Friday, 22 February 2019

N News

How Speedrunning Video Games Raises Millions for Charity

Many gamers are familiar with streaming via Twitch or YouTube, whether they watch popular personalities or stream their own games. Twice per year, however, a phenomenal event briefly enriches our lives with an entire week’s worth of various games streamed live, twenty-four hours per day, by world record holders in the fascinating art known as speedrunning.


Since 2010, Games Done Quick (GDQ) has organized biannual speedrun marathons based out of either Herndon, VA, for Awesome Games Done Quick (AGDQ) every January, or Minneapolis, MN, for Summer Games Done Quick (SGDQ), which is scheduled during July. Recently, a special online-only event, Harvey Relief Done Quick, was organized on short notice, its purpose being to benefit victims of Hurricane Harvey after it struck Texas and left colossal damage in its wake. During the marathons, these runners, many of whom hold world record completion times for the games they’re running, will demonstrate everything from clipping, skipping, item duplication, and RNG manipulation to skill-based tricks like frame-perfect inputs for specific shots or jumps.


During a GDQ event, it’s not unusual to see games from a variety of genres being run, including contemporary games like the Dark Souls collection and the latest entry in the Zelda series - Breath of the Wild, as well as indie games like Hyper Light Drifter and Shovel Knight. Perhaps best of all, however, is the staggering number of retro games on display, from Mario games of the Super Nintendo era and older Final Fantasy RPGs to Mega Man titles and Super Metroid, the latter of which is a GDQ staple. Other popular recurring titles include Banjo-Kazooie, Metal Gear Solid, the Ratchet and Clank series, and Tetris Grand Master exhibitions, which are played at lightning-quick speeds that are difficult to even comprehend.
Not only do we get to pull all-nighters watching seven days of video games, though, we also get to support charity foundations like Doctors Without Borders or the Prevent Cancer Foundation while we do it! The GDQ events usually benefit one of these charities, offering donation incentives such as choosing character names, one-handed controller or blindfolded runs, or winning prizes from art or apparel to plushies or even a custom gaming PC. One of the most well-known incentives is whether to save or kill the animals in Super Metroid, one of the aforementioned staple games of the GDQ events. Saving the animals takes time but is clearly the more compassionate choice, but leaving them to die saves the frames…And it is a speedrun, after all!


Your next chance to catch a GDQ begins on January 7th, when AGDQ 2018 kicks off, and the event will last through the 14th. If you love video games, watching people play video games, watching people (metaphorically) break video games, or donating funds to a noble cause, and especially if you love all of these things, please consider tuning in to the GDQ Twitch channel or even attending the event in person. I already have my ticket!



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