Next Marathon: Awesome Games Done Quick 2017 (January 8th-15th)
What is Games Done Quick?
Games Done Quick (GDQ) is an annual speedrunning marathon done by the Speed Demos Archive
, a site dedicated to the hobby. It's basically a week-long, nonstop marathon of speedrunners playing video games as fast as possible to raise money for charity. GDQ has become increasingly popular over the years, raising over 2.5 million dollars for charities in 2016!
In fact, the marathon is so big that there are actually two marathons: Awesome Games Done Quick raises money for the Prevent Cancer Foundation
in the winter, and Summer Games Done Quick (SGDQ) raising money for Médecins Sans Frontières
aka Doctors Without Borders in, well, the summer. AGDQ was the original marathon, and thus tends to be the bigger event of the two, but SGDQ has been catching up on its older sibling, managing to raise more than the winter marathon in 2016.How do I watch?
Everything is shown via their Twitch Channel
, and there are typical several alternate language restreams available for those interested. Also, there's a sister marathon, Pinball Done Quick, that runs concurrently with GDQ over here
Older marathons are generally saved on the Twitch channel, but there's an official GDQ YouTube Channel
which uploads marathons starting with AGDQ 2014, so don't worry about missing a run. There's also SDA's Channel
, which has some older marathons archived. If all else fails, a lot of the really old runs are collected on various YouTube channels. Just do a search!
If you are super impatient, there is the speedrun subreddit
that is very fast at collecting Twitch VoDs and organizing them in an easy-to-read chart. Note that the official YouTube channel is getting increasingly fast at uploading runs, with runs being uploaded DURING the marathon, so this shouldn't be as necessary. The only caveat to YouTube is that the staff are busy with, you know, running the marathon, so initial uploads may be of iffy quality. If that is the case, these uploads will usually be replaced with better ones usually the week or so after the marathon ends.How can I contribute?
When marathons are live, you can donate just by hitting the big DONATE button on the site. You can leave comments with your donation to be read during the stream, but they've been really
cutting back on this so the runners can actually focus and provide commentary. You're only going to get read on the stream if you have a really
funny comment, are a family member/close friend of the runner, or have a particularly touching story relating to cancer. Oh, and if all else fails you can also donate shitton of money. They'll definitely read the comment of someone who drops a few hundred. But ultimately. the marathon has just gotten too popular for everyone's comments to be read, so don't hold your breath.
But there are other perks for donating! Certain blocks will have giveaways for people who donate within that period. They are usually related to the game block (Mario stuff during a string of Mario speed runs, etc.) and can range from homemade perlers to rare copies of the games being played. There's also a grand giveaway for EVERYONE who donated, which usually involved some hardware being given away with some games. So plenty incentive to donate right there.
Another fun thing for donators are the incentives and bid wars. Incentives are a goal that you can put your money towards in order to make a particular run more interesting. This can be playing as a particular character, higher difficulties, blindfolded runs, and so forth. Bid wars let everyone put their money towards making some decision for the runner. Bid wars commonly occur over things like what to name characters in RPGs. Check out the schedule
to see incentives and bid wars and just mention what you'd like your money to go towards when you donate.
You can subscribe to GDQ's Twitch channel, and proceeds from that will go to charity. I assume the perk of this is that you get to access chat during sub-only mode (but this happens rarely, if ever) and you can use annoying chat emotes. There's also the Yetee
which releases unique GDQ shirts that are only available during the marathons. All profit made on the shirts will go towards the marathon total, so it's another way to donate. Finally, the Humble Bundle Store
usually has some kind of arrangement with GDQ during the marathon. Sometimes it's a bundle, and sometimes it's a sale on their storefront. Either way: a cut of the proceeds go towards the charity total. Specific donation options will be provided once the run is under way.Can I attend the live runs? Could I one day run a game during an GDQ?
You can attend a marathon on-location in basically three ways: a spectator, a runner, or a volunteer. If you just want to show up and watch some runs, then this will cover the details
. Keep in mind that this isn't like a convention: it runs 24/7 for a week solid, so you need to keep an eye on the schedule since it's common for runs to get pushed back or moved forward, and you may have to stay up at weird hours if your favorite game is being run at 3am. Also, just to be clear, the marathon has gotten huge at this point, and the vast majority of spectators watch the runs via a projector. It's still probably a good time, but if you think it's just the runner and the people directly behind the couch...well...I got news for you.
Volunteers have to fill out a form that will go up on the SDA Forums
a few months prior to the event. In order to volunteer, you must still follow the same process as an attendee, including any registration and travel costs. You will be reimbursed your registration fee after the marathon, which is just a way to discourage people from flaking out since a 24/7 marathon can't afford absentees. Volunteer jobs include running the donation counter, filtering comments for the host to read, actually hosting, and general tech help.
Runners have to submit a video of their run several months in advance (and the specific run you wish to do at the marathon), and the selection process is TIGHT. For SGDQ 2015, they rejected over 1500 hours
of gameplay. I think having an established Twitch or YouTube channel helps, as it shows that you can behave in public and tends to be less risky than picking some anonymous person who could turn out to be a real jerk. No guarantees, however, as even Speedrun Superstars get submissions rejected. I'll try to post when they've opened submissions for runners/volunteers, but it's normally in the early fall/spring depending on the marathon. Also important: runners are volunteers.
Do not submit if you dream of getting paid to play a video game. You are going to travel what is likely a long distance just to play a game for a short duration and then you're done. This is for charity, after all. HOWEVER, your twitch channel will get advertised during your run, so if you have dreams of being a ~*Twitch Superstar*~ then it is good exposure.Which runs should I watch from SGDQ 2016?
This list is by no means comprehensive. Some of it I've watched personally and can recommend, whereas others are from general opinions I've heard about the marathon.Super Mario Sunshine
- A solid opener to the marathonThe Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
- Great debut run for this game.Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
- Amazing relay race by excellent runners.Catherine
- Two players, but only one runner. A must-watch.
Awful Block (Start
) - Good job!Link's Awakening DX
- A nice, glitchy run of the Game Boy classic.Bioshock
- In a game about objectivism, one runner dares to take a subjective look at endings.Dishonored
- A solid run.Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
- The glitch is strong with this one.Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
- It's a blindfolded run. Even the shopkeep is an obstacle.Freedom Planet
- A cool Milla run with dev commentary!Dustforce DX
- Tense and laid back at the same time. YOTTAAAAAAAAAAASuper Meat Boy
- Another solid run of a GDQ staple.Momodora
- The most heartwarming run of the marathon. If you can only watch one run, make it this.Braid
- A lot of cool tricks here. World record!Donkey Kong 64
- Glitch TownSonic the Hedgehog (2006) - Not in the awful block, but still awful.
Donkey Kong Country 3
- Great race.Quack Shot
- I didn't see this, but people liked it.Final
and Ultimate Doom
- DOOOOOOOOOOOMJak and Daxter
- Just watch it.Tetris: The Grand Master
- Where we're going, we don't need TAS.The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
- The run with the highest turnout, so might be of note.Two Worlds
- It takes a village.Mark of the Ninja
- Solid run with good commentaryCrypt of the Necrodancer
- Sorry DannyTrine 3: Artifacts of Power
- A nice co-op run of a fun puzzle platformer.Super Mario Bros. 3
- A real fun run with goofy commentary.Super Mario World
- An excellent race with excellent play.Super Mario Maker
- A Kaizo relay race.Pepsiman
- Pepsi for TV-gameThe Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- Mostly for the glitch exhibition after the main run.Pikmin
- Watch how this game can wreck even the WR holder. Twitch VOD because YouTube muted the run.Trauma Center: Second Opinion
- Watch a guy kill body aliens real fast.Pokemon Blue
- Let's get the badges in reverse.TASBot Block
- Once again, we are humbled by our robotic betters.Final Fantasy VI
- A nice glitchy run. Also, a million dollars!Super Metroid
- Are you next?Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
- An journey of a thousand miles begins with a single jump.Super Mario 64
- We close out the marathon with an encore race!
These aren't the only good runs! Check out the YouTube channel for more!What is this "bonus stream" I keep hearing about?
So after the marathon there was a period where people who are sticking around would stream random games. These were not always speed runs, and popular activities include things like Smash Bros. money matches, Mario Party, and competitive Yoshi's Cookie. Yes, you heard the last one correctly. There's also a tendency for more obscure and weird games to be run during this post-marathon event.
In past years, the bonus stream actually lasted a decent amount of time. It was fairly long: like a whole week after the main marathon ended. However, as the event has grown, the bonus streams got shorter and shorter as the event grew more complex and demanded more tech support. These people do, in fact, have lives and once key tech people leave the good times have to end, and the bonus stream for AGDQ 2015 didn't even last a day. After AGDQ 2015, the Bonus Streams were officially discontinued. These events are just too big and the staff is too tired to keep going for a few more days after already putting in a straight week of work.What does X means?
Save the animals?
- 100% - completing a run while grabbing every item, collectible, etc. The definition of 100% varies from game-to-game.
- any% - completing a run as fast as possible. The only thing that matters is speed, although some games have "warpless" or "glitchless" Any% runs to keep things interesting.
- low% - the opposite of 100%: completing the game while grabbing on the bare minimum of items necessary to finish.
- X% - some games have special runs that have been found fun to run. This can involve grabbing all of a specific item that may not count towards 100%, playing as certain characters, or refraining from using certain glitches.
- damage boosting - taking advantage of the brief invincibility that most games have after you take damage to bypass certain areas quickly. Sometimes the knockback from taking damage is also useful in accessing areas.
- frames - refers to frames of animation. Tends to be a fancy way of saying "portions of a second" as games tend to animate at 30 or 60 frames per second. So in a 60 fps game, a "frame perfect" technique means you only have 1/60th of a second in which to pull it off. There's also terms like "I-frames" which refers to "invulnerability frames" during which your character (or sometimes an enemy) cannot be hurt
- IL - Individual Level. These means a run of just a specific part of the game, which means when something goes wrong there's less to lose because restarting is less painful. As a result, runners tend to use riskier strategies and tricks since flubbing them means you just go back to the beginning of that stage instead of having to start the whole run over.
- marathon luck - normally invoked with some sarcasm, but basically odd flukes or bad or good luck that only seem to happen when you are streaming in front of an audience of tens of thousands. Usually followed by statements of "this didn't happen in practice"
- OOB - Out of Bounds. To leave the intended playable areas of the game, which can allow the player to skip large chunks of the game. Some games have No-OOB categories because, in many cases, you can go out of bounds so much you're not really playing the game anymore.
- RTA - Real-Time Attack. Basically the opposite of a TAS, where you do the run in real-time and have to rely on your own weak human reflexes. Also refers to using an actual timer instead of relying on any in-game timers.
- race - Multiple players do independent runs at the same time to see who finishes first. The quality of these can run hot or cold, as sometimes one person takes a lead and dominates whereas others they get very neck and neck. Races can lead to exciting moments not see in normal runs, as a trailing player may be encouraged to do high-risk, high-reward strats in order to catch up.
- safety strats - (aka "marathon strats") doing something that slows you down, but will save you a considerable amount of time if you mess up a particularly difficult upcoming section, such as grabbing extra health or taking time to hit a checkpoint
- sequence break - Performing a trick or exploiting a bug so that you do an unintended skip over large chunks of the game. For example, using a glitch in Ocarina of Time to jump straight to the Ganon fight.
- TAS - Tool-Assisted Speedrun, in which the runner uses an emulator when running the game. Normally involves having the game play at very slow speeds, sometimes frame-by-frame so certain strategies can be pulled off that would be impossible or extremely difficult with normal human reflexes. Obviously very dull to watch live, but there is a usually short segment during the marathon to show some recordings of neat TAS stuff.
- zip - causing your character to fly through a stage or segment. Usually done by trying to squeeze your character into the stage itself (like a block or the ground) so they get stuck and the game forces them out by warping you at high speeds. Tends to be rather tricky to pull off.
Shoutouts to PJ, most underrated speedrunner NA.
Steam: Chagrin LoL: Bonhomie
Steam: Chagrin LoL: Bonhomie
I'll start with the live DKR world record run
sometimes the hosts/audience get so socially awkward i have to turn them off
Cosmo speedruns OoT while telling the history of speedrunning in OoT.
Steam: Chagrin LoL: Bonhomie
Steam: Chagrin LoL: Bonhomie
This year's lineup is interesting, a lot of new stuff so it's hard to tell what might be this year's breakout star run/runner.
The block I'm most excited for is the Valve block followed immediately by AdamAK's Vice City run followed by Trials followed by Pilotwings. That should be a fun damn night. The FPS block a couple days earlier should be cool too for pure "holy shit this run looks awesome".
Also excited for all of PJ's runs, especially the one with Feasel even though I don't know anything about that game. Because PJ is awesome.
Steam: Chagrin LoL: Bonhomie
Pay special attention to the glow-in-the-dark ones.
gonna miss fzero life on monday though, workin'
i might be home in time for duke 3d though
Also I watched a video of hitting the million dollars raised right at the end of the last 'official' run, the crazy epic final boss to Chrono Trigger. Such an awesome moment to have witnessed live. And I couldn't help but laughing that within like the first five seconds of the video, which starts at a semi-arbitary moment, I see myself in chat going "THE STARS ARE ALIGNING BibleThump"
Steam: Chagrin LoL: Bonhomie
HOW DID I MISS THAT THEY'RE DOING A KAIZO RACE? OMFG
Steam: Chagrin LoL: Bonhomie
And Kingdom Hearts. The only thing I never managed to finish in that game was Sephiroth.
The good news is that future marathons will likely run Rebirth, which has way fewer issues.
Oh, and the marathon is live!
Which is very funny considering the people currently in the room at AGDQ.
what's an isaac speed run like?
the random nature of the items you get seems like it could make it pretty hard to do
just totally fumbles the inputs for a complicated maneuver and can't get back into the groove and has to give up
For the record, at the time of recording Yotta had only 20 people who managed an SS clear, and that number has only go up to about 50ish since then. It's an extremely hard level to even beat, much less SS rank.
Spend half the year whining about politics in video games, and then try to weasel your politics into a charity run via donation. Fuck off with that.
Steam Switch FC: 2799-7909-4852
I kind of assumed it would be Rebirth, I have seen very little of that so I feel like it would be interesting.