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Tears, Laughter, and Incredible Hype at Video Game Speedrunning Event SGDQ

The best highlights from this year’s speedrunning extravaganza.
Image: Nintendo.

After almost a full week of nonstop streaming, Summer Games Done Quick has finally come to a close. Hundreds of members of the game speedrunning community came together in a massive celebration of the hobby, showing off impressive feats of gaming skills and speed in a fundraiser that raised around $1.2 million for the charity Doctors Without Borders.

As much as people like me would like to do nothing but sit and watch Games Done Quick events all week when they happen, however, things like "work" and "sleep" tend to get in the way of catching all of the runs—some of which take place very early or very late depending on your timezones. But for those of you who missed some (or all) of SGDQ, we've compiled a bunch of the must-see highlights of the event.

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Castlevania: Symphony of the Night Blindfold %

Longtime speedrunner (and current Twitch charity events head) Romscout is well-known for having dissected this classic over the years. But now he faces his greatest challenge yet: can he perform all of his speed tech when he can't even see what he's doing? Watch in awe as he tackles the toughest boss of all: menus!

Deus Ex

The PC classic gets showcased (and utterly destroyed) in a fun and stylish way. Borders, gravity, and what seems to be the fabric of the game's reality are torn asunder in the quest to complete the game in under half an hour, all as runner Heinki explains the madness that's happening as calmly as possible.

Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)

Ever wanted to see a bad, buggy game get more broken than it already is—and see the runners discover new bugs in the process? Then this is a run you definitely want to watch.

Tetris the Grand Master Showcase

When Tetris and Games Done Quick come together, the results are always incredible. Some of the most skilled Western players of the notoriously challenging Tetris the Grand Master series come together to show off why this Japan-only arcade series has its reputation for soul-crushing difficulty.

Super Mario World Low %

Super Mario World is such a speedrun staple that the players have developed unique challenge categories for the game to add some variety. One of these categories is "low%" - playing to beat the game as fast as possible with no power-ups. Watch this for some of the most jaw-dropping Mario World trickery you'll ever see.

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Super Mario Maker Race

Two teams of two players compete in a race to see who can successfully complete the most Super Mario Maker levels first. The catch? They've never played any of these levels before… and they're all made by people known in the Super Mario Maker community for making the most infuriatingly creative levels out there.

Pepsiman

This Japan-only PSOne game featuring a former local advertising mascot for the fizzy soft drink is an absolute hoot. Cheesy cutscenes, hilarious voice acting, and a game that's just plain weird make for one of the most purely entertaining runs of the entire event.

Super Metroid Race

Four of the best runners of Super Metroid showcase just how grueling this beloved classic can be when played for speed. Any minor mistake can spell the end of a low-powered run that completely breaks the game's intended route apart. Prepare for plenty of tense moments!

And a Heartfelt Speech

All of runner HalfCoordinated's Momodora IV speedrun is worth watching if you want to see a gorgeous indie platform/adventure game, but his speech at the end of the run—where he talks openly about the challenges of gaming with a disability—is a heartwarming (and eye-opening) look into a part of the gaming community whose voices are rarely heard.