As of this writing, the Awesome Games Done Quick Event has been running for roughly 120 hours—that's a ton of content, along with an astounding amount of money raised for a very good cause.
Seeing as AGDQ runs 24 hours a day, though, the necessities of life—eating, bathing, working, maintaining communications with loved ones—can often get in the way. So, to help make your busy life easier, I've assembled some of the best runs of 2014 (so far) in a single article. And if you don't see a notable one listed below, please post it in the comments! (100+ hours of footage is a lot to sort through, even if it happens to be my job.) There's still a few days left, so if you'd like to keep tabs on the continued antics of AGDQ, be sure to check out the constantly updated Reddit thread, or the event's YouTube account, which usually posts runs five or six hours after they conclude. And if you enjoy what you see, consider throwing a few bucks (or more!) in the Prevent Cancer Foundation's direction.
Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels by J06
Japan's Super Mario Bros. 2 is one of the most infamous hard games—and close to 30 years old at this point—so you might not think its speed run could be all that surprising. J06's ultra-chill attitude really makes this segment shine, though: He cruises through some of the hardest platforming levels of all time like he's Bob Ross, casually painting a forest of happy little trees. If you'd like to see someone completely destroy this nightmarish trip through the Mushroom Kingdom without breaking a sweat—including the "bonus" levels that strip your remaining lives down to one—this is the run for you.
Kaizo Mario World by Dram55
Many ROM hacks are difficult due to poor design, but with Kaizo Mario, the challenge is completely intentional. This variant of Super Mario World emphasizes split-second reactions, pixel-perfect jumps, and the fortitude to withstand its evil, trollish sensibilities. Dram55 might die more than a few times, but the fact that he actually makes it to the very end can only be called a triumph for humanity on the same level as the moon landing or the polio vaccine. Don't be surprised if your find yourself clenching your muscles and holding your breath as he steers Mario effortlessly down yet another tunnel of death.
Tetris: The Grand Master by colour_thief, KevinDDR, kitaru, and Qle
Granted, the prospect of a Tetris speedrun doesn't sound all that interesting—but that's what makes this segment so great. Seriously, these players' Tetris skills border on superhuman. Watching blocks fall neatly into place an instant after they appear is downright hypnotic, and the commentary provides plenty of great information about Tetris itself and each player's particular strategy. Plus, who knew arcade-style fighting sticks were such a perfect means of input for this ancient puzzle game?
Pokemon Red by TASbot
This isn't a full speedrun—it's more of an incredibly impressive trick that uses Nintendo hardware in ways you never assumed possible. I really don't want to run it for you, so do yourself a favor and skip to 35:49 (unfortunately, I can't make the lazy embed do that for you) in the above video and enjoy. Note that AGQD is not at all responsible for the damages caused by your jaw hitting the floor.
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island Bonus Stream by DavisKongCountry
Blindfold runs always make for an amazing display of a player's skill, but do they typically end with a live accordion performance of Yoshi's Island music? Well this one does—and that's why it's awesome. Even if you have reservations about polka, it's still infectiously fun.
Super Mario Bros. 3 by mitchflowerpower
Yes, this list is lousy with Mario games—blame Nintendo for making platformers so perfect for the speedrun format. That said, this segment is simply a display of pure skill, and evidence as to how solid and reliable Mario 3's mechanics are, even 27 years after its release. Don't miss the glitch run at the end, though, where mitchflowerpower uses some very specific tricks to warp himself into Princess Peach's hidey hole without even setting foot in Bowser's Lair.
Zelda II Glitch Run by Pro_JN
It's always great to see a perfectly functional game completely broken over a speedrunner's knee, especially when it's one as difficult as The Legend of Zelda's sequel. Pro_JN's frame-perfect warping glitches are a sight to behold, and his ability to waltz through scrambled dungeons while avoiding invisible enemies and pitfalls simply has to be witnessed. SPOILERS: An unfortunate soft-lock prevents him from actually finishing Zelda II at maximum glitch, but Pro_JN's efforts are nonetheless admirable. (Oh, and he has a standard Zelda II speedrun as well.)
I Wanna Be the Boshi by witwix
I Wanna be the Boshi follows the same approach as I Wanna be the Guy: It's a downright evil platformer that uses familiar video game references to help cushion the blow of its harrowing challenges. It's a game that can only be mastered via arduous trial and error, so watching an actual human being withstand its maliciousness can be a real spectacle. Please: don't try this at home.
Super Monkey Ball by Barhuna
Super Monkey Ball demands perfection from its players, so it always makes for a great display of a speedrunner's skill. And that's exactly what this segment is: an entertaining exhibition of one man's control over his fine motor skills. As someone who was never all that great at Super Monkey Ball, I have a thorough appreciation for how Barhuna makes it look so breezy.
Battletoads Co-Up Run by jc583 and TheMexicanRunner
There's no denying Battletoads is a tough game—or, at the very least, one with some sharp and unfortunate difficulty spikes. And adding a second player to the mix certainly doesn't make anything easier. This co-op run forces two players to work together as they fight through Battletoads' platforming hell, providing some tense moments—especially in those levels that push the 'Toads through a gauntlet of projectiles at a breakneck speed. If the terror of Battletoads left a scar on your childhood, watching two speedrunners cope with its evil ways can be downright cathartic.