It's that time of year again! No, not the one where you "skip the gym just this one time" and never go back, or the time where you try to remember if wrapping paper is recyclable — it's Awesome Games Done Quick, the charity speedrunning marathon that lasts for an entire week!
This year's AGDQ is in support of the Prevent Cancer Foundation, and will take place from Sunday, 9th January through to Sunday, 16th January. Following on from Summer Games Done Quick's record $2.9 million raised for Doctors Without Borders, AGDQ will feature a massive list of speedruns over the course of a week in an attempt to inch closer to that $3 million mark.
AGDQ is, of course, a digital-only event this year (because of the pandemic), but the livestream will be on GDQ's Twitch page, and VODs will be uploaded to the channel a few hours behind the stream.
As for our picks of what to watch, here are the speedruns and games that we're most excited to see:
Death's Door — 6:52pm ET, Sunday, January 9th
This hour-long run will be performed by the current holder of a second-place world record for the game, Scrublord, and narrated by Mr. Game and Shout, a GDQ volunteer and streamer.
Part Time UFO — 9:35am ET, Monday, January 10th
Worth watching just to get a sense of how utterly lovely PTUFO is, but also because speedrunner ykrin is hoping for a sub-30 minute run. Their current world record is 25 minutes.
Chicory: A Colorful Tale — 12:20pm ET, Monday, January 10th
There's always something special about taking a lovely, wholesome, tranquil game and utterly breaking it to get a ludicrous speedrun time. Punchy's 35-minute speedrun is par for the course, though: the current world record holder is a 5 minute, two second run. They must be really good at painting.
The Entire NES Block — from 5:58am - 9:30am ET, Tuesday, January 11th
The NES block is a staple of GDQ speedruns, and usually takes place at stupid o'clock because it's a bunch of games no one has played or heard of. Still, it's fun to watch speedrunners blast through these old, niche games, including Bucky O'Hare, Willow, and Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger. There will be more exciting NES games elsewhere in the schedule — Mega Man 2, for example, on Sunday 9th — but GDQ is all about the weird stuff, too.
Pokémon Crystal Key Item Randomizer — 11:06am ET, Wednesday, January 12th
Randomised runs are achieved through mods that basically shuffle whatever you want — items, dungeons, bosses, and so on — to create a relatively unpredictable run. It can break the game in fun ways, or it can make it nearly impossible to play; it's probably a lot more fun to watch, that's for sure.
Zelda's Adventure (CD-i) — 12:25am ET, Thursday, January 13th
Always fun to watch a trainwreck of a lost Zelda game, and even more fun to watch Douggernaught blast through it in an hour and a half. This game, by the way, has live-action cutscenes, and features Zelda as the protagonist... which is pretty cool, no?
Hades — 9:12pm ET, Friday, January 14th
Beloved indie roguelike Hades played well is a joy to see, and Hades played UPSETTINGLY fast is even better. This "All weapons" run takes just over two hours for cgull and tounis to complete, and even better: it's a race to see who can do it fastest. Tounis is #1 in the world at this (1 hour and 33 minutes!) and cgull is a close fourth place (1 hour 35 minutes), but will the RNG work in their favour?
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past — 3:35pm ET, Saturday, January 15th
Wind down from a hectic week with a lovely ALTTP run, from Japanese speedrunner hotarubi_ta, who holds multiple records for the game. This run is estimated at just under an hour to beat all the bosses.
Check out the schedule yourself right here — it will automatically adjust to your time zone so you don't need to do all that maths yourself!
Will you be tuning in to any of these speedruns? Leave a comment down below.