Tomatoanus, one of the best Fallout speedrunners on the planet, will be playing at January’s Awesome Games Done Quick under a different name after reaching an agreement with organizers.
He’s actually already played at six Games Done Quick events in the past under the name Tomatoanus, but several of those had not displayed his runs publicly because it was thought that, hey, at an all-ages event for charity, maybe having a name with “anus” in it wasn’t a great look.
Summer Games Done Quick 2019 has been a huge success and earlier this morning it was announced that the event had raised $3,003,889 for the charity Doctors Without Borders. This easily beat last year’s total of $2.1 million and is a new record for the popular SGDQ event.
The week-long event showcases a variety of speedruns of different games, all streamed across the internet. Fans can donate money to get certain games played or interact in other ways with the streamers, like to name characters or save games.
SGDQ 2019 received over 50k individual donations over the week, with the average donation hovering around $60.
If you missed any of the speedruns, you can catch up on the official Games Done Quick YouTube channel, where streams are still being uploaded so fans can watch later on.
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 demeanor, 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. 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 behavior and get back into your groove.
Zallard1 manages to stun lock tons 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. I’ve watched Bawkbasoup’s stuff for a while now, particularly speedruns of “randomizers” that jumble all the item locations in Resident Evil games. Watching him tacklethe remake was great.
The run 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.
Summer Games Done Quick starts this Sunday at 11:30AM CDT and will be livestreamed on GamesDoneQuick’s Twitch Channel here. The event runs from June 23rd to the 30th and is raising money for Doctors Without Borders.
I’m honestly in awe of speedrunners. The dedication, skill, and stamina they show in their playthroughs is impressive. There’s so many games that mystified me as a kid or totally defeated me. Speedrunners put my retrogaming skills to shame and fortunately, there’s a fantastic lineup of retro and modern games for the week.
I’m looking forward to Blaster Master, a platformer with metroidvania style gameplay where new weapons and equipment will power your armored tank, allowing you to reach new locations that were previously inaccessible. This game kicked my ass as a kid so I’m looking forward to watching Blaster Master get its comeuppance on the 24th.
Also on the same day are Rygar, Jackal, and Solomon’s Key, all old school NES games that I found incredibly weird and cool at the same time (Rygar in particular falls into my list of favorite NES games alongside The Battle of Olympus, Zelda II, Faxanadu and Goonies II).
What I most appreciate is in a lot of these walkthroughs, someone will narrate or give commentary on the different ways the speedrunner is using features/bugs within the game to earn precious seconds on their playthrough. These explanations will often give more insight into the way the programmers designed the game and why certain things worked the way they did.
On Tuesday, there’s a Silent Hill 3 UFO ending run that looks really intriguing. Heather Mason’s revisit to Silent Hill is about to get extraterrestrial. Also, I love Katamari and it looks like We Love Katamari is getting an any % speedrun.
I have a confession to make. The Last Action Hero is one of my favorite films and so I’m kind of excited, but also wary, what a game based on the movie will be like. I’ll find out Wednesday on an any % speedrun.
The whole event will wrap with Chrono Trigger which is arguably one of the greatest games of all time. Appropriate, isn’t it? A time-based event on a time-based game.
Over the past few years, my admiration for speedrunners has grown. I was blown away watching ERROR72 beat Ghosts N’ Goblins in just under 24 minutes when I have yet to beat the game in its entirety all these years later. NESCardinality manipulated the RNG within Dragon Warriorperfectly to somehow beat the game in under 30 minutes. I learned so much about Dragon Warrior through the commentary and was really impressed by the speedrunner’s cool confidence (I would have been sweating bullets, even without an audience watching).
Whenever I need to decompress, I watch speedruns of games I felt frustrated with as a kid like Athena, Cobra Triangle, and others. One of the bane’s of my NES days was Karnov and I’m appreciative to Dragondarch for showing me how to beat it under 10 minutes. At least the developers spelled “Congratulations” right!
Kotaku freelancer Ben Bertoli wrote about what it takes to be a speedrunner. It’s a lot of work and dedication. I love how it’s not so much about beating records as it is playing a game that you’re passionate about and understanding every inch of the game. When you can combine that love with a charitable cause, it seems like the perfect combination.