This past Saturday, the video game speedrunning marathon Summer Games Done Quick concluded after raising $2,309,530 for the charity Doctors Without Borders. Taking place from August 16th to August 23rd this year’s Summer Games Done Quick featured speedruns of over 140 different titles.
For the uninitiated, speedrunning is the process of playing through a video game as quickly as possible. Whilst this may sound relatively niche, there are droves of active communities that run a diverse range of titles. But completing the game as quickly as possible isn’t the only objective. For many speedruns, runners must meet specific requirements to qualify for a given category, such as gathering every collectable item, defeating every boss, or wearing a blind-fold. Speedrunners plan out their routes in advance, developing complex strategies and practicing specific manoeuvers to save as much time as possible. Websites like Speedrun.com serve as worldwide leaderboards for these endeavours, chronicling runs from all over the world.
Arguably, a driving force behind this hobby’s popularity has been speedrunning marathons like Games Done Quick. Since its founding in 2010, the series has raised over 28 million dollars for charity. Games Done Quick generally takes place semi-annually, with an event in January and another in June or July. This year’s Summer Games Done Quick was initially delayed due to COVID-19 but was then rescheduled as an online marathon.
While the swelling applause of a live crowd was occasionally missed, this remote format allowed for more runners who live outside of the United States to participate. It also felt as many of the runners and commentators were more in their comfort zone. Even more so than usual, the event demonstrated these communities’ tight-knit bonds, with banter, incredibly specific factoids about the runs, and a general sense of camaraderie.
But most importantly, even amidst a global pandemic, the event was still able to raise over two million dollars for charity. The proceeds will be donated to Doctors Without Borders, otherwise known as Médecins Sans Frontières, a humanitarian NGO which treats victims of war and endemic disease all over the world. You can still donate to the charity through GDQ here.
Additionally, Games Done Quick’s Youtube channel has already uploaded 145 recorded runs from the event. Some standouts include the showings for Super Monkey Ball 2, Baba Is You, Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition, Pump It Up, Half-Life Alyx, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Hollow Knight, Demon’s Souls, The Witcher 3, Doom Eternal, and DUSK among others.