Cool Runnings: The Underappreciated Speedruns of Awesome Games Done Quick 2015

If you’re anything like me, you had the Awesome Games Done Quick charity speedrunning marathon running throughout most of last week. The great thing about AGDQ is that, since it runs 24/7, there’s always something going on. However, since our frail humanoid bodies require things like “food” and “sleep” and “jobs through which we acquire necessary funding to live,” it’s almost impossible to watch everything that looks interesting on the AGDQ schedule as it airs live. While a lot of us make time to watch the speedruns of really big games, there are a lot of smaller titles with really fantastic play that get shown as well. But since they’re at odd times, or they’re of relatively unknown titles, or they’re not really viral-video material, they have a tendency to kind of happen and be forgotten. Even people who see the schedule and think “Yeah, I’ll watch this later” may likely forget them amongst all the other stuff happening that week.

But personally, I think there were a lot of really noteworthy speedruns at this year’s AGDQ that I worry a lot of folks missed out on. Yes, we all saw and enjoyed stuff like Tetris TGM and the Megaman X race and Boshy and Shovel Knight and blindfolded OoT, but just because you missed it and it wasn’t trending on Twitter doesn’t mean it wasn’t a great run. Here are some of my picks for the best runs of AGDQ 2015 that you might have missed!

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze: Fun commentary, lots of skill on display, and just a generally warm vibe from everyone involved here. I haven’t had the time to jump into DKCTF myself, but watching this might just be what pushes me over the edge to put it on top of my backlog.

Rocket Knight Adventures: Love this game to bits and pieces and itty bittier bits, and suitably impressed by a lot of the tricks on display. I remember experimenting with the weird sword damage a lot when I played the game as a youth. I think I’m due to revisit this series…

Ristar: A great run of this beautiful MegaDrive classic, well worth watching even though the runner mispronounces the game’s name multiple times. It’s ris-tar like your wrist it’s a pun aaaaaaarghhhh

Dynamite Headdy: The two Treasure game runs this year were both great! Though Mischief Makers got a fair bit more attention due to a certain something that happened during the run, Dynamite Headdy shouldn’t be missed, either. I hoped they would’ve done the JP version, but oh well!

Sonic Adventure 2: Great, informative commentary, fun personalities, neat tricks showcased, and a sing-along to boot. Watching this really makes me want to play SA2 again. YES SA2 IS A GOOD GAME YOU JERKS ahem

F-Zero: Few things are more mesmerizing than skilled F-Zero play, and while the whole block was good this year, the race on the original F-Zero was still the highlight for me.

Battleblock Theatre: Hilarious banter between the players and the devs makes this one of the most outright entertaining runs of the whole event. Yes, it went over estimate, but when everyone’s having this much fun, who cares?

Magical Pop’n: They just don’t make adorable little one-off platformers like this anymore, do they? A super cute, super obscure, and really awesome game with a lot of informative commentary throughout the run.

Super Mario Bros 2 (Japan): Making a stupidly hard game look easy as pie and being charmingly funny in the process isn’t easy, but you wouldn’t know it from watching this.

Kaizo Mario World: Pokey’s not here, so now we’re the ones who’ll need to be moving faster!

Rogue Legacy: And here we have the run that made me feel the most like my gaming prowess was woefully inadequate! sob

Violent Storm: In my opinion, the most entertaining run of the arcade game block. Violent Storm might not be highly tiered among classic beat-em-ups, but the run is fun to watch, shows off some neat tricks, and is well explained by the commentators. A great showcase for a game that is otherwise mostly forgotten.

Umihara Kawase: A very short and sweet run of the Super Famicom classic with very, erm, amusing pre-written commentary. Well worth a look!

Floating Runner: I love hearing about the inner workings of a game’s programming functions, especially when it’s something super obscure like this! (Also is it just me or do you hear a skeleton)

Super Pitfall: I honestly felt a bit let down by the Awful Games block this year – some games just weren’t particularly interesting to watch, and the commentaries didn’t really pick up the slack in explaining what makes the games notably bad. Still, there were several really fun runs in the mix, my favorite being this brief but amusing Super Pitfall run.

Vanquish: An interesting run on so many levels! Half-coordinated, as his nickname may suggest, actually has a disability that impedes use of his right hand, making this a single-handed run and a showcase that physical impairment doesn’t mean you can’t play with mad skillz. Also: dat Bromance%!


  1. I loved the Vanquish run! Very cool. And not listed here but the Shovel Knight run was great too with the developers Skyped in. I wish GDQ events happened monthly, can’t get enough of them.

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