Over the last week, Awesome Games Done Quick has raised over 1.1 million dollars for charity and has showcased some of the, frankly, most undervalued gamers in the world. We've created a list of the most impressively demonstrated performances from speedrunners at this event based on technical skill, entertainment value, and circumstances under which the game was played.
Originally going to be much less, the Sonic Adventure 2: Battle speedrun escalated to include all stories, including the end with the conclusive battles of the game. Talon2461 has mastered the mechanics of the game, which is loaded with technical jumps in which the game's gravity tries to sabotage your progress. The runner cut it close with a lot of jumps that were the difference between saving a few seconds or death.
Additionally, many routes were memorized for the Knuckles & Rouge levels to perfection. The run was completed fresh without the use of already acquired power-ups, which made it all the more impressive. It concluded with some impressive boss fights, the second to last being button-mashed to the point of skipping all the difficulty.
The game is generally very long, but not for Ovendonkey, who significantly fragments it. Entire chapters are skipped through glitchy areas and walls. While Drake looks a bit silly traversing the land through prancing and leaping, it does allow him to consolodate an otherwise epic adventure down to below an hour.
If this game had a higher mechanical skillcap, it'd definitely be higher on the list. The amount of strategy involved is deceptive, making a JRPG into an extremely skilled game with calculated actions at every corner. Albeit the use of warp glitches to clear with the time that was achieved, the execution of battles is strategically impressive. Often swapping to "wait" and sitting on an action meant victories in even the most severely underleveled battles.
Puwexil demonstrated a way to acquire Cloud's best weapon in an encounter with Ultima Weapon as well. A glitch set Ultima Weapon's HP value at zero. When a potion was used on Ultima Weapon, the battle ended and its HP hovered around 100, which allowed a one-shot during the next encounter. The most impressive part of this run, however, was Puwexil's ability to count steps to manipulate "random" encounters and predict everything that was going to happen, including the battle conditions such as back attack and pre-emptive strike.
This run impressively clocks in shy of 30 minutes. Perhaps the most technical of Star Wars speedruns, Ysalamiri not only uses any tricks he can find, but also expertly traverses the level and controls his direction despite almost permanently using Force Speed. Although typically an FPS, the entire game is played third person. The run will satiate both those looking for impressive execution and those looking for a laugh at the silliness of it all.
I'll be honest when I say I didn't even notice this was a one-handed run until about halfway through. I was already impressed before I knew this fact. Somehow, in a little over 1.5 hours, halfcoordinated manages to beat this game including several rolls and precise aiming. I don't know how much practice it must have taken to pull this off, but I'm assuming an unhealthy amount.
For those unfamiliar with the title, it's basically the bullet-hell of platformers. While some players are lucky to clear some of the stages, witnix blazes through the entire game with only a few mistakes. Unfortunately for the runner but fortunately for the cause, each death was penalized with an additional donation.
Anyone who's played the classic Ninja Gaiden's know that they are infamous for their hellish difficulty. These two players make it look easy and see it as a challenge against one another. The presentation of the run and the intensity of the competition really set the tone on top of the ridiculous difficulty. Both players ended the race with only a half-second difference in clear times.
If there's a game that makes you most envious when watching an ultra-experienced player run it, this is the game. While many struggle with individual bosses for hours and hours, Oginam makes all of them look like a cake walk. It's almost as if he just hugs the bosses and jabs at them with enhancements.
However, it's clearly more complicated than that. Oginam intentionally lowers his health in many of the boss fights to manipulate the AI and force predictable moves in his favor, among several other things. If you show this to someone new, they'll think the game is easy. But we understand. Also, can we please have this guy go to a friend's house and have him watch the game, ask if he can try it, and then blaze through it? It's a solid troll, if you ask me.
The handicap in this one is just a bit more clear than the one-handed run of Vanquish. If there wasn't evidence I wouldn't believe it, but Runnerguy2489 (seriously, great name) absolutely crushes Ocarina of Time -- blindfolded. This runner accomplishes very impressive speedrunning stunts by other sensory cues such as sound and feel. Also incredible is his execution of menu commands, which speaks loads of his familiarity with the game through practice.
As someone who's been watching eSports and has been heavily invested into competitive gaming for a very long time, there's rarely anything I perceive as "beyond human." This earns number one on the list because it almost feels like it exceeds human ability (figuratively speaking.) You probably won't find Tetris players better than this anywhere.
However, the vanilla Tetris play isn't the most impressive in this video. Skip ahead to about 1:11:00 to see the Master Mode clear in which blocks are invisible and drop nearly instantly -- this is the true pinnacle of Tetris play.
Please follow all the respective runners on TwitchTV to support their efforts, as the dedication required to speedrun is one of the most thankless abilities in competitive gaming. If you liked the piece, feel free to give a follow to the author at @ESHDrexxin.