Speedrunning marathons are large video game events that showcase a niche skillset while raising money for charity. Awesome Games Done Quick, the largest annual marathon, is taking games submissions right now so here's how you can take part.
Speedrunning has nothing to do with the physical act of running fast. It's the term used for completing a video game as fast as possible, often using glitches and other unintended game mechanics to turn what is typically a multi-hour experience into something that takes under an hour.
It's a hobby for people who have enjoyed a video game and wish to find a new way to experience it. Speedrunning can be about spending hours to learn how to beat a game in minutes.
Awesome Games Done Quick is an annual charity event that will take place on January 6-13, 2019 in Rockville, Maryland. It's a long trip to take to play video games but the event raised over $3 million for charity earlier this year.
Games Done Quick isn't the only speedrunning marathon that you can take part in. There are frequent online events that you can participate from at home and plenty of smaller events, including some in Australia.
Marathons will typically ask participants to submit a form with video proof of them completing a speedrun of their chosen game. In Games Done Quick's case you must create a profile on their website and follow the submission guide.
Thousands upon thousands of people try to take part in Games Done Quick every year. A selection committee will filter through all of the submissions and choose a range of people to play games in order to fill out the week long schedule.
Smaller marathons often have shorter schedules but less competition to join them.
The Australian Speedrun Marathon at PAX Australia from October 25-28 this year is taking submissions until August 31. Anyone who wishes to take part can complete this Google Docs form. Submissions close August 31.
No matter what type of speedrunning marathon you are trying to take part in, it's important to remember that these are charity events showcasing the hobby. They're fundraising events with a heavy focus on entertainment, not a competitive grind to prove who is the best.
With that in mind, your submission should demonstrate the various tricks and interesting aspects of the game, as well as your personality as a runner.
The most popular and successful participants in speedrunning marathons are rarely the fastest players of their games. Instead they are adept at keeping the audience's attention through their gameplay and personality.
If you're submitting a well-known game like Ocarina of Time it's expected that you'll be well-versed in the tricks that have developed over the years and can explain this speedrunning classic to the audience. However if you're showing off a more obscure title, you won't be able to rely audience familiarity and should focus on why the game is interesting as a speedrun.
You don't have to be a speedrunner to take part in these events. You can watch them livestreamed on Twitch.tv or go watch in person if you're able to get a ticket.
Games Done Quick and other large marathons have effectively become another form of convention where friends hang out for a week playing video games. Not a bad way to raise a few million dollars for charity.