Summer is (almost) here, and the time is right for dancing in the streets, and also to watch incredibly skilled, passionate gamers cross the finish line in the name of charity. That’s what Summer Games Done Quick is all about, and there’ll be a full week of speedruns to blow our minds in 2023.
The festivities begin in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 28, 1 p.m. ET, starting with a mad dash to complete “Sonic Frontiers” within a 1-hour, 17-minute timeframe. The event runs through June 4, and ends with post-midnight co-op runs of “Super Metroid” on Super Nintendo.
There are dozens of other runs scheduled in between; from the earliest 8-bit classics like “Mega Man 6” and “Super Mario Bros.,” to modern games like “Grand Theft Auto,” “The Elder Scrolls,” and “Pokemon Scarlet/Violet.” Even “Neopets” will make an appearance, if you’re into that sort of thing.
The in-person experience is always a blast, with arcade rooms, board gaming socials, event panels, tournaments, and more to accompany the mainstage action. Sadly, registration to attend in person is closed, but Games Done Quick is streaming all the riveting gameplay start-to-finish at its official YouTube and Twitch channels. You can catch up later with replays if you can’t tune in live.
What is Games Done Quick?
You can think of Games Done Quick — or GDQ — as a celebration of gaming. It’s a speedrunner’s stomping grounds, hence the name. Some speedrunners handicap themselves with interesting stipulations, such as playing levels on the hardest difficulty, or limiting an in-game action. There’s nothing insane on SGDQ 2023’s schedule like the blindfolded speedruns we saw during 2022’s early-year All Games Done Quick event, but you never know what sort of antics amped-up participants will pull in the moment.
Watching gamers converge in an arena-style setting to meticulously navigate gaming’s shortest paths to completion is reason enough to support its ongoing run, but the philanthropic cause is a feel-good wrinkle. GDQ events have raised $43 million to date for several charities. This year, proceeds from the event will benefit Doctors Without Borders, which works to provide humanitarian aid for the less fortunate affected by global crises and disasters.
“We provide independent, impartial medical humanitarian assistance to the people who need it most,” reads its website. “Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) cares for people affected by conflict, disease outbreaks, natural and human-made disasters, and exclusion from health care in more than 70 countries.”
Onlookers can donate to the cause using the usual channels and donation links throughout the GDQ event.