Summer Games Done Quick is in full swing with speedrunners racing to complete games as fast as possible. The charity event always boasts exciting runs, and while there’s still plenty of time left, there are already plenty of highlights to help you get through a lazy Wednesday.
One of the joys of Games Done Quick is the combination of commentary and precision that goes into speedruns. Also: the challenges. Runners show off tons of skill, whether they’re pulling off complex glitches or nailing exact movements. Coolkid is a runner who seems to be able to play anything. He’s pulled off gnarly Quake and Half-Life runs while also playing stranger games like Garfield: A Week of Garfield. This year, he showed off Super Mario Bros. 2 and it was a fantastic run.
It works because it’s such a clear mixture of platforming and adjusting on the fly. In the run, Coolkid tries a lot of tricks early on, and they don’t all work out. Once, he tries to summon a power star to defeat a boss more quickly, but because Super Mario Bros. 2 can only have so many objects on screen, an enemy’s projectiles prevent the star from spawning. Small hiccups like that, combined with Coolkid’s laid-back demeanour, help the run shine. Using Toad’s speed and Luigi’s huge jumps, Coolkid saves the day with unlikely heroes in a run that takes a little more than 23 minutes.
Of course, if you’re interested in something a little more hardcore, you can look at Zallard1’s blindfolded playthrough of Punch-Out for the Wii, which starts at 7:09:45 in the video below. While blindfolded runs are common for Punch-Out and other games, Zallard1’s run is interesting because there are fewer sound cues than in NES Punch Out. A blindfolded run of that game relied heavily on sound cues, including those for the player’s own punches. There’s no sounds for player punches on the Wii unless you hit your opponent. This means that missing can be difficult to recover from, as you need to adjust to the enemy’s behaviour and get back into your groove.
Zallard1 manages to stun lock tonnes of opponents in place, responding to the slightest shifts in a run that’s both incredibly hype and oddly meditative. Better, he never loses a round. It’s truly one of the best performances of a blindfolded run at GDQ, even if he sometimes struggles with the Wii’s motion control menus. Let’s be real, though: Even pulling that off blindfolded is impressive.
One of the things I love most about speedruns is that they allow us to see the limitations of games or explore genres we might not otherwise enjoy. I like horror games and love Resident Evil, but I know not everyone’s into that. If you don’t want to play Resident Evil 2 and get gnawed by zombies, you can watch Bawkbasoup’s run of Claire’s A Route, which starts at 17:44:47 in the video below. I’ve watched Bawkbasoup’s stuff for a while now, particularly speedruns of “randomisers” that jumble all the item locations in Resident Evil games. Watching him tackle the remake was great.
The run is a masterclass in zombie dodging, showing no fear, and relying on the deceptively powerful knife to defeat bosses. Also, if you don’t like naughty language, the audience shouts over all the swears. That’s some nice participation!
These runs are a good representation of GDQ. There’s classic games with high-skill play, tricky challenges, and cheering crowds. There’s more to come, but if you need to waste some time today and procrastinate, I recommend sitting down and checking these out.