Summer Games Done Quick 2017 is in full flow. The biannual speed running event, where speedrunners from all over the world come to flaunt their skills, has already raised over $600, 000 for the charity, Doctors Without Borders.
Summer Games Done Quick and its winter equivalent, Awesome Games Done Quick, sees speedrunners show off their skills by speedrunning all manner of games. These runs are streamed on Twitch to thousands of viewers. It is the ultimate showing of video game skill.
To be able to speedrun a video game, you need to have mastered every inch of said game. You need to be able to traverse a level frame-perfect, therefore needing to know the level inside and out. To learn the most optimised route, replaying levels over and over and over again is a must.
Speedrunners also need to understand the mechanics of the game. That understanding is not just limited to the mechanics you see, but what the game is doing under the hood. If you watch a stream, you will hear phrases like R&G (random elements of games) banded about like they are going out of fashion. Good streamers or the couch (a group of fellow streamers to give commentary) will give explanations on why certain aspects of a game are tackled the way they are; saving seconds is crucial to a good run. You can learn a lot about a game by watching a good speedrun.
And some good runs there are. Ask yourself this: how long does it take you to complete Crash Bandicoot? A few hours, maybe 5? The current world record for any % completion of Crash Bandicoot is 40 minutes and 55 seconds. How about 100%? that’ll be 1 hour 5 minutes and 43 seconds. We’re barely off the first islands in those times. The skill on display is mind-melting.
Speedrunning isn’t just about fairly beating a game in the quickest time, either. In many instances, you will see your favourite games blown to smithereens by speedrunners manipulating glitches until the game barely resembles anything you know. Don’t believe us? Go and find a Pokemon Blue glitch exhibition from a previous SGDQ or AGDQ, we promise you won’t be disappointed.
With the advent of YouTube, and later, live streaming, speedrunning has become so much more popular. We recently watched Final Fantasy VI, a game that took us upwards of 40 hours to complete, be beaten, glitchless, in just over 5 hours. This isn’t a new venture, speedrunning games has been around since the creation of games, it is just YouTube and Twitch have brought this sort of skill to the wider public. And Games Done Quick has capitalised on that.
If SGDQ displays some of gaming’s most talented, then it also shows off some of gaming’s most generous. To raise over $600,000, still with 2 and a bit days to go, is incredible and a testament to the generosity of the wider gaming world. SGDQ does have donation incentives and prizes, but those are paltry, and to a certain extent, insignificant, compared to the amount of money raised overall; people donate out of the goodness of their heart and because they are watching a skilful run of a game, not because they may win something.
Games Done Quick has raised over $10 million across sixteen marathons, that success should be applauded as much as the speedruns themselves. With the popularity of speedrunning and E-Sports going through the roof, then use of these displays of gaming skill to raise money for charity can only be a good thing.