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Gotta go fast: all the awesome stuff at AGDQ 2024

Awesome Games Done Quick (AGDQ) 2024 wraps up this weekend and The Verge is on-site in the positively balmy Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to bring you the final two days of speedrunning goodness.

Games Done Quick (GDQ) finale weekends tend to have some of the more exciting runs. On Friday, I’m looking forward to the run of Luminescent, a romhack of Super Mario World designed to be some of the most intense Mario platforming you will ever see. Later Friday afternoon there’s a run of Super Mario Bros. Wonder. It’s always fun when a popular game gets its GDQ debut if only for the moments of “Oh, so that’s how that’s done.” I don’t know what Magical Tetris Challenge is, but any time Tetris shows up at a GDQ it’s bound to be a good, mind-melting time.

Though this is AGDQ’s last weekend, there are still plenty of runs from earlier in the event worth checking out. There was that time a runner played Super Mario 64 with a drum set. And that time a dog played Gyromite. Oh, and check out the entire Awful Games Done Quick block, which includes a run of Sneak King, an Xbox 360 game published by Burger King featuring their titular mascot running around stealthily delivering Whoppers to people.

Stick around to get a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to make an event like AGDQ run and to hear how GDQ’s 10-plus years of charity funding has impacted cancer prevention and research.

  • Two million hype!

    AGDQ 2024 has just raised $2 million dollars for charity! The charity speedrunning event first broke the $2 million threshold back in 2017 and surpassed that with $3 million just two years later.

    So while AGDQ 2024 likely won’t break any donation records, it was still great to witness the milestone live. Hooray!

  • God’s (least) favorite princess.

    Shadowheart is the most romanced character in Baldur’s Gate 3 and has been nicknamed “God’s favorite princess” by the BG3 community (it’s a meme, trust me.) Apparently, this designation also makes her the most valuable character in a Baldur’s Gate 3 speedrun. She gets transformed into a bear and throws her massive ursine weight around to kill one of the game’s major bosses.

    She also dies...a lot. Most of this Baldur’s Gate 3 speedrun at AGDQ 2024 involves shoving her off cliffs, using her dead body as a resource, and generally abusing one of the game’s most beloved characters.

  • Weeeeeee!

    If you’re a regular, mortal player, it probably took you somewhere between 50 and 750 hours to beat Elden Ring. But if you’re a speedrunner, you can beat the game in 20...minutes and! you don’t even have to fight a boss.

    At AGDQ 2024, runner mitchriz1 showed off the visually impressive feat of zipping across the map to beat the game, a trick that’s so sensitive that he needed an actual metronome to make it work. Check out an example below and you should be able to find the full run on YouTube soon.

  • It’s dangerous to go alone, take this.

    In my short tour of all the technology that keeps GDQ running, I asked what piece of equipment director of technology Jason “Wyrm” Deng would grab first in case the building caught on fire.

    Meet “The Wing.”

    It’s a 48-channel digital mixer responsible for ensuring all the runners, commentators, game audio, and hosts come in crystal clear and it’s the GDQ tech team’s most expensive piece of equipment.

    While it’s not exactly feasible to pick up this monster in the case of a speedrunning-related catastrophe, it’s what he’d at least try to save first.

    Photo of the Wing, a 48-channel digital audio mixer
    The Verge / Ash Parrish
  • This PlayStation RPG is the game the GDQ tech team hates the most

    Screenshot from Chrono Cross featuring the main character, Kid, a light-skinned woman with spiky blond hair smiling against the sky
    Image: Square Enix

    Making sure an event as large as Games Done Quick (GDQ) runs smoothly is a monumental task. There are lots of technical moving parts, from video equipment, to lighting, sound, and stream overlays, to donation trackers that have to be kept running 24 hours a day for a week straight. The tech team also has to consider the individual needs of over 100 runners playing on consoles that range in age and complexity from the NES to the PlayStation 5.

    With all of that going on, I wondered which game out of the thousands that have been run at GDQ throughout its 10-plus-year history the tech team hates the most, and the answer surprised me.

    Read Article >
  • Now...get me some news!

    I’ve only been at Games Done Quick for all of 20 minutes and I’m already charmed by the event’s press badge. It’s Penn! The journalism bird from The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, one of the best examples of press representation in a video game ever. I’ve collected a lot of press and convention badges in my time but this is one I’m proud to keep.

    “SOAR LONG!”

    Photo of Games Done Quick 2024’s press badge featuring Penn from The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.
    Ash Parrish / The Verge
  • Awesome Games Done Quick’s adorable dog speedrun was just the start

    Photo of Peanut Butter, a Shiba Inu, standing with his paw on a custom video game controller made up of blue, red, yellow, and green button pads.
    Photo: JSR_

    Though Awesome Games Done Quick will go on for the rest of the week, the charity speedrunning event may have already peaked with a run performed by Peanut Butter... a Shiba Inu.

    Using a custom-made controller and spurred by commands and treats, Peanut Butter button-pressed his way into our hearts and the speedrunning history books with his run of Gyromite in the first-ever speedrun done by a dog. Gyromite is a game where the player guides a sleepwalking scientist through his lab by pressing buttons to raise or lower colored pillars in the scientist’s way. To successfully complete a level, players must not get squished by releasing a pillar too soon and avoid monsters called “smicks” that can kill the player in one hit.

    Read Article >
  • There’s no rule that says a dog can’t speedrun.

    In about an hour, Peanut Butter, the shiba inu partner of speedrunner JSR_, will make his Games Done Quick debut running Gyromitean NES game that made use of Nintendo’s R.O.B accessory. This is the first time a dog has ever speedrun a game at the annual speedrunning charity event and it is sure to go down as one of the best runs of all time. Don’t miss it.

  • Jay Peters

    Sep 5, 2023

    Jay Peters

    Awesome Games Done Quick is taking place in-person in Pittsburgh at the beginning of 2024.

    The event will take place from January 14th through January 21st.

    Last year’s show was set to be in-person in Florida, but the GDQ organization switched it to an online event so that it could “provide a safe and welcoming event to all.”

    GDQ founder Mike Uyama is also sticking around, he explained in an interview with NME. He had been planning to step down.