Awesome Games Done Quick 2015 - The week's best speed runs

Awesome Games Done Quick is over and over $1.1 million has been raised for charity. Today, Shacknews looks back at some of the best speed runs of the week.

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Awesome Games Done Quick is in the books. Over $1.1 million was raised for the Prevent Cancer Foundation over the course of a week of speed runs and special attraction playthroughs, each drawing in thousands of viewers. Speed runners played through games across the last three decades of games, across several console generations.

For those that missed the festivities, Shacknews would like to round up some of the more memorable playthroughs. Each one can be found on the Games Done Quick YouTube channel, but here's a handful of some of our favorites.

Super Mario Bros. 3

A perfectly executed speed run is a thing of beauty. To establish this, look no further than mitchflowerpower's run of Super Mario Bros 3. It isn't so much that he finishes in under an hour without the aid of warp whistles, but it's the fashion in which he does it. He has every jump, every stomp, and every slide timed perfectly to the millisecond. It's as artistic as video game playthroughs get.

For anyone wondering what speed runs are supposed to look like, simply watch the Super Mario Bros 3 playthrough, which set the tone for the entire week.

Ninja Gaiden 1, 2, and 3 - the Relay Race

What's better than an individual speed run? How about multiple speed runners racing simultaneously to see who's the best of the best? The full Awesome Games Done Quick week played host to a number of races, but perhaps the most interesting one involved the original Ninja Gaiden trilogy. As anyone that grew up in the NES era knows, the Ninja Gaiden games are widely considered to be the most difficult in all of the 8-bit era. Leave it to these six speed runners to make them look like a piece of cake.

The relay race format means one runner will finish a game and tag out to his next partner for the subsequent game. The entire run is filled with informative commentary, discussing the benefits of damage boosts that use the often-cruel knockback from enemies to the player's advantage. The bosses are also shown to be paper-thin on several occasions, with the exception of the final bosses, which require crucial timing and quick button mashing. Learn more about these crushingly difficult games by watching the race below.

Tetris: The Grand Master Showcase

Some people fancy themselves Tetris experts. Those people have likely never seen the insane level of play displayed during the Tetris Grand Master Showcase. For those unfamiliar with this iteration of the puzzle classic, Tetris: The Grand Master was released in Japanese arcades in 1998 and introduces many of the standard Tetris mechanics that are seen in today's modern iterations. That includes the ability to rotate pieces repeatedly before setting them on the ground, which can fill certain holes.

The Grand Master edition of Tetris is among the fastest of all the versions available, which is evident through these playthroughs. Yet these players are unfazed, showing zen-like expertise as they rack up some of the highest scores ever seen. It's something that every Tetris fan must see to believe. Check out the full playthrough below and watch the fireworks truly begin at the 1:10:00 mark.

Shovel Knight

Given the level of challenge that Yacht Club Games put into last year's Shovel Knight, there was a vested interest in watching Capndrake attempt to speed through it. After all, how could anyone possibly blaze through this game? Not only was the viewing public about to find out, but so were the developers themselves.

Nick Wozniak, Sean Velasco, and other members of Yacht Club Games joined the stream at about the 7-minute mark, offering their unique developer commentary on the game as Capndrake continued his run. Not only were audiences amazed by the swiftness of his platforming, but the developers also keenly observed his ability to dodge some of their most masochistic obstacles. This playthrough is definitely worth watching for the fascinating "making of" commentary that Wozniak and Velasco both offered, as well as some helpful tips from Capndrake on how to make it through some of Shovel Knight's most intense sequences.

Mega Man Unlimited

This game may not sound familiar to Mega Man fans. In fact, Mega Man Ultimate is a fan creation from a team led by Philippe 'MegaPhilX' Poulin that was released in July 2013. This game follows the 8-bit style of Mega Man games from the NES era, offering a whole new set of Robot Masters and arguably Dr. Wily's most challenging castle ever made.

This is an interesting video to watch, not just to see speedrunner SlurpeeNinja dodge some truly masochistic obstacles, but also to see how much love the development team put into this project. In fact, the team went the extra mile to attempt to tell a coherent story that bridged Mega Man's adventure with the Mega Man X timeline. It's an intriguing playthrough and one that Mega Man fans should be very interested in watching.

The Blindfold Runs

While speed runs were the main attraction during Awesome Games Done Quick, there were also a few special runs sprinkled in throughout the week. These runs saw some classic games completed by expert players wearing blindfolds. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island had some of its most difficult secret levels completed via blindfold run, as did The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time's first three dungeons.

Unlike some of the other games on display throughout the week, these aren't perfection runs. In fact, there were even some deaths here and there. But the blindfold runs are still spectacles to witness, especially when some of the more reflex-heavy sequences come up.

Those are some of the more memorable races we've witnessed during the full week. Give us some of your favorite Awesome Games Done Quick speed runs in the comments.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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