AGDQ Starts Tomorrow!

AGDQ, one of GDQ’s two yearly life speedrunning events, begins tomorrow and runs to the 24th! Here’s the schedule!

Here are some highlights, according to me. The times I give are US Eastern/Pacific, but the schedule page linked above can convert times to your own zone:

Sunday, January 14th

Noon/9 AM: Tunic – Everyone’s favorite fox-based Zelda-like.

12:40 PM/9:40 AM: Super Monkey Ball – Monkey Ball speedruns are always awesome to watch!

3:40 PM/12:40 AM: Tales’ Adventure – A glitchless run of a Game Gear game, and one of the less remarked-upon of the Sonic series.

4:49 PM/1:49 PM: Donkey Kong 64 – An infamous 3D platformer experienced the best possible way: watching someone else play it.

8:55 PM/5:55 PM: Ultimate Doom – One of several billion speedruns of Doom, I’d expect this to be heavily optimized.

9:43 PM/6:43 PM: Jet Set Radio Future – The underrated Xbox sequel to the Dreamcast original.

Monday, January 15th

3:13 AM/12:13 AM: The Typing of the Dead – Worth checking in for the funny word list!

5:13 AM/2:13 AM: Marble Madness II race – At last, over 30 years after the prototype sequel to Marble Madness was scrapped, it finally comes to GDQ. Mere days after the game was leaked to the public there were already extremely proficient runs of MM2 on Youtube, so don’t blink or it’ll be over before you open your eyes.

10:01 AM/7:01 AM: Manifold Garden, reverse tree order – This game is amazing.

11:38 AM/8:38 AM: 30XX – sequel to 20XX, a procedurally-generated platformer.

2:37 PM/11:37 AM: Metroid Prime 2: Echoes – A competent sequel to the original Metroid Prime that tends to be overshadowed by the original. This is a 100% run, scheduled for 2 1/2 hours.

7:30 PM/4:30 PM: Sonic Adventure 2 Battle – Another underrated game, this run seeks to get all A ranks.

10:55 PM/7:55 PM: Pikmin 4 – The Pikmin games seem to alternate, with the odd-numbered games having strong time limits, and the even-numbered ones being a lot more laid back. They’re all terrific though, and provide a kind of gameplay that few other games attempt.

Tuesday, January 16th

8:46 AM/5:46 AM: Arkanoid – I presume this is the NES version. Coming from the lineage of Breakout, this game is extremely hard. I hope they’re playing it on NES hardware, with the official paddle controller made for this game.

9:23 AM/6:23 AM: Gimmick! – The new schedule page doesn’t specify which platform the game is being played on, unfortunately. This could either be the NES prototype original or the official (and ludicrously expensive) exA-Arcadia remake.

11:34 AM/8 34 AM: The Legend of Zelda – This run is glitchless, which is an important consideration for Zelda 1 these days.

2:03 PM/11:03 AM: Gyromite (Game B, Dog Assistance) – 🐕🐕🐕???

8:00 PM/5:00 PM: Octopath Traveller II – Might be a good opportunity to see what this game is about, if you haven’t jumped at it yet?

10:52 PM/7:52 PM: Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night – IGA’s post-Konami Metroidvania, with an emphasis on the Vania.

Wednesday, January 17th

2:59 AM/11:59 PM[Tue]: Diablo (1996) – The original game, but played through as a Sorcerer at Level 1?

3:46 AM/12:46 AM: Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door – News of the Switch remake has put this classic back in the spotlight. It’s still the best Paper Mario game, and one of the best damn JRPGs period, overloaded with humor but with a great story too. It demonstrated that the Mario universe has the power to tell actually interesting stories-but it may also have been the game that causes Nintendo to rein in Intelligent Systems’ use of the Mario property, as (I believe) it’s the last game with individualized Toads.

7:15 AM/4:15 AM: Ducktales Remastered – The final voice appearance of Alan Young, Wilbur from the long-ago talking horse sitcom Mr. Ed, as Scrooge McDuck before he passed away. It’s one of Wayforward’s technically excellent 2D platformers, so it’ll be interesting to see how they break it.

8:26 AM/5:26 AM: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (arcade) – A 1 credit clear no less. I love seeing arcade games at GDQ, especially if they aren’t rhythm games, or as I like to think of them, Super Simon.

10:24 AM/7:24 AM: Super Mario Bros. 2 USA – I find it sad that NES games tend to be underrepresented at GDQ in this era, although I can certainly see why, as this run is scheduled to be just 12 minutes long.

11:06 AM/8:06 AM: Monkey Island 1 vs Monkey Island 2 – I don’t know what this means. Are they playing them both?

12:25 PM/9:25 AM: Metroid Dread – 100% NMG (“No Major Glitches”)

2:40 PM/11:40 AM: Pokemon Crystal Item Randomizer – Additionally, this is played co-op, meaning (I think) two players are playing, but when one finds an item the other immediately gets it too.

7:05 PM/4:05 PM: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – This run is marked “MST.” To explain, that stands for Medallians/Stones/Trials. For an explanation of the explanation, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

9:35 PM/6:35 PM: Super Mario 64 – “16 Star Drum%” Oh those abbreviations. Whatever that means, they expect it to take 24 minutes.

10:06 PM/7:06 PM: TASbot presents Super Metroid – Past TASbot performances have reprogrammed games to present full motion video on a Gameboy and a completely alternate ending to Ocarina of Time, so whatever they’re doing this year is anyone’s guess.

Thursday, January 18th

2:11 AM/11:11 PM[Wed] – 7:25 AM/4:25 AM: Short games – I don’t know if this counts as “Awful Block” since Ninja Gaiden is in there, but they are running a number of lesser-seen games, including NES Beetlejuice, the Xbox 360 promotion Burger King tie-in Sneak King and Virtual Hydlide.

11:42 AM/8:42 AM: Kirby and the Amazing Mirror – That odd Kirby game that was functionally a Metroidvania and gave him Smash Bros. powers as one of his copy abilities. Also, Kirby has three other Kirbies wandering around as helpers, and you can call them in a cell phone. Kind of a failed experiment, but it’s still interesting!

12:19 PM/9:19 AM: Castlevania III – A solid NES game, and one that hasn’t been broken to pieces as it still takes 40 minutes to finish.

2:35 PM/11:35 PM: Super Mario Sunshine – 120 Shines. That means getting all 240 Blue Coins too. AGDQ had a cursed run of Sunshine where the runner suffered a Game Over, but because the play eschewed saving to save time, all progress was completely lost, and they had to start from scratch! Hopefully this one will go better.

8:37 PM/5:37 PM: Super Mario Maker 2 Glitch Showcase – Nintendo seems to be neglecting this game-it didn’t get a bookmark website like the first one did, and now Wonder’s out with nary a remark about SMM2. It feels like they’ll bin this one before long, so please enjoy these glitches while you can.

9:22 PM/6:22 PM: Halo: Combat Evolved – Co-op on Easy. I understand that this extremely niche game was nevertheless popular in some circles. The 3? 4? of you who know of this game will enjoy it I’m sure.

Friday, January 19th

9:17 AM/6:17 AM: Undertale, True Pacifist Race – It’s hard to believe this game’s already eight years old! When will we start seeing Deltarune chapters at GDQ?

3:22 PM/12:22 PM: Risk of Rain Returns – This game is very new but already has speedruns!

4:40PM/1:40 PM: Super Mario Bros. Wonder

10:34 PM/7:34 PM: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask – 100% No Major Glitches Relay

Saturday, January 20th

5:38 AM/2:38 AM: Star Fox 64 – 2k%, which means, in the style of speedrunners, a speedrun with a special requirement, here that the player finish a score of 2,000 or more. Back when I played Star Fox 64 a lot, my highest score ever I think was a bit over 1,700, and I worked hard for that score, so this requires some “skillz,” as they say.

8:46 AM/5:46 AM: Sonic Origins Plus – “Anniversary Mode” Relay

6:33 PM/3:33 PM: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom – Any%, so, expect an unwise confrontation with Ganon with only four hearts.

7:51 PM/4:51 PM: Baldur’s Gate 3 – Last year’s other megahit, this goes through all acts but is only scheduled for 35 minutes. A friend of mine has, over a week, started this game completely over from scratch three times without finishing, so it’s safe to assume he’s falling way behind the curve.

9:04 PM/6:04 PM: Final Fantasy V Pixel Remaster – The last game of the show, with “Cutscene Remover.” Even without them, scheduled for 2 1/2 hours.

AGDQ 2023 Approaches!

Everyone’s favorite, or at least the most famous, charity speedrunning marathon is back! It’s January 8 through 14. This is the one with Awful Block, BTW! This year AGDQ is being run to support the Prevent Cancer Foundation.12

This year I have a schedule conflict and so I won’t be able to watch it as carefully to report on day to day here. But I can try to say something where I can when I happen to catch a stolen moment!

Of note, AGDQ 2023 this year is completely online again. SGDQ this year went back to being in person, but particular issues resulted in AGDQ going back to online-only. Specifically, back in 2020 before the pandemic happened, they had locked in a venue in Florida. Since then not only did the pandemic hit, but Florida went absolutely anti-vaccine crazy, not to mention anti-trans!

Both of these factors resulted in their decision to not hold the event in Florida, even though it requires paying substantial cancellation fees. That sucks, but I support them in this decision, and I say this as someone who lives in a state close to Florida.

Even though I won’t be able to follow it as closely as last time, they will still be posting archives of all their runs to Youtube so they can be watched after the fact! And I can still take a moment to have a look at their schedule right now and find some things that might be of interest out our audience of three, maybe even four people. All times here are US Eastern:

SUNDAY, January 8th

Noon: Splatoon 3, still a really new game so you’ll probably to be able to see a lot of new tech!

1:30 PM: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The past six years this game has been absolutely blown apart in strange and entertaining ways! This may be its last year in the spotlight though, since its sequel is coming out this year!

4:29 PM: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. An old favorite!

11:19 PM: Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky. This is a randomizer run, so unusual events may be in the offing!

MONDAY, January 9th

4:30 AM: Ax Battler, A Legend of Golden Axe. A fairly obscure Game Gear game, focusing on the least charismatic character of the original Golden Axe trio.

7:35 AM: Bomberman 64: The Second Attack.

11:39 AM: Shovel Knight Dig. A race!

2:54 PM: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge. This is that recent game made as an homage to the classic Konami arcade titles! This is described as a “chill race,” and is being played in co-op mode.

6:59 PM: Portal. A “bonus game,” which will be done if a donation incentive is met. Portal is another game that’s been annihilated by speedrunners.

10:59 PM: Fable Anniversary.

TUESDAY, January 10th

12:29 AM: Ape Escape 2.

3:39 AM: Goat Simulator. “Here comes that goat again….”

10:29 AM: Castlevania: Harmony of Despair.

11:39 AM: Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow.

2:30 PM: Super Mario Galaxy 2.

7:05 PM: Outer Wilds.

WEDNESDAY, January 11th

4:02 AM: FEZ.

6:28 AM: Final Fantasy VII. Over seven hours!

2:03 PM: Stardew Valley. A glitchless race.

2:53 PM: A Sonic the Hedgehog block, with Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Colors: Ultimate and Sonic Advance 2, which is the subject of a character bidwar. #teamamy

5:21 PM: Pokemon Red “or Yellow,” I don’t know what that means. Glitchless, but only two hours long. How?

7:36 PM: Ocarina of Time 3D.

8:21 PM: Last year’s hit Stray as a bonus game.

11:54 PM: Kirby Star Allies, with a “Guest Star?”

THURSDAY, January 12th

12:44 AM: Pac-Man: The New Adventures. This is that funky 16-bit game where you don’t directly control Pac-Man but instead try to influence an AI-controlled Pac to do what needs doing. This may be intended to kick off Awful Block, but I don’t think it’s really awful, just, not really much of a Pac-Man game.

1:23 AM: AWFUL BLOCK! Yo! Noid 2: Game of a Year Edition, Yolanda, Lizard Lady vs. The Cats, Office Race, Salamander County Public Television, Battle of the Eras, Morodashi Sumo, Dokkaebi-ga Ganda, I’m going to die if I don’t eat sushi!, Sonic Blast, Bad Guys At School, and Steven Seagal is the Final Option, at 7:05 AM.

8:59 AM: The World Ends With You: Final Remix.

12:54 PM: Metal Slug. Oh I’m sorry, that should be Metal Slug!, with an exclamation point.

2:00 PM: BS The Legend of Zelda. Not only is this a terrifically obscure game, only released on the Satellaview in Japan (and only coming down to us in any form due to the hard work of preservationists and hackers), but it’s a 100% race!

6:17 PM: Puyo Puyo Fever 2.

6:57 PM: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe DLC tracks as a bonus game.

8:27 PM: The Simpsons Hit & Run.

11:43 PM: Power Wash Simulator.

FRIDAY, January 13th

3:06 AM: Kirby Air Ride. A hugely underrated game! Although sadly this is normal racing and not its stand-out mode, City Trial.

3:39 AM: A short NES block, with Jackal, Mickey Mousecapade and Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers.

5:33 AM: Beautiful Katamari.

7:03 AM: Gunstar Heroes.

8:28 AM: Kirby’s Adventure.

10:35 AM: Metroid Prime 1+2. Multiworld Randomizer Co-op. How will this even work?

1:45 PM: Cult of the Lamb.

6:00 PM: Elephants and Snakes and Crocodiles. On the SNES? I’ve never even heard of this one!

6:55 PM: Final Fantasy XIV. The description of this one is a jumbled alphabet of abbreviations and initialisms, I have no idea what any of that means.

8:05 PM: Arcade Stepmania, as a bonus game. This is a demonstration, not an actual speedrun, but these tend to be insane anyway!

9:35 PM: Super Mario All-Stars Shuffler.

SATURDAY, January 14th

2:38 AM: Blinx the Time Sweeper.

5:29 AM: Mega Man 64 and Mega Man Rock N Roll. The first of these two is the N64 version of Mega Man Legends, the second is a fan game.

9:08 AM: Donald (Duck) in Maui Mallard.

11:27 AM: Metroid Dread. All boss glitchless. To think we went from this game being a vaguely rumored cancelled title to an official release being speedrun at AGDQ in a little over a year.

1:17 PM: Terraria.

6:02 PM: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past as a bonus game.

10:53: Super Mario 3. Warpless, but any%.

That should be it, although of course they like to put in unannounced bonus games toward the end, so keep your eyes open!

Summer Games Done Quick 2022

It’s almost time! Tomorrow, June 26, begins SGDQ for 2022, the popular speedrunning marathon, this year benefiting Doctors Without Borders. Their other yearly marathon AGDQ back in January earned 3.4 million dollars, can they top it this time? After two years of remote speedruns, this year it will once again be held in person, with a live audience.

Here is their schedule, and from it, here are some highlights of particular interest to our topic categories of indie, retro, and niche games. Times are given in US Eastern/Pacific, dates by midnight Eastern time.

What to look for? Any games you particularly like, or want to see obliterated, of course. Anything that sounds like it might be a romhack will usually be a good time. Races are fun. Randomizers provide an entirely different kind of challenge to a speedrunning mindset. RPGs and Pokemon games often require some non-intuitive decision-making. Very weird games, of course. New games provide a chance to see people deal with something that’s not been exhaustively demolished, and it’s also cool to see what has been discovered in the short time since its release. And any obscure or rare games you happen to know of.

There are far too many interesting things in the list to call them all out, so, here are three arbitrarily-chosen items to watch for each day:

Sunday, June 26

12:30 PM/9:30 AM: Pre-Show

1:00 PM/10:00 AM: Shadow of the Colossus, PS4, NTA Boss Rush RANDOM

6:58 PM/3:58 PM: Kirby and the Forgotten Land, Switch, Any%

10:10 PM/7:10 PM: Spyro the Dragon, PS, 120%

Monday, June 27

6:41 AM/3:41 AM: Blaster Master, NES, Glitchless (US) Race

9:09 AM/6:09 AM: NiGHTS Into Dreams, Saturn, All Levels Any%

4:03 PM/1:03 PM: The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (2019), Switch, Any% Glitchless Race

Tuesday, June 28

Midnight/9:00 PM[27th]: Silent Hill 4: The Room, PC, Any%

9:14 AM/6:14 AM: Earnest Evans, Genesis, Any% (in 12 minutes)

12:02 PM/9:02 AM – 3:26 PM/12:26 PM: Mega Man Games! Powered Up, Xtreme, Wily Wars and 5

Wednesday, June 29

3:33 AM/12:33 AM: Final Fantasy IV Worlds Collide Randomizer

11:13 AM/8:13 AM: Knuckles Chaotix, 32X, Beat the Game

3:42 PM/12:42 PM: Pokemon Emerald Randomizer, GBA, Evolution Chaos Co-Op

Thursday, June 30

1:17 AM/10:17 PM[29th]: Banjo-Tooie, N64, Any%

3:43 AM/12:43 AM-8:44 AM/5:44 AM: Silly games! DEEEER Simulator, Mi Scusi, Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion, Jimmie Johnson’s Anything With an Engine, Gourmet Warriors, Thunder In Paradise, and Incredible Crisis!

9:08 PM/6:08 PM: Bonus Game, SOUND VOLTEX EXCEED GEAR, 1 player, PC

Friday, July 1

9:01 AM/6:01 AM: Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon, PC, Normal Ending

4:38 PM/1:38 PM: F-Zero GX, Gamecube, Story Mode, Max Speed, Very Hard (yow!)

9:28 PM/6:28 PM: Bonus Game, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Beta Showcase

Saturday, July 2

11:22 AM/8:22 AM: Bloodstainted: Curse of the Moon, PC, Any% Ultimate

5:36 PM/2:36 PM: Kaizo Super Metroid, SNES, Any%

8:31 PM/8:31 PM: Super Mario Maker 2 Relay Race!

Sunday, July 3

12:21 AM/9:21 PM[3rd]: Elden Ring, PC, All Remembrances + possibly as a bonus game, an Any% run