Speed-running video games—attempting to beat them very quickly, by whatever means necessary—is a strange and complex art. This video of someone beating Super Mario 64 in under seven minutes is a good indication of the kind of insanity that’s possible when players are dedicated enough.
But an organization called Games Done Quick is channeling that energy in a very different direction: charity. Twice a year Games Done Quick puts on a “charity gaming marathon,” and they’re currently raising money for the Prevent Cancer Foundation.
It’s surprising how exciting it can be to simply watch someone play a video game as quickly as possible, especially when those players are as skilled as these speed-runners are. And when the money raised—through direct donations, Twitch subscriptions, T-shirt sales and more—goes to a good cause, there’s zero cause for qualms over putting off work all day to watch the 24/7 GDQ live stream instead.
The ongoing winter 2015 Awesome Games Done Quick has so far raised almost $300K for cancer research, education and outreach, with average donations of around $40 and a current high score of $20K in a single donation. Not only that, but the always excellent Humble Bundle is also getting in on the action, at this time tallying over $300K in donations with a new bundle of games that includes Duke Nukem 3D, Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssey and others.
GDQ’s volunteer speed-runners are playing games ranging from the old school, like Zelda II and Goldeneye, to the modern Dark Souls 2 and Metal Gear Rising (check out the full schedule here). There’s no guarantee that they’ll break any records, but anything is possible — and either way, it’s for a good cause.
The winter 2015 Awesome Games Done Quick event is ongoing through January 10, so go check out the live stream, watch some people who are way better than you at video games beat the classics with incredible speed, and start 2015 off right by giving a little back.