These Are the 16 Can’t Miss Speedruns of AGDQ 2020

Here are some of the most intriguing speedruns set for AGDQ, starting this weekend.

Now that the holidays are over, it’s time for gamer Christmas! Or, well, Awesome Games Done Quick (AGDQ), a weeklong, 24-hour-running speedrunning marathon where talented runners race through their favorite games for charity. It runs twice a year (with Summer Games Done Quick… in the summer), and as the kind of person who almost always has twitch speedruns on in the background while I work, it really is a sort of holiday.

The whole schedule lives here, but I wanted to point out a few highlights that I’ll be watching, as an armchair connoisseur of fine speedruns. Or something like that. As always, you can watch it all on their twitch channel.

On day one, I’ll be pulling up a chair at 4:04pm to watch CovertMuffin run Star Wars – Escape from Yavin 4: The Lost Maps. I’ve never heard of this game, but I enjoy the runner (especially from his previous Star Wars runs), and sometimes, the best way to learn about semi-obscure games is to watch them get systematically taken apart by a talented player. Imo.

Not long after that is the Super Mario Bros. 3 100% race by mitchflowerpower, TheHaxor, and stewie_cartman, then a Skyward Sword run by gymnast86. I watch Zelda speedruns perhaps too much, and always love watching SS get skewered like this. It’s a fascinating piece of game design that exposes a lot of the highs and lows of the series — and would be the last “main” game before Breath of the Wild completely overhauled the model.

On Monday the 6th, V0oid is doing a 103% run of the weird, wonderful, totally underrated Donkey Kong Country 3 at 11:16am, then, a Sonic Block begins with a run of Sonic Colours (for those keeping score, this is one of the best 2D Sonics of the 2000s), by CriticalCyd at 1:22pm. Sonic CD and Sonic and Knuckles come just after that.

Tuesday closes out with a massive Zelda relay, featuring JSR_, Greenmario, ChristosOwen, TGH, Rezovayix, JoshRTA, rcdrone, justinman114, Cantaloupeme, Pro_JN, and BluntBunny, from 8:21pm to midnight.

sgdq logo

The next runs that caught my eye are Linkus7’s Wind Waker any% run on Friday night at 7:04pm – as I watch Linkus regularly and Wind Waker is a very fun game to watch. That’s followed by the wild experimentation of TASbot speedruns of Mario classics, then some more chaotic fun: Super Mario 64 Randomizer by 360Chrism, Simply, and Puncayshun at 10:31pm, then a co-op run of Super Mario World by authorblues and LackAttack24 that’s described by this positively-wild-sounding category: “One Mind 11 Exit Coop — SNES.” That’s some good, spooky stuff. I like it.

Finally, late Friday night/very early Saturday morning is the Control run at 1:21am, by Bryonato. I’m just fascinated to see how that game’s physics are manipulated to speedrun the game, it feels very thematically appropriate.

The last day and last few runs always look promising: there’s a Super Mario Maker 2 blind relay at 6:29pm featuring Carl Sagan, grandpoobear, PangaeaPanga, Barbarian, juzcook, ryukahr, Aurateur, Thabeast721, a mysterious bonus game, and then, finally, the last full run of the show at 9:39pm is a little gem called Super Metroid Impossible run by Oatsngoats. I’ve never seen it, but I’d very much like to.

And those are the runs that jumped out to me. AGDQ is fun to watch pretty much no matter what is going on, if you have an interest in speedrunning and the positively WILD things the practice reveals about game design. Enjoy!