I consider myself fine in sports like football or just shooting hoops for fun, but I hold no illusions about my… let’s say… lack of athletic ability. In sports, there will always be someone better. But even with my love of video games, I cannot escape competition. Speedrunning is the competitive act of trying to beat a video game faster than anyone who came before you. But the many players at Games Done Quick use competition, every six months, to raise money for charity. And you should definitely watch it this June 24th.
What Is Games Done Quick?
For those who have never heard of the event, Games Done Quick (or GDQ for short) happens twice a year. In January/February, under the name Awesome Games Done Quick and in June/July under the name Summer Games Done Quick. It shows off the fastest gamers from all over the world. In front of a live audience and streaming online courtesy of Twitch.tv, speedruns are performed back to back for seven days straight. All the while this goes on, people donate money to charities such as the Prevent Cancer Foundation and Doctors Without Borders.
Reason 1: The Laughs
If you just said to yourself, “I’m out. Why would I watch someone play video games”, hold on. Those who love let’s players already know that, sometimes, it’s not even about the games played themselves. Some of the speedrunners make jokes and share witty banter. It can remind you of hanging out with your friends.
One funny speedrun just six months ago at AGDQ involved a runner that goes by the handle Espumbrajolt speedrunning Burnout Paradise. The announcer who announced all of the donations accidentally said “fifty daughters” when he meant “fifty dollars”, and the donators never let him live it down. Message after message involved people ragging on him for the slip-up. The event has so much personality, from interviews to donations to prizes, the environment remains lighthearted.
Reason 2: The Glitches
But if you don’t like people, what could attract you to the event? The reason I find GDQ so fascinating would include the speedruns that involve glitches. Some glitches turn massive hours-long adventures into minutes. There exist many runs of games where the speedrunner “breaks” the game with glitches, not intended to be in the game. It is humbling to watch someone make it to the end screen a couple minutes after starting. You, however, spent a whole summer of your childhood overcoming the game.
Reason 3 & 4: The Competition & The Extras
If GDQ has the fastest speedrunners running by themselves, where could the competition lie? Some of the runs actually pit runners against each other. Oftentimes, these races involve entire teams of people relaying their controllers to each other after completing one game. Then the next person on their team starts the next game.
This past AGDQ had a four-team relay of the first three Mega Man games. It felt amazing watching the tides turn in one team’s favor over and over. the event earned so much money that it even met an “incentive”. Incentives are when a certain amount of money gets raised, and cooler speedrunning talents are shown off. One year, romscout beat Symphony of the Night blindfolded, purely by sound. The incentive that the Mega Man relay accomplished involved zallard1 beating both Punch-Out and Super Punch-Out at the same time in about twenty minutes.
Reason 5: The Heart
There are many reasons you should watch this charity video game marathon, but the most important reasons include that first word: charity. SGDQ is a great chance to donate to many great causes. Doctors Without Borders helps so many people around the world. They get medical supplies to those in countries that wouldn’t normally have access to good medical care.
SGDQ is at the end of this month, and you can still sign up to donate and win prizes for donating. I am so hyped for this season’s lineup of speedruns. I hope you are too.
Do you like speedrunning? Excited for SGDQ? Let us know in the comments below!
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