AGDQ 2016 wrapped up over the weekend and it was a fantastic week of speedruns. You had the TASbot breaking games in ridiculous ways, people speedrunning certain games blindfolded as well as various runs of incredibly difficult titles. There were so many great runs from this year’s AGDQ and I urge anyone to go back through the archives and watch as many as you can but here are my top 5 speedruns that I watched during the course of AGDQ 2016.
5. Super Mario Kart All Cups Race
Let’s start off with a race which ended in a literal photo finish. I always enjoy watching the racing game blocks, especially when you have two runners actually racing each other on different consoles. In this Super Mario Kart All Cups race, the runners Md_Neo and KVD were neck and neck throughout the whole run, with the lead often switching between races and it being a generally tense run to watch from start to finish. Cut to the final race on Rainbow Road where either runner could win the whole race. An early start from KVD made it look like he was going to get to the chequered flag first, but an unlucky crash on his part allowed Md_Neo to gain ground and turn the race into one which was decided by a single second’s difference. I won’t spoil who comes out on top but this was a brilliant race to watch and one which stood out amongst the early runs of the marathon.
4. Super Mario Maker Relay Race
This relay race was the most enjoyable run to watch, due to both the skills of all the runners that competed, as well as the general reaction of the audience watching. The Super Mario Maker race saw two teams of Mario speedrunners competing on courses that they had never seen before, created by other runners for the purposes of this race. Cue lots of devious traps, cheers of excitement as people figured out mechanics and an overall electric atmosphere as these two teams tried to beat the gauntlet as quickly as possible. This run was the embodiment of why people speedrun and I hope this style of race becomes a tradition at future Games Done Quick events.
3. Stepmania Exhibition
If you have enjoyed the Tetris runs from previous SGDQ and AGDQ events, the Stepmania run was right up your ally. This run saw Staiain blaze through a setlist of tracks, with his fingers moving faster than I thought humanly possible. The stamina and precision required on this run is immense, so to see it done in a marathon setting is nothing short of remarkable. Staiain’s fingers go so quickly at one point during the run, the camera starts shaking with the force of his rapid button taps. No glitches involved in this run, just pure finger speed and it was a great watch, a true standout of this year.
2. Punch Out!! Blindfolded Race
Two years ago at AGDQ 2014, Sinister was able to get all the way to Mike Tyson blindfolded and it was then thought impossible to beat Iron Mike with the blindfold on. Fast forward 2 years and thanks to the efforts of many other Punch-Out runners, not only is it possible to beat Tyson with a blindfold on, but people have got so good that it is now a category where people can race each other. Using specific sound clues, strategies involving runners buffering inputs to moves during pauses and acute memorisation of fighter patterns, both Sinister and zallard were able to complete this race, while the entire AGDQ crowd remained in silence in order to allow the runners to time their punches. A nail biter of a run that displays the advances in strategy and skill that has taken place over a span of 2 years, for a game that is nearly 30 years old.
1. Crypt of the Necrodancer Coda Run
Onto yet another run which proved that some speedrunners are actually superhuman. Crypt of the Necrodancer is already a difficult game to play, it being a rhythm game/roguelike hybrid where you not only have to keep an eye on the enemies on screen, but you have to time your attacks and movement to the beat of the song being played in the dungeon. Sounds hard on its own, but the Coda run takes this initial difficulty and ramps it up to insane levels. Coda is a character in Crypt of the Necrodancer who is designed to be almost impossible to complete the game with. He dies in one hit, he can only use the default dagger as his weapon, he dies if you pick up gold or if you drop a beat in the song which is also going at double speed. Coda is so difficult to play that only about 10 or more people in the entire world have beaten Necrodancer with him. Keep in all of this in mind when SpootyBiscuit manages to beat the game with Coda in a marathon setting, without knowing the dungeon layouts beforehand and having to face the game’s hardest bosses on the way to completing the run. He does this all in less than 5 or so tries and in under 20 minutes. It is nothing short of amazing.
So, those are my top 5 speedruns from this year’s event. Again, I didn’t get to see all of them so I no doubt missed a fantastic run in the wee hours of the morning while I was sleeping so comment below with your favourite runs from this year’s AGDQ. Congrats to all the runners and staff for raising over 1 million dollars for the Prevent Cancer Foundation and I can’t wait for SGDQ in the summer.