THE BEST RUNS OF AWESOME GAMES DONE QUICK 2021
Valve’s amazing first-person zombie shooter was designed for four players to run through together, a premier co-op experience. Knowing this makes the run by Waifuruns all the more baffling, as he completes the entire game and the Last Stand section alone and in less than an hour. There are a few hair-raising moments in this highly entertaining run, but the sheer skill on display is the real star.
Games Done Quick marathons don’t just feature solo ventures, sometimes a few runners get together and have a race. AGDQ 2021 has a few good races, such as Ori and the Will of the Wisps, but the best one by far is this Donkey Kong Country race. These two know the game so well their mastery of the run shines through and creates a back-and-forth, neck-and-neck race that’s thrilling from start to finish.
You may watch these runs and wonder how the player is accomplishing these awesome feats. Most of the time a companion does the play-by-play in support of the runner, but Sonic Mania runner Argick needs no help. He calls the entire run by himself, nailing the run while keeping the energy and entertainment up with excellent commentary. Imagine an esports shoutcaster calling his own match, that’s essentially what Argick is doing here and it’s amazing.
The most impressive runs at a Games Done Quick event are the newest games on the block, showcasing runners who have torn through the latest titles in mere months to bring a solid speedrun to the event. A few 2020 titles feature at this year’s AGDQ, but the Hades run by Vorime is simply majestic. There’s a bit of luck involved, every Hades run has a spot of luck in it, but the skill and precision of this is undeniable.
Sometimes a run is so wholesome it just makes you smile, and this DEMONTOWER run is a perfect example of how warm and fuzzy a speedrun can be. At one point runner KarlGerm’s girlfriend donates to the cause and the donation is read aloud, to which Karl asks the live Twitch chat to wish her happy birthday, only for his commentator Ashewyn to point out that Karl’s birthday was also recent, so the chat floods with birthday wishes for him too. Viewers can feel the love and support this community can have for each other in this exchange, a much needed bright spot in such a dark time in the world’s history.
Buried in the wee morning hours of one day in the Awesome Games Done Quick marathon is one of the highlights of the entire event: the Awful Block. This section features runs in objectively bad games, with the comedy of the run being as much of a selling point as the run itself. Awful Block 2021 has some high comedy throughout (the musical numbers in Mr Bones and whatever the heck is going on in the PC Engine’s Energy are worth a watch), but our pick for the best is Brendan Fraser pretending to be Lara Croft in PS1’s The Mummy. The game isn’t great, but this run makes us want to actually try it.
Sports games don’t usually feature at a GDQ event, but when they do they are incredibly impressive. This absolute teardown of Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour still makes our jaw drop on a rewatch, with the knowledge and precision on display being awe-inspiring. Runner Bluekandy makes Waluigi look like Tiger Woods (call him Tiger Wahhhds?) in the early going before switching to Boo and making the final courses look like child’s play.
We’re not entirely sure what would make someone want to play a game as punishing as Celeste using anything other than a conventional controller, yet here’s PeekingBoo playing all of the game’s C-Side courses using a Dance Dance Revolution dance pad controller. We can’t explain how or even what is happening here, but we do know that it’s amazing and we are not worthy of this excellence.
World records at a GDQ event are a rare feat, before this event there were only 21 records set in the marathon setting since 2014. AGDQ 2021 marked a first for the event, featuring two world record runs back-to-back. First Flying Fox sets a new record in the Android mobile port of the original Sonic the Hedgehog, only for Zaxon96 to shave three minutes off of the record time for the fan-made Sonic 3: Angel Island Revisited. We honestly don’t know if back-to-back world records will ever happen again, but we’re glad to have seen them here.
Speedrunning in general is a bit of a flex, a highly skiller runner showing off cool tricks and skips in games we thought we knew everything about. The ultimate flex however is when a runner takes on a game blindfolded, and Bubzia does just that with Super Mario 64. This is a run that depends on major skips, so only 16 stars are needed to reach the credits, but that still Bubzia still collects 16 stars, performs all of the skips, and beats Bowser without being able to see. If that’s not worth a donation to the Prevent Cancer Foundation, we don’t know what is.
Photo courtesy of Awesome Games Done Quick