Today marks the start of the Awesome Games Done Quick marathon for 2016, speedrunning's biggest event of the year that will run from January 3rd to January 9th. (Technically the early morning of the 10th, but who's counting?) The purpose of the marathon is to raise money for the Prevent Cancer Foundation, a U.S.-based charity that deals with research, outreach, and early detection regarding cancer, particularly the types of cancer that they say can be prevented through lifestyle changes.
Awesome Games Done Quick (AGDQ) also has a companion marathon in the summer called Summer Games Done Quick (SGDQ) that usually raises money for Doctors Without Borders. Games Done Quick's different marathons first started in 2010 and has raised over five and a half million dollars for charity so far. Those who donate can effect the outcome of certain runs through incentives for in-game names or paths, such as tomorrow's incentive for Strider 2 all levels, or the staple GDQ incentive for Super Metroid to either save or kill the animals happening on January 9th. In addition, donors can receive various prizes ranging from things like a Mario Kart t-shirt to an actual pinball machine. Full list of prizes and minimum bids can be found on the tracker here. For a full list of donations and the total amount, check the donations page here.
Today at 11:30 AM EST, AGDQ kicked off with its usual pre-show talk show and introduction, moving into a run of Splatoon (Any%) by the game's current world record (WR) holder Tones Balones. As of this writing, the next to come up will be Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz (All Worlds) by Miles. For those unable to catch these runs or any others, there is a VOD thread on reddit's /r/Speedrun community run by blha303, whose threads have been an invaluable resource to the world of speedrunning so far.
To find out what's being played each day of the marathon, check out the official AGDQ event schedule. If you're interested in a run or a runner, search their username and look for a Twitch.tv or similar profile, because chances are they play it almost every day. Below this you'll find my personal recommendations for the day as well as links to their Twitch profiles. Reminder, I'm not a smart man nor do I watch all kinds of things. If a game interests you, I encourage you to check it out. If a game you're interested in isn't in the marathon, but you're interested in speedrunning anyway, let us know in the comments and we'll find some runners that play what you're interested in. Just about every game ever made has speedruns and most have a community around it. Yeah, even the weird ones.
For the first day, I heavily recommend the Super Mario 64 120 Star race, coming on at 8:30 PM EST, featuring Puncayshun, Cheese05, and Simply. Super Mario 64 is an incredible game both for casual play and for speedrunning. It shows off a lot of the things speedrunning is all about, and the race between the three top players shows the game at its peak. If you could only watch one run today, watch this.
We at TechRaptor hope you enjoy the marathon as much as we all will. If you're interested in one of the games or runners, or have an opinion about GDQ, let us know in the comments.