After raising more than $1,000,000 for the Prevent Cancer Foundation in 2014, Awesome Games Done Quick is back, and this time it’s bigger than ever.
For those not in the know, AGDQ is an annual event that kicked off Jan. 4, in which hundreds of gamers get together to fight cancer by playing video games. The only difference is that they play these games really fast.
Created by the people at Speed Demos Archive, AGDQ is a place where “speedrunners” show off their knowledge and technical mastery of some of your favourite video games, all while raising money for charity What started off with 20 people in AGDQ organizer Mike Uyama’s basement back in 2010 has quickly evolved into a 600 person event that has attracted the attention of more than 100,000 consistent viewers in the span of only five years.
Despite all of this, I’m sure to some reading this, the idea of “speedrunning” a video game might sound like a strange form of competition – let alone something that could be entertaining – but the times these gamers have achieved shows off what makes the event so great. Games that would normally be completed in several hours like the classic Megaman are expected to only take 25 minutes, while hugely successful puzzle-platformer, Portal, will be finished in 18 minutes or less. It’s rare to see a full-length game beaten faster than you can order a pizza, but that’s what makes AGDQ so exciting. It quickly becomes easy to find yourself engrossed in all the marathon has to offer, as the limits to which these times are pushed seems practically endless, bringing the “how did they do that?” factor at an all-time high.
With over 150 games across the span of the marathon, viewers are offered more than enough selection, as the event features a variety of genres and game types. As such, these runs are not just limited to old-school games from decades ago; even newer titles like Dark Souls II, a game known for its crushing difficulty, are already lined up to be completed at an astonishing rate during the marathon.
While there are clearly exciting games to choose from, such as the four person race of Goldeneye on the N64, or the two person 100 percent completion race of Super Metroid, to me the events finale is the one game you just can’t miss. Closing off the entire marathon is a 100 percent completion of the classic The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time that manages to collect everything in the game – something that would normally take 30-40 hours – in less than five hours.
All this will take place between Jan. 4 and 11, totalling a 160-hour stream length that you can tune into now on the video game streaming site Twitch via the “Games Done Quick” channel. While much of the marathon is exciting and sometimes bewildering to watch, what makes the event so incredible is that it is doing all of this for a good cause. Like many fans, I’m excited to see AGDQ top $1,000,000 once again, proving that even a small, passionate community of gamers can do some pretty incredible things.