The Games Done Quick charity event series has long been a favorite among Ars Technica gaming fans and critics alike, combining classic, well-loved video games and carefully crafted methods to break them apart in search of high-speed exploits.
This year’s summer edition is extra special as it’s the first in 2.5 years to take place in a physical venue – albeit with some of the strictest mask and distancing requirements we’ve seen at a public livestream show in 2022 . (GDQ organizers show up to read the news, which makes sense for a series benefiting MSF.) Even when precautions have been taken, the combination of players, commentators and viewers in the same room added excitement to their broadcasts brought back, which is why we’re compiling some of the best runs from the past week, archived on GDQ’s official YouTube channel.
The event is still ongoing at the time of publishing this article, which means you can now follow it via the Twitch channel. The last runs of the event, dedicated elden ringends in the late hours of Saturday, July 2nd.
tunic2022, “True Ending” run
In case you haven’t played yet tunic, we suggest you pause before checking out this spoiler-packed groundbreaking game that tumbles through many of its biggest mysteries. (My March review of the game has far fewer spoilers.) But if you’ve already collected the game’s slew of hidden “how-to-book” pages, consider this a must-read, as it features a compelling real-time commentary guest: Andrew Shouldice, the game’s lead designer, programmer and artist.
He’s joined by a member of the Power-Up Audio team who worked on the game’s soundtrack, and they share tons of information about how the game was made – including confirming how many of the biggest exploits were intentional by the developers were left in the game game. At one point, Shouldice watches a trick begin to play out and tells the crowd that he programmed it as a possibility but could never personally trigger it. Moments later, the speedrunner demonstrated the trick, allowing him to wriggle through a wall and bypass a lot of tricky content.
Halo infinity2021, “no tank gun” running
The speedruns of many classic games fall into several categories, and the most broken ones are known as “any-percent” runs because they allow players to use whatever tricks they want and skip whatever quests they want. In certain cases of games, these types of runs can be boring to watch and are notoriously buggy Halo infinity is no exception.
This speed run begins with a demonstration of the “tank gun” bolting a gun with unlimited ammo to the Master Chief’s feet. That’s too much support for speedrunners’ tastes, but this SGDQ demonstration still packs a ton of crazy tricks that combine geometry clipping and otherworldly physics exploits – all boosted by Chief’s instant access to a new grappling hook object. Sure, the grapple lets players move through the world much faster, but it also represents a savage bug that makes players bounce off explosive barrels in a gravity-defying way.
thunder in paradise1995, all cutscenes play
We’re not sure if this is GDQ’s first speedrun dedicated to a full-motion video game (FMV), but it’s certainly one of the dumber examples of the mid-’90s CD-ROM genre. thunder in paradise based on the short-lived TV series of the same name, which starred Terry “Hulk” Hogan alongside Jack Lemmon’s son as a crime-solving action duo on the beach, and it was as bad as it sounds. Relegated to the CD-I console, the video game version forces players to watch appallingly bad live-action footage in between episodes of light gunfire.
In most video game speedruns, players skip as many cinematic scenes as possible, but GDQ chose to show this game’s footage in its entirety while simultaneously cheesing the gunplay parts as quickly as possible. Buckle up brother.