Summer Games Done Quick is just a couple days away, starting this Sunday, June 24th, at 12:30 PM Eastern. As always, this week-long event will be packed full of amazing speedruns, all performed in the name of supporting Doctors Without Borders. SGDQ 2018 is boasting an impressive lineup of 175 runs, totaling an estimated 148 hours of gameplay. Many of these games have been featured before, but there is an exciting handful making their GDQ debut!

Metroid: Samus Returns—Any% by Mr_Shasta

Nintendo surprised us all last summer when it announced Metroid: Samus Returns for the Nintendo 3DS. Even more surprising was that it was set to launch just a few short months later! Samus Returns is a remake of Metroid II: Return of Samus, in which our favorite bounty hunter Samus Aran is tasked with the extermination of the Metroid species.

Samus Returns is more than a simple remaster, however. Samus is back with a new suite of tricks known as Aeion abilities. These abilities range from slowing down time to scanning the environment for hidden secrets. Upgrades from later in the series, such as the Super Missile, have also been added in to SR388.

Metroid speedruns have always intrigued me because of the labyrinthine nature of the games. There are usually some beautiful technical tricks utilized throughout the run, but the amount of knowledge needed to remember where to go, in addition to the inventory management often required, has kept me captivated. 

There's no doubt that this run will be just as exciting. Mr_Shasta is one of the top runners for the Any% category, currently holding third place with an in-game time of 1 hour, 27 minutes, and 21 seconds. Given that this is just over three minutes slower than record, I'm positive that this run will be one to watch.

Metroid: Samus Returns is scheduled for 9:46 PM on Tuesday, June 26th.

Cuphead—All Flags (Regular, Legacy) by TheMexicanRunner

Alright, I'm pretty biased on this one. As the head moderator of the Cuphead speedrunning community, I couldn't be more excited to see the game make its Games Done Quick debut. Putting my personal bias aside, however, Cuphead is a speedrun that is equal parts challenging to play and entertaining to watch, making it one of my most anticipated runs of the week.

When Cuphead launched in September of last year, it quickly made a name for itself as a rather difficult, albeit extremely successful and well-received game. Despite this, Cuphead may be best known for its overall aesthetic—notably a phenomenal jazz soundtrack and visuals mimicking the golden age of cartoons. As Cuphead's popularity grew, so did the interest in speedrunning it. In fact, at one point, Cuphead ranked on speedrun.com as the most actively run title on the site. Even now, it still holds 12th place!

As hard as Cuphead can be on its own, it can be even more devilish when one tries to complete it quickly. A top-tier speedrun requires extensive knowledge of boss attack patterns, a sixth sense about how far you've progressed in the fight, good RNG, and some incredibly risky maneuvers. Even the easiest of the Cuphead bosses can be a run killer if you take it too easy and lose track of these ingredients.

Presenting the game during Games Done Quick is none other than TheMexicanRunner. Though TMR may be best known for being the first person to complete all 714 NES games, he is also a very accomplished speedrunner, currently holding records in Battletoads, Contra, and Cuphead. In fact, the current record in All Flags (Regular, Legacy) is held by TMR, with an impressive time of 30 minutes, 32 seconds.

Cuphead at Summer Games Done Quick provides the perfect combination of a being a beautiful game and an exciting, tense speedrun, all while being performed by a very popular, talented runner. It is this combination that earns Cuphead a spot on this list!

Cuphead is scheduled for 10:56 PM on Wednesday, June 27th.

A Hat in Time—Any% Race by flarebear and ConnorAce

Despite how you may feel about developers turning to Kickstarter to acquire funding, there have been a few games that have done fairly well after their goal was met. One such game is A Hat in Time, a Banjo-Kazooie/Super Mario 64-inspired action platformer that raised almost 10 times its crowdfunding goal.

A Hat in Time follows its protagonist, Hat Kid, as she tries to regain her missing Time Pieces, powerful objects that can control the flow of time and serve as fuel for her spaceship. Along her journey, she has to square off against the Mafia and her friend-turned-enemy Mustache Girl. There are a lot of collectibles to grab along the voyage, including Yarn Balls. These balls can then be crafted into various hats, which grant Hat Kid various powers.

The speedrun makes heavy use of movement techniques to skip entire portions of the required levels, as well as to generally go faster. A Hat in Time will make its GDQ debut as a race between flarebear and ConnorAce, ranked 6th and 16th on the leaderboards, respectively. Though the three minutes separating these players may make this seem like a one-sided race, in a live setting, anything can happen!

A Hat in Time is scheduled for 12:06 AM on Thursday, June 28th.

Celeste—Any% Race by TGH and yoshipro

2018 came out of the gate swinging with a little independent platformer titled Celeste. Much like Cuphead a few months prior, Celeste quickly received praise for its difficulty level, which I previously likened to that of Super Meat Boy. More notably, however, was how Celeste tackled the ever-prevalent issues of depression and mental health throughout its story and its main character, Madeline.

The controls in Celeste are fairly simple relative to other titles. You can move, jump, climb, and dash. Madeline must make use of these actions to journey up Celeste Mountain, and much as climbing a real mountain is difficult, so too is Madeline's journey. What makes Celeste this difficult is the fact that players must precisely time and position their movements in order to overcome the obstacles ahead of them.

Races are always a favorite of mine at events like this, even more so when the game involved relies on mechanics like those in Celeste. A simple mistake can cause a screen reset or worse, and in most races, this could be the deciding factor. Just look at the Super Metroid race from SGDQ 2017 as an example.

But in games such as Celeste, such a mistake is hardly the end of the road. Mistakes will likely happen on both sides. Celeste was built with speedrunning in mind, however, and as a result has near-instantaneous respawn times. This makes each mistake nothing more than a tiny bump in the road.

The race will be made even better because of the runners behind the controls. TGH and yoshipro are currently ranked 1st and 2nd respectively in the Any% category and are only separated by about a minute in times. All of this combined means that Celeste is going to be a super tight, entertaining race from beginning to end.

The Celeste Any% race is scheduled for 1:21 AM on Thursday, June 28th. As a bonus incentive, there is a tool-assisted run (TAS) queued for somewhere on the schedule if enough money is raised. Take it from me, you definitely want to check out this insanity.

Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy—Glitchless% by MONTYvsTHEWORLD

When Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy launched last October, I never expected it to take off as a speed game. Getting Over It is a rage-inducing mountain climbing game where you ascend by propelling yourself with a sledgehammer. Even the slightest mistake can cause an avalanche of lost progress. I've seen people throw chairs and computer mice, scream at the top of their lungs, and cry, all because they wound up a few sections behind where they were. But give people enough time and anything is possible.

Not long after release, runners were already driving times down to just a few minutes. MONTYvsTHEWORLD is currently 17th on the leaderboard with an in-game time of 1 minute, 47.086 seconds. Despite this ranking, however, MONTY is just about 20 seconds behind the record. In fact, the top 44 players all have times under two minutes. Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy is set to be an extremely short run, but the technicality and difficulty of the run should prove to be an entertaining time. Just don't blink or you might miss it.

Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy is scheduled for 2:47 AM on Thursday, June 28th.

All times are listed in Eastern time. The schedule is subject to (and will) change throughout the marathon. For the most current revision, be sure to check out the schedule here (automatically converts to your time zone).

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