Awesome Games Done Quick 2016 posted its first world-record performance early this morning with speedrunner Nosraef landing a 1:24:25 time in Velocity 2X. Even at an event showcasing the best in speedrunning, world records are rare because of runners' natural fear of messing up in front of an audience.
The third day of AGDQ 2016 will see plenty of qualified candidates attempt to make a run at a record time. Here's what's worth watching:
It can be hard to watch three hours of any speedrun, especially if the game or genre is unfamiliar to the viewer. What makes this Kingdom Hearts Remix run interesting isn't necessarily the game, but the singing. Normally, speedrunners singing as they play is a nightmare, but still in good fun. This time, the Kingdom Hearts community organized some talent, and brought life to a normally flat chorus.
Licensed movie adaptations seem to be bottom-of-the-barrel games today, but Disney managed to pump out some real gems in the 1990s. Disney's Aladdin isn't easy (though probably more manageable than The Lion King), and this speedrun brings the usual mix of skill and extensive game routing. What's great about this run is how friendly the players were throughout. They were truly having fun, and the relaxed couch mixed with a difficult speedrun makes it a nice watch.
Tuesday, Jan. 5
6:25 p.m.: The Source Block
This block of speedruns begins with Half-Life 2 followed by Portal 2 co-op, and finishes with Alien Swarm. Speedruns on Source first-person shooters tend to have intriguing movement, to take advantage of the game engine's increased speed. For instance, Half-Life 2 utilizes "Accelerated Backwards Hopping," which tricks the game into pushing runners to incredibly high speeds by facing backwards and bunny hopping. This can cause Gordon Freeman to soar into the sky, like a lone eagle in a majestic sunset. "ABHing" is just one of a multitude of tricks, glitches, and skips to greatly reduce the time spent playing, and Portal 2 follows a somewhat similar format.
9:50 p.m.: Alien Swarm
Alien Swarm brings a different kind of Source run to the table. The top-down cooperative shooter is one of Valve's more forgotten games. Damage is difficult to heal with the constantly swarming enemies, and it's very easy for one or two mistakes to leave a player dead, which often forces a level restart. This danger is multiplied by the speed needed to complete the game, and cooperative runners don't have enough time to take safety measures. Since the run uses real-time instead of in-game timing, almost no slowdown takes place, making this attempt fast and risky.
Wednesday, January 6th
12:10 a.m.: Wrack
The block of shooters surrounding Wrack should all be good viewing, but don't overlook this lesser known game. The cel-shaded graphics make this a comic book portrayed as a run-n-gun shooter, with plenty of combat, movement tricks and futuristic swordfighting.
10:40 a.m.: Battle Kid 2: Mountain of Torment
The original Battle Kid is a homebrewed NES platformer that wasn't released until 2010, so playing it isn't just about playing a classic action platformer, it's also about finding an NES and a CRT television for a properly authentic playthrough. The first Battle Kid took its inspiration from the indie game I Wanna Be The Guy, an overtly unfair and difficult platformer. The sequel, Battle Kid 2: Mountain of Torment, is still amazingly difficult and visually clear, making it a very entertaining speedrun to watch. Once you get used to the brevity of some of the rooms, it's a mesmerizing run.