The best and fastest: Highlights from Awesome Games Done Quick 2015

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The best and fastest: Highlights from Awesome Games Done Quick 2015
The annual Awesome Games Done Quick marathon is one of the biggest charity events in gaming, with this year's show raising more than $1 million in charitable donations for the Prevent Cancer Foundation over a grueling week-long campaign. During the course of the event, gamers from across the globe gathered to complete classic and modern games at lightning speed, producing amazing playthroughs and earning thousands of viewer donations from the collective atmosphere and camaraderie.

This year's event was the most financially successful to date, and we've already covered highlights like this ultra-quick Pokemon Blue playthrough and an unlikely Mischief Makers marriage proposal. With more than 100 hours of speedruns to sift through, however, it may be tough to find the best of the best. With that in mind, here are our favorite runs from AGDQ 2015, with links to the original Twitch archives provided by this Reddit thread. You've got a lot to catch up on if you missed out on this year's event, so let's dive right in.
Our favorite speedruns

Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels - Anyone who suffered through the cruel level designs of this misfit Mario game via Super Mario All-Stars will find this run amazing, but exceptional commentary from runner Big Jon puts this one at the top of our list. Big Jon is informative and hilarious throughout, and the game's notorious level of difficulty provides plenty of dramatic tension whenever things go wrong. C'mon Bowser, jump already!

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune - Trust us: You won't believe how broken the original Uncharted is. Otherwise straightforward third-person shooting sequences quickly become surreal when hero Nathan Drake backs himself into a corner, glitches through the level geometry, and warps through space and time, skipping multiple gameplay chapters in Ovendonkey's impressive run.

Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2 - One of the most mechanically demanding runs of the marathon, speedrunner Ysalamiri uses a variety of fascinating tricks and physics manipulation glitches to complete Jedi Knight at breakneck speed. One especially weird gameplay quirk involves using explosions to strategically fling the hero's lifeless body into an exit point, completing levels posthumously as a result.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City - Recent discoveries in the speedrunning community allow the PC version of Rockstar's 80s-infused Grand Theft Auto: Vice City to be completed in just over an hour - a feat that took many of us dozens more. There's a lot of behind-the-scenes glitches involved throughout, but commentary from runner AdamAK adds helpful context and makes this speedy playthrough easy to follow.

Rogue Legacy - If, like many of us, you died dozens of aggravating deaths of Cellar Door Games' fiendishly difficult roguelike platformer Rogue Legacy, this run will probably make you angry. Runner Tterraj42 breezes through the game's bosses in minutes, obtaining key upgrades and forging a speedy path to the end of the game faster than you would ever think possible.

I Wanna Be the Boshy - This skilled run of an utterly bonkers fan tribute to I Wanna Be the Guy will have you in stitches throughout, thanks to great commentary from runner Witwix and an ongoing charity-boosting bet that drains his attending friend's bank account with every death. The game itself looks painful to play, but it's great fun to watch an experienced runner suffer through it.

Kaizo Mario World - Another unreasonably difficult fan creation, Kaizo Mario World (aka "Asshole Mario") is tough to play even when using emulator savestates, but runner Dram55 somehow completes it using his own skills on real SNES hardware. It's an amazing feat, and one that you wouldn't think humanly possible.

Half-Life 2: Episode 2 - Gordon Freeman ascends to the next plane of existence in this exceedingly skillful speedrun, which spends much of its time exploring the outer boundaries of Valve's iconic sci-fi universe. Remember the lengthy roadtrip sequence? Driving is actually slower than what runner Gocnak accomplishes here on foot. Watch this and you will believe that a Freeman can fly.

Trials Evolution - Remember all the times you crashed in Trials Evolution? Runner The Blaze JP completes many courses here without a single mistake, demonstrating unbelievable levels of skill (and patience) throughout RedLynx's unhinged physics-driven racer. Watch until the end to see the Extreme levels, too. Madness.

Battletoads - Battletoads is difficult enough with a single player, but add in a co-op partner who can screw you over at any time thanks to a friendly fire "feature" and you've got a recipe for thrown controllers and ruined friendships. Players Jc583 and TheMexicanRunner somehow resist the urge to strangle one another as they race through one of the most difficult games ever made, with fantastic results.

Feats of extreme nerdery

These runs go above and beyond the call of duty, exhibiting skill beyond the grasp of mere mortals. Watch and be amazed.

TASbot block - A robot wrecks your favorite Nintendo games, with unexpected results. Heard of Twitch Plays Pokemon? Get ready for Pokemon Plays Twitch.

Tetris: The Grand Master exhibition - This is Tetris played faster than you would ever imagine. The scary part? This is a normal gameplay mode in Arika's Grand Master series.

Vanquish - Think Platinum's acclaimed third-person shooter Vanquish is intense? Try playing it one-handed.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - Blindfolded runs are nothing new for Games Done Quick events, but this one is something else entirely. Astonishing.

Races

Awesome Games Done Quick 2015 also hosted a series of races among the world's top players, including these great highlights.

- Mega Man (this one was close)
- Super Mario World
- Ninja Gaiden 1-3 relay race
- Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
- Goldeneye

Dev commentary

Speedruns are even better when a featured game's creator is watching in shocked disbelief. Here are a few runs featuring Skype conversations with developers as their creations are ruthlessly broken.

- Shovel Knight
- Battleblock Theater
- Within a Deep Forest
- They Bleed Pixels
- Banjo-Kazooie

Awful Games Done Quick

Some of the most fun speedruns to watch are for games that are no fun at all to play. Here are a few of the best-worst games featured during the after-midnight Awful Games Done Quick block.

- The Town with No Name
- Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing
- Super Pitfall
- Beethoven's 2nd
- Rocman X

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