In the immortal words of Sonic, "Gotta go fast," and it's in this mentality that gamers from across America and the world are looking to get together starting Jan. 8 for Awesome Games Done Quick 2023. AGDQ 2023 is a seven-day stream that will feature nonstop speedrunning action where players will complete their category in front of a couch of other accomplished members of the speed-game community and an audience of speed-game fans.
It can be difficult to know what games to tune in to, so we've compiled a list of Games Done Quick classics and highlighted some of the newer runs we recommend you check out.
What Is Speedrunning?
Speedrunning is the process of completing an objective in a video game extremely quickly. The most basic of these objectives is the any% run, where you just need to beat the game at any level of completion. Completion goals can vary between something sane like completing a game with 100% completion or needing to beat Super Mario without using any of the warp pipes to skip worlds, all the way up to crazy completion goals like Dog% in Breath of the Wild where your run is completed when you've pet every dog in the overworld.
If you're interested in learning more about the history of speedrunning, a documentary has just been released called Running With Speed: The Fastest Gamers on Earth that covers the starts of speedrunning, prominent gamers in the speedrunning space such as Mitchflowerpower and GrandPooBear, as well as the history behind GamesDoneQuick and its impressive history of donation achievements over the years.
Before we get onto the schedule, note that all of the times listed below will be in EST. If you want to check what the times are for you locally, or want to see if any of the times have been updated, be sure to check out the full schedule on the GamesDoneQuick website.
If you're in the mood for some good ol' speedrunning, getting from the start of the game to the end in as little time as possible or with a few stipulations, then here are the runs for you.
Fallout 3 (All Quest) by BananaPegasus
Monday at 8:24 p.m.
No one has any belief that Fallout 3 is a perfect game technically or otherwise, which leads to the any% of this game lasting less than 20 minutes. Alternatively the Fallout 3 All Quest speedrun takes players from the very beginning of the game as you're a baby waiting to grow up, to the moment you complete the final main story quest of the game "Take it Back!" This run is not only an excellent showcase of all that speedrunners have learned about the game and how to manipulate it, but also is an impressive run overall clocking in at a little over an hour.
Whether you're intimately familiar with Fallout 3 or are brand new to it, this is the perfect speedrun if you're new to the genre showcasing a wide variety of basic game optimizations, like crazy glitches showing you out-of-bounds areas or how breaking sequence can help you get through quests faster.
Frogun (any%) by Traitor
Tuesday 1:39 a.m.
While this run doesn't have as nice a timeslot if you're in the EST timezone, it's still a worthy game to check out. Frogun was only released a little bit over five months ago and already people are clearing it in under an hour. As a new speed game it's one with a fresh and active community, and the individual level structure makes it a good one for newcomers to practice, not to mention it also has a built-in speedrun mode. Modeled after PS1-era platformers it's a refreshing blast of nostalgia in a brand-new package.
Pokemon Red or Yellow (any% Glitchless) by pokeguy
Wednesday 5:11 p.m.
Somewhat similar to the Fallout 3 run, it's easy to do a standard glitch run of Pokemon Red and Yellow; with the ability to overflow menus, it's possible to start the game, collect your first Pokemon, and warp to the Hall of Fame within 10 minutes. Hell, it's even possible to program the game to run Twitch chat. The any% glitchless category however lets speedrunners demonstrate incredible knowledge about Pokemon, such as where they need to move to manipulate encounters, which trainers they should or shouldn't fight, and the exact math on how much damage they'll need to be doing. If you thought you were good at classic Pokemon, then you'll learn a lot from this.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD (All Goals) by Biglaw
Friday 9:48 a.m.
Here's another speedrun for all of those fans of the original game that might have thought they were pretty good at the time. Watching a Tony Hawk speedrun is a blur of menus and big combos. Unlike those times you played the game at home, starting a run and trying to knock out a few challenges in the 2-3 minutes that the game offers you, a speedrunner will take out every objective in a highly efficient run and still have 90 seconds to spare. Your home combos will be put to shame...
Super Mario Bros. 3 (any% Warpless) by mitchflowerpower
Saturday 10:47 p.m.
This will be one of the closing runs of the week and will showcase mitchflowerpower's incredible gameplay skills at Super Mario Bros. 3. Dealing with increasingly difficult platforming while moving at top speeds, Mitch will also have to factor in some of the more random elements of the game such as the Hammer Bro movements to complete the whole game from start to finish. As this is the Warpless category, it means that there won't be any use of Warp Whistles, just good ol' fashioned Mario.
An added level of chaos is the five RNG hands that can catch Mitch in the final world, this could mean the difference between a World Record or just another great run.
How Do They Even Do That?
Speedruns don't always have to be about completing the game, and these next runs are some that show off mindblowing technical accomplishments or entirely new ways to play a game. Below is a collection of some of the more unique ways that speedruns are created and completed to show gameplay perfection, or add extra replayability to games that might normally be linear.
Stepmania (Technical Showcase) by Dimo
Friday 7:55 p.m.
Dimo and other rhythm game speedrunners will take your wildest dreams of playing rhythm games like Stepmania or DDR and absolutely put you to shame. This community is constantly pushing the game and their own abilities to the limits, creating all kinds of ridiculous tracks to dance to. This is a speedrun that you'll be able to put on and stare at as your jaw goes slack watching the chaos unfold on the screen.
Katana Zero (any% TAS) by Bar0ti
Friday 11:15 p.m.
A TAS, or Tool-Assisted Speedrun, is a run where there's no human playing but instead, a human has written a script playing the game frame by frame. This playback on a real system then allows for all kinds of gameplay and glitches that wouldn't be possible for a human to achieve at any consistent level. Expect to see exact damage dealt, frame-precise tricks, and who knows what else as Bar0ti's TAS plays.
Metroid Prime 1+2 - Multiworld Randomizer Co-op by UncleReggie and BashPrime
Friday 10:25 a.m.
While randomizers continue to be incredibly popular in the speedrunning world, another way that they have been improved is through players cooperating to complete the games. A unique aspect of this speedrun of Metroid Prime 1+2 is that by being a Multiworld Randomizer, the players won't just be playing their own games and unlocking items in random places, but one player will be able to randomly unlock items in the other player's world. It might be that that last upgrade or weapon UncleReggie is looking for is actually tucked away in BashPrime's world. Both players aim to complete the game together making this a unique co-op speedrun.
Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! (2v2 Lockout Bingo) by slvr__, zacharylawrence, Spudlyman, and Wed
Wednesday 9:34 p.m.
Taking the idea of a speedrun even further, this 2v2 Lockout Bingo gives both teams a bingo board of random objectives; first to complete an objective gets to claim it from the board, preventing their opponents from earning it. Where the Multiworld Randomizer puts all of the co-op and random aspects inside the game, the 2v2 Lockout Bingo instead puts the onus on the runners to analyze what objectives they need to complete and create a route to check them off as efficiently as possible. Getting to watch speedrunners who know a game like the back of their hand forced into speed routing really shows off the ultimate level of play.
Do it for the memes
Portal (airboat%) by Msushi
Monday 6:59 p.m.
It wouldn't be an AGDQ without a meme speedrun or two, and this year's big one is the Portal Airboat% run. In this run, Msushi will be completing the entirety of the first Portal game without firing a single portal; they won't even obtain the portal gun. Instead, Msushi is allowed to use an in-game command to spawn the Airboat from Half-Life 2 into the game and complete the game with that. You'll see Msushi using momentum launches and weird geometry to hop in and out of walls and launch Chel around these puzzles. This run will be good for a laugh.
This is only ten of the hundred or so runs that will be taking place over the week, so be sure to check out the full schedule for any games from your childhood that you loved, or hated, and want to see destroyed in front of a live audience.