The best, craziest speedruns from this year’s Summer Games Done Quick

The week-long Summer Games Done Quick gaming marathon concluded on Saturday after raising $2.1 million for charity. That may very well lead outsiders to ask: What kind of gaming event can raise so much money for a global nonprofit like Doctors Without Borders?

Fans of the Games Done Quick organization, which runs two charity marathons a year, might answer that question by pointing to a slew of “speedruns”—attempts to beat a video game as quickly as possible—for classic and modern titles alike. Or they might start shouting a bunch of inside jokes and catch phrases, which are abundant at such a tight-knit, community-driven gathering of some of gaming’s biggest nerds.

Either way, while the event has since concluded, its most impressive and silliest moments live on thanks to a complete YouTube video dump. Hours upon hours of speedruns, both quick and lengthy, live on at the Games Done Quick channel. So we thought we’d take this American holiday opportunity to help outsiders catch up on the craziness with a few of our favorite full-game clips.

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Super Mario Bros. 3 “all forts” speedrun race, SGDQ 2018

Super Mario Bros. 3: There were no shortage of Mario-related speedruns at this year’s SGDQ, and a few of them were danged impressive. The original Super Mario Bros. saw a “warpless” race, which forced every runner to scramble after making mistakes, and a nail-biting three-on-three Super Mario Maker relay race had so many bonkers levels that the players couldn’t even beat all of them. (Both of those links include awesome follow-up demonstrations of incredible tech. For example, FF to 31:40 on the original SMB video for a one-handed run.)

But man. There’s really no beating the drama and insanity and surprises of the Super Mario Bros. 3 “all forts” race. This category required both runners to make every single fortress in the game crumble, and they otherwise exploited and warped their way through anything else they wanted. One “exploit” emerges near the end of the race that I won’t spoil for you, but needless to say, this unexpected cap to the hour-long romp will be talked about for some time.

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Celeste speedrun race, SGDQ 2018

Celeste: A much newer game got the SGDQ “race” treatment, as well, and while this one lacks the nostalgia of something like Mario 3 above, this speedrun has an arguably cooler angle: the game’s creators showing up.

Developers Matt Thorson and Noel Berry act as the primary couch commentators for this run, offering explanations about exactly how the runners are pulling off their crazy moves, how the game was developed with speedrunning in mind, and even admitting to a few glitches being left in the game intentionally. (One of those, which results in a strange sound glitch repeating over and over, was left specifically for speedrunners to find, Thorson admits.) Additionally, the speed tech displayed by these runners for such a new game is absolutely impressive. The devs point out how much of the game’s designed challenge is obliterated by their techniques, but they don’t seem too bothered by that fact.

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F-Zero GX speedrun and exploit using TASBot

F-Zero GX: Most Games Done Quick events include a presentation from TASBot, which is essentially a combination of console exploits and rapid-fire button punches (often combined with Nintendo’s classic, cute ROB toy) to write and execute remote code. This year’s was no different.