Wekll, $1.47 million to be exact.
So ends another Awesome Games Done Quick and it was a lot of fun. Lots of great runs and entertaining commentary, some musical numbers, and an epic last minute snipe of the now $240k raising donatation incentive "Save/Kill The Animals". Looking forward to Summer Games Done Quick in August and hoping I can actually attend either that one or the next AGDQ in 2016. But the most important part is the event accumulated over $1,000,000 again for the Prevent Cancer Foundation.
Whether you're a fan of speed runs or not or you're a gamer, but not entertained by watching other people play, it's still worthwhile to stop in and check out these events just to at least see all the fun that transpires and to chip in a little to help stop cancer someday. If it wasn't for this cause I'd just be a casual viewer of these marathons, only stopping in to watch my favorite runners/runs. I was glued to my monitor for the whole week minus the time I spent at work, showering, and stepping out for groceries. It's an experience. And I recommend you give it a chance if you haven't already because it's about more than just the speedruns, it's also about a community of gamers, geeks, and people who want to use their talents to do some good in life. Hell, there are many people who look at video games as a waste of time and that gamers will never amount to anything. Well, a community of gamers who love what they do have helped to raise almost $5 million for cancer research and prevention in just the past 3 years.That's more money than I may ever make in my lifetime.
So I give thanks and praise to everyone who participated in AGDQ over the years, whether you were a runner, volunteer, attendee, or donator. You guys are all AWESOME. ^_^
So, I called it early on on my first donation when I said "1.5 million hype!" Granted it took an overall donation total from the even itself as well as donations made from sales from the event's sponsors The Yetee and Humble Bundle, but I was expecting the growth of the event to accumulate more money this year. I expect the same to happen with SGDQ this year and then ADGQ next year. So, I'll just get it out of the way now: $1.75 million hype! $2 million hype!
Now that that's out of the way, I want to go back on the "Save/Kill the animals" note I touched on...
So, this donation incentive is in fact called "Save/Kill the animals". It's a bid war where donators get to put their money towards whether they want to "Save the animals" or "Kill the animals". You're probably thinking, "Why would you want to kill the animals? That's just cruel!" Well, the reason this donation incentive generates the most money in donations than any other incentive ($240,000 in total between the two with an almost clean split down the middle) and is such a highly debated and often close bid war is because of this:
The donations incentive is reference to a decision that is made at the end of the SNES classic Super Metroid. After an hour or two of racing around the surface and caverns of the planet Zebes (the setting of the game), fighting the imbedded Space Pirates and some of the local predators, and defeating the evil Mother Brain and her lieutenants you (Samus Aran, the game's protagonist) now have to escape the planet as a self-destruct sequence has been initiated and you only have 3 minutes to escape before the planet explodes. When you get within sight of the surface you get the sense that something is missing, and out of your way through a hole and down a corridor you previously visited when you first arrived you find some of the local animals huddled in a room waiting for the end. You recognize these animals as the same ones who aided you in teaching you new techniques that you used to traverse the planet and it's many obstacles and you decide to shoot a hole in the wall for them to escape and then make your way to your ship just in time to escape. As you watch the planet explode in a very Alien/Star Wars-esque special effects display, you see a tiny dot shooting off in the distance and you sense that it was those animals you rescued and that managed to escape destruction.
Now imagine if you would if you didn't have the precious seconds needed to take this detour to save those animals? Do you still go down there to save them and risk death yourself? What if instead of being a galaxy-wide known bounty hunter, you're actually a gamer trying to beat this game in fastest time possible. You still save them, even if it means missing out on getting a world record time?
This the question that divides many of us who watch the Games Done Quick events whenever Super Metroid is played. Some want to see Samus save the animals and see that single pixel dash across the screen as the explosion animation goes off when the planet blows up. You can literally miss it if you don't know what to expect as you see Samus's ship spinning around in the wake of the planet's epic Death Star-like demise. Others want to see the runner skip those animals and go for a chance at a personal best time or even a world record setting time. It's spurned arguments in favor of the outcome they want. "Save the animals because it's canon" as the they make an appearance in the following game, Metroid Fusion, which is also the latest game in the Metroid timeline to date. Or "Save the animals because they help teach how to do the wall jump and how to use the Speed Booster's ability, the Shinespark". As opposed to "Kill the animals, Save the frames" in reference to the extra frames it takes to take the detour to save the animals as you literally have to back track to the fork in the path in order to get back to your ship. Or "The animals didn't teach us anything because we learned everything for ourselves or someone else taught us how to do it, so screw them!"
For as long as I've been watching these events, since AGDQ 2012, it's been a heated, yet fun debate. The moment when the player would have to make the choice to run straight for the ship or make the detour to help the animals out is literally within what would be the equivalent of 50 yards for us. With the door to the outside in sight and a 40 yard straight dash to the ship, it's pretty much victory as there are no more obstacles in your way to slow you down. To detour to the animals would basically mean having to run past the 50 yard mark all the way to the other side of the field (can you tell I just watched a football game XD) and then run back to the 50 yard line. Or a better way to put it is you're starting on the 50 yard line and instead of running straight for the endzone ahead of you, you turn around and run the other way to the opposite end of the field and then once you reached it, you run back the other way again passed the 50 yard line and to the endzone you were originally going for. Quite a detour, huh?
When I originally played the game way back in the 90s I had no idea there were animals that you could save, let alone there were even animals that could help you in the game. When I learned about this I pretty much would always go out of my way to save them, unless I screwed up somewhere and didn't have enough time or on the rare occasion wanted to get a better time. After experiencing the amazing battle between donators and games that has arisen, I'm now on the fence about it. That being said, I've donated for Kill the animals everytime.
Personally, I'd save the animals most everytime, but then again I'm not as accomplished a speedrunner as the guys who run this game so often. So, I can afford to lose the frames and the seconds. If I was good enough though, I think I could bring myself to skip them and run straight for the ship. Afterall, it is a game. They'll be back when I boot the game back up again and I don't think it says as much about me if I really had to save an animal or two at the risk of personal harm.
But I love the debate and the reasoning everyone has for why the animals should be save/killed. Ultimately it boils down to a lot of money being donated and a fun sense of anxiousness and anticipation once the bid war is stopped once Mother Brain is defeated to find out whether the runner will have to make the detour or run straight to the ship, several times now it has come down to the last donation. Last year, if memory serves me, it was a last minute snipe donation that decided the fate of the animals was to die in that run. This year it was also a last minute snipe of $10,000 to decide that the fate of the animals was to live for that run. Mixture of "yeahs" and "awws" each time was amazing. I was loving it. It was the spirit of the competition, like routing for your favorite team. The Yetee, a gaming and geekdom t-shirt company, has already made several shirts and other items that are dedicated solely to this outcome. Before we know it, the next GDQs to come might just have fans watching at home and watching at the event wearing gear supporting their love of the animals or their love of a fast time like sports fans sport gear for their chosen teams. Whether or not that happens though, you just know that within the very first game being run at all GDQ and speedrunning events someone will have laid down the gauntlet for the first big donation for or against the survival of a handful of pixels generated to look like alien animals and from that moment on it will be a bitter and hard fought war of attrition between the two with hype and hope in the air going into the long awaited Super Metroid run and lasting on into the last seconds after Mother Brain is defeated. In the end everyone goes home as friends and without harm being done to anyone.
But as I watched the end of the Super Metroid run this year, which admittedly didn't quite match the hype due to what was supposed to be a race between runners Sweetnumb and Epic ending in a single run when Epic was cheaply beaten by the boss Phantoon (thus ending his run because it was halfway through and there was no way he could catch up at that point as he would have to start from the beginning of the game), I was curious as to what drove many people's interest in the donation incentive.
So, I'll ask you all what you think. Even if you hardly know anything about the game or games in general, with the information I've given you what would you choose/donate for?
Would want to save the animals or would you want to see a fast run possibly end in record time?
I'd post this in a poll and I might still yet later, but my subscription ran out and I need to renew it.