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The practice room makes for a perfect Awesome Games Done Quick

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Behind the scenes with nearly 100 bulky tube TVs

Speedrunners spend an immense amount of time practicing prior to a Games Done Quick marathon. For most, the training runs right up to the moment their performance begins.

They practice obsessively to keep their nerves in check, to continue improving their times, and occasionally learn a new trick, even days or hours before their run. The need to play is there.

Where do they practice though? Most viewers of Awesome Games Done Quick only see the stream room, and miss one of the largest parts of GDQ floor space — the practice rooms.

GDQs have three practice rooms, for console games and for PC games that are open to the public, and one for both that is kept private. All of them are a blast of technology straight out of the 90s. A staple of practice rooms are the old CRT televisions. They haven't changed much since the 90s — they're still big, bulky, and difficult to lug around — they still have a low latency for older console games that is vital to a speedrun attempt. Consoles from the Nintendo Entertainment System to the Gamecube depend ond CRT televisions at these events.

While Games Done Quick does have its own supply of televisions, it still pales in comparison to the number needed for an event this large. That is where World 9 Gaming comes in. World 9 came aboard as an AGDQ sponsor after its owner, Mike Fry, attended the event wanted to support it in his own way. World 9's contribution is to set up the playrooms with a wide variety of consoles, cabling, games, and most importantly, CRTs.

It's a staggering amount of equipment to imagine: around 10 LCD televisions, 16 low-latency monitors, 90 CRT televisions (most of which were bought from an out-of-business hotel), 20 Super Nintendos, 20 NESes, 20 Nintendo 64s, 12 GameCubes, plus additional consoles, controllers, thousands of feet of cable and much much more.

The thousands of pounds of equipment almost didn't make it to the site.

An overloaded rental truck with GDQ supplies took a harrowing trip from Eau Claire, Wis. to Herndon, Va. through the teeth of a perilous winter storm bringing freezing rain and snow. It seemed like if the truck wasn't going to crash, it was going to be late, which was only marginally better than having more than a hundred televisions strewn across the highway.

Even after leaving the storm, an oil slick nearly slid the truck off a snowy Pennsylvania mountain. Still, the truck made it unharmed and on time, and delivered the CRTs to one of the few places in America where they're still appreciated.

It's hard to imagine a Games Done Quick without a practice room. It's as essential to this competition as locker rooms and training facilities are to sports stadiums. Most runners practice between 100 and 2,000 hours for their speedrun, and that last minute practice might seem unnecessary at first. But necessity doesn't matter to most runners, since even in the wee hours of the final day, many of them are still resetting, learning, and practicing in an attempt to reach a personal best.