Video Games

("Revo Esports" by Alex Haney is licensed under the Unsplash license)

Awesome Games Done Quick just finished up its first marathon of 2021, raising over $2.7 million dollars for cancer research from Jan. 3 - 10. Games Done Quick (GDQ),  also known as Awesome Games Done Quick and Summer Games Done Quick when hosted in the winter and summer months respectively, raises money for the Prevent Cancer Foundation and Doctors Without Borders. The events run for over a week, and while they’re usually held in person, this year they were held online via Twitch.tv due to COVID-19.

The GDQ premise is simple: It showcases people from different speedrunning communities playing games they know intimately as fast as they can to raise money for charity. This includes charity message read-outs, descriptions of in-game tricks and some commentary. This biannual event has been running since 2010 and has since raised millions of dollars. 

Those with an interest in speedrunning communities don’t often expect GDQ speedrunners to make record plays. This isn’t for a lack of talent, but rather because in order to speedrun a game at the absolute shortest time, the competitor has to do everything perfectly. This task is complicated by other distractions like  donation read-outs and commentary by game officials. Despite the obstacles, a few competitors have set new records at GDQ, and that also proved to be true in 2021’s Awesome Games Done Quick. From blindfold runs to back-to-back Sonic world records, there’s always something new and exciting to happening at GDQ. 

What makes these events so special isn’t just the amount of money that they earn for charity.  While it’s always inspiring to hear the donation messages from those who care deeply about the causes, the true beauty of GDQ lies within the community itself. Video game communities have a bad reputation for being toxic. While there’s no denying that many games do have a history of bad fanbases, GDQ turns the idea of toxic gaming communities on its head. 

The work that GDQ does is more than just playing and talking about video games. They’re allowing viewers space to get inside their minds, to have a moment to understand a game in the way they do and to see the beauty of it in a way that is unavailable normally. 

This January’s event had some truly incredible moments, and you can find all of the recordings on YouTube — and you should. Type in a game that you like and you’re almost sure to find it on the list. Then, sit back and watch some of the craziest video game playing you’ve ever seen. 

A&C writer

Janelle writes about video games for the Arts & Culture desk at the Emerald and co-hosts the Emerald Gamescast.