Games Done Quick draws in fans of speedrunning to help raise money for good causes over the course of a week. (Image via DualShocker)

At Games Done Quick, Speedrunning Meets Charity

The rising popularity of speedrunning, the newest craze in the gaming world, has led to the creation of frenetic, weeklong gaming marathons.

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The rising popularity of speedrunning, the newest craze in the gaming world, has led to the creation of frenetic, weeklong gaming marathons.

For fans of video games, there are only a handful of events a year to get excited over, a list that includes tournaments, conferences and award shows. Recently, though, another event has been gaining popularity. Known as Games Done Quick (GDQ), the event breaks from traditional gaming events and takes the form of a weeklong marathon where the main attraction is an obscure gaming technique of speedrunning.

Speedrunning, in layman’s terms, is the act of playing a game as quickly as possible. Imagine playing “Super Mario 64” and trying to get to the end level as quickly as possible. However, while playing a game as fast as possible is the easiest way to speedrun, many players take things one step further by taking advantages of the various glitches games are bound to have.

While speedrunning, gamers actively look for these exploits to use for their advantage, a strategy that might take the form of manipulating the software to avoid certain dangers, or even to skip levels altogether. There are many different ways to cheat the system, and speedrunners take their mission very seriously.

Yes, it is a nerdy hobby that some gamers spend hundreds of hours on. It’s also incredibly unique. GDQ, then, is a marathon dedicated to showing off this hobby by playing 24/7 for an entire week and streaming it live on Twitch. Through its humble beginnings — the founder literally created the event in his basement — Games Done Quick has grown into a huge event that draws thousands of players to the live location and hundreds of thousands of online streamers viewers.

To give a better understanding of speedrunning, here is a video of “Super Mario World” being beaten in 46 seconds.

By manipulating the programming, the player can trick the game into thinking that it’s been defeated, which then leads it to warp the master manipulator to the credits sequence.

For reference, here is somebody beating “Super Mario 64” in under seven minutes without collecting a single star in the game.

These are only a few examples, and almost any game has a speedrun version just waiting to be played. Simply google the game’s name with the word speedrun at the end and you’ll likely find videos of it.

This is especially true of more well-known titles, but many smaller, less-renowned games are also showcased at Games Done Quick. This isn’t an event about celebrating the big franchises, but about working towards a common goal: charity.

Since its inception, Games Done Quick has had the singular purpose of supporting charities through donations given to the weeklong stream. When it first started, there was only one event a year and the proceeds went to The Prevent Cancer Foundation (PCF). Soon, a second event— held in the summer — was born to benefit Doctors Without Borders.

As both events have grown, so have money-raising efforts, and the event now raises more than $2 million. Awesome Games Done Quick, the original event held in January, raised more than $2.2 million for PCF this year and Summer Games Done Quick, raised $2.1 million this June.

Along with private donations, both events are now supported by sponsors such as HumbleBundle, Devolver Digital, Bandai Namco and Power Up Audio. Games Done Quick has become a place for the gaming world to support charity.

If all of this seems interesting and awesome, that’s because it is. No other event has the power to bring people together, showcase an awesome hobby and raise money for a good cause like Games Done Quick does. It’s a week-long party celebrating games and breaking them to pieces.

The best part? There’s a game for anybody to be interested in, ranging from retro consoles like the NES all the way to modern hardware. This year gamers saw old games such as “MegaMan,” “Banjo-Tooie,” “The Legend of Zelda” and “Paper Mario,” along with modern titles such as “Cuphead,” “Prey 2017” and “Celeste.” If you’re a fan of gaming, you’ll find something to hold your attention.

On the other hand, Summer Games Done Quick ended on June 30, and the next event won’t be until next year. If this is the first you are hearing about it, you’re going to have to wait a little while to get involved and watch it live. The upside, however, is that even with the game not running live, there are VODs of each run in the event to check out. Some last only a few minutes while others can go on for several hours.

However much time you have, there’s something for you to look at and enjoy. If you have no plans for the summer holidays, give the event a look. You won’t be disappointed.

Writer Profile

Caleb Edwards

Michigan State University
Professional Writing

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