Speed Raiser: Charity Gaming For Autism Research

By Richard Cobbett on May 25th, 2012 at 5:00 pm.

Remember, check out the classic Sonic games in the forthcoming collection 'Reasons You Were Right To Buy A SNES, Vol 37'

Blisteringly fast gamers are currently racing their way through top games in front of a live audience to raise money for autism research. It’s the Speed Demos Archive Summer Games Done Quick event, running from the 24th to the 28th, and you can watch it live. There are prizes to be won, games to be played, and large generous donations to be made.

Here’s the event in the creators’ own words…

This coming Thursday, May 24th we’ll be kicking off a live speedrunning stream that will run non-stop for over four days. A wide assortment of SDA members will be behind the controls playing through over 70 games for your viewing pleasure. It promises to be an awesome time, but we’ve got agenda here past putting on a good show. The whole time we’ll be taking donations for The Organization For Autism Research. They’re definitely a cause worth supporting, and over the course of the event we’ll be offering plenty of incentives for you to do so. There will be prizes to win, gameplay choices you can bid on, and even whole games that can be added to the schedule through the power of donations. So come watch and donate if you can, and even if you can’t help out financially you should still check it out.

You’ll find the stream and game list on the Speed Demos Archive and your credit card in your wallet or purse of choice. At the time of writing, they were blitzing through Alice: Madness Returns at an incredible lick. Other games and challenges on the hit-list include playing Hitman with only the suit, vanquishing VVVVV, and beating a load of smelly console things.

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39 Comments »

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  1. nimzy says:

    I’ve got nothing but respect for SDA. They’re a pillar of the gaming community.

  2. elfbarf says:

    As much as I like SDA, I don’t think I can watch someone playing FFVIII for 6+ hours.

  3. ribobura osserotto says:

    So they’re essentially raising money for their own cure?

    • elfbarf says:

      xDDDDDDDDDDDD

    • Salt says:

      I don’t think it’s accurate to describe the research that OAR funds to be searching for a cure. It’s much more about developing techniques that help autistic people to learn and function well within wider society.

      OAR spends about half of its funds on information and education, helping raise awareness of autism among the general population. That people continue to joke that people who enjoy speed running games “must have autism lol” suggests that their work is not yet done.

      • Grygus says:

        Hmm. Twenty years ago nobody would have made that joke because nobody knew what autism even was, unless you clarified it by saying that it was “what Rain Man had.”

        Not so sure that sufficient awareness to joke about something is really that far away from what you need in the general public’s consciousness; we don’t need plumbers who can correctly diagnose the problem, we just need people to understand in a general sense what the word means, and I would argue that that’s mostly done. It doesn’t help that “autism” is used to describe a wide range of behaviors with as-yet poorly-defined diagnostic tools.

      • Kent says:

        He’s not saying that they only raise awareness. It’s also for helping people with Autism function in society. They do not need to raise awareness among the ignorant pleb but within the leading head of society, so that they know how to handle someone with Autism, so people with Autism can get and most importantly; keep a job so they can aspire to live a relatively normal life. Having them pay tax for honest work sure beats having them collecting unemployment checks, am I right?

        • ribobura osserotto says:

          ITT, people overly-dissecting a bad joke. Serious business the internet appears to be.

      • magnus says:

        I wouldn’t want mine cured!

  4. Vagrant says:

    Things I can speedrun like a pro:
    Super Metroid (probably not anymore) and Mirror’s Edge.

    • noom says:

      Only speedrun I ever did of a game was Metroid Fusion on the GBA, mostly because I was on a long train journey and hadn’t much else to do. Did it in 1 hour, 29 minutes, and was “rewarded” with a picture of Samus in her underwear, which felt both seedy and disappointing.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    I don’t understand the alt-text of that picture. The classic Sonic games were among the few reasons to actually buy a Mega Drive instead of a SNES.

    Also, what’s up with recent increase in Cobbett at RPS? Usually that name can be seen here only very occasionally, mostly above articles about point & click adventures.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      “I don’t understand the alt-text of that picture. The classic Sonic games were among the few reasons to actually buy a Mega Drive instead of a SNES.”

      Aw, that’s adorable.

      (Especially in the UK, where our version of Sonic was slow and crappy, instead of simply a game that ran out of steam while Mario was just getting warmed up. Yay, PAL! Still at least it was a better bundle game than Altered Beast…)

      “Also, what’s up with recent increase in Cobbett at RPS? Usually that name can be seen here only very occasionally, mostly above articles about point & click adventures.”

      I’ve done more than that…
      http://www.richardcobbett.com/category/articles/rock-paper-shotgun/

      • Premium User Badge

        Bluerps says:

        Ok, apparently you’ve written about more here, than just adventures. I just associate your name with that genre, I guess.

        Though you are still wrong about Sonic.

        • Premium User Badge

          DrScuttles says:

          I assumed that with the venerable Mr. Walker apparently falling apart, the esteemed Mr. Cobbett was helping out some.

          But, my fair Bluerps, and I say this as someone who had a Mega Drive, did not the Snes have the finer games? The richer experiences? The meatier organs of power? Not that Sega’s offering didn’t have a fair share of classics, but I was under the impression that the histories declare the Snes to have won that fight on points.

          Then again, I always preferred my Amiga 500+.

          • Premium User Badge

            Bluerps says:

            Ah, maybe I didn’t express myself very well. I meant to say that the Sonic games were pretty good and actually worth getting a Mega Drive for. All in all, the SNES was superior, of course, for the reasons you outlined.

            Also, I think I have never been called “fair” before (though it’s correct, technically).

    • TaroYamada says:

      Few? You’re nuts, Phantasy Star, Shining Force, Ristar, Ecco, Gunstar Heroes and many others. The Genesis is host to the better action game library (in particular due to Treasure’s contributions, which were the best the generation had to offer), had a far superior shmup selection as well. The only area it really lags behind in terms of quantity is RPGs due to Squaresoft’s excellent SNES support, but even there, Phantasy Star IV is often considered amongst the best RPGs of that generation and is a Genesis/MD exclusive (along with PS 2, 3) and the Shining Force games are often touted as arguably the finest Strategy RPGs of that generation as well.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      I had both. And while the SNES had a handful of absolute gems, I must say that the average standard of Megadrive games seemed much higher. There were more quality shmups and platform-actioners for that thing than you could shake a stick at, whereas apart from that handful of absolute gems (A Link to the Past, Super Punch-Out!!, Mario Kart, etc) the SNES catalog could best be described as “indifferent”.

      Still, better than the N64: A friend’s older brother owned about 70 games for that thing, five of them were great and the rest were shit.

  6. Maldomel says:

    Speedruns are always reminding me of how clumsy and slow I am when I play.

  7. Shortwave says:

    This is pretty awesome, I’ll def’ check this out.
    Sadly I’m broke as can be, but hopefully people who can will show some support.

  8. fiddlesticks says:

    Speedruns are great. Charity is great. Therefore speedrunning for charity is double great. Not all that thrilled about FF8, but I’ll defnitely watch some later games.

    • Dominic White says:

      FF8 is the most hilariously breakable of all the modern Final Fantasies, so the speedrun should be an impressive piece of numerical abuse.

      • Premium User Badge

        Bluerps says:

        I don’t remember that one so well, but isn’t there a way to make an incredibly powerful party by running away from every battle?

        • Dominic White says:

          It’s the one where your party’s stats are almost completely irrelevant, because you slot spells ‘stolen’ from enemies into stat boosters, and knowing what to steal and when means that you can make your entire party nigh-invulnerable.

          • Premium User Badge

            Bluerps says:

            Ah, I remember. But wasn’t running from fights involved too, because when the party levelled, the monsters also got stronger, so that the relative effect of boosting the stats with the spells was diminished?

      • fiddlesticks says:

        FF8 is indeed hilariously breakable, to the point where you can basically mash the attack button and win every bossfight with ease. However, while the min-maxer in me finds the game fascinating, I just don’t think it translates into a very interesting viewing experience. Most of the run consists of walking around from place to place and talking to NPCs, because the fights are over so quickly.

        I’m not saying they’re wrong for playing through FF8 (well I would say playing through FF8 is wrong, but that’s another topic entirely), but to me it lacks the kind of flashy spectacle that makes speedruns so exciting to watch.

        I can understand why they chose it though. Judging from previous charity drives, speedrunning any Final Fantasy title always seems to bring in a lot of donations.

  9. Phantoon says:

    Autism, and sonic.

    I can never explain why I’m laughing so hard over here. Some of you will know.

  10. TaroYamada says:

    Genesis/MegaDrive > SNES, I noticed that image caption!

    • Spacewalk says:

      I agree because I’ve got a thing for PSG generated music, limited colour palettes and shoot-em-ups.

      I’m a bit disappointed that Alien Soldier isn’t on their schedule of games because that game is practically built for speedrunning.

  11. wodin says:

    my ex has Aspergers Syndrome and my 11 year old daughter may have it also. A worthy charity.

    • Phantoon says:

      Asperger originally called it “autistic psychopathy”.

      What a dick.

  12. sparkes says:

    I did a bit of checking up and they seem a bit more like the National Autistic Society over here than the typical US nutjob curebies.

    Their research is in improving communication for the Autistic person and the people they come into contact with and supporting families. Not the nut jobs lots of US Autistic charities are who wish to cure us all the.

    In the future I seriously believe ‘curing autism’ will be in the same fold as ‘curing homosexuality’ it’s not at all strange to see the same places strongly supporting both camps.

    One problem I did notice was not a single member of the board actually is autistic.

    For the record. I have Aspergers and so does my teenage son. I have taught programming to university level and currently run an indie studio. I have been in a relationship with the same women for more than 15 years and no she wasn’t the only one.

    Now everybody with an iOS device go and buy wicked indie Go Robo! which supports the NAS :)

  13. RecluseIndustries says:

    I make iOS games and am donating 25% of all sales to The National Autistic Society. Check out Go Robo! which I’ve just released on the Appstore and which was App of the day on Eurogamer.net last week. You can find out more at http://recluseindustries.com