Ever taken a pax to one of these?

Caturria

Active Member
A bit of an obscure scenario here, but have you ever taken a pax to/ from a venue which was holding one of the ever popular annual charity video game speed running marathons such as GDQ (Games Done Quick)?
For the curious/ unfamiliar, these are huge events where hundreds (if not thousands) of people get together to watch world class speed gamers racing through a variety of video games as fast as humanly possible. In addition to the live audience, the events can pull in millions of online viewers around the world and generate millions in charitable donations. The most recent one -- which just ended last night -- raised over $3,000,000 for Doctors Without Boarders.
While I was attending one in Salt Lake City this past May, I met a fantastic Uber driver who recounted her experience driving a group of pax to the previous year's marathon. She felt it was one of the most intriguing events she had ever heard of and admired what the avid gamers were doing for charity. I have also heard my share of stories from the other side; marathon goers recounting the fantastic conversations and responses they have received from rideshare drivers.
So, have you ever taken a pax to one of these, and what was your experience?

Awesome Games Done Quick/ Summer Games Done Quick
Held in early January/ late June, respectively
Host cities include Herndon, Virginia, Rockville, Maryland, Bloomington, Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

RPG Limit Break,
Mid may,
Always held in Salt Lake City, Utah.

North American Speed Runner Assembly,
Early June,
Held in dison, Illinois in 2016,
Since then it has been held near Toronto, Ontario, Canada (specific locations include ST. Catharines, Oakville and Niagara Falls.

The European Speed Runner Assembly,
Late July,
Usually in Malmo, Sweden.
 

Caturria

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Gtown Driver

Well-Known Member
No i haven't.

Although anyone driving in Vegas early August will be picking up some of my friends to play Street Fighter and Tekken


 

OldBay

Well-Known Member
All those people making speed run videos on YT, I suppose meeting in person was the next step.

To people unfamiliar with the games, it is completely incomprehensible. They memorize a pattern for the fastest way through the game. Some people discover faster routes, but most people are just memorizing.

Unless you know the game its unclear what they are doing.
 

Gtown Driver

Well-Known Member
That's kind of a lot of competitive video games really. If you don't know what's going on it's kind of a blur. Some people say they don't mind certain fighting games because they can at least see 2 people punching and kicking and understand that, but those are still complicated too depending on the type.


I think you could relate speed runs to someone playing the fastest game of the Operation board game ever.
 

Caturria

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In the early days, the definitive source for speed running content was a site called speeddemosarchive.com. It still exists but it's not the ultimate go to that it used to be. People would perform runs at home (and record them with a VCR!) then mail them off to the maintainers of the archive, who would transfer them to digital and upload them to the website. Given the state of the art with respect to internet speeds in the early to mid 2000s and before, these would often take hours to download as they were gigabytes in size.
Then of corse Youtube came along, which provided an immediate increase in the accessibility of runs as now somebody could record one at home and upload it right away.
Later, sites like justin.tv (which is now Twitch) enabled speed runners to live stream their runs anytime. It can be argued that this makes the sport more entertaining as a viewer because you're not just seeing the finished product, you're seeing something live in the making with plenty of potential to go wrong; it's not just the successful world record run you see, but rather the hundreds of failed attempts that proceeded it.
Games Done Quick started in 2010. It was held at a private home with the goal of raising $5000 for charity. In 2011 it became a semi-annual event and grew considerably with every iteration until it became the multimillion dollar charity event it is today.
To the comment from @OldBay regarding speed runs being incomprehensible to someone who doesn't know the game, the marathon scene mitigates that quite a bit. Most features at a marathon will have the runner sitting on a couch, with one or more other experts alongside them giving commentary. It's more like watching a traditional sport wherein an announcer gives a play by play.
They make it quite interactive as well by letting the audience choose some of the things that the runners will do through 'donation incentives' (have the audience vote with their wallets on whether the runner does X Y or Z, what they name their characters, etc).
 

OldBay

Well-Known Member
To the comment from @OldBay regarding speed runs being incomprehensible to someone who doesn't know the game, the marathon scene mitigates that quite a bit. Most features at a marathon will have the runner sitting on a couch, with one or more other experts alongside them giving commentary. It's more like watching a traditional sport wherein an announcer gives a play by play.
They make it quite interactive as well by letting the audience choose some of the things that the runners will do through 'donation incentives' (have the audience vote with their wallets on whether the runner does X Y or Z, what they name their characters, etc).
Trust me, even with commentators, eSports are pretty incomprehensible unless you play the game.

Not unlike watching a chess match.
 

Cdub2k

Well-Known Member
I've been watching AGDQ and other related youtube videos for about 5 years. I can never catch them live though. It'll be awesome to go to one of the events. They are great tools for raising money for important causes.
 

Caturria

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I've been watching AGDQ and other related youtube videos for about 5 years. I can never catch them live though. It'll be awesome to go to one of the events. They are great tools for raising money for important causes.
Nice.
Do you watch RPG Limit Break.
I was there in person this past May and met what I believe to be the kindest Uber driver in existence. She came inside the hotel to get me and help me to the car, helped me inside Dunkin' Donuts, even stayed and had coffee with me for over a half hour before taking me back to the hotel. She had driven runners to the event the previous year and found it to be fascinating. She must have just started Ubering at that time, as she told me she was just past the one year mark and had wracked up 6K rides.
PS: if you haven't done so yet, watch the blindfolded Punchout! run by Zallard1 that took place just this past SGDQ. The hype was simply beyond measure.
 
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