It’s that time of the year again when games simply need to be done as fast as humanly possible. The annual speedrunning marathon and charity event, Summer Games Done Quick, kicked off on Sunday in an entirely online format, and has already raised over $145,000.
The event is one of two speedrunning marathons hosted by Games Done Quick each year. Gamers who wield the unique ability to beat games in ridiculously short amounts of time apply to show off their talent during the weeklong event. GDQ organizes a schedule to ensure that one of these “speedrunners” is always performing a run.
Just like the telethons of old, the SGDQ marathon serves as a donation drive. For each marathon, GDQ picks a charity to receive the donations they solicit from the viewers. To date, GDQ has raised over $26 million for various charities and causes. This year’s recipient is Doctors Without Borders, an international organization that seeks to deliver medical care to those in areas of distress.
While previous years have seen SGDQ events take place in hotel ballrooms with both an audience and couch full of commentators, the ongoing pandemic has forced SGDQ 2020 to go fully digital. SGDQ has always been streamed online, allowing for anyone to watch the event at any time during the weeklong marathon. Because of this, the only discernible difference between the current and past events is that the live feed only features the speedrunner (if they have a web camera) and the game they are running.
This year’s SGDQ started with a Demon’s Souls run by BertoPlease. While there was no audience to cheer him on, streamer and speedrunner Ashewyn provided commentary over BertoPlease’s gameplay. He ran through the roughly 31 hour game in just under one hour, clocking in at 51:42. As good as time is, it’s still 6:52 shy of the world record of 44:49 set by InSilico_ in February.
While not every run is a record breaker, the SGDQ marathon lets you take a look behind the curtain on how easily some of the most recognizable games can be broken and beaten. Games like BioShock Infinite, The Last of Us and even the first three original Sonic The Hedgehog titles are slated to be played in the week ahead. Whatever game you can think of, chances are a speedrun of it is on the schedule for this year’s SGDQ.
Nicolas Perez is an editorial intern at Paste and opinion co-editor for New University. He’s rambling on Twitter @Nic_Perez_.