Awesome Games Done Quick: one week, approximately a gazillion speedruns, an ambitious goal to raise millions for the Prevent Cancer Foundation. This ended up being the first year I managed to catch AGDQ live, and what a trip we had. For those who had work or obligations, or, I dunno, the need to sleep, here are some of my favorite moments from the week.

The marathon started off Sunday morning with a charming run of platformer Hollow Knight by the charming runner Vysuals.

Krankdud set a new world record in his Mega Man Zero 2 speedrun. That wouldn’t be the only one, though, as he also set a new world record in his N++ co-op run with AND4H.

Speaking of records, PJ’s run of Mohawk and Headphone Jack can lay claim to a few records of its own—the most consecutive rejections from GDQ (14) and probably the highest number of people puking during it. (Seriously, if you have motion sickness, be warned before you watch this run!)

Having just watched a friend play through this massive game recently, one of the most surprising runs to me was the Symphony of the Night run by Satoryu. One skip ends up cutting out close to 3/4 of the game!

Jabs at QA during the NieR: Automata run drew some annoyance from gave dev Twitter, who felt the snark showed a lack of respect to the game and its devs. I found it a sharp contrast to the runners of the Awful Games Block, where most of the runners professed their unironic, wholesome love for the, uh, not-NieR-quality games they ran. (You would’ve thought they were playing Fallout 76…)

During his Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion run, TonesBalones set his price high: donate a hundred dollars, and he would floss, which I understand from the kids is a Fortnite dance move and not the thing you do with your teeth. His dare opened some wallets to the tune of around a thousand dollars. True to his word, he flossed during the six-minute pre-ending cutscene, and even recited facts about physics. Congrats on your recent graduation, and may your teaching career give you much joy.

Not to be outdone in the entertainment sector, Glackum and his couch sang along to the music in the Precipice level of Rayman 2, with words that were only mostly made up on the spot.

Corporate sponsor Arby’s and their amazing papercraft team showed off their skills with several appropriately-themed papercrafts, which were then donated as prizes. I’m still in awe of the Symphony of the Night piece!

Always nice to see games I haven’t seen or played, even if I haven’t played them because they’re, well, not great. Shoutouts to a few of my favorites from the Awful block:

AGDQ also had some great rep in the indie department, with well-known things like Cuphead, run by TheMexicanRunner. A couple more that really stood out to me were the beautiful pixel Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight, run by SNeaky and Crypt of the NecroDancer, run by SpootyBiscuit, a rhythm roguelike which is going straight onto my wishlist.

Fangames also got a good showing. I enjoyed the hell out of Gyoo’s run of Sanic Ball. It’s not a typo and I know it sounds ridiculous, but it actually looks like a solid marble racer. BBF’s run of I Wanna Kill the Kamilia 2 was also a great watch, though I wish we could’ve had a final death count, because wow. (Note: the second boss on that one is really flashy/blinky, so heads up if you’re sensitive to flashing lights.)

My favorite run out of the entire week was DrFatbody’s run of Sonic the Hedgehog 1. Amazing tricks, amazing commentary. Some of the best positivity and energy I saw all week.

There were a number of great races during the week, but the one that blew my mind was the two-controller-per-player race of Chip and Dale’s Rescue Rangers 2 between swordsmankirby and garadas21. Even if the controllers are strapped back to back, that’s a level of coordination I do not have.

Speaking of coordinated, halfcoordinated’s run of Semblance is a thing to watch. This guy plays better with one hand than I will ever play with two.

To the “dance dad” in the front row who spent the entire week rocking out to the music between runs: you are a blessing and I hope you’re proud of the donations you inspired.

Tool-assisted speedruns are often so unbelievable people think they must be cheated. To counter that, the TASBot block has a hardware setup that allows it to run its inputs directly into an actual console, proving that it can be done—if, y’know, you’re R.O.B. This year saw a new breakthrough, as TASBot’s rig allowed it to play, with Twitch chatters, on a new console: the Nintendo DS. In an example of how things can hilariously go wrong, DwangoAC remarked that the run kept desyncing during tests because the stylus kept getting ground down.

During his Super Mario Odyssey run, Bayleef challenged the Twitch chat to break the two million mark before he hit his 500 moons, and boy howdy, did they ever respond. I watched the numbers roll upward in real time by over a hundred thousand dollars in the space of about ten minutes. And that didn’t even include the activity in the Twitch chat, which was nothing but a solid wall of Twitch Prime subs and gift subs. Spoiler alert: Twitch subs and bits raised over $200,000!

In fact, despite some hugely ambitious donation incentives ($100,000 for Super Scribblenauts! $250,000 for Bloodborne!) not a single one was missed!

If you don’t have time to watch a full run, here are a few of my favorite clips:

ADGQ ended with a reverse boss order run of Super Metroid by ShinyZeni, and while it had a strong showing, Save the Animals did not win. I would make a joke about gamers being cruel and heartless, but on the other hand, did you see how much you all raised? Over $250,000 just for that battle!