As the country celebrates its independence day, gamers have another reason to celebrate. One of the greatest video game events of the year is streaming all week long. Starcraft Code S finals? League of Legends? Nope! It’s called Games Done Quick (or Summer Games Done Quick- SGDQ). If you are not familiar with SGDQ, check it out now as Games Done Quick’s bi-annual events have forever changed the video gaming landscape.
What is Games Done Quick?
The title says it all, but let me break this down. GDQ began back in 2010. At the time it was organized by the Speed Demos Archive and Speedruns Live community. Each year GDQ gathers volunteer speedrunners from all over the world to blast through classic games that take the rest of us hours. The goal of ravaging so many games is to raise money for charity, SGDQ raising money for Doctors Without Borders and AGDQ in the winter raising money for the Prevent Cancer Foundation. The streaming marathon now happens bi-annually, in January and in the summer. In recent years, GDQ has been able to raise over 1 million dollars per week long streaming session.
Impact in Gaming
I first found out about GDQ several years ago as I was attempting to beat Donkey Kong 64. With my anger at having to complete Jetpac and the original Donkey Kong rising to controller-breaking levels, I investigated YouTube. It was there I found a video of people racing through the game for a speedrun at Awesome Games Done Quick (the January event). I saw a few tricks to bypass the requirement and I was again on my way.
From there, I began searching through their archives and previous events. I was amazed at the skill of Speedrunners smashing through games that took me hours in a matter of minutes. One great example is this year’s run of Jackal. Check out our run of Jackal and the hours that it took us. Now see it destroyed in 8 minutes at SGDQ. The skill and precision of this run is impressive. There were no skips or clips used, just relentless movement with precise car and shot placement.
Over the years they have had blindfolded runs of classics like Punch Out! and Zelda: Ocarina of Time. GDQ has broken games like Pokémon Red/Blue on Gameboy or gone out of bounds in Metroid Prime. The most evil games made have even been destroyed, like a Kaizo Mario World and the insane I Wanna Be The Boshy. The frame perfect timing and insane reflexes is as impressive as watching a baseball player with a perfect swing.
GDQ has had two major impacts in gaming over the years. It has brought recognition and legitimacy to speedrunning. With the amount of viewers the stream and charity brings in, this has been a great platform for speedrunners to demonstrate their skills and talent. Essentially, GDQ’s events have become an All-star game for speedrunning. It promotes the best runners and shows off their talent to a wider audience. After watching some runs of my favorite Mega Man games, I checked out the Twitch streams of the runners to see what they were up to.
Secondly, GDQ has brought renewed interest to retro gaming. Esports and current games are usually where the Twitch and YouTube viewership is at. Stream League of Legends or a game at launch like Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and you will have a larger audience than the retro streamers. Simply take a quick look at Twitch and notice how many are streaming Esport titles compared to retro gaming. GDQ combats this by showcasing classic old games and highlighting the competition to get down to the quickest and highest scores.
With retro games reaching a new audience through GDQ, nostalgia piques. I can testify that after an incredible run I break out the old game and try some of the tricks myself. This event then gives new life to these old games. It shows off these titles to new generations while reminding old gamers (I guess that is me now) what they have enjoyed over the years.
As a fan of retro gaming, I love these events. They do great charity work. They entertain and they show off classic forgotten games. Thanks GDQ.