AGDQ 2017 Marathon Recap – The Live Blog


Games Done Quick is about three things at heart. Raising money for charity, playing games quickly, and breaking records. This year they did both in great form. A grand total of $2,218,120.30 was raised for The Prevent Cancer Foundation, a huge increase from the previous best total of $1.5 million set in 2015. I covered this year’s week long event on my twitch channel and twitter feed and loved every minute of it.

A Strong Start

The stream went live at 11:30 am and right away the donation tracker was ticking with a total of $500. The strong start continued with donation momentum building at a record pace. Before the first hour was up a total of $10,000 reached with no sighs of slowing. The first runs of the marathon were met with great excitement and executed with apparent practiced ease. The first day’s events featured a broad spectrum of games and categories including: single player runs of Ape Escape and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, A Cop-Op run of Borderlands 2, and a four way race of the original Mega Man.

Incentives and Bid Wars

Like many fundraising marathons AGDQ 2017  featured a number of prizes and incentives based on donation amount. Unique to GDQ events are game incentives and bid wars. These bids come in many forms including key gameplay choices, glitch exhibitions, special category runs, alternate controller gimiks, or file and character names.
The first of the incentives this year was choosing a file name for the Ocarina of Time run. Donors could chose a filename among predetermined options or submit their own. Out of the 12 submitted the winning bid, Filename Germench, earned $467.00 with a total of $1,629 earned from bids. Bid wars focus on binary choices in a game run. The first of which was the Determine the Knights’ Fate in Shovel Knight. Towards the end of the game the player is given a choice to Save or Abandon the enemy knights you’ve faced throughout the game. Out of the total $3,774.17 donated, Save them won out with $2,623.17 bid. Day one ended with a total of $100,000 donated.

Donation Messages

The marathon runs 24 hours for the entire week. Runs are broken up by short intermissions featuring a rotation of announcers who read messages left by donors. While many of these messages are generic some are heartfelt thanks from people who see the benefit fundraisers like this provide. Other messages are just fun with donors challenging the announcer to pronounce their names correctly or asking trivia with a promise to donate more if the announcer answers correctly.

GDQ Traditions

While many of the runs at GDQ are pitched and approved months in advance of the event, there are some that are now concidered traditional. These are spread out across the event but include games like Super Monkey Ball, Tetris: The Grand Masters, and Super Metroid. But even these games can be changed up and made more interesting. This year featured a Rom hack of Super Metroid that turned the game on its side, literally! Super Metroid Rotation tilted the map by 90 degrees, altering the game significantly. Substituting for Tetris: The Grand Masters this year was Tetris: Card Captor Sakura, an Anime crossover with the classic block dropper. But don’t let that fool you. The game is just as challenging as its predecessor.
Another tradition at GDQ is the Awful Games Done Quick block. Scheduled late Thursday night to prevent offending the casual viewer, the Awful block features terrible games and the people brave, or foolish, enough to master them. Featured in this block are games like Barman Forever(shudder), Timecop(why?), and Cool World(bleh). The runners’ self aware humor makes the block an enjoyable experience despite the aberrations they play.

New This Year

New to this year’s marathon was the Random Game Tournament. Four Players are sat down with no knowledge of the games they will be playing and pitted against each other in a race to completion. The organizers were especially cruel in their selection, which was made apparent when the contestants were handed a pair of bongos for the first match, Donkey Kong Jungle Beat. Following Donkey Kong was Marble Madness for Wii, and Adventure Island: The Beginning. The contestants met each challenge with determination.

The Endurance Runs

Running games quickly doesn’t always meant that they are done in minutes. Some titles still take hours to complete. Features game like this often take up the late/early hours of the marathon when attending crows and viewership dips lowest. I applaud these runners for taking up these challenging endurance runs despite the low audience numbers. This year those titles included Final Fantasy(NES), Paprt Mario: The Thousand Year Door, and Metal Gear Solid 2.

The Finale

The Marathon’s finale began late Saturday night with the traditional four way Super Metroid race(Save the Animals!) followed by the first GDQ run of Undertale. The latter having not one, but four bid incentives. Just before the final run, donor momentum accelerated so quickly the final thousands needed to reach 2 million dollars came so quickly the crowd began to count down and cheer. With a final donation total of $2,218,120.30 tallied AGDQ2017 is clearly a resounding success. But even after fanfare and accolade there was one final message the GDQ staff had for everyone. See you at Summer Games Done Quick in Minneapolis Minesota this July!

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