Tinertia [Any%] by Midboss - AGDQ’s Tinertia run came on late in the evening. Few attended save for the runner, his couch, and the dedicated viewers committed to staying in the audience at the late hour. Which is a shame because Tinertia is a really neat game that I've wanted to see speedrun for a long time. Why? Because the only way to move in Tinertia is rocket-jumping. The platformer’s mix of practiced momentum and complex obstacles makes it a true test of skill, so I'm glad to see it a GDQ finally. It's not the most impressive run of the marathon, but it’s a short game of which I’m a big fan.
Sonic Adventure 2: Battle [Hero Story Race] by Seraphim1313 and A_Moustache - Bad games are among the best parts of a GDQ event. Whether the lack of quality comes from crude code or rotten writing, you know these games will be entertaining because the runner is going to use their hours of experience with the game to show you just how silly it is. Also, bad games inspire wonderful audiences. That is why I loved watching AGDQ 2018's Sonic Adventure 2: Battle race. A pair of dedicated runners styled on an incredible silly game, complete with an audience parroting the game's famously feeble dialog. Then, just when you think you're only around here the laughs, incredible moments of speedrunning prowess emerge and push you to cheer alongside the crowd.
Strider [Live Tutorial Showcase] by ThaDarkMan78, JimmyPoopins - This year's Strider run may have been GDQ's most successful experiment yet. After watching so many years of speedrunning marathons, I still could not have imagined that they would have the audacity to try and teach someone a run on-stream. They did, and the segment is instructive, amusing, and triumphant. DarkMan and Jimmy make for a fantastic duo act. They execute this surprising new format with all the expertise of a magician and the wonder of a volunteer who doesn’t know they are the star of the trick. Even better, this segment shows that speedrunning is not an impossible mountain to climb, but a hobby that is easy to enter if not to master.
Resident Evil 7 [New Game Madhouse] by Carcinogen - You so rarely get the chance to see someone get spooked by a game that they've played countless times.
Enviro-Bear 2000 [5-Year Relay] by Zic3, SNeaky, Scrublord, IRLAnimeBoi, Brossentia - GDQ marathons don't always get enough credit for their comedy. Certainly there are runners who are naturally charismatic, but GDQ also plans some its hilarity by pairing goofy personalities with absolutely nonsensical games. Enviro-Bear 2000 is one of those, and it's runners are some of the best to appear on a GDQ stream. As such, this run is one of the funniest of the marathon, simply through quick, mad-cap amusement.
Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition [All Skills (No OOB/TA)] by Vulajin, sigma, Hydra, Terra - When I say that GDQ represents some of the best parts of "gamer culture,” I’m talking about the opening to this year’s Ori run. Vulajin is one of my favorite runners, simply by force of personality, and the speech he delivers before the race begins is one for the GDQ history books. It’ll get you right in the feels. It's a perfect way to start off an excellent race of an emotional game, filled with nail-biting moments, gasps of relief, and genuine community camaraderie that is a joy to behold. Ori and the Blind Forest is also one of the best speed games out there with a movement mechanic that sets it apart from all other games like it.
The End is Nigh [Any%] by warm_ham - There’s no better showcase for a precision platformer than a GDQ marathon. Watching runners who practice the hell out of this demanding genre is always a treat, and it's not even the only one. This run comes with couch commentary and a call from the game's creators. Developer commentary is another fantastic GDQ tradition, as you get to receive new insights about the game’s design as well as experience the developers’ wonder when their games are played beyond perfection. Between the horrific challenges of The End is Nigh and the wry commentary of both the runner and developers, this run is definitely worth checking out.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past [Randomizer, No Glitches, Open Mode Race] by Andy, ChristosOwen - An enjoyable speedrunning race usually features route memorization, perfect execution of tricks, and the occasional dramatic mistake that closes the gap between opponents. The Link to the Past Randomizer Race includes all that and more. Randomization means that the runners needed all the skills showcased in a normal run, as well as a comprehensive understanding of all options available in strange circumstances and a talent for improvisation based on few resources. These runners possess skills and abilities that I've never seen before in a speedrun. It is incredibly impressive to see in action. This is a new kind of race for GDQ, so make sure you take a look.
Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! + Super Punch-Out!! [2 Games 1 Controller] by zallard1 - One of my favorite GDQ moments of all time was a blindfolded run of Mike Tyson's Punch Out. That run defied everything I believed to be possible in a video game. I did not think such an incredible feat could be matched. I was wrong. There's something about the idea of "playing two games at once" that doesn't sound ridiculous until you see it happening. Then it seems impossible. And yet you can watch it. Do that.
Bloodborne [All Bosses] by heyZeusHeresToast - AGDQ 2018 included a number of excellent Souls-like runs. I definitely recommend the Dark Souls 3 run as well, particularly because there's an amazing sequence of blindfolded bosses that's just incredible. However, if you can only watch one, then make it this year's Bloodborne run. As much as I love watching FromSoft games in any category, nothing really shows the breadth of a game like Bloodborne as All Bosses does. While the category is key, so is the runner, and heyZeus delivers. Between the beard humor and the memes, heyZeus makes this excellent run more than worthy of its Friday time slot.
Super Dram World 2 [100%] by grandpoobear - The tradition of romhacking Super Mario World to create “Kaizo" levels designed to torture players puts two incredible skills on display at speedrunning events. The first is the ability to develop not only a series of sadistic Mario-flavored challenges, but cleverly sprinkle them with memes, callouts, and community in-jokes. The second is the ability to beat them at all, much less speedrun them, which grandpoobear accomplishes with both charisma and prowess. Both a revered runner and an impressive entertainer, there's no one like grandpoobear when it comes to taking on romhacks like Super Dram World 2.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild [All Main Quests (No Amiibo)] by atz - To say that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild made a splash in 2017 would be somewhat of an understatement. No one expected the first Switch entry of the Zelda series to complete change the series’ established format by making it open-world, systems-driven, and entirely lacking in mandatory progression. Furthermore, everyone knew that it would be a great speed game simply because of the game’s incredible capabilities. Breath of the Wild was a joy to play and watching it be broken down over four hours is just as entertaining. After all, who doesn't want to see Link fly across Hyrule on a tree? This run easily joins the impressive canon of "GDQ Final Runs” by being both epic in scale and impressive in execution. This is what GDQs are all about.