Awesome Games Done Quick 2022 is live now, and these are (a few of) the runs you don’t want to miss
The true sign of a new year is the arrival of Awesome Games Done Quick. Who needs resolutions when you can have speedrunning for charity? AGDQ 2022 begins this Sunday, January 9, and will last an entire week. The winter event is a raising money for the Prevent Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit focused on stopping cancer cases before they start.
This is, without a doubt, one of my favorite weeks of the year. And that enthusiasm is shared by my fellow Blizzard Watch staffer (and agent of the Void), Mitch (hello!). We’ve joined forces to get you just as passionate about GDQ as we are.
If you’re a person who loves the spirit of the Internet doing great things for the world, or if you dig fantastic displays of video game skill, then you should plan to keep the Games Done Quick stream open at all hours of the day and night. But sometimes that darn reality interferes, and life interrupts our opportunity to binge an entire week of speedrunning. When that happens, here are our recommendations of the must-see runs of the week.
For easier reading, we’ve broken it down by day, with times listed in Central. Keep in mind, though, the schedule will regularly shift once the show starts, so it’s never a bad idea to refresh the official schedule to see where things are. Technical difficulties might push everything back, or a world record could move the runs forward. Keep an eye on the GDQ official schedule for the most recent information and tune into the Twitch stream.
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest (2:39 p.m.)
SNES platformers are always a favorite of mine to watch. Even if I don’t know the game, I know just how brutally hard some of these games are. Plus, I think any Donkey Kong game is required viewing, if only to sit back and groove to the quality bops in the soundtrack. – Anna
Dead Space 2 (10:21 p.m.)
I’ve never played the Dead Space games, but I would really like to. Why? Because I love scaring myself! So, naturally, I have the late-night Dead Space 2 run on my Sunday list. – Mitch
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania (4:55 p.m.)
Prepare to forget everything you know about physics and gravity. Hopefully the runners or commentators try to explain the lore for this series, because it is pretty flippin’ wild. Almost as wild as the yeeting and teetering you’ll see in this race. – Anna
I have this one on my list as well, for very similar reasons Anna mentioned above. These games are always insane to watch, and the fact that this is a race makes it even better and more chaotic. I cannot wait! – Mitch
Ori and the Blind Forest (6:01 p.m.)
Sometimes, a game debuts that the speed community just falls in love with. This is one of them. Ori and the Blind Forest is a metroidvania that is a treat to watch, both for its lush artwork and its vast array of speedrunning categories. On Monday, we’ll get to see the All Cells category with no out-of-bounds, so expect to see a full display of the game’s beauty. – Anna
Mario Galaxy (7:11 p.m.)
Any time there’s a Mario platformer on the schedule, I’m there. Not only am I a huge fan, the runs are all very fun to watch because of all the crazy platforming speedrunners can accomplish. And, like Monkey Ball above, this is also a race! – Mitch
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (4:18 p.m.)
This was one of my most anticipated games of 2021, and I’m delighted (and unsurprised) that there’s already a marathon-caliber run of Rift Apart ready for the big stage. The downside of watching the game in a speedrun is that they tend to skip over all the games’ charming dialogue and jokes. But the plus side is that you’ll see some really impressive and difficult speed tech. And if one story of lombaxes and robots isn’t enough for you, Rift Apart will follow a run of the original Ratchet & Clank game from 2002. – Anna
Returnal (7:10 p.m.)
I would never in a million years want to play this game. But that means I’m all the more excited to see how someone takes a grueling challenge of precision, endurance, and quick thinking and barrels through it all in about an hour. Prepare to be impressed. – Anna
I’ve had my eye on this game for a while because it seems to combine a lot of mechanics I like, and it happens to be a PS5 exclusive, so I’m excited to see what the game shows off from a technical standpoint. I’m really curious to see what a game like this looks like as a speedrun, too. – Mitch
Dead Rising (8:41 p.m.)
Similarly, I don’t do horror. I hate being scared, I don’t want nightmares about zombies or monsters. But in a speedrun, pretty much all the spooky stuff gets skipped over. Also the runners tend to be a fun, friendly bunch. Ecdycis is kicking off the horror block for AGDQ this year, and he’s a great ambassador for the genre. – Anna
Where Anna hates horror, I love it! But also, Dead Rising is a fantastic, weird, funny game. I don’t know how much of that will come across in a speedrun, but I’m excited all the same. – Mitch
We Love Katamari (3:49 a.m.)
Look, I probably won’t be awake for this one. But I still love the Katamari games, and I’ll absolutely be catching the VOD of this. And hey, if you happen to be awake at that hour? Definitely check it out. – Mitch
Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II (8:27 a.m.)
This is going to be the most high-energy run of the Sonic block. With co-op between two delightful individuals – Argick and AmberCyprian – both of whom are Sonic specialists. I honestly have no knowledge of this particular entry in the franchise, but I know it’s going to be a good time with a lot of laughs. – Anna
GeoGuessr (2:16 p.m.)
Unlike most speedruns, GeoGuessr is a flex of your brain power rather than hand-eye coordination. Havrd has shown off his mad skills with this geography game at past events, and I expect they’ll have another set of difficult locales to identify with absolute precision. It’s not a flashy kind of run like so many others, but it’s definitely a highlight for me. – Anna
Diddy Kong Racing/Splatoon 2 (9:02 p.m.)
I’m cheating a bit here because Wednesday is apparently just the day for ALL THE GAMES, but these two are still must-sees for me, and they happen to be back-to-back! Also, I have to toss my love in for the Sonic Block and GeoGuessr. If you’ve never seen the latter played (speedrun or otherwise), watch it. It’s not quite like any other run you’ll see. – Mitch
Zadette (5:11 a.m.)
The Awful Games Block, which dominates the wee hours of Wednesday into Thursday, is always the source of some of the best, most WTF moments during the week. And Zadette is like if you took the pure essence of WTF and infused it into a spoof of ridiculous sword and sandal games from the 80s. It’s horrible and it revels in its horrors. Must be seen to be believed. – Anna
Lost Judgment (12:38 p.m.)
I really enjoy when speedrunners of story-driven titles manage to capture the heart of what the experience is all about, even as they decimate 40-hour games in 40 minutes. Runner Froob has made several GDQ appearances with the Yakuza and Judgment games, and I just love his narration of what happens in those series. He’s got top-notch skills to pair with his amusing commentary, and I’m looking forward to yet another run of his. – Anna
Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix HD (3:58 p.m.)
A Games Done Quick event is the work of a large staff and many passionate volunteers, but a few personalities have really come to define the organization. Conveniently, two of them are hardcore runners of the Kingdom Hearts series. JHobz and Spikevegeta are teaming up with RoseCurel and Violin for a co-op randomizer race of this title. If you like shiny colors, fun people, and ridiculous lore, don’t miss this run. – Anna
Randomizers are always a highlight in GDQ, and when you combine that with a co-op race and the crossover madness of Kingdom Hearts, well, you get something special. – Mitch
Resident Evil Village (7:23 p.m.)
Have I mentioned I like horror yet? This was a game that, when it came out, I probably beat 8 or more times, got my personal run time down to only a few hours, and got all but the Mercenaries Mode collectibles. How could I not watch it? – Mitch
It Takes Two (just after midnight)
So this one technically happens on Friday in my timezone, but it might be a late-evening Thursday run for you. Regardless, this was my 2021 GOTY pick, and I’m incredibly curious to see how a game so heavily focused on co-op like this looks as a speedrun. That said, if you’ve never played the game and have even a passing interest in picking it up — which, you should — I almost recommend skipping this run and returning to the VOD when you have. – Mitch
I Am Bread (4:15 a.m.)
You like goofy? You like weird? Then you like I Am Bread. It’s the perfect game for a slaphappy 4 am time slot. Trust me. – Anna
Dark Souls (11:42 a.m.)
I spent 2021 grinding my way through the FromSoftware titles, and playing these games has given me a newfound appreciation for how a level can be designed. Plus, it’s just sort of fun to watch the fights that gave me so much trouble taken down in two seconds. It might be harder to tell what’s going on if you’ve never played, but it’s still worth the watch for some of the glitches they can pull off. Oh, and did I mention it’s a race?! – Mitch
Hades (8:33 p.m.)
I have yet to play Hades myself, but I’ve seen enough of it secondhand that I know plenty about it. I watched this at a previous GDQ, but back then, it was a solo run. I may sound like a broken record at this point, but I’m excited to see it in as a race. – Mitch
Tetris: The Grand Master (4:24 p.m.)
All of the closing day’s runs look like winners, but I’m particularly excited to see a Tetris throwdown. They’ve got four experts to show their stuff in a race on arcade machines. I think this is going to be the kind of run they could only pull off with a virtual event, and I can’t wait to see the tetrominos fly. – Anna
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice/Deltarune/Metal Gear Solid/Finale (starting at 4:54 p.m.)
Cheating again here just a little, but I honestly couldn’t pick between these, and they happen to all be in a row (even with Anna’s pick above)! In Sekiro’s case, like I mentioned, the FromSoftware games had a big impact on me in 2021. And even though I had my issues with Sekiro, it’s still a game that requires intense skill to master and is also very fun to watch. The best part? This is being done blindfolded. And the final runs are always a treat to watch because chat and the community get incredibly hyped as the final donations come in. The end of the event — despite not being in-person — is still likely one of the most wholesome moments you’ll see in gaming all year. – Mitch
Whew! We cannot emphasize how wonderful a time AGDQ is. If you’ve never experienced it before, make this year the one you do. If you have? We’ll see you in chat!
Originally posted 1/7/2022. Updated 1/11/2022.
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