The best speedruns from Summer Games Done Quick 2021

New tech, new runs, and new memes.

Image via Games Done Quick

Another Games Done Quick event has finished its run, with Summer Games Done Quick 2021 raising a total of $2,897,704 to support Doctors Without Borders between July 4 and 11. 

That total was raised thanks to over 100 different runners, who created more than 162 hours of speedrunning content and completed over 160 games during the event, including some added bonuses and extra incentives. 

Now that SGDQ is over and the runners are back to honing their craft individually, you can view the full library of speedy content on the Games Done Quick YouTube channel. SGDQ had plenty of great runs for a myriad of audiences—whether it’s a game you’re potentially interested in speedrunning, an old favorite you want to see beaten in a new way, or just something to throw in the background and laugh at every once in a while.

Here are some of the best speedruns from SGDQ 2021 if you want to catch some of those runs you missed or just feel like watching the best of the best break your favorite games.

Pokémon Black and White by PulseEffects and Swiftalu

The Pokémon franchise always gets a big spotlight during GDQ events, ehether it be a solo run or two runners racing against each other. PulseEffects, one of the premier names in Pokémon speedrunning, has become a staple at GDQ over the years, and his races always brings out the best of the games and the community watching from home. 

This time, in a Pokémon Black and White any percent race against Swiftalu, affectionately named the An(atom)y% run during the stream, the entire contest came down to the final five seconds. 

Pulse ended up pulling away slightly at the end to grab the win, and no one may ever know if it was because he had a slight knowledge advantage based on donations at the very start of the run or because Swiftalu spent a little extra time making her Woobat look pretty. Keizaron definitely didn’t call it…

This was also the run that pushed SGDQ over the $1 million mark, thanks to the viewers running a constant donation train based on their favorite Pokémon’s Pokédex numbers. 

Super Mario 64 Blindfolded by Bubzia

Have you ever had trouble with a game, only to later have one of your friends destroy the obstacle that was holding you back? That is kind of what watching Bubzia complete a 70-star run in Super Mario 64 completely blindfolded felt like for SGDQ viewers.

Most of the run is based entirely on muscle memory or audio cues, meaning Bubzia had to play almost everything perfectly with little room for improvisation throughout the entire run. And even with those restrictions, he still managed to show off some of the best movement and tech possible and ended up getting a personal best, sliding in at just under one hour and 50 minutes. 

It is also a fantastic run to watch if you want to see a very different version of one of the most popular games in the speedrunning community. The commentary is very informative and explains normal routes, the differences between runs, and how Bubzia manages to perform some of the bigger stunts without seeing anything. 

GeoGuessr by havrd

GeoGuessr is a newer addition to the GDQ lineup, but it has quickly become a popular run that provides a unique break in the usual lineup of games. 

If you want to see someone mentally tax themselves over the smallest details on every street, sign, and map, all while trying to achieve a perfect score, this run will be a great time. Havrd is a great runner that has experience in multiple games, so hearing him explain the intricacies behind each of his decisions while flowing smoothly between areas of the world. 

GeoGuessr has slowly become a more popular title in content creation circles too, so you can expect the community to continue to grow and even crazier runs to come out of it at future events. 

Paper Mario by JCog

Older games have some of the weirdest tech involved in speedrunning, and Stop ‘n’ Swop strategies have to be somewhere near the top of that list. 

For the bonus Paper Mario run at SGDQ, JCog utilized a physical cartridge of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time to manipulate certain data storage elements on the Nintendo 64 console, a technique originally used in Banjo & Kazooie runs. Then, by quickly swapping the cartridges, there are specific manipulations involving stored up effects and code that allow the run to function. 

“If we wait until it hits a certain value before releasing the effects, then when ran as code, it’s interpreted as an instruction to jump to the expansion pak and execute code there,” JCog said. “Our piece of code from OoT was selected to be a jump to where filenames are stored in Paper Mario, so we basically go from timer to expansion pak to filenames, and our filenames are a payload to change rooms to The End and save the game!”

Strange runs such as this one are an incredible addition to any GDQ event. They blow the minds of first-time viewers once the tech is implemented and provide some of the best content, too. 

Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix by Ninten

It is always a monumental task to close out a GDQ broadcast, but Ninten, in his first solo hosting gig at an event, showed off his incredible skills with a Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix Critical Mode any percent run. It was also the first time a Level One variation of the run was done at GDQ, and it was worth every penny donated to charity. 

This was one of the longest runs performed at SGDQ and lasted more than three hours on its own, without any of the bonus content. 

The bonus incentives for Ninten’s run were actually one of the biggest reasons SGDQ 2021 surpassed the $2.8 million milestone, hitting the Level One modifier before the run began and later fulfilling the final incentive of the entire event: a $280,001 Sephiroth Superboss Fight. Ninten and his commentators actually made it a double header, making it a two-for-one deal Sephiroth and Terra Superboss Fight, which he crushed using some crazy high-level tech. 

The memes were great, the commentary was spectacular, and Ninten performed a first-time run near flawlessly in his own first solo appearance. You can’t ask for more to end one of the best speedrunning events of the year. 

You can still donate to the total and support Doctors Without Borders or learn more about GDQ’s upcoming projects and weekly stream schedule by visiting the event’s official website.