Another year of Summer Games Done Quick, an event that brings together some of the world's best video game speed runners to strut their stuff for charity, has come to a close. Games were played 'round the clock, and some runs were more impressive than others. Here are more of my favorites, organized by date.
All donations made during SGDQ 2016 benefitted Doctors Without Borders, an international organization providing medical treatment in 70 countries whose inhabitants suffer from epidemics, violence stemming from armed conflicts, and injury and displacement as a result of natural disasters.
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
Zelda II is widely considered the black sheep of the Zelda series, which is ridiculous. Have you even played Spirit Tracks? Link's Adventure had surprisingly deep combat for its time, and the overworld was fun to explore. Watching this race, I discovered alternate routes through the game I'd never considered, which is half the fun of watching speed runs as a casual player looking for ways to change up my next playthrough.
Bethesda's shoter/RPG hybrid entries in the venerable Fallout series are vast and intricate, full of nooks and crannies and secrets oodles of side quests. I imagine some players have yet to finish it, determined as they are to drink in every last corroded inch of virtual real estate—which makes figuring out how to zip through the game in less than 19 minutes all the more impressive.
Tetris: The Grand Master – Exhibition
What's better than a round of Tetris? Watching some of the best players in the world go head to head, tit for tat, block for block, for nearly two hours.
Mark of the Ninja
There's something beautiful about watching someone breeze through a stealth game. Whether they leave a breadcrumb trail of bodies in their wake or take the less-traveled pacifist route, games like Mark of the Ninja flow like poetry when a pro is at the controls.
Super Mario World
Super Mario World is nearly 25 years old, so any retro aficionados worth their salt can fly through the game using shortcuts like the Star Road. Making good time under the condition that you take the scenic route through every castle's labyrinth of tricks and traps, with two other players nipping at your heels? That's much more impressive.
Super Mario Maker
One of the more inventive runs of this year's SGDQ, this Super Mario Maker run pits two relay teams against one another. The goal is to finish a series of levels, but when you die, you pass the controller to the next player in line. It's as entertaining as it is chaotic, and offers yet another great way to enjoy Miyamoto-san's veritable toy box of Mario pieces and parts.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – Glitch Exhibition
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is one of the most beautiful, complex, and masterful games ever made. It's also one of the most glitchy. Some of those (beautiful, complex, masterful) warts are on full display here.
Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction
I'm a completionist. I never play Diablo 2 (or any game) without turning over every stone and, in this case, killing every enemy in every area to lap over every experience point possible. Given my history with the Diablo series, I was surprised to realize when I stumbled across this run that I'd never once watched someone speed-run their way through it, flagrantly disregarding my idiosyncratic strategy.
Kill the animals, save the animals... No GDQ event is complete without a four-way race through Super Metroid that will determine the fate of countless critters and the frames that move them.
David Craddock posted a new article, SGDQ Done Quick: Highlights from this summer's speed-running spectacle, Part 2
Directly after that Super Mario World Race was a second run through Super Mario World, one where the player avoided ALL power ups and checkpoints, and still managed to beat the game quickly staying as small Mario the entire time. That was one of the most impressive runs to me!
Yep. I think they called it low%. Very good run.