Gaming for a Cause

By Alexandre Darche

 

While many of us spent the second week of January participating in E-Week (congratulations Mech), Awesome Games Done Quick (AGDQ) was taking place in Virginia for its 7th installation. E-Sport teams keep showing up in the news for their impressive revenues and their acquisitions by NBA teams. However, AGDQ is a whole other beast, donating all of their revenue to the Prevent Cancer Foundation. This year was a first for the event, raising over 2 million dollars towards the cause.

AGDQ is a showcase of the best ‘speedrunners’ out there. Speedrunning a video game involves getting to the end of the game as fast as humanly possible using optimized techniques or glitches. Games that took weeks of your childhood to complete are broken and completed in minutes. The speedrunners give commentary throughout the runs, giving insight into just how many hours of preparation are needed and how much skill is needed for certain tricks to be pulled off. The entire thing is streamed online throughout the week allowing people to donate towards various raffle prizes or incentives.

Among the speedruns are a bunch of other interesting events throughout the week. One of the funnier ones this year involved two people running through Super Mario Bros using only one controller for the two. One controlled Mario’s movement, while the other controlled the jumping – often leading to tension and cursing between them. Other popular events include blindfolded runs where players have mastered a game’s controls to a point they can play it using only the sound effects.

Video games are becoming a major industry that is starting to rival traditional sports and and even Hollywood. While they still have ample room to grow, it is nonetheless impressive for a week of video gaming to raise $2,218,335.30 for charity. Don’t be surprised to see people going to bars to see e-sport games instead of their favourite hockey teams in the not-too-distant future.

If you’d like to watch any of the highlights go check out the AGDQ channel on Youtube.

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