15 speedruns to check out during AGDQ 2020

Happy New Year everyone! Every year around this time the speedrunning community has a special way to ring in the New Year, Awesome Games Done Quick. If you have never seen it before it’s a weeklong 24 hour a day speedrunning charity marathon that raises money for the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

There are always too many good runs to see them all, considering it’s a week straight of games of all types. We personally end up catching up on AGDQ’s runs for months after it is held. This year there are even more runs to see considering they re-ran every game from the original Classic Games Done Quick in a mini-marathon before the official event.

So to help you manage your time effectively, we picked out these fifteen runs that we think you'll enjoy. If you are trying to decide between which runs to catch live (which you can watch here) and which runs to watch on demand afterward, we got you covered (you can see the full schedule here).

The Myst Block (Monday, Jan 6 - 12:28 AM PM EST)

One of the most appealing things about AGDQ is seeing runners play games in unexpected ways. Myst is a series known for being a puzzle game with low replayability. Once you know the solutions, you can just click your way through with ease. But Myst runners click through so fast and use so many tricks that these multi-hour puzzle games can be completed in under ten minutes! It’s a very different experience than playing these games casually and it's worth a watch for anyone who has played these classic point-and-click adventures.

The Mummy Demastered - Any% OOB (Tuesday, Jan 7 - 9:25 AM EST)

You probably didn’t know that this tie-in title for a mediocre movie is one of the best indie produced Metroivanias out there, did you? Well now you do, and even better, you get to see Codepeice break it wide open. This run is going to heavily use OOB (out of bounds) tricks, to go well beyond the constraints of the original game. If you watch speedruns for weird glitches and sequence breaks, then this is the run for you.

The Legend of Zelda Series - Zelda Relay (Tuesday, Jan 7 - 8:21 PM EST)

Can’t decide what Zelda run to tune into this year? Why not all of them! This relay will take you through all the NES and SNES Zelda titles in a little over three hours. Once again you can expect a lot of glitching and sequence breaking and this run is a race! Cheer for your favorite runners as they blaze through two generations of a franchise.

Mega Man 4-6 - Any% Relay (Wednesday, Jan 8 - 10:08 PM EST)

We just like highlighting relays. They kind of feel like the best of traditional speedruns. It’s here that we get to see the best strategies of the best runners come together to compete against each other. If you are looking for just a good run of a classic game, then always check the relays.

That being said, this Mega Man relay should scratch your itch if you are looking to see a classic run n’ gun platformer destroyed in a matter of minutes. This is certainly one to watch if you are a fan of the zip because you are going to see a lot of them.

And for those of you who don’t know what a zip is, that’s when you get yourself stuck in a wall and the programming of the game tries to spit you out. By using this programming in certain ways you can rocket through levels at high speeds.

The Awful Games Block (Thursday, Jan 9 - 1:23 AM EST)

Bad games need to be speedrun too. In fact, they are some of the most entertaining speedruns to watch as runners get to take advantage of some of the worst coding and level design in existence. This year’s Awful games block includes classics like Super Hydlide, Sword of Black Stone, and Wild Animal Sports Day. Haven’t heard of any of these games? Exactly.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses - House Bid War (Thursday, Jan 9 - 9:25 PM EST)

Fire Emblem: Three Houses was our Strategy Game of the Year. One run through this game would take a casual player 50-80 hours, and it's not uncommon to see players end up with 200-300 hour save files when completing all three runs.

Claris is going to beat it in just over an hour. Not only will this run showcase the most optimal way to clear the game’s maps, it will also use camera tricks in exploration mode to reduce lag. That’s how optimized it is. Be sure to get your bids in for your favorite house, (which we all know is the Golden Deer).

Celeste - Farewell (Friday, Jan 10 - 10:08 AM EST)

Celeste was built for speedrunning, and just as routes have started to get optimized this new expansion came out and got us all dying a thousand deaths once more. Farewell requires some of the most advanced movement tech in the game, so if you enjoyed the original Celeste you’ll love this run. As an added bonus, flarebear will be skipping through all the story dialogue, which means you won’t have a chance to cry.

The TAS Block (Friday, Jan 10 - 8:58 PM EST)

It’s always nice to find space for some tool assisted speedruns at an AGDQ. This year, TASbot will be playing Super Mario Bros. 2 and 3. Super Mario Bros. 3 has a particularly important spot in the TASing community, as it’s infamous five minute run was what first brought TASing into the spotlight over a decade and a half ago. How will TASbot improve on that run? Who knows! Maybe he will just rewrite the code of the game. That’s what makes this block so interesting.

Control - Any% (Saturday, Jan 11 - 1:21 AM EST)

When we make up these lists we usually try to pick out runs that have some sort of interesting gimmick to them. Maybe they are a randomizer or a race or showcase some sort of interesting glitch. However, we chose this run for the game itself. Control was our Game of the Year, a fantastic beautiful shooter/RPG with a weird and abstract plot, and the speedrunning community has managed to figure out a way to beat it in less than an hour. Sometimes, you just want to see a really great game played optimally, and that’s exactly what this is.

Super Mario World One Mind - 11 Exit Co-Op (Friday, Jan 10 - 11:56 PM EST)

Super Mario World One Mind is a hack of the classic SNES platformer that forces you to operate as a hive-mind. Two people will be hooked up to the SNES, and at any time the game can swap control. That means that each player needs to be performing approximately the same inputs at the same time during the whole run in order to complete the game effectively.

Clone Hero (Guitar Hero) - Guitar Hero Showcase (Saturday, Jan 11 - 1:09 PM EST)

Believe it or not, speedrunning isn’t always about speed. Yes, I know what I said, and I stick to that ridiculous claim. Every so often AGDQ showcases “score runs.” These are runs in games that have no effective way to be played faster but can still showcase excellence in some way. We have seen score runs of Tetris and Star Fox 64 and now Guitar Hero or specifically Clone Hero it’s fan sourced counterpart is getting its chance. Get ready for some truly crazy songs, and hopefully some memes along the way.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Randomizer - Open Mode, Crowd Control Difficulty (Saturday, Jan 11 - 2:04 PM EST)

We said before that we like to showcase runs with gimmicks, and this is perhaps the ultimate gimmick. Not only is this Link to the Past run randomized, but it’s also hacked in such a way that Twitch chat will be able to screw with the runner he plays. Whether that’s by increasing or decreasing his hearts, giving him items out of nowhere, or just straight out killing them, is for chat itself to decide. This is one you absolutely want to check out live, just for its interactive element.

Untitled Goose Game - All Main Tasks (Saturday, Jan 11 - 5:44 PM EST)

This game is a meme… but we like memes here. We couldn’t tell you if there’s any neat tech or glitches in this one. We can tell you that you’ll see a hyperspeed goose being a dick to everyone in the immediate vicinity, and isn’t that reason enough to tune in?

Super Mario Maker 2 - 4v4 Blind Relay Race (Saturday, Jan 11 - 6:29 PM EST)

This one is just a no-brainer. Eight of the world’s best Super Mario Maker streamers/YouTubers/runners are going to team up and go head to heat in a blind race against some incredibly devious courses. With the new Mario Maker 2 update dropping and enabling some incredible new level creation tech, expect some great new gadgets and tricks to push these runners to the limit.

Super Metroid Impossible - Any% (Saturday, Jan 11 - 9:39 PM EST)

Finally, we have the finale. Usually AGDQ ends on two things, an RPG and a Super Metroid run, but as the RPG pool has gotten slimmer and Super Metroid has become more and more optimized, this tradition has been broken and remixed. This year’s shot at the tradition? A ROM Hack of Super Metroid that vastly increases the difficulty, and that increases the run time by an hour or so. Super Metroid is almost synonymous with speedrunning and Oatsngoats is one of the best Super Metroid runners. I can’t think of any better way to run the marathon.