Last week was spent mired in the world of speedrunning and charity, through the wonderful project of Summer Games Done Quick. The 13th charity speedrunning marathon put on by Speed Demos Archive, SGDQ ran from July 26 to August 1, raising a whopping $1,233,055.89 for Doctors Without Borders. It was an incredible event and a giant step forward for the SDA team, with high production values and incredibly interesting runs highlighted. But now that SGDQ is passed, we are left with close to 168 hours of videos to catch up on. Rather than allowing you, dear reader, to embark on this mission alone, I have decided to pull out a few recordings that will help introduce you to the world of speedrunning, and show just what the Games Done Quick team does twice a year.
“Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels” by GAMEJ06
It’s not the most complicated run. It isn’t the hardest run. But the level of execution and wonder that Big Jon brings to his runs is always appreciated. Jon talks you through what he is doing, allowing new viewers to speedrunning to quickly understand just how impressive what he is doing really is. And, more than that, he is just so likable! He’s singing songs, making jokes, and just willing to have fun while breezing through one of the most difficult platformers ever released. For a newcomer, I highly recommend watching this run first.
“Super Mario 64” Any% Race and “Super Mario 64” 120 Star Race by 360ChrisM and GamerDomey
Speedrunning is known for its incredible ceiling of difficulty, especially when it comes to glitching games. Games are buggy messes, especially the older games. “Super Mario 64” has long been a staple of the speedrunning community, with enough jank in its code to allow for glitch-filled extravaganzas and a high enough skill mark for runs built around pure mechanics. This year at SGDQ, the game was offered up two ways. The first is a glitch masterpiece by runners simply trying to get a completion as quick as they can, and the second a technical showcase of skill as four runners try to 100% the game. Both runs are great insight into the time and effort put in, while also a true skill showcase.
“Prince of Persia: Sands of Time” by Henneko
With its exceptionally high ceiling, there comes a times in speedrunning where it all comes crashing down. Case in point, poor Henneko and his “Prince of Persia: The Sand of Time” run. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong, from missed glitches to bad controllers to even worse stability. Rather than kick him off for going over time, however, the organizers allow him to finish the run and the community swelled up behind him. The donations and words of encouragement that come in are more than a little uplifting. More than that, barring its bugs, the run itself is very impressive. #Hugs4Henneko
“Tetris: The Grandmaster Edition” by various.
There is no game that captures the hearts and minds of everyone like “Tetris”. Did you know, however, that even “Tetris” can be speedrun? And more than that, that there is an international organization of “Tetris” players who play the most insane “Tetris” you’ve ever seen? Instant drops? Yup. Invisible? Uh-huh. Both at the same time? You know it. The Tetris Block is an amazing display of skill and training. Having two of less than 10 grandmasters racing against each other? Prepare to be blown away.
“Roundabout” by Studio and Jeffery the Skeleton
One of the newest staples of GDQ’s is having developers call in while runners are playing their games. It provides a new level of insight into how the game was created, and provides an audience to moan and complain as runners completely break their games. However, SGDQ upped the ante this year by bringing in (via Skype) the three-man team who created Roundabout, a hyper-dumb game where you drive a rotating limo and one of my top 10 games of 2014. Dan Teasdale, head programmer and director, is happy to explain why he made the decisions he did. Panzer, the artist and casting director, is dumbfounded and thrilled at the level of stupidity. And Jeffery the Skeleton is there for play-by-play. It’s just as dumb as it sounds. It’s incredible. Get ready to giggle.
Interested yet? If so, check out the rest of this years runs here and learn more about the awesome work these men and women put in. Here are a few other runs that I really loved as well:
I Wanna Be the Boshy by Witwix
Rayman by Spikevegeta
Mega Man 4 Race by almondcity and Chelney
Pokemon Blue 151% by Shenanigans
Dark Souls 2 Coop by various
Shovel Knight low% with Developer Commentary by Munchakoopas
The Legend of Zelda Swordless% by jkoper
Yoshi’s Island 100% by Trihex
Maldita Castilla by various
RT @BlastMagazine: The Essential Run of SGDQ: http://t.co/qoagXHKcex