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The Marriage of Charity & Skill That Is Games Done Quick

GDQ is a fundraiser like no other. TJ takes us on a journey of what makes it great and why you should be watching.

In the landscape of gaming, few events have ever brought the spirits of competition, skill, and charity together quite as tightly as the Games Done Quick events. This bi-annual event has been running since 2010 and drawn some of the greatest players together for the most generous of causes in front of fans. As livestreaming has become more prevalent, Games Done Quick has expanded rapidly across the wide expanse of Twitch and other viewing platforms through which the rest of the world gets to see and cheer. Sometimes it’s glorious and sometimes it’s hilarious, but at the end of the day it’s all about one thing – Some of the best players in the world using their amassed skills to support causes greater than themselves.

        Owner and director Mike Uyama looked to online marathoners and events that had come before Games Done Quick when he found his inspiration for the project. In an interview with the Prevent Cancer organization’s Jan Bresch in 2014, Uyama expressed his beliefs that the community deserved more and the challenges the came with delivering it.

“We saw… Speed Gamers and Desert Bus,” said Uyama, speaking of other similar charity marathons based around video games. “We thought we [could] do that better… It turned out to be harder than we thought it was. Our first event, Classic Games Done Quick, back in New Year’s 2010 raised $11,000 for CARE. We weren’t sure how successful it was going to be, but ever since then it’s only been growing bigger and more and more people have wanted to come. We haven’t even had to promote it much because more and more people are watching the event and they’re like ‘wow, this looks fun. I want to come here.’”

Watch live video from GamesDoneQuick on www.twitch.tv

        Indeed, Classic Games Done Quick was meager in comparison to the growth of the event in later years. Where around a mere twenty people sat in the room on New Years 2010, Uyama cited about 430 people in attendance for Awesome Games Done Quick in 2014. The same event in 2017 was rumored to have reached a 1,600 guest capacity. And where the attendance and viewership has increased exponentially, the donors have followed. By comparison to Classic Games Done Quick in 2010, both events in 2017 have cleared one million dollars, with Awesome Games Done Quick 2017 clearing two million according to its event index page. The proceeds went to the Prevent Cancer Foundation and Doctors Without Borders.

        That said, such amazing events simply have to have some amazing feats to bring the people in and Games Done Quick has a tradition of delivering there as well. Games Done Quick brings the best of the best together in an ever growing roster of players specialized in games old and new, and proficient in normal runs and those that take advantage of the various technical aspects or flaws of the games. These are people who sweat and bleed for their respective games and though each special brings something to the table, occasionally we see something truly monumental in the form of world records broken and re-established. Xdragon established an “All Stages Normal Difficulty” world record in Little Samson at Awesome Games Done Quick in 2017 with an impressive 20 minutes and 41 seconds. Meanwhile some new records have held over time, such as Dragondarch’s “10% Hard” completion of Metroid: Zero Mission at AGDQ 2014. As these players put on clinics, it’s not out of the ordinary to see new gaming history established in the process.

        It’s not just about the world records though. As amazing and impressive as those are, some players come to the competitive ring of Games Done Quick looking to show off new and awesome ways to challenge some of our favorite games. Summer Games Done Quick 2017 featured several spectacular runs such as player Andy’s swordless The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past run and a co-op run of Portal 2 where player Azorae handled two controllers at the same time (featured below). Meanwhile, blindfolded runs are also an awesome occurrence, such as the race between Sinister1 and zallard1 at Awesome Games Done Quick 2016 to see who could beat Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!! first without even looking. Wherever you look during a live Games Done Quick event or through the past archives, a veritable carnival of video game skill and dedication often awaits.

        Whatever your motivations are for watching Games Done Quick, there’s a lot of good to have come out of it over the years. Over the life of the organization, around 10 million dollars have been raised for various charities. Moreover, the viewership and attendance has grown exponentially. What was once a handful of skilled gamers simply trying to beat records has expanded to a huge variety of events that run the gamut from your everyday attempts at speedrun world records to absolutely fascinating and/or bizarre methods of beating everyone’s favorite games and under-appreciated cult classics. Games Done Quick is a place to see some of the best of the best in action when it comes to gaming and feel good about the cause as you watch top-tier gameplay in action.

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