July marks the beginning of one of my favorite weeks of the year: Summer Games Done Quick. Gamers from all over the nation join together in Minneapolis, Minnesota to demonstrate their ability to completely deconstruct video games allowing them to do things that the developers never thought would be possible. Allowing the player to complete a game faster than possibly imaginable.

These speedrunners expose the glitches, exploits, and holes that live in some of our favorite titles. Games that we would spend ages on, night after night, trying to beat are being ripped apart and finished in minutes. For example, one of my favorite games, the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the Nintendo 64, takes on average 27 hours to complete the main story. With speedrunners, taking advantage of all the poor programming and bugs in the code, have taken that time and absolutely destroyed it from beating the game in eight hours to one hour to the leading speedrunner beating Gannon in 17 minutes and 42 seconds.  

Much like any small group, speedrunners are a dedicated niche group that have helped raise some serious donations to charities like Doctors Without Borders and the Prevent Cancer Foundation. Dedicated to the point of raising upwards of 1.2 million dollars just from playing video games. Pretty amazing stuff. Awesome Games Done Quick 2016 marked another landmark: a homebrew game created just to be speedrunned at the event. Created by fellow devs and speedrunners of GDQ, PWN Adventure Z is a game that was announced and released during the marathon to allow viewers to compete online for the fastest time to beat. Easy to say, it was a huge success. Garnering hundreds of fans to test their skills against a computer and one of the developers to see who could finish the game the fastest.

What an interesting idea? Creating a game that tailors to a very specific group of people who are looking for something new to tackle. A new challenge. Doesn’t have to be radically new ideas just something that peeks enough interest to big buzz amongst others outside of the community to grab the attention of some other patrons that are willing to help out the project.

Now PWN Adventure Z was a bad game, but that doesn’t mean that yours has to be. Creating a project for one specific community isn’t crazy, it’s genius. Who else to going to give them what they want?

Might as well be you.

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Eric M Hunter

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