Awesome Games Done Quick 2016 set an all-time high in viewership on its first day, peaking at 166,000 viewers during yesterday's Super Mario 64 run. Even a speedrun on Super Monkey Ball attracted 140,000 viewers to the show's Twitch channel.
Bottom line, people are watching, and there's plenty at this show that's worth watching. Here's a rundown of what's been played and what's coming up on the second day.
Polygon's livestream post for Awesome Games Done Quick 2016 is here.
Super Monkey Ball games are a staple of Games Done Quick events. They're well-known, fast-paced and have a nearly unlimited skill cap due to the precision of the tricks involved. It's a game that moves with just enough speed to be comprehensible, but still look almost impossible. This run captures the game's difficulty while having fun and showing off the runner's incredulousness when something goes wrong.
Super Mario 64 this year wasn't the most competitive race, but it was still a great display of skill and showed off what top tier speedrunning is like. There were some goofs and a major flub or two, but the three runners put on a show worth watching, and collected all 120 stars in under 110 minutes.
The co-op run was fantastic for completely different reasons. Super Mario 64 multiplayer began as a romhack for the Nintendo 64, which meant it had limited playability on the console. Wii homebrewers successfully transferred the game to that console, making it more reliable than emulators at the time. Even with the console playability, the game still has some of the glitches and rough edges of a romhack — which the runners took advantage of in a silly, fun and pretty damn fast run.
Monday, Jan. 4
3:50 p.m.: Goof Troop: one player, two controllers:
Goof Troop normally has been run as a cooperative game at Games Done Quick. The strategy is to use Goofy just enough to complete a screen's puzzles before viciously sacrificing him to save seconds at a time. This one-player, two-controllers run carries a physically demanding challenge as all actions require precision and simple button presses can require extensive planning. Yagamoth, the runner, has a history of running games with 1P/2C requirements. His old jam was Secret of Mana, and the skill it requires transfer into the Disney games.
8 p.m.: The Indie Block
The 14-hour Indie Block is the largest grouping of games in AGDQ 2016. It's one of the harder blocks to sift through, with so much variety presented. Some games, like Snapshot and Hotline Miami, are fairly short with a cool hook. Snapshot's main speedrunning trick is to store game elements (such as enemies) to be reused later, and Hotline Miami is all about maximizing murder efficiency. Seeing unfamiliar or unknown games get a speedrun can still be pretty interesting, especially with most indie block runs lasting less than an hour.
8 p.m.: Battleblock Theater
Battleblock Theatre kicks off the Indie Block and is back at AGDQ for a second straight year. Battleblock Theater presents an entirely different challenge to platforming. It's more of a glitchfest, and runners abuse online latency to allow some basic in-game map editing and numerous skips. While the AGDQ 2015 run was a 100 percent completion speedrun, this year's run ignores most collectibles and features "Insane" mode, which limits cooperative players to a single life per level. That adds an extra layer of challenge to an already difficult run. Stamper, the enigmatic narrator for Battleblock Theater, returns to provide commentary.
Tuesday, Jan. 5
2:30 a.m.: Axiom Verge
Axiom Verge is a 2015 Metroidvania that takes heavy direction from classic Nintendo games. Its difficult combat and in-depth skips provides for both an exciting and interesting run. A speedrun of Super Metroid last year took an unorthodox approach, killing bosses in reverse order. So, for viewers looking for a more normal Metroidvania playthrough, Axiom Verge is one of the key replacements.
8:56 a.m.: Spelunky
There are two Spelunky runs in this year's marathon. One focuses on completing Hell Mode, which always makes for an intense run. Runners face the usual gantlet of difficulty Spelunky brings, but without any time for caution. In Hell Mode, dying in a single hit isn't uncommon in Spelunky. A bit of luck can go a long way, but most of the run is going to come down to high skill and quick reactions.
Alongside the Hell run, is an "all shortcuts" run. Think of it as a series of individual levels, each with a minor task to open up a shortcut. This makes it a rather unique run. Hell and all shortcuts show two very different facets of Spelunky, the normal completion and the individual tasks most casual players go through while learning the game.
How is the fundraising going?
Awesome Games Done Quick raised $97,000 in its first 12 hours, a little short of what AGDQ 2015 raised in the same span. The 12-hour span is important because fundraising tends to slow down after that period, before returning with a huge surge in donations during the last 24 hours.
Awesome Games Done Quick is supporting the Prevent Cancer Foundation. As of publication time, it had raised $130,559.82. Those interested in donating or following the fundraising's progress can do so here.