speedruns require an incredible amount of knowledge, practice and skill to master and the added element of racing the world’s fastest times makes them insanely fun to watch.
The Games Done Quick marathons have grown into an enormous event. The initial marathon, Classic Games Done Quick, raised $10,531.64 in January 2010. This past July, Summer Games Done Quick raised $1,301,654.48. After breaking the one million dollar barrier in January 2014, each GDQ marathon has surpassed that mark since January 2015. Games Done Quick raises money for the Prevent Cancer Foundation at AGDQ and Doctors Without Borders at SGDQ.
Seriously, the event is an absolute blast and I would encourage everyone to give it a look over the course of the next week. Below, I’ve listed some runs that are of personal interest to me. Take a look at the schedule and see if some of your favorite games are on there because it’s pretty cool to see someone obliterate games in ways you could have never imagined. Just make note that the times will change as the week progresses as things like donation incentives or delays occur.
Game: Ape Escape 2 (any%)
Game: Shovel Knight (any%)
Runner(s): Smaugy, MunchaKoopas
Game: Salt and Sanctuary (all bosses)
Game: Super Monkey Ball 2 (Story Mode All Levels)
Game: Pokemon Emerald (any% Glitchless)
Game: Tetris with Cardcaptor Sakura: Eternal Heart (Story Mode – Normal)
Runner(s): KevinDDR, EnchantressOfNumbers
Game: Super Smash Bros. Melee (All Events)
Game: Fallout: New Vegas (any%)
Game: Super Mario Bros. (Warpless)
Runner(s): darbian, Kosmicd12, andrewg
Game: Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (any% 8-4)
Runner(s): darbian, Kosmicd12, andrewg
Game: Super Mario Sunshine (any%)
Runner(s): Bounceyboy, Vallu, PangaeaPanga, AverageTrey
Game: JumpJet Rex (Adventure – Normal)
Game: Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition (OREO or 0XP)
Runner(s): Vulajin, sigma
Game: Sonic Adventure 2: Battle (Dark Story or Hero Story)
Game: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Runner(s): Andy, BluntBunny, JoeDamillio, Xelna
Game: Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (100%)
Game: Crash Team Racing (any% warpless)
Game: Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus (any%)
Game: Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy (any%)
Game: Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando (NG+ No IMG)
Runner(s): Xem, Skitz
Game: Super Mario 3D Land (any%)
Game: SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom (any%)
Game: Super Mario Galaxy 2 (any%)
Game: Dark Souls 3 (any%)
Game: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD (any%)
Game: Super Metroid (100%)
Runner(s): zoast, Ivan, Behemoth87, WildAnaconda69
As you can see, there’s a pretty wide variety of games and these are only the ones I know ahead of time. Every time a GDQ event rolls around, I stumble on a few runs that I didn’t even know I would enjoy as much I did. You don’t even have to be watching that intently, you can just pop in and out over the course of a week and see what’s going on. You’re practically guaranteed to stumble into at least one surprise. I can’t overstate how great this event is.
If you want a taste of what it’s like, here’s a link to Bonesaw577’s run of Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy from SGDQ last summer. Bonesaw is one of my favorite speedrunners, especially at the GDQ events, and his run last summer was the pinnacle of what these marathons are about. Real talk, I woke up at 2 am before work that morning to watch the run because they didn’t put it in a primetime slot for some mystifying reason. On the flip side, he’s been temporarily banned from participating in GDQ events as a result of that run because the people in charge are kind of stupid and have sold the event out to the point that it’s over commercialized for advertisements. I won’t get into the drama of the event here but if you’re interested you can take a peak at the reaction to the run and its fallout here.
One other run I want to plug here is PJDiCesare and MechaRichter’s co-op run of Battleblock Theater from AGDQ 2015 that included a couple of the guys who worked on the game, including the game’s hysterical narrator. It was just an incredibly fun run that was laugh out loud funny the whole way through. These two runs are hands down my favorite from any GDQ event and are absolutely worth watching when you have the time.
Over the course of the next week, be sure to check out the Speedrun subreddit where you’ll be able to find highlights, super awkward moments, inevitable drama, links to every single run and ongoing event discussions. Hopefully AGDQ livens it up a little bit this year because the energy has certainly dipped from where it was a couple years ago as the staff has tightened its grip on the fun. If you’re sketchy about donating through the marathon or want to donate to a different cause that’s perfectly fine too. Sit back, relax, enjoy the marathon and toss a few bucks to charity. It’s a worthwhile time to be involved.