I’m massive fan of Speedrunners, not the game, but the people. I love to watch videos of gamers taking videogames I’ve struggled to complete over the course of my “gamer career” and just blast through them in record times. From the insanely difficult NES Ninja Gaiden games in half an hour to world records in the Mega Man series, I’ve seen Speedrunners do things with games that not even the creators thought possible. Some find glitches and bugs that need precise inputs in a particular segment of the screen to trigger, things that no level of quality assurance could pick up. Some on the other hand eschew glitches and other tricks and just play the game straight, mastering every part of the mechanics until they can do them in their sleep—some of them might.
The most famous Speedrun community is of course Speed Demos Archive or SDA for short. I discovered SDA years ago, when I was still in university. My friends and I would watch the Diablo 1 speedrun in awe, as well as the Super Mario Bros. 3 videos. I loved the Mega Man ones and even saw runs for RPGS, a genre I thought impossible to do faster.
But Speed Demos Archive doesn’t just compile a list of world record runs and its members don’t just play the games for their own entertainment and that of their subscribers. Every year, the SDA and Speedruns Live communities and staff get together to raise money for the Prevent Cancer Foundation and Doctors Without Borders. They call these events Games Done Quick, weeklong marathons of back-to-back speedruns by dozens of runners.
During the summer they have Summer Games Done Quick, raising money for Doctors Without Borders. But right now, they’re in the middle of Awesome Games Done Quick, dedicated to raising money for the Prevent Cancer Foundation. The event kicked off yesterday afternoon and will continue until next Sunday.
My father died of Cancer years ago, and so the research into Cancer treatments, early detection and prevention of this disease are important causes for me. Last year was the first time I could donate to Games Done Quick, after watching it for two years without the means to do so. I will of course donate this year again. If you think this is a worthy cause, why not hop over to their channel on Twitch (check video below) and donate as well.
Even if you can’t donate, just being there and enjoying the event with everyone else helps as well. Games Done Quick has deals with Twitch.tv wherein the platform owners donate to the cause for every few thousand viewers. If you have a channel yourself, then host them as that helps draw more people in. I won’t be streaming this week, because I’ll be hosting Awesome Games Done Quick, to do my part.
If you donate, then you can opt in for many of the cool donation incentives they have. These are extra challenges such as the now very famous “Save or Kill the Animals” in Super Metroid, which alters the entire run and adds a new level of challenge to it. Donation incentives often lead to amazing gaming moments, such as the Blindfolded Super Punch Out! run.
If you donate, then you opt in for a ton of cool prizes, from awesome—and in some instances home-made—plushies to perler art and even games and consoles. This year there’s even a full Pinball Machine. I’m intrigued.
But I think you should stop reading this now and just go watch Awesome Games Done Quick!