Summer Games Done Quick 2019 ended with a record-breaking donation train that broke $3 million right as the event came to a close. It was, needless to say, a spectacular event to behold!
In total, the event raised a little over $3 million from more than 50 000 donors. All of which will go directly to Doctors Without Borders. This is a massive increase over last year’s $2.1 million raised for charity. What is spectacular about these event is that they are video games driven. Speedruns of video games, to be more precise.
As someone who practically lives off Let’s Plays on YouTube, there is nothing more invigorating to see a particularly challenging game be beat in a fraction of the time that it would normally take to complete. As such, I have watched and combed through every one of the 139 speedrun events that took place during SGDQ 2019, and I have chosen five that you simply need to watch.
Usually, classic and old games prevail during Games Done Quick. With that said, there are always a fair few modern games dotted in there for good measure. In the list below, I modestly chose from both categories. Without further ado, the five must-watch events from SGDQ 2019 are:
Contra (low%, two-player)
Contra was one of only two go-to arcade games in my youth. I did not grow up with the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), or anything of the sort. Rather, my father bought a rather shoddy arcade clone back from one of his business trips. Every cartridge supported upwards of a 100 games, and Contra was one of the entries.
Contra is a side-scrolling run and gun title originally developed for the NES. It features two protagonists, Bill Rizer and Lance Bean of the Earth Marine Corps Contra unit (an elite group of soldiers specializing in guerrilla warfare), who are sent to an island to uncover the true nature of the alien entity that wants to control the earth. The game itself is not too challenging, but mastering it is a whole other form of art. Speedrunners Angrylanks and RottDawg ran it in less then twelve minutes.
Metroid is one of those games that most gamers today have never actually played, but have been impacted by it in more ways than they know. It is a simple game that introduced gameplay mechanics that revolutionised the industry. Sadly, I never played Metroid until well into my twenties, and I never really got to appreciate everything it has done for gaming.
Metroid originally released for the Nintendo Entertainment System with a rather simple premise. It is a science fiction game, set on a fictional planet called Zebes. Players control a character named Samus, as she travels through the planet’s caverns, hunting all kinds of space pirates. In Metroid, players start out with very weak weapons and limited abilities. As players make their way to future levels and gain better abilities, they can return to old levels in order to unlock new paths and defeat secret enemies. This game mechanic, now called Metroidvania, has been adopted by thousands of games since. Speedrunner Metroidmcfly finished the game in just over eleven minutes.
Resident Evil 2 (2019) (any%)
Resident Evil 2 (2019) is the outstanding remaster of the already incredible Resident Evil 2 that originally released in 1998. The sequel followed the premise of the first game and upped the ante quite a lot thanks to a new cast of characters and much higher stakes plot.
Resident Evil 2 (2019) released to much fanfare. The game followed the wonderfully scary and slow-paced Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, and introduced an entirely new generation to the uniquely slow and horrific, yet fast action-packed levels, of the classic Resident Evil titles. It was also remastered in the most faithful of ways. Bawkbasoup’s insanely quick 55-minute speedrun is unique in that he is one of the best hosts. His humour emanates throughout the speedrun and adequately infects the crowd behind him.
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (any% on PS4)
Uncharted is a franchise that I admittedly never really “got into”. I grew up with Tomb Raider, and Uncharted always felt like a weird off-brand clone. Turns out that the reason it felt weird was that, just like Tomb Raider, it was in a league of its own and not at all like Tomb Raider. Colour me impressed. I played through Drake’s Fortune and its sequel, and loved both games immensely.
As mentioned above, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune looks like an off-brand Tomb Raider clone at face value. However, the game ultimately comes into its own as characters slowly show what they are all about. Puzzles need a little bit more work, and combat is notoriously bad! However, it really is a wonderful adventure title that manages to find a sweet spot in every adventure gamer’s heart. Osskari finished the entire adventure in just 43-minutes. It took me eight hours originally!
Chrono Trigger (100%)
Naturally, I want to include Chrono Trigger on this list for two reasons: one is that the game is, simply put, one of the greatest role-playing games I have ever experienced. The storytelling is incredibly nuanced and features a time-travelling narrative unlike any other game. Secondly, this run is the final run of the entire event, and it serves as a great finale for both Summer Games Done Quick 2019, and this list. They made an entire million during this speedrun alone!
Chrono Trigger originally released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Sony PlayStation. It is a wonderful tale that brings a vast cast of characters together for a time travelling adventure unlike any other. It also features a huge number of endings, all of which are impacted by the smallest of choices that you make throughout your playthrough. This makes the ending that speedrunner Puwexil got during his 5-hour-41-minute run even more exciting to witness.
There you go, folks! It is not every day that Summer Games Done Quick breaks a huge record in such spectacular fashion, let alone break it during one of the best speed runs I have ever seen at the event. What do you think of the speedruns above? There are, of course, a few (read: 133) others that you can watch instead. The entire playlist can be found embedded here, starting with the pre-show.
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