By now the controllers are wrapped up, and the various retro and modern game consoles have been powered down. Games Done Quick was successful in their mission to bring competitive digital fun to gamers of all creeds, rather than just the Assassins.
The bi-annual charity marathon gained its moniker straight from the community that spawned it; the expansive community of men and women who attempt to play video games as quickly as the game itself allows. These gamers identify themselves as the speedrunning community.
The event’s origins are particularly humble. The original Games Done Quick was held on January 1-3, 2010, and was live-streamed from the founder, Mike Uyama’s childhood home.
This single stream would go on to raise almost $11,000 for their then supported charity, CARE which stands for Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere. Of course, this pales in comparison to what the event is now able to accomplish; the three-day span turned into a week, and that $11,000 turned to being consistently over $1,000,000.
Fast forward to June 24, 2018, the opening day of their summer event, the second of their bi-annual charity speedrunning marathons. The aptly named Summer Games Done Quick is the less popular of the two events, but no less impactful.
The timing for the summer event ranges from late June to early July, and for the last seven years, the whole of the summer event’s earnings have been donated directly to Doctors Without Borders.
Some may ask why these players don’t just donate directly to Doctors Without Borders. The answer is that Games Done Quick is just a fun experience in and of itself. Some of the games ran at this event are iconic, games that are easily recognizable regardless of an onlooker’s familiarity with the actual act of ‘speedrunning.’
Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda and a variety of Mario titles can often be found on the chopping block for speedrunners sitting down on the couch to show the skills they’ve been honing for hours on end. Mastery is a word that can fit how intimately familiar these runners come to be with these games, and the technical skill and knowledge at play can be incredible at times.
If the sheer spectacle isn’t enticing enough, there’s a sort of feedback loop built directly into how the live-stream handles donations. The donations are read aloud on stream, in front of the 100,000 viewer-strong chatroom, and donors can leave a message to be read to the entire stream inspiring conversation and reaction from other viewers.
There are always tons of donation incentives for getting your money in at certain times during the marathon, or in certain totals, augmenting what happens in some of the speedruns themselves. Naming the characters, glitch exhibitions and alternate routes through the games are just a few of these augmentations.
Of course, if all of this doesn’t do it for you, there are prizes on offer during the event itself. For reaching a certain total amount of money over the course of the marathon, viewers can be put into a raffle to win a plethora of compelling prizes. The grand prize this year was two PlayStation 4s.
This is just an alternative method of donating to make a difference. While there certainly is a case of donating for goodness sake, having a little fun never hurts.
Make sure to catch Awesome Games Done Quick in January at twitch.tv/gamesdonequick and at their website gamesdonequick.com if you’re curious about the experience itself.