Awesome Games Done Quick 2015 Schedule Released

Video games, yo.

In case you’ve been living under a livestream-shielded rock for the last three years, Games Done Quick is a pair of charity speedrunning marathons ran every year by the community. The larger of the two is Awesome Games Done Quick, taking place in January. It’s a massive event, gathering dozens of speedrunners, requiring months of preperation and watched by hundreds of thousands of viewers over the a full week. More importantly, it makes an absolutely ridiculous amount of money for charity, pulling just over a cool million for the Prevent Cancer Foundation at AGDQ 2014 alone. Over on the Speed Demos Archives forums, Event Director Mike Uyama laid out the finalised schedule for 2015 and it’s a doozy.

Next year’s event takes place between the 4th and 11th of January. To focus on the PC games for a moment, here’s a handy spreadsheet of just those. There’s some golden classics in there – all the Valve games, for example, are always great watches when it comes to speedrunning. If you missed it, the latest world record for Half-Life is a thing of absolute beauty. Half-Life 2 and Portal prove equally malleable under high-speed strain. Quake series games, being what popularised speedruns to begin with, are always worth catching too as is Duke Nukem.

But what’s really caught my eye is the new entries. Game’s like Rogue Legacy, They Bleed Pixels and Crypt of the Necrodancer that are begging for high skill optimisation. They’re fast, tense games in their own right, turning them into instant hits in the hands of the dedicated. Seeing N on the schedule also intrigues me. Surely – SURELY – they aren’t finishing all 1000 levels of a game that I spent about three years of my teenage life plugging slowly away at (and getting through barely half of) in less than 25 minutes? Please?

A quick nod to the Final Fantasy 7 run too, played on PC for the first time thanks to a new glitch discovered that lets around two thirds of the game be skipped in one go. The runner, puwexil, is probably my favourite streamer on all of Twitch. The worst part of getting a real life, schedule and not staying up until 6am every night is being unable to catch all of his 7+ hour streams. Got me through some tough times.

There’s loads more outside our home platform of course. From Pokémon to Metal Gear to Mario to the only interesting way to play Sonic, your favourites are probably covered. If you’d rather not wait, the excellent r/speedrun archives the VODs of the event every year, and here’s the one for Summer Games Done Quick, the sister event. There’s also a highlight reel, from which our noble header image is taken, which I’ve embedded below.

33 Comments

  1. Cockie says:

    No Cloudbuilt on the list. :(

    • Ben Barrett says:

      Aye, if I was gonna add one game, it’d be that.

    • Dominic White says:

      Cloudbuilt just recently got some major updates that change the movement physics, combat, etc. Speedrunners have been knocked for a loop there. I’d not be surprised to see it in Summer Games Done Quick though, once they’ve had a chance to really adjust to the new systems.

      • Ben Barrett says:

        That’s weird. Why’d they switch it up so significantly?

        • Dominic White says:

          Most of the changes were responses to community and reviewer feedback, and it’s broadly agreed to be a step in the right direction for the game. The devs are still actively supporting the game – there’s probably more content/a level editor coming soonish.

        • Cockie says:

          I wouldn’t say it changed significantly. They didn’t really change the physics, just made the controls more responsive by adding in input queue so if you press a button a few frames too early the action is still executed afterwards. And eradicated all mouse acceleration. And they changed a couple enemies to make it a little easier for newer players.
          The most significant change is that you can now go from a vertical to a horizontal wallrun without jumping off the wall, really.
          I’d say the speedrunning guys are still doing great: link to reddit.com
          [Warning; prolonged exposure may cause jaws hitting floors]

  2. Premium User Badge

    Harlander says:

    AGDQ is one half of the pair of events, is the other one Rubbish Games Suffered Through Quick?

    • Ben Barrett says:

      Heh, no, but there is usually an “Awful Games Done Quick” selection at the marathons. I’m not sure if it’s been missed this year or just not marked, but it’s usually a selection of legendary bad games from the dark ages of the 90s when anyone could develop buggy shite for the NES etc.

      • bjohndooh says:

        It’s marked on the schedule now, starts at – 1/8/2015 4:25:00 Floating Runner CavemanDCJ Playstation 0:20:00 0:10:00
        Awful Games Done Quick start

    • pepperfez says:

      “Awful Work Left Incomplete Slow”

  3. DanMan says:

    There’s also this: link to speeddemosarchive.com

  4. lfwam says:

    I sank hundreds upon hundreds of hours into N over about 5 years, on and off. Eventually realised that I would only beat it if I got good, and the only way I could get good was to play for 2-3 hours every day for about a month. This is how I spent one fateful month during my degree. and I became transcendent. The thought of someone completing it in 25 minutes seems like sacrilege, a mocking of my past self.

    I bet whoever he/she is only plays it casually as well. Mutter mutter.

    • DanMan says:

      It’s ok. We like you despite your pathetic efforts. ;)

    • Tekrunner says:

      Yeah, it’s not the entire game, only column 00 (so the first 50 levels). It’s still pretty impressive, but it would be even more so with a later column (though also a lot harder of course, maybe even impossibly hard).

      I hope that N is featured in “Have You Played?” one day. It’s one of the best platformers ever made and it’s completely free. In fact I had missed the release of N v2, which appears to add a ton of levels, so I’m going to play that. I played the additional levels of NReality a bit at some point, but a lot of them were too hardcore for me (and I’ve run through the main game multiple times).

  5. Big Murray says:

    These events annoy me, because there’s pretty much no game which gets the speedrun treatment where they don’t use copious amounts of glitches, bugs, and other not-fun-to-watch things. I adore ZZT, it’s a major part of my childhood, and I saw someone on one of these events (possibly this one last year) was going to do a speedrun of it. The disappointment to find out he was using a glitch which freezes all the enemies and allows him to skip all but one area of the game was palpable.

    Speedruns could be amazingly good fun to watch, if someone went in there and kicked some serious arse to say “Stop being stupid, that glitch that let’s you be a dick and skip everything isn’t allowed, now grow some balls and start playing the game really, really well instead of cheating.”

    (And I know someone’s going to say “but people do that too, it’s just a different kind of speedrunning” … but really, the glitch-fest form of speedrunning gets waaaay more attention on the scene because it gives you lower times.)

    • Reapy says:

      I shared this view, with a bit less anger, till I watched the summer games done quick stream. I mean, you did say it yourself, there are separate categories, and at least during the marathons they focus on the categories that are less glitchy and more fun to watch.

      Though really some glitches are very techincal and difficult to perform. I was on the edge of my seat watching a guy glitch across a gap in legend of zelda.

      Also if anybody caught the halo run, the guy running it was basically like listening to someone narrate a wiki about the game while they powed through it, i’m much of a halo fan but it was pretty engaging run and hard to look away.

      • Big Murray says:

        If only they focused on the categories which are less glitchy and more fun to watch on a regular basis. The scene has way more glitchers/segmented speedrunners then it does proper, good old-fashioned hard as nails speedrunners.

    • Ben Barrett says:

      Your final paragraph just isn’t true. Different areas get different exposure at different times based on what’s having stuff discovered for it. And, yeah, there’s loads of glitchless categories for games, some of them more popular. Examples: lots-of-stars runs for SM64, in-bounds runs for Portal, all bosses runs for Dark Souls 2, etc. Not to mention the entire concept of live speedrunning is naturally slower than segmented runs (using save files to optimise runs by recording in short bursts) and yet is far more popular.

      More importantly, the idea that there isn’t an incredible amount of skill going in to these games because they aren’t “playing properly” is nuts. If anything, most of the serious glitches have a much higher skill ceiling to perform than normal interaction with the game. Intricate timing, reams of research, endless practice. Sure, there’s also a couple of games that are one and done tricks within the first 5-10 minutes (Link to the Past comes to mind). I find those interesting to watch the first time because I like watching games snap in half, and that’s usually the only time they’ll be at a marathon until something new is discovered.

      • Big Murray says:

        I’m sorry, but regardless of exposure … there’s just way more people doing glitch speedruns than there are full ones. Take the example I used of ZZT, which this event ran last year. There’s a page worth of results on YouTube for ZZT speedruns … and they are literally ALL glitch-runs. A proper speedrun for it doesn’t exist. And you can search most games and find that a no-glitch/no-cheat run is a far rarer occurrence than a glitchy one. There are simply far more people who do those kind of speedruns than the way which I think a lot of people would agree is the more enjoyable-to-watch way of going through the game like you and I would … but just really fast and really well.

        I never said that those glitchfests don’t take an incredible amount of skill. It’s just that it’s not really skill at playing the games … it’s skill at glitching them out. And I’d really prefer that there was a shift away from that and a focus back on playing the game exceptionally well and fast without cheating, because that’s much closer to the experience of games that your average person will experience. And there’s just not enough people doing it right now because of the human mind’s propensity towards thinking “Hm, that time is lower, therefore that must be better”, regardless that they’re different “categories” of speedruns.

        • Ben Barrett says:

          I just don’t agree. Every game I’ve been interested in has had more runners for slower categories than the faster, more glitched ones.

        • LacSlyer says:

          To claim glitched runs don’t require a skill at playing the game is a bit ignorant, as obviously if you’re not good at playing the game well normally while still being able to do the glitches means you won’t get optimal times.

          A lot of people love watching the glitched runs to see what they missed out in playing these games previously. So don’t generalize that everyone’s a mindless zombie thinking that faster is always better. It’s just considerably more interesting for people to watch a speed run of a game you used to play being glitched out than it is to watch the entire run played the way you used to years ago. Hell, watch AGDQ for 10 minutes and you’ll hear donations of people claiming exactly that.

          • Big Murray says:

            Again, I didn’t say it doesn’t require skill. It’s just a different skill which is not particularly interesting to watch for me. It’s the same thing as how the really talented Keepie-Uppy people have an amazing talent for controlling a football and that’s fun to watch for a bit, but it would get annoying if people were paying more attention to doing keepie-uppies than actually playing football really well. It’s a different discipline.

            I also didn’t generalise that everyone’s a mindless zombie, I just said that’s probably why the trend towards the glitchy runs exist. Speedrunning is about getting faster times, and having the fastest time across all the disciplines somehow translates into being “best” in a lot of people’s minds. It’s the same as how we prioritise the 100m in the Olympics, even though it takes just as much talent and athleticism to win the 400m. Something in our dumb monkey brains says “lower time = good”.

            Like I said, when I can’t find speedruns of games which I’d really like to see speedruns done of because all of them are glitchfests, segmented (sorry but if you’re not doing it in one sitting it just ain’t a speedrun) or otherwise cheat, that’s a problem for me. Going back to the athletics analogy, we don’t just let the competitors invent the rules for each discipline. For the sake of fair competition and viewer interest, we go in there and we say “this is what you’re allowed to do and what you’re not allowed to do”. And while I don’t have any problem with people doing these glitchruns (in the same way I don’t have a problem with people pumping themselves full of steroids to run really fast if they want to do that), I have a problem with it being prioritised over speedrunning through games the way the developers intended them to be played. Being skilled at glitching games should not be pushing out pro players who are skilled at playing through them without cheating. And it IS pushing them out when I can’t find videos for those speedruns among all the glitchfests.

          • pepperfez says:

            I don’t know if ZZT is a special case (I don’t really know anything about it; probably ought to read Anna Anthropy), but in general a marathon like AGDQ will give you more of what you want — nothing tool-assisted, more ‘safe’ strategies/fewer glitches, exclusively whole playthroughs.

          • LacSlyer says:

            @Big Murray
            For some reason I can’t reply to the post you replied to me on, so I’m replying to this one.

            You specifically did say that “It’s just that it’s not really skill at playing the games” which is completely false, as they obviously have to be capable of playing the game as a whole and not just be able to do the glitches. If I’m misinterpreting that I apologize, but there is a difference in being able to do the glitches, and being able to do the glitches and play the game as a whole which most of the popular runners are capable of.

            Using sports as an analogy doesn’t really hold water here because of the fact that every game is so different and the fact that glitches are a completely acceptable form of completing the game – otherwise we wouldn’t have an entire community supported by it. Just because you disagree with them doesn’t mean they’re equivalent to athletes using steroids because they’re a widely accepted practice that isn’t illegal.

            As far as fair competition, again it’s not illegitimate to use exploits, nor is it necessary to use them considering the various categories that exist for speed runs. So there’s nothing unfair here. Does it suck that exploit runs are more popular than non-exploited? Sure, but then who are you to tell people what they can or can’t enjoy?

            Whether the exploiting “pushes out” other players who don’t exploit is debatable, because it could very well be that people aren’t interested in doing non-glitch runs of the games personally, and can’t be solely attributed to players willing to glitch. Popularity effects it, for sure, but that’s not the glitching players’ fault and shouldn’t be scapegoated on to them as though they’re doing something wrong.

            I get that you dislike how much more popular glitched runs are over glitchless, but arguing that it’s not fair, or that runners don’t deserve the popularity just doesn’t work here. It’s like arguing over why people prefer pop or country music over something else. People have differing opinions and that should be respected regardless of how much you agree or disagree with them.

          • Big Murray says:

            Just because everybody has decided to cheat doesn’t make it not cheating. The test for it is very simple. You ask the question: “Was this something which was intended to be technically capable by the developers of the game?” If the answer is no, then you’re using a glitch and that’s cheating.

            If everyone got together in the sporting world and decided to allow everyone to use rocket boots in all the running events in the Olympics, the fact that it’s “legal” doesn’t make it not cheating. Basic common sense dictates that if you’re skipping half the game, the developers didn’t intend for that to be possible and therefore you’re cheating.

            And I just don’t see how a situation where “cheating speedruns > not cheating speedruns” became a thing. Bravo, speedrunners … you’re very skilled at cheating, and I acknowledge and congratulate you on the effort you’ve put into your cheating skills. But could we see put more emphasis on people not cheating, please?

          • LacSlyer says:

            @Big Murray
            I think you’re being seriously overly critical about cheating in video game speed runs primarily because they aren’t actually gaining an advantage because of the separate categories of speed running. So technically it’s not cheating at all, it’s glitching a game that everyone has the advantage of doing, or even not doing and being categorized and recorded differently.

            The fact that it’s allowed is the entire point. Just because you disagree with it does not equate it to cheating to the lengths you’re arguing that it’s at. You personally don’t make up the speed running rules. You’re trying to equate it to sports cheating but it doesn’t work similarly because of various reasons I’ve explained.

        • meepmeep says:

          People like speedrun categories which are entertaining, be that glitches for games with interesting/difficult glitches, or glitchless where the skill is in the core gameplay, like you describe. Glitched speedruns tend to become the norm once a game has been beaten in an optimised glitchless manner, and have become uninteresting to run. The speedrunning of any game evolves, and if you watch any new game appear on the speedrunning scene, you will get exactly what you want. If you’re interested in older games that people have been speedrunning for a while, then you should expect that people have moved on from playing the game ‘properly’ long before you started watching, because it’s been done to the best of human ability and there is little interest left besides exhibition play.

          In addition, imagine the reality of competitive ZZT glitchless speedruns. It would be far less interesting than you think, dominated by randomness, and after about a week someone would have set an almost unbeatable time that no-one would be interested in trying to better.

          Speedrunning is defined by what people want to attempt, not by what you want to see.

    • Erastoinen says:

      Huh. I actually find the glitches and bugs the most fun and interesting part of many speedruns. Not so much the “do this simple thing and skip 90% of the game” ones, but the risky, tricky and/or flashy stuff I just adore. The dedication required to discover and master them is just really impressive to me, plus some of them look absolutely fantastic when performed.

      • Big Murray says:

        And that’s ok.

        I just think it’s got a bit silly that there’s such an imbalance between speedruns using glitches and bugs and “clean” speedruns.

    • fish99 says:

      Have to agree. Seeing someone skip 80% of a game with a glitch isn’t entertaining no matter how much skill it requires. It makes for disappointing viewing, especially if you’re a fan of that game. I would rather see the game, played properly, optimally, with a ton of skill, and have it take 2 hours, rather than an 8 minute glitch run.

    • TheMopeSquad says:

      The fun part of the speedruns is watching the people that have mastered them and hearing their commentary, learning new things about the games that a normal person would never ever know. Watching a speedrun that’s just a person “playing the game normally yet quickly” what is the appeal in that? I could play a game and get the same experience or just watch a Lets Play. Then there’s the fact playing most of these games without glitches would just take forever and not be entertaining at all. Take Morrowind for example, a game that you can speedrun in under five minutes, imagine having to watch that being “speedrun” without “cheating” ugh…

  6. Telkir says:

    Holy crivens. Super Turrican! Within a Deep Forest! DESCENT! I was looking forward to this before I knew the schedule but this has made me even more excited. Nifty beans indeed.