Another Awesome Games Done Quick event is behind us and, appropriately enough, it went far too fast.
Of course as the inconveniences known as work, social obligations, and sleep likely prevented most fans from viewing every video, now is the perfect time to get caught up on the full show.
But where to start? Of all the incredible runs the show provided, where do you possibly begin?
It’s a daunting prospect that could drive even the most stalwart fan into the depths of bender, but before resorting to such measures may I suggest consulting this list of the ten greatest runs from Awesome Games Done Quick 2016? I believe you’ll find it to be a much more agreeable alternative.
10. Super Metroid (Two Players, One Controller)
Super Metroid may be a speedrunning staple, but even longtime fans of these events have rarely seen the game played like this.
Runners sweetnumb and oatsngoats not only showed that Super Metroid can be beaten by two players operating the same controller, but in the process managed to set a world record in the “two players, one controller” speedrun category for the game.
If you were just watching the footage, you would not even be able to tell that the run was anything but the efforts of an expert Super Metroid player. Knowing the truth just makes it truly legendary.
9. Super Mario Kart
You may not think that there is enough leeway in Super Mario Kart to allow for a compelling speedrun, but runners KVD and Md_Neo proved that there’s a sizeable difference between being good at the game, and being a master.
In the process, they gave us perhaps the most competitive head to head run of the entire event. After a series of lead changes and incredible moments, the winner was determined by mere milliseconds in an unbelievable finale that any fan of the game can instantly appreciate.
8. Blast Corps
While the Blast Corps run itself was fairly entertaining, this one gets special mention for the presence of developer Martin Wakeley.
Martin was a member of the Blast Corps development team and provided some truly fascinating insight on not only the glitches on display in the game, but the making of Blast Corps itself. His reactions to the runner’s more ambitious exploits are a particular source of amusement.
Not only a must watch for Blast Corps fans, the rare chance to hear a developer provide a commentary track on a classic game is a real treat for any gamer.
7. Kaizo Mario Bros. 3
The Kaizo Mario series is a fan made mod of the Mario games, which aim to make the classic titles as inhumanely difficult as possible. It’s affectionately known as “Asshole Mario” by many fans.
This year runner mitchflowerpower took on the Kaizo version of Super Mario 3 and emerged gloriously triumphant. Watching this run is a mix of trying to comprehend just how these obstacles were envisioned, while also trying to understand how mitch is able to navigate most of them with apparent ease.
6. Transformers: Devastation (One Handed)
Sometimes runners perform a one handed run to show off. Runner Halfcoordinated does it because he has to … and to show off.
Due to a disability, Halfcoordinated is only able to use his left hand fully when playing video games. Of course, you wouldn’t know it by watching him absolutely destroy the action packed Transformers: Devastation at its highest difficulty.
Honestly, considering the mix of game exploits and pure skill on display, this 45 minute run would still be impressive if it were done two-handed.
5. The Talos Principle
The Talos Principle isn’t exactly an unknown game, but it was certainly one of the more obscure entries on the Awesome Games Done Quick 2016 schedule. As such, many viewers may have chosen to look over it when planning their viewing.
Those that did watch, however, got to see runner Azorae demolish one of the most complicated puzzle games ever made. Only those that have experienced The Talos Principle can truly appreciate the speed at which these challenges are taken down, but it’s obvious to anyone watching that Azorae was playing a far different game than the developers intended.
With any luck, the community around this game will continue to grow, and we’ll be treated to more runs in the future.
4. Mike Tyson’s Punchout (Blindfolded Race)
The first time I ever saw a speedrunner attempt to take down Mike Tyson’s Punchout blindfolded, they failed. Their effort only underlined just how difficult this challenge is, and I doubted anyone would be able to pull this off.
This year, sinister1 and zallard1 proved me wrong by completing that feat in a thrilling race. As the runners relied largely on audio cues for their movements, the audience in attendance was asked to remain absolutely quiet until both finished. This proved to be quite difficult, as each improbable victory proved to be cause for uproarious celebration.
In the end, the winner of the race didn’t even matter. The real joy was watching two of the very best accomplish something that sounds like a joke.
Some questioned if Stepmania really qualifies as a speedrunning game. Those that did found it much more difficult to do so when the run was finished, and their jaws were on the floor.
Just … wow. That’s all you can say as you watch runner Staiain barely miss a beat, while our mere human brains try to process just what is happening on-screen. At one point, the runner’s movements became so furious that the camera recording the event began to shake. Frankly, we’re all lucky the world didn’t explode.
Stepmania may not be a traditional speed running game, but it emphasized the entertainment value of speed as much as any other run on the show.
2. Crypt of the Necrodancer
Before watching this run, do yourself a favor and go play Crypt of the Necrodancer. It’s not only an excellent rouge-like, but will give you a much greater understanding of the accomplishment we all witnessed during this run.
Playing the game on a mode that the developers seemingly included as a joke, runner SpootyBiscuit became one of the few people in the world to best Crypt on the infamous Coda difficulty. Not only would a single error end the run at any time but, this being a randomly generated game, the runner had no prior knowledge of how exactly Crypt's song selection and level structure would play out.
Just don’t get disheartened when you play the game yourself and spend a good 20 hours or so dying on the first floor. That is the experience that us mere mortals are supposed to have.
1. Super Mario Maker Relay Race
There were more impressive runs at Awesome Games Done Quick 2016, but there were none as entertaining as the Mario Maker Relay Race.
The premise was simple, but brilliant. Some of the best level makers in the Mario Maker community created new maps that two teams of three runners had to play for the first time. Any time one of the runners died, they had to pass the controller to one of their teammates.
The madness of the custom levels combined with the joyous agony of the runners soon created an infectious environment of pure fun. It’s just a shame we’ll likely have to wait until the next GDQ event to see more.