While the speedruns performed live on stream at Games Done Quick events aren't necessarily the fastest runs in their categories (though world records have been broken), they're often some of the most entertaining. The live audience ups the pressure, and the commentary from the streamers as they explain their ridiculous glitches is always fascinating.
Last week, the latest Awesome Games Done Quick marathon raised over two million dollars for The Prevent Cancer Foundation and gave us many more frame-perfect feats to be awed by. Below are some of our favorite runs from AGDQ 2018 (specifically of games that are on PC, naturally), and we'll have more about the event and its future soon.
Note that you may have to skip ahead a ways in these videos if they don't auto-jump to the beginning of the run. You can see all the runs on AGDQ's YouTube channel.
Resident Evil 7 (1:49:27)
Probably the most widely celebrated speedrun of AGDQ, it's no surprise that we'd want to highlight this incredible Resident Evil 7 run first. It's a perfect entry point into what makes AGDQ special: a talented runner, an informative and funny couch of commentators, and a challenging game that's tense to watch. Carcinogen's run is full of moments where things go wrong and he manages to just barely survive, but it's his charisma that really makes it all fun—like when he takes the piss out of a jumpscare by adding in a scare of his own. —Steven Messner
Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap (27:49)
Lizardcube's gorgeous remake of Wonder Boy 3 is mostly faithful to the original, and has a retro mode you can activate at any time to see the original graphics. During tinahacks' skilful run she uses that to skip boss intros, and one of the Lizardcube team, who is there on the couch, is just a little bit crushed by it. Having someone who worked on the game there to contribute insights adds a lot to what would already be an impressive speedrun (I played a lot of Wonder Boy 3 on my neighbor's Sega Master System, and I never came close to being as good as tinahacks). Lizardcube are actively involved with the speedrun community, and even decided to leave a few of the more interesting glitches in their remake so runners could exploit them, as you'll see here. —Jody Macgregor
By Wall of Spain
I enjoyed seeing high-skill speedruns like Claris's run of Sonic Mania, but I also like the goofy stuff and Wall of Spain's glitchy tumble from one end of Skyrim to the other was as goofy as they get. He stops to get married (or at least tries to), screws up one of the only fights necessary to finish the main storyline, and makes extreme use of the strange fact that in Skyrim your character's velocity remains constant when you load a different save. You can complain about Bethesda's open-world games being buggy, but without those bugs glorious messes like this wouldn't be possible and speedruns wouldn't be half as fun to watch. —Jody Macgregor
Half-Life: Opposing Force (26:14)
It starts slow, but stick with this run to the second chapter where alexh0we starts murdering hapless NPCs to steal their guns, strafe and machinegun boosting, and sticking some brutal jumps. Most interesting from a technical perspective are the framerate tricks—drop it low enough, for instance, and you can walk through lasers because in no frame will they connect with you. Alexh0we's stream of informative commentary keeps this run entertaining even during the slow parts. —Tyler Wilde
Arabian Nights (47:17)
The Awful Games block of ADGQ is a gauntlet of nightmarishly terrible games, but none are as baffling or as hilarious as Arabian Nights, an extremely obscure 2001 platformer that tried to cash in on Prince of Persia’s popularity. From start to finish, the run is a confusing mess of inexplicable glitches and terrible game design underscored by Arabian Night’s eye-rolling portrayal of Middle-Eastern culture and Conan the Barbarian-style objectification of women. You have to see it to believe it. Speedrunner Kotti has to endure multiple crashes just to beat the damn thing, but it’s all worth it for the couch commentary and laughably bad cutscenes. —Steven Messner
Left 4 Dead 2 (55:15)
By mr.deagle, The Master, burhác, and MrFailzzz
This is a special run in a few ways. Firstly, it's co-op, which you don't see in a lot of speedruns, and secondly, Left 4 Dead 2 isn't going to throw out weapons and zombies in the same way each time, which sets it apart from games that can be perfectly memorized. Yet the zombies are mere pests to these players, who are wholly focused on performing impressively huge skips (which involve a grenade launcher) and bunny hops. Though I could never play as well as this squad does in Left 4 Dead 2, runs like this can reveal how much challenge comes from us buying into a game's premise rather than the game itself. Play Left 4 Dead 2 like a race to master, and the undead are just speedbumps. —Tyler Wilde
Hollow Knight (38:28)
It's slightly sad to see one of our favorite games of 2017 demolished in under 40 minutes, but Mickely3's run contains some impressive glitching—did you know you can just float around all the time and Hollow Knight is totally fine with that?—as well as just some old fashioned good platforming. —Tyler Wilde