The PC games to watch at Awesome Games Done Quick 2016

AGDQ 2015

Another year brings another AGDQ event. The 2016 charity speedrunning marathon is now under way, and will run until Sunday, January 10. It's a packed schedule of some great (and some totally awful) games, all being played at maximum speed. You can see the live stream below. Under that, you'll find an explanation of what AGDQ is, and a list of the PC games scheduled to be played.

What is it?

AGDQ—or Awesome Games Done Quick—is a massive speedrunning marathon, featuring some of the world's best speedrunners playing games very quickly for money. Specifically, for money for the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

Why is it good?

It's a chance to not only see some of your favourite games being played absurdly fast, but also to learn their fascinating idiosyncrasies. Speedrunners, by and large, know the games they play inside out, including how quirks in an engine can be manipulated to achieve shortcuts and workarounds. Take Half-Life 2 as an example. By repeatedly grabbing and jumping off an object, players are able to effectively fly outside of a map's boundaries. Even better, by jumping backwards, players can infinitely accelerate. This is known as Accelerated Back Hopping, because of course it is.

Point being, this stuff is cool and—in a live environment where every mistake matters—incredibly tense to watch.

What should I watch?

You can see the full schedule on this page, which lists every game by your local timezone. If you've no interest in the many console-focused parts of the show, I've dug out every PC relevant game being played. You can find them below.

Monday, Jan 4

  • 11:15 GMT – Left 4 Dead 2
  • 12:50 GMT – Darksiders II
  • 14:05 GMT – Devil May Cry 3 or 4: Special Edition
  • 15:45 GMT – Transformers: Devastation
  • 16:50 GMT – Resident Evil HD Remaster

Tuesday, Jan 5

  • 01:10 GMT – BattleBlock Theater
  • 03:10 GMT – Ori and the Blind Forest
  • 04:20 GMT – Velocity 2X
  • 06:15 GMT – Super Time Force Ultra
  • 06:55 GMT – Fez
  • 07:35 GMT – Axiom Verge
  • 08:45 GMT – Hotline Miami
  • 09:25 GMT – Iji
  • 10:15 GMT – Hero Core
  • 11:00 GMT – Teslagrad
  • 11:45 GMT – A Hat In Time (Beta)
  • 12:25 GMT – Cloudbuilt
  • 12:50 GMT – Kero Blaster
  • 13:30 GMT – Snapshot
  • 14:05 GMT – Spelunky
  • 15:40 GMT – Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
  • 23:05 GMT – Half-Life 2

Wednesday, Jan 6

  • 01:10 GMT – Portal 2
  • 02:30 GMT – Alien Swarm
  • 03:00 GMT – The Talos Principle
  • 04:50 GMT – Wrack
  • 05:20 GMT – Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
  • 06:40 GMT – Tag: The Power of Paint
  • 07:00 GMT – SOMA
  • 08:35 GMT – Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
  • 09:20 GMT – Outlast
  • 10:00 GMT – InkUraj
  • 10:20 GMT – Prince of Persia*
  • 13:35 GMT – Sonic Lost World**

*I'm not sure if this is the original Prince of Persia, or the 2008 one.

**Sonic Lost World is not a good game, but that rarely matters when it comes to speedruns. Many of the 3D Sonic games make for fascinating runs, because they're so broken that they're full of glitches and other unintended shortcuts.

Thursday, Jan 7

  • 10:35 GMT – Age of Empires
  • 11:45 GMT – Dragon Age: Origins
  • 13:05 GMT – Grand Theft Auto III
  • 19:35 GMT – Mirror's Edge
  • 20:40 GMT – StepMania

Friday, Jan 8

  • 14:45 GMT – Diablo
  • 15:20 GMT – Diablo II: Lord of Destruction

Saturday, Jan 9

  • 16:45 GMT – Shovel Knight

What are the animals, and why do people want to kill/save them?

As part of AGDQ's money-raising efforts, viewers can donate towards specific in-game actions. Some of these are competitive, with viewers donating money to one of two possible actions. The biggest of these is for Super Metroid, where viewers will donate towards either saving or not saving the animals found at the end of the game. Not saving them saves time on your run, hence why you'll often hear the phrase "kill the animals; save the frames". This really hasn't got anything to do with the PC, but you'll hear it often enough that it seemed worth mentioning.

Can I watch the runs after they've been broadcast?

Yup. Here's the AGDQ 2016 YouTube playlist, where VODs will appear after broadcast. That channel also features playlists from previous events, including from the sunnier Summer Games Done Quick. If you just want to find a bunch of interesting speedruns, that's always a good place to browse. This Reddit thread also links directly to the VODs on Twitch, and is usually updated quicker than the YouTube list.

Phil Savage

Phil has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.