One of my favorite events of the year is taking place right now: Awesome Games Done Quick. We’ve mentioned it numerous times over the years, but if this is the first time you’ve heard of it, here’s the basic gist- There’s a massive community of speed runners on the internet who individually have laser-focus on playing specific games and beating them as quickly as humanly possible. Different categories for speed runs exist, and range from reaching 100% completion with no glitches in its most "pure" sense and then on the complete opposite end of that spectrum is "any%" where you just blast through a game as quick as possible, skipping anything you can.
There’s a big Twitch scene of these speed runners, but what makes Awesome Games Done Quick (AGDQ) so captivating is the speed runs during the marathon are accompanied by commentators on the couch behind the player. These guys explain what the speed runner is doing, the history of the game, when specific exploits were discovered, and the theory behind why certain shortcuts (often called "skips") exist. These can be fantastic history lessons, and it’s really captivating watching someone absolutely obliterate a game that you spend months trying to beat as a kid in (sometimes) 20 minutes or less. Better yet, the whole thing is for charity, and there’s loads of donation incentives to funnel cash into the Prevent Cancer Foundation.
Friday @ 5:10 PM CST – Mega Man 1 – 3 Team Relay Race – The races are some of my favorite things about AGDQ, but it seems like over the years they’re doing more and more to add additional variety into the format. Instead of just racing the first three Mega Man games, they’re doing it as a relay race. I promise this will be ridiculous.
Friday @ 7:35 PM CST – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – This is a 100% run, so it’s estimated to take just under five hours, but it seems like the commentators during Zelda games absolutely just barf trivia about the game. I promise you’ll learn something, and a 100% run means they’ll be finding every gold skulltua which I bet most people reading this haven’t done.
Saturday @ 10:52 AM CST – Diablo – I love watching speed runs of games like this that, when first released, took me months to beat. It’s estimated to take 35 minutes, which is some Neo-in-the-Matrix level stuff compared to me playing Diablo.
Saturday @ 5:56 PM CST – The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past – This is a randomizer race, which seems to have really grown in popularity this year. You can read about the randomizer here, but the basic gist is that the location of all the items are shuffled. It’s entertaining to watch for two reasons: Items can show up in the most absurd places, and it really goes to show how flexible Link to the Past is that they can do this kind of thing, potentially not allowing runners access to very key items until super late in the game. Also, it’s a race!
Saturday @ 8:15 PM CST – Super Mario World – This is a four way race that will be a nail biter. These ultra-classic SNES games have been mastered to an extent that’s hard to really even believe. Based on the history of seeing these games run, it’ll likely be four people playing independently with fractions of a second between them. Also, no capes or Star World access is allowed!
Saturday @ 10:26 PM CST – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Similar to Diablo, this should be pretty entertaining. I’m over 100 hours into Breath of the Wild and I still don’t think I’ve done everything. This run specifically focuses on all main quests, and is estimated to take just under four hours. I don’t even think I figured out how to get on a horse four hours in.
If any of this sounds interesting, be sure to also check out their YouTube channel.