Awesome Games Done Quick, the annual speedrunning extravaganza for charity, is now just a couple of days away. The action will begin with a pre-show kicking off at 11:30 am PT on Sunday, January 5, with the first actual speedrun, featuring A Hat in Time, set to start at noon.
Since its debut in 2010, AGDQ has grown into a tremendously popular fundraising event: Last year's speedrun-a-thon raised more than $2.4 million for the Prevent Cancer Foundation. A summertime spinoff, Summer Games Done Quick, did even bigger numbers in 2019, raising over $3 million for Doctors Without Borders. It's also, along with SGDQ, the premier showcase for speedrunners, that unique subculture that seeks to finish games as quickly as possible (and often by whatever means necessary), and those who enjoy watching their performances.
One of the things I find most interesting about Games Done Quick is the sheer range of games that speedrunners take on. AGDQ 2020 will feature Mega Man 7, Dino Crisis 2, Myst 3: Exile, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Hotline Miami, The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends, BioShock, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, Pac-Man Championship Edition DX+, and a great many others. There will even be a six-player squad doing an "all encounters" run of Destiny 2's Last Wish raid, and the speedrunner formerly known as Tomatoanus will do his best to blast through the entire Fallout anthology in record time.
Speedrunners use all sorts of tricks and exploits to get from start to finish as quickly as possible, but there are rules to be followed. The Amid Evil speedrun, for instance, is an Any% Out of Bounds, which is essentially no-holds barred run ("We just do the levels as fast as we can, with no respect for any boundaries"), while the 100% Nightmare Doom speedrun requires that all secrets, mission challenges, weapon mods and runes, argent cell and praetor upgrades, and codices be found or achieved.
The full Awesome Games Done Quick 2020 schedule is available at gamesdonequick.com, and the whole thing will be broadcast live on Twitch. For a taste of what's to come, take a look at a handful of the best speedruns from last year's event.