Summer Games Done Quick 2018 is officially over. The annual charity speedrunning marathon raised over $2 million for Doctor’s Without Borders and featured over 168 hours of speedruns. If you weren’t able to tune in, it’s a full week of mind-blowing glitches and intense head to head races. But with the stream running 24 hours a day, it’s almost impossible to see everything.
That’s why we’ve rounded up our favorite PC speedruns from Summer Games Done Quick 2018. It’s a relatively new roster compared to last year’s selection, featuring indie hits like Cuphead and Celeste. But all of these runs are remarkable in their own way.
This run is an example of a Games Done Quick speedrun at its absolute finest: An incredibly tough game, an extremely skilled player, and a great cast of couch commentators. ‘TheMexicanRunner’ keeps his cool throughout each of Cuphead’s insanely tough boss battles, but I particularly love the silly voices he uses while reading dialogue. His supporting cast of couch commentators are just as fun to listen to because of their impressive knowledge of the game. Not only do they explain techniques during each phase of the run, but they’re bursting with cool trivia about Cuphead’s development, artstyle, and more. It’s just a great all-around run.
SGDQ 2018 was dominated by tough-as-nails indie platformers, but this Celeste head-to-head race is a remarkable display of videogame mastery by its two runners. It’s not much of a competition, as runner TGH clearly has the upperhand, but watching both navigate Celeste’s intimidating gauntlet of trap-filled levels is exhilarating. Some of the jumps each runner makes has to be pixel perfect, which isn’t an easy feat when you’re already blitzing through levels at this pace. It’s indicative of the high level of skill that Celeste demands that even nailing some of these jumps is impressive on the second and third attempt.
Enter the Gungeon (0:18:08)
At every Games Done Quick event, there’s always one run where everything just goes to hell despite the runner’s best attempts. And this year, there is no one who failed more spectacularly than Teddyras—though it’s not his fault. The RNG gods of Enter the Gungeon had an axe to grind with Teddyras, as evidenced by the mountain of bad luck that plagued him all the way from the very start. Sure, he makes a few mistakes here and there, but not once does Teddyras get a good weapon drop that is so crucial to surviving the Gungeon’s harder floors. Keep in mind that, unlike most games, dying in Enter the Gungeon means having to start over from the very beginning. When it finally happens just shy of the final boss, it’s heartbreaking. Fortunately Teddyras gets another shot, and things go much better the second time around.
TASbot plays Celeste (0:34:19)
But Steven, you say, didn’t you just recommend a Celeste speedrun? Yes, I did. But you know what’s better than watching two humans try to beat Celeste? Watching a friggin robot beat Celeste. That’s what TASBot is, a tool-assisted speedrun where each button input is meticulously scripted beforehand and then executed in real-time. Of course, no human can ever match the precision of a robot, but that’s what makes TAS special. With Celeste’s breakneck pace and complicated level design, TASBot is able to blaze through each zone with remarkable speed. It took DevilSquirrel months to program TASBot to be able to run each level, finding the optimal path to create the ideal, superhuman speedrun.
Borderlands: The Pre-sequel (1:56:46)
I love this run for a lot of reasons, not least of which being that Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel doesn’t feel like a remarkable game to watch a speedrun of. Gearbox’s loot-shooter isn’t exactly what comes to mind when I think of great speedrun games, but Amyrlinn and Shockwve’s commentary is just so damn funny. Throughout the length of the Pre-Sequel, both runners abuse a ton of glitches like duping items and clipping through walls, but it’s made all the more enjoyable by their irreverent digs at Borderlands’ world and fun back-and-forth quips.
Tomb Raider (1:13:56)
If you’re not a fan of the bombastic commentary that often accompanies Games Done Quick runs, this Tomb Raider run is for you. Beckski93 executes many of Tomb Raider’s complicated glitches effortlessly, but I really enjoy her laidback commentary, which is a nice contrast to the sometimes abrasive energy of other runners. There’s also just a lot of fun glitches to watch, like one named after the game QWOP because of the way it breaks Lara’s running animation to help her glitch through surfaces.
Maxylobes run of 2005’s FEAR is great because it’s always fun to see such scary games disarmed by speedrunners. FEAR terrified me the first time I played it, but watching Maxy rush through levels with no regard for the tense atmosphere or jumpscares is just so silly. He also kills entire squads of soldiers by rushing and punching each one in the head systematically, which is ridiculous for its own reasons. I wish I had realized how strong punching was when I first played.