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SGDQ's first run shows off the skill, community that makes it all possible

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

This year's Summer Games Done Quick kicked off Sunday with a stellar run of Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island by Mychal "Trihex" Jefferson. Not only was it a technical achievement, it was a great introduction to the showmanship and the rich community that supports the biannual Games Done Quick marathons.

Jefferson's Yoshi's Island clocked in at 2 hours, 42 minutes and 44 seconds, just 10 minutes off the current world record pace. But throughout the run, Jefferson thoughtfully narrated what he was doing, offering up not just a clinic on how the run was being done but on why the game itself is worthy of speedrunning attention.

He even found time for a little pilates.

The most difficult part of the run, called simply "the 5.4 skip," came at two-hour-three-minute-and-40-second mark, where Jefferson had to furiously flap Yoshi over a multi-screen instant-death pit. Flailing the little dinosaur's arms, bouncing off enemies to keep his head barely above the bottom edge of the screen, this incredibly dangerous trick spared him minutes off his overall time. It's a trick that wasn't even known the last time the game was run live in 2013.

Finally, Jefferson ended the run by talking a bit about the other people that made it possible.

"Keep in mind that even though I was the one doing the run that time, speedrunning is a collaborative effort," he said. "It's a community effort. For the Yoshi's Island community — through exchanging strategies, doing theory routing, just going into the lab and collaborating — on a big, grand level the goal ultimately is to push the time down. Not to necessarily be the best."

He then pointed behind him, to the current world-record holder, who calls himself Trix.

"I do want to give a big shout out to my boy Trix, the prodigy," Jefferson said. "17 years old, world's best Yoshi Island player right here. This guy's a champ."

SGDQ is going on all week on Twitch. Join the Polygon community to chat about your favorite runs here. For more on SGDQ, see our explainer here.

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