13 July 2016

Last week I was at Summer Games Done Quick, a speedrunning event raising money for charity (in this case, Doctors Without Borders). The event takes the form of a week-long stream on Twitch, where the speedrunners ("runners" for short) take turns playing their games for thousands of people.

Attending the event is completely different from watching it online, though. When you watch the stream, you see one speedrun at a time, but there are nearly 1500 people at the event, and only a small fraction of them are actively watching that speedrun. The rest are socializing in one of the many other rooms. For the past few GDQs I've spent most of my time in the board game room, where we have a pretty sizable group of (now) friends that play various board games over the course of the week.

Since I was spending most of the week socializing and playing board games, I didn't watch many runs live, but since getting back home I went back and watched several of the runs I missed. Here are a few runs that I think were particular highlights.

Super Mario Sunshine

This was the opening run for the marathon, and for good reason. I really enjoy watching Super Mario Sunshine runs despite not knowing a whole lot about the game, and you couldn't ask for a better runner than Bounceyboy.

Tetris: The Grand Master Series

You probably know how tetris works. You probably haven't seen tetris played like this before. The runs these guys did are the kind of thing where you can follow along somewhat with what's happening, but have no idea how they are actually able to do it.

Super Mario Maker

Opinions are always going to be split about whether blind level races are really "speedrunning," but if you set that aside and just watch the races as what they are, it was an extremely fun and exciting segment to watch.


This game sounds ridiculous, and it is. Go spend 25 minutes and watch it.

Pokemon Red

I'm going to plug my own run here, because this race honestly went way better than we had any right to expect it to be. All four racers got similar Nidorans, but we still were able to show a good amount of route variety, and the race ended up extremely close with good times (well, mostly, but you should watch to find out what happened).

Pokemon Blue

While glitchless runs of Pokemon are more competitive, I think as an outside observer the glitched runs are a lot more interesting to watch. The reverse badge acquisition run might start off a little slowly, but then it ramps up into nonstop abuse of the game.

I also want to mention that the event hotel was connected to the Minneapolis Skyway which made it very convenient to get food (once I learned about it, anyway). Walking in the skyway is a great experience because you don't need to worry about crossing streets, and it ends up having a similar feel to walking in a shopping mall that extends for several blocks. As someone who prefers walking whenever possible, the skyway was like a dream come true, and I wish more cities had something similar.