Awesome Games Done Quick 2020 ended on January 12, raising a whopping $3.16 million USD for the Prevent Cancer Foundation. The event – showcasing people going through games really, really fast – runs for a full week, 24 hours a day, and that means that even the most ardent viewers are going to miss some of the jaw-dropping speedruns. And now I’ve finally watched pretty much all of it.
Perhaps you aren’t one of the hardcore who has the stream open all day. Maybe you haven’t heard of GDQ before. Perhaps you think that speedrunning sounds boring. Well, here are a bunch of the better runs that pretty much everyone should at least glance at. This was a tough list to crop down, and almost every run from the marathon is worth a look, but if push came to shove these are the ones I’d recommend for various reasons.
Naturally, as we’re PC Invasion, these are all PC runs – which means that I can’t tell you to go and watch the hilarious Animorphs speedrun (although you should). These are all arranged chronologically, too, so no favoritism in the display order.
Fallout Anthology (Runner: tomatoangus)
Let’s start off with something that’s technically five speedruns in one. Runner tomatoangus, in one sitting lasting a little over two hours, brought Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, and Fallout 4 to completion. And as with so many Bethesda games, the glitches in the later titles are a thing of beauty to behold.
Fallout 4 is the highlight of the runs. It takes up fully half of the two-hour time slot, but it’s also the run where a visual aid is presented to help explain a glitch. Any run that involves a physical diorama used to explain how something functions gets a thumbs-up from me.
The Outer Worlds (Runner: Sharo)
Fallout Anthology was followed by The Outer Worlds, which mostly gets a place on this list by virtue of being new and being a grand total of 15 minutes long. I never fail to be impressed by the way speedrunners crack games wide open, and watching Sharo demolish this sizable RPG in the space of a coffee break boggles the mind.
The Mummy Demastered (Runner: codepiece)
The Mummy Demastered is a really fun run of a WayForward Metroidvania you may have missed back in 2017. It’s also – and this may be the only time I say this in this article – a really chill run. It’s still ludicrously fast and full of ridiculous tricks, but it’s a nice relaxing one to watch if you don’t feel like seeing something that’ll have you bouncing off the walls.
It also helps that Austin Ivansmith, director at WayForward, sat on the couch to assist with commentary. This means the run is full of interesting little facts about the game and how it was designed, plus some thoughts on a few of the tricks that are pulled off. This isn’t the only developer-assisted commentary in this marathon, (Amid Evil has similar.) but this is definitely one of the more calming and amusing ones.
Terraria (Runner: tvgBadger)
Not every speedrun goes well. Sometimes, things go wrong – especially in runs that are heavily reliant on RNG, like tvgBadger’s ill-fated Terraria run. And things went very, very wrong here.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth watching. It’s a fascinating run, and Badger didn’t crack under the pressure. He did an excellent job of rolling with the punches, keeping the energy high, and generally being an entertaining chap struggling with the worst-case scenario in front of hundreds of thousands of people. A huge amount of money flooded in during this run, and that’s in no small part due to the runner keeping things going despite the constant setbacks and issues.
Cybergenic Ranger: Secret of the Seventh Planet (Runner: NPC)
Full disclosure: I’m involved in the bad games community, especially the bad games speedrun community, and I know a bunch of the people in it. This is why I’ve felt like I have to cherry-pick one single game from that eight-hour clusterbomb of terrible games, despite wanting to recommend pretty much all of them.
Of all of those horrible blunders, NPC’s run of Cybergenic Ranger stands out. It’s a 1990 DOS platformer that makes so many mistakes in basic design that it’s a marvel for all the wrong reasons. A platform game with randomly generated platforms, which disappear when they scroll off screen? That’s an excellent idea. Couple it with appalling controls, a visual design that looks like poorly scaled clip art, space sections that exist for no reason than to fill time, and a boss that has to be coaxed slowly into an abyss, and you’ve got the best kind of train wreck.
Also, our Brian wrote about this a while ago. You should read his thoughts.
The entire Awful Block
You know what? Just watch the whole block.
Earth Defense Force 5: DLC Mission Pack 1 (Runner: halfcoordinated)
Anything halfcoordinated runs is worth some eyeball time. First, he’s an experienced and hugely entertaining runner. Secondly, due to hemiparesis, he plays one-handed.
This is an extremely high-energy run, with plenty of shouts of “EDF!” from the audience and plenty of laughs to be had. The real wonder, though, is how halfcoordinated manages to get through this with a single hard. Aiming, dodging, changing weapons, and shooting? I have enough difficulty doing that with two hands.
Clone Hero Showcase (Runner: FrostedGH)
Not a speedrun, per se, but the Clone Hero showcase was a showstopper. I thought I was good at Guitar Hero when I managed to five-star “Through the Fire and Flames” on Expert. Well, FrostedGH does that in this Clone Hero medley… as a final encore song. And it’s the easiest thing he does.
There’s an almost inhuman level of skill on display here, and even some of the things done with Clone Hero itself are almost unbelievable. Keep your eyes open for the final track (before the “Through the Fire and Flames” encore): “Outer Solution,” by Silentroom and Tachinky. If, somehow, nothing else in this showcase impresses you, that song certainly should.
Untitled Goose Game (Runner: Tasselfoot)
Assuming the “honk” meme during GDQ itself didn’t get on your tits, this is an excellent run to watch. Untitled Goose Game is already a brilliant spectator game, and it’s even better when someone’s doing it really well and managing to ruin a town’s day with precision.