Summer may have technically begun Thursday with the solstice (and start of Steam’s summer sale), but it doesn’t kick into high gear until tomorrow with the start of the annual Summer Games Done Quick.
Starting Sunday at 1 p.m. and running for the next week, players will race to complete more than 150 games, all in the name of raising money for charity. The event will be livestreamed on the Games Done Quick Twitch channel, with commentators providing an insider point of view and soliciting and reading donations. There will also be an actual audience in attendance at the Bloomington, Minn., hotel playing host.
(You don’t have to be stuck to your computer to watch. Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have Twitch apps, as does the Amazon Fire TV. You can also throw the video from your Android device to a Chromecast plugged into your TV.)
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For those unfamiliar with the practice of speed running, it’s a game-playing philosophy challenging players try to complete a game as quickly as possible. Watching a speed run often lends a new appreciation for a favorite game as you see all the ways it can be “bent” by the player.
Speed running is a varied field, with some players happily exploiting glitches — mistakes in the game’s code — while others play without. (They’re both equally valid, with separate records kept for each style.) The speed runs in SGDQ will feature a mixture of both styles, with each run required to meet specific criteria, such as collecting everything or playing on a certain difficulty.
The games to be tackled during SGDQ this week include classic mainstays like “Ghosts ‘n Goblins” and “Super Metroid” to more recent fare like “Cuphead” and “Celeste.” Sorry, no “Fortnite.” (You can find the full schedule here.)
It culminates, as most marathons should, with a seven-hour sprint through “Final Fantasy VI” starting at 6:02 p.m. Saturday. (As someone who would happily let the game idle on the start screen that long just for the “Prelude,” finishing the game that quickly is impressive.)
Summer Games Done Quick began in 2011 and is organized by Speed Demos Archive and Speed Runs Live. SGDQ was spun off from the annual Awesome Games Done Quick charity livestream marathon, which started in 2010 and takes place in early January.
Over its history, the two GDQ series have raised a combined $14.6 million for charity. Last year’s SGDQ raised $1.8 million for Doctors Without Borders, which again will be this year’s beneficiary.
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