10 moments to watch at this weekend's speedrunning spectacular
Flying through the air, hopping on pixel-thin walls, and abusing glitches are the name of the game when it comes to speedrunning.
And when it comes to speedrunning, there’s no bigger event than the Games Done Quick marathons. Featuring seven jam-packed days of pure gaming, Summer Games Done Quick, which begins this Sunday, will feature games that have never been played before at a GDQ marathon.
Speedrunning is simple—beat the game, as fast as you can, by any means necessary. But the Games Done Quick crew takes the scene a step farther, by forwarding all donations to organizations like Doctors Without Borders and the Prevent Cancer Foundation.
In January, the organization raised over $1 million for charity.
At it’s core, Games Done Quick is all about having fun and enjoying games as a community. And with every genre and console made available for speedrunning mastery, there’s bound to be a game that you’d enjoy watching being blasted through.
Tune into SGDQ’s exclusive Twitch stream to watch all the runs happening live. Broadcasts begin at 2pm on Sunday, June 22nd, and the full schedule can be found over at the Games Done Quick website. In the meantime, here’s the top 10 run we’re looking forward to. All times are Eastern.
1) Sonic the Hedgehog 2 - 6/23, 3:05pm
Sonic fans have been zipping, hopping, and bashing robots for decades in the original speedster of gaming. And when it comes to Sonic, no game is more noteworthy than the second in the series. Who could forget the mysterious two-tailed fox, Tails, that accompanied Sonic through thick and thin (opening up a two-player race mode for the game), or the deadly boss run at the end of the game.
The beloved Sega Genesis classic will now be challenged by the best the speedrunning community has to offer. Ready, set, gotta go fast!
2) Metal Wolf Chaos - 6/27, 11:40am
From Software (of the Dark Souls series) didn’t always make smash hits. Metal Wolf Chaos, for example, was never actually released in North America, despite being one of the most “insanely patriotic video games” ever, according to 1UP.com. So what exactly is this game about?
The year is 20XX. You are the President of the United States, Michael Wilson. When Vice President Richard Hawk makes a desperate grab for power, leading to many states to secede from the Union, you and your powered armor—Metal Wolf—are the only ones that can stop him. As America suffers from Hawk’s reign of terror, you must free your people city by city, and find a way to stop Hawk before he destroys the U.S. of A.
According to one of the organizers, this game is “crazy as hell,” so you can bet that we’re crazy as hell if we’re going to miss it. Watching speedrunners defend freedom at breakneck speeds? Yeah, we’re there.
3) Super Mario 3D World - 6/22, 2:00pm
The Nintendo Wii U’s smash-hit platformer is new to SGDQ, but don’t let that fool you. These gamers have perfected every jump and mastered every boss battle. Despite the game only being out for eight months, runner SlowKingsPants has gotten his time down below 2 hours and 15 minutes.
Mario titles have always provided some of the best speedrunning opportunities, and the newest entry is proving that the famous plumber still knows how to run.
4) Half-Life 2 - 6/28, 2:35pm
When Valve released Half-Life 2 in 2004, gamers were stunned at the realism of its Source engine, along with the impressive physics it provided. Fast forward a decade, and now those same gamers are abusing tiny glitches and bugs to rocket Gordon Freeman and his crowbar at break-neck speeds across the map.
GFY via SourceRuns/YouTube
New to GDQ is a type of save glitching that allows the boring cutscenes to be skipped, making runs much quicker than before. Speedrunner Gocnak has held the world record since last August, and he’s certain to put on a show.
5) Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 - 6/26, 7:40pm
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series is one of the best skateboarding games ever created, and for good reason: publisher Neversoft made the series for eight straight years. The third entry in the series was the first to have online features, and is still regarded by many as one of the best games of its kind.
The best thing about Tony Hawk titles is how they capture the audience they were made for. Featuring levels like “Skater Island” and “Roswell,” along with music from the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Alien Ant Farm, Pro Skater 3 brings nostalgia to many gamers, including this one. I can’t wait to see my childhood memories be shattered as a speedrunner simply named George blasts through the game at the speed of light.
6) Octodad: Dadliest Catch - 6/25, 11:10pm
Part-octopus, part-dad, Octodad saves his family one tentacle at a time. This zany family-simulation-comedy-survival-horror game took gamers by storm this year. Squishing and plopping from one room to the next, Octodad is an exciting adventure game about completing chores and defeating a sushi chef, one appendage at a time.
Any speedrun of the game is difficult, as it requires mastering control of each limb separately. The game, while wacky, presents a serious challenge. Big props to speedrunner Ubergoose for answering the call of the octopus!
7) Super Meat Boy - 6/24, 4:55pm
If there’s any run built for speedrunning, it’s Super Meat Boy. Requiring precise controls, exact timing, and split-second maneuvering, players must guide Meat Boy through increasingly deadly arenas to reach his one true love, Bandage Girl. Each world presents unique traps and dangers, and Meat Boy must survive all of them, including a trip through Hell itself.
GFY via ExoSDA
Runner MattyIce3131, however, wants to take it a step further, and is going to speedrun the game to a full 106% completion. He might take on the additional challenge of doing a world blindfolded, bringing reason to the age old question: Where’s the beef?
8) Megaman X2 - 6/28, 12:55pm
Mega Man, the world’s favorite robot, is one of the most iconic video game characters in history. Armed with his trusty blaster, he has destroyed more robots than can be counted. In X2, he returns to fight the evil Mavericks once again, this time led by the “X-Hunters” who will stop at nothing to eradicate our hero.
Mega Man games are numerous, but the X series is still fairly new to speedrunning. X2 is special this year, as it features a four-way race between CalebHart, Iateyourpie, Ivan, and Trogdor. All four runners are very close in their completion time, and this race could be taken by any one of them.
9) The Legend of Zelda: Link Between Worlds - 6/28, 8:15pm
The second new Nintendo title to hit this list is the 3DS’ Link Between Worlds. The game arrived with much speculation due to it returning to the roots of top-down 2D adventure gaming, but quickly became a hit, largely due to the innovative ability for protagonist Link to merge into walls.
This ability not only brought new tricks to Link’s arsenal, but provided speedrunners with exciting new opportunities that they quickly turned into faster and faster runs. Speedrunner Zandergoth is now aiming at completing the game in just over 2 hours.
10) Portal 2 Co-op - 6/28, 5:15pm
The final run on this list (and the second Valve title) is definitely the most exciting. Portal’s breakout success as first-person puzzler led to it’s sequel being one of the most exciting game releases in history. The inclusion of co-op mode, in which two players would combine their brainpower to tackle even tougher challenges, made it only that much more exciting.
But how did the speedrunning community approach it? On top of numerous runs through the single-player game, runner Phxntxm is now going to take on the challenge of beating the co-op mode all by himself. That means controlling both players at the same time, doubling the difficulty and raising the control complexity through the roof.
Illustration by Jason Reed