AGDQ 2014

Awesome Games Done Quick 2014

Touch Fuzzy, Prevent Cancer.
Speed Runners Raise Over One Million Dollars for Cancer Research.

-Brandt Ranj

Master videogame players from around the world gathered in Washington D.C. a couple of weeks ago to raise money for the Prevent Cancer Foundation using their video game skills.
Orchestrated between the Speed Demos Archive and SpeedRunsLive communities, Awesome Games Done Quick – now in its third year – was a seven day straight gaming marathon which started on January 5th and concluded on January 11th and featured a full roaster of games; a majority of which were retro titles. The objective of this marathon was for speed runners to come together and show off their superior gaming abilities while soliciting donations for the charity.

The marathon consists of non-stop gaming all streamed live via Twitch.TV and broken up into blocks based on either a celebrated game series; Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong etc. Or other grouping, this year featured a block called awful games done quick which included speed runs of such classics as Sonic: 2006, and E.T for the Atari 2600.

The format for these speed runs is fairly straightforward; the speed runner in question will sit on a couch up front and do a full playthrough of a game as quickly as they can. The speed runner is typically flanked by other runners who provide a continuious commentary of what the speed runner is doing. Many of the tricks required to clear games quickly are pixel and frame perfect; this requires the runner’s full concentration because they may only have tenths of a second to perform a specific trick and a limited amount of opportunities to attempt them. As all this is going on tens of thousands of viewers watch and donate money.

During straightforward parts of a game’s run an announcer will read off donations in real-time from off screen. While all donations are funneled into a final total there are also a couple of additional incentives to donate at certain points during a run. The first is to meet certain donation goals. These goals range from the humane: whether to kill or save the animals in Super Metroid. To the humorous: having the runner complete the speedrun shirtless. Other goals may include having the runner gather optional items requiring the speed runner to alter their intended route. A final incentive to donate during a specific block is being entered into a contest to win a block-themed prize which can range from a plushie to a professionally smithed Master Sword.

While every single run during the marathon is well worth watching, the following is a list of runs you may wish to start off with. The first is a 100% speedrun of Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island as run by Tri-Hex. A 100% run requires the runner to get every single collectable in a certain game and beat any unlocked stages. The frantic nature of this run is what makes it so enjoyable to watch, each move Tri-Hex does requires surgeon-like precision. The second is a one handed (yes, you read that correctly), run of Super Mario 64 by Peaches. This is an excellent example of a glitched run, Peaches exploits multiple flaws in the game to be able to beat Bowser in his final form in under a half hour, did I mention he did it one handed? The final recommendation is a four-way race of Super Metroid between Garrison, Ivan, Krauseer, and Zoast in which all four compete to see who can beat the game first; while it may require mulitple watches to understand everything that’s going on it’s very worthwhile.

So how did they do? After over 160 hours of live streaming 18,392 doners donated $1,031,118 to help prevent cancer. While gamers may get a bad rep for being lazy and downright cruel online these folks have helped kick cancers butt by playing video games.

As time goes on the entire AGDQ ’14 run will end up on YouTube, and if you’re bummed about missing it this same group of folks put on an event in the summer called Summer Games Done Quick with the same premise, many of the same games, and another charity. AGDQ Hype!

Pull Quote: “These goals range from the humane: whether to kill or save the animals in Super Metroid. To the humorous: having the runner complete the speedrun shirtless.”

Staff Writer

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