The annual Summer Games Done Quick charity speedrunning event may not be happening in-person, but it's carrying on online anyways. This weekend, a legion of speedrunners will kick off a digital, online-only version of a traditional GDQ fundraising stream.
Even with the move online, Games Done Quick still has a stellar lineup of speedruns planned for the week. Starting at 9 a.m. PT on Aug. 16 and running through the week to Aug. 23, there's really no shortage of games new and old to blaze through as fast as possible.
The full schedule, including automatic time zone conversions, can be found here, but we wanted to highlight a few of the standouts that you should mark down on the calendar. These range from classic staples and new revisions of runs to the weirdest, wildest stuff imaginable, including another blindfolded run.
Here are our picks of what to watch for. This is by no means comprehensive, just a list of stuff that caught our eye; if you've got a favorite run teed up that we missed, let us know!
Sunday, Aug. 16
- Streets of Rage 4 - [Arcade Mania - Blaze]: This year's revival of the Streets of Rage franchise was a solid return to beat 'em up form. It's also fairly tough, so seeing it run on Mania should be an interesting feat to behold.
- Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2x - [All Goals and Golds (All Career)]: If the demo's launch today has you itching for some more Tony Hawk in your life, this should do the trick. THPS speedruns are often a marvel of optimization, routing, and execution, while also not beefing it across a massive trick chain.
- Super Mario Odyssey - [World Peace]: A Super Mario run is never out of place at a GDQ event, but this Odyssey subsection is pretty interesting. Put plainly, the World Peace category entails completing the "story" of each kingdom, which results in an achievement from Toadette. It's a variation on the usual Any% route, where runners just try to finish the game as fast as possible, but the ways it varies should be fun to watch.
Monday, Aug. 17
- Portal/Portal 2 - [Glitchless/All Main Courses]: A back-to-back helping of Portal speedrunning is a nice way to start the week. The first game, run by Shizzal, will breeze through the first Portal without any glitches, while AJ_from_portal and betsruner will zip through all main courses of the second.
- Hollow Knight - [Any% No Major Glitches Race]: Racing is one of my favorite speedrunning event categories, and seeing two runners compete for the best time in the bug-laden caverns of Hollow Knight should be a blast. Maybe I'll play along and try to keep up, you know, for all of about five minutes.
Tuesday, Aug. 18
- Jet Set Radio - [Any%]: Sticking it to the man with style and speed. There are some rad tricks that runners use to quickly graffiti on the go, so I'm hopeful we get to see some good ones on this exhibition from kitcarsonn. It's also followed by Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure and Tony Hawks' Underground, for a three-game extreme sports block.
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - [48 Tracks Relay]: To be clear, this is a bonus game, meaning the incentive to play it needs to be met. I do, however, sorely hope this incentive does get met, because a relay run of all of Mario Kart 8's tracks sounds like some good homework for my next Mario Kart party.
Wednesday, Aug. 19
- The Last of Us - [Grounded mode, Glitchless, New Game]: It's not the newer game, but the original Last of Us can get pretty brutal on Grounded. With everything turned up to Joel Must Die levels of difficulty, it'll be interesting to see how runners get through some of the tougher sections of the game.
- Sonic the Hedgehog - [Beat the Game Glitchless]: This is actually a full Sonic block, starting at around 2:47 p.m. PT and running through Sonic 1, 2, 3, and Heroes. Sonic runs have some really incredible skips, glitches, warps, and strategies, so I highly recommend making the time to learn a little bit about how fast the blue hedgehog can really go.
Thursday, Aug. 20
- Warframe - [Boss showcase]: The Destiny 2 raid was a highlight of the last GDQ, and while this is just one person running Warframe's bosses, it's still a pretty cool concept. You don't think of a live service, ever-evolving game like Warframe as a possible speedrunning exhibition, but as long as a task is accomplishable, there will doubtless be two people competing to see who can do it faster.
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - [Randomizer Co-op]: Zelda randomizers are always a good time. It forces players to both change their routes on the fly and showcase their game knowledge. Ocarina of Time should be an especially good one for both.
- Half-Life: Alyx - [Any% No Spin]: Okay, when I said Mario Kart was the incentive game I wanted, I lied. This is it. A VR speedrun sounds like the most bonkers, out-there exhibition I can imagine. I really hope this meets its goal and we can see what this burgeoning run looks like at a GDQ event.
Friday, Aug. 21
- Baba Is You - [True Ending]: Baba Is You still breaks my brain every time I pick it back up. I'm not even close to an ending, but constantly reframing and rethinking the way I understand the rules of the game is a whole lot. Speedrunner Punchy will hopefully help me understand.
- Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels - [Warpless D-4 (Mario)]: I'm not sure if this is a race, but it has four runners on the docket, so I'm assuming it is. The Lost Levels are really cool, and hopefully there are some neat tricks hiding in them.
- Metroid Fusion - [1% Hard Race]: Again, I'm a simple man who enjoys the simple pleasures in speedrunning, like racing in really hard games. Metroid Fusion is both good and tough, and I'm excited to see these two runners race to the finish line in it.
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - [All Dog Treasures]: Defeating Ganon, vanquishing evil, and restoring Hyrule is overrated. You know what's cool? Hanging out with a bunch of dogs and getting them to lead you to secret treasure. This Breath of the Wild run is all about that: dogs, treasure, and just vibing in Hyrule.
- Final Fantasy 7 Remake - [Any% Normal]: Closing out a stacked Friday is a seven-hour run of Final Fantasy 7 Remake. Boring_Borin will have to endure quite the runtime to blitz through the Remake, all while still hitting the right time-saves and skips. I'm really interested in seeing some cool combat techniques.
Saturday, Aug. 22
- Super Smash Bros. 64 - [Break the Targets, All Characters, Blindfolded]: Just, how? How is this possible? How is Bubzia going to do this? I need to know!
- Bloodborne - [All Bosses]: Souls games are great for speedrunning. This category ensures that not a single prey will go un-slaughtered.
- Pokemon Shield - [Any% (Shield)]: The last game on the schedule, I'm interested to learn both how runners are getting through the latest Pokemon and why Shield is the version of choice for speedy playthroughs. As a Sword owner, I'm starting to wonder if I messed up.