Every January for the past few years, some of the most skilled gamers from around the world have grouped together to host an exhibition that shows off just how much you can break some of the best games ever made – if you dedicate enough time, patience and skill to the craft.
Enter Awesome Games Done Quick (or AGDQ, if you want to get it out your mouth faster). The past few years have seen the twice-a-year event take place online thanks to the on-going Covid-19 pandemic, but that hasn’t prevented the event from raising tons of money for charity, or providing some incredibly hype moments for us all to enjoy over the course of the marathon.
This year was a record-setting year for AGDQ, too: as well as seeing nine in-game world records set at the event, AGDQ 2022 is the highest earning marathon in the event’s colorful history, raising an impressive $3,416,729,85 for Prevent The Cancer Foundation (at the time of writing). Of that number, an eye-watering $3,179,822.91 was raised without Subs/Bits/Sponsors donations added, meaning this year’s stream donations only beat out previous years’ totals. Not bad for some gamers dashing through games, eh?
#AGDQ2022 has raised a total amount of $3,416,729 for @preventcancer! This is officially the most we’ve ever raised in the history of @GamesDoneQuick – ANOTHER WR🏆
Thank you to everyone who made this marathon possible, and thank you all for your generosity & support❤️
— Games Done Quick (@GamesDoneQuick) January 16, 2022
Whilst we recommend heading over to either the AGDQ Twitch page or the official Youtube account to check out as many of the runs as you can, we’re aware that it’s just not possible to find the time to trawl back through seven days worth of footage. To that end, we’ve listed a few of our favourites below, so you can get a decent idea of just how impressive this year was.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (Blindfolded Any%)
OK, let’s start with the run that everybody’s been talking about – and the one you’ve no doubt seen plastered all over your social feeds. In this run, a high-point of the week without a shadow of a doubt, Mitchriz managed to complete the entire game blindfolded. If you struggled against the early boss, Gyoubu, and spent hours trying to finish it off with all your faculties intact, a brief glimpse at this astonishing show of skill (17 mins in for the boss fight) will make you feel about 3cm high.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about this run is the fact that it came in at 45 minutes under the estimated time, with Mitchriz annihilating the game in just two hours. I’m not sure I could clear the first boss in that time, let alone the whole damn game. This is what speedrunning is all about, and the fact that the runner could do this without any vision – relying on memory and improvising to sound cues alone – will never not be staggering.
Pokemon Crystal (Key Item Randomizer) Race
Pokemon speedruns are a favourite of mine, and not just for nostalgia; there’s usually a great deal of fan interaction, the naming incentives and dumb things runners do to skip even fractions of a second never fail to raise a smile, and sometimes it’s just nice to watch a game that you’d lovingly sink hours into over the course of a few weeks (or months, or years) get beaten in a matter of hours. This Randomizer run from Keizaron, 360Chrism and Shenanagans plays host to some wonderful banter, and is a great showcase of everyone involved in the stream knowing their stuff inside out.
Where Pokemon runs often require people to take routes that have been revised to the point of tedium, this run makes practically everything except Pokemon stats random. Want to start the game with a Victreebel? Go ahead. Want to achieve all the Gym Badges in a different order? Sure! Want to get encounter a Legendary way earlier than you should, by any rights? It’s all part of the plan, baby.
Come for the manic random nature of the event that keeps all the runners on their toes, stay for the formal apology to Bulbasaur.
Slay The Spire (4 Character Unseeded)
If you’ve put so much as 30 minutes into Slay the Spire, you’ll likely take a second to consider someone speedrunning this game at all and think “how the hell do you do that?” Well, SpeedFrog is here to show you how it’s done. This run is unseeded – which means SpeedFrog needs to make decisions as the run progresses, and has no foresight about what’s going to go down as the game goes on. In Layman’s terms; this run is the same setup as you or I booting up the title for a casual run. Gulp.
If you’ve struggled with this game, ever, I can’t recommend that you watch this run more: SpeedFrog’s encyclopedic knowledge of everything there is to know about the Slay the Spire is as inspiring as it is impressive. It’s not often you feel smarter from just watching a game done quick, but noting some of SpeedFrog’s strats and then booting up a casual go at the game myself allowed me to do far, far better than I’ve done in Slay the Spire for a long time.
This is as much of a masterclass in using all four characters in the game as it is a speedrun. Essential viewing for fans of deck-builders and roguelikes alike.
Pumpkin Jack (NG+, No OOB)
One of the more under-exposed games in our list this year, Pumpkin Jack is a PC game from 2020 that mostly makes this list because of the absurb movement tech that runner Jaxler continually manages to pull off in the game. There are some new speed tech techniques shown off in this video, and some great commentary to keep us all clued in on what’s going on, courtesy of Bryonato and CorundumCore, that make this a really easy, pleasant run to watch.
Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, this run is one of the nine World Records that was set at the event this year!
Hades (All Weapons Race)
Last year, one of my featured runs in the best AGDQ 2021 speedruns went to Hades, where Vorime absolutely decimatedd the three-weapon run. This year, Hades makes the list again, but thanks to a heart-pounding race between cgull and tounis. As well as seeing the runners both demonstrate a deft and fluid understanding of each weapon, boss and enemy type, we also get to see the ever-rebellious Zagreus plant some loving pets on Cerberus – something we weren’t expecting during a speedrun. Awhh.
In terms of pure skill, this race is truly mind-blowing; seeing the final [REDACTED] boss get melted in record time, seeing room after room of perfect clears, and learning more about why Artemis and Poseidon – for example – have some of the best synergy for playing this quickly will never get old. Top notch commentary from Vorime and Latt Millard is the icing on the underworld cake.
Webbed (Any %)
Another under-appreciated game here, Webbed makes this list as much for the charm of the title itself as the incredible run showcased at AGDQ. ShadowthePast shows off this charming, fast-paced 2021 PC platformer in a welcoming, explanatory way that – no doubt – saw to an uptick in sales for the spider-based, web-flinging game when the run was over.
We heard some really nice history of the routes taken in this game to get to where the speedrun is now, and we got to see some really nice implementation of the curious web-slinging tech in the game, too. Nailing the run in just over 17 minutes, ShadowthePast achieved a World Record in this run.
It Takes Two (Any %)
Winning a myriad of awards in 2021, it makes sense that Josef Fares’ It Takes Two would have a presence at AGDQ 2022. ItzBytez and whoishyper joined forces to tackle the oddball co-op game, and right from the start we had a glimpse at how this run was going to go. The whole thing kicks off with one hell of a glitch that sets the scene for some impressive skips and major glitches throughout the run. Whether it’s blitzing bosses without a second thought, or clipping through walls to get some amazing out-of-bounds exploits, this run is a great watch whether you’ve played the game or not.
Wrapping up the whole experience in 1.45 hours? Deeply impressive.
Resident Evil Village (Village of Shadows, Glitchless)
You’d think that a game that launched last year wouldn’t really have that much of a speedrun following – much less, some incredible routes on offer – just yet. However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in watching AGDQ for the last few years, it’s that you should never, ever underestimate the speedrunning community. With that in mind, here’s the run for Resident Evil Village, on the hardest difficulty, glitchless. Eesh.
7rayD – rocking some unsettling facepaint for the duration of the run – manages to complete the game in 1:55:54. From the very start of the game – where we see Ethan’s kid rendered with Chris’ head, ew – to the very end where the climactic battle is nothing more than a trivial sideshow, this run is impressive. Don’t put it on in the background; you won’t be able to work or do anything else whilst it’s on because you’ll be drawn in by its breakneck speed and illuminating commentary.