AGDQ 2021: don't miss these awesome Xbox speedruns

By Luke Albigés,
Charity speedrun marathon Awesome Games Done Quick is already in full swing, with a full week of round-the-clock runs lined up as part of the remote event. Those familiar with GDQ (or even just speedruns in general) will know that runs are typically done on PC when that's an option, since that's where load times and performance will usually be best. Because of this, there are only a handful of runs on Xbox hardware featured in this event — although many, including yesterday's amazing Ori and the Will of the Wisps race, feature a lot of tricks and skips that can be replicated on console — so here are the ones you'll want to watch out for. If you don't manage the catch them live, the VODs typically show up on the GDQ YouTube channel within a few days, so you should be able to enjoy them shortly after the fact. It's also worth noting that all times listed are estimates, and the nature of this kind of event means that runs could end up happening slightly sooner or (more likely) later than planned.

otogi

Otogi: Myth of Demons

Any%, by Ameiii — Monday January 4th, 9:40am UTC
Remember when we said you shouldn't miss these runs? Well, too bad — FromSoftware's maligned Xbox exclusive has already had its time in the spotlight, so if you didn't catch it live, you'll need to wait for the VOD to surface over the next few days. The Souls games are extremely popular on the speedrunning scene, so it's nice to see some of the developer's earlier works get some love on the virtual GDQ stage. There's plenty of amusing commentary that makes light of the fact that Otogi is actually a somewhat tricky game, while the runner shows off some pretty wild movement tech, all of which helps distract from the game's rather ugly visuals (by modern standards, at least).

sonic 2006

Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)

Shadow's Story (No MSG), by Gordon Ramsay — Monday January 4th, 8:03pm UTC
Sonic's eponymous Xbox 360 adventure is famously awful, but speedruns of it are always entertaining as they show off just how utterly broken the game really is. MSG in the run category stands for 'mission select glitch,' which is a trick that can be used to skip the majority of the game by confusing it into loading one level in place of another, and not abusing that means we'll see most of this mess of a game showcased here. We're gonna go ahead and assume the runner isn't that Gordon Ramsay, but stranger things have happened on the GDQ stage...

Halo 3: ODST [Halo: MCC] ~ SuperHeroArt

Halo 3: ODST

New Game+ Legendary, by Heroic_Robb — Thursday January 7th, 10:45pm UTC
Legendary mode in the Halo series is renowned for its punishing difficulty, so it's always a joy to see skilled players do in minutes what once took most of us hours. That's precisely what we expect to see here too, with runner Heroic_Robb having just last week added a new Heroic world record run to his list of other accolades on speedrun.com, including a bunch of individual level and co-op world records on Legendary. Many Halo speedrunners play on PC, so it'll be a treat to check out one of the best console players in action at GDQ later this week. Or even later, if you wait for the YouTube video.

muchi muchi pork

Muchi Muchi Pork!

Harahara, by Aquas — Saturday January 9th, 8:08am UTC
You'd be forgiven for having never heard of this obscure Japan-only bullet hell shooter, but the fact that it's by developer Cave — the genre legend behind the likes of DoDonPachi and Deathsmiles — should tell you pretty much everything you need to know. Expect to see Aquas blast and weave through screens where you can barely see what's going on for all the bullets. While there's only so much time that can be saved in scrolling shooters, the pure skill involved in runs like this makes for a fantastic change of pace in the GDQ lineup, just as the Tetris: The Grand Master showcases and rhythm game exhibitions have done in the past.

Looking forward to these runs, or anything else on the AGDQ 2021 schedule? Let us know below!
Luke Albigés
Written by Luke Albigés
Hey, I'm Luke! I've been playing games since way back in the 8-bit days, and have spent the last 15+ years writing and talking about them professionally for anyone and everyone who would let me. Monster Hunter fanatic, wearer of many fine hats, and always up for a raid.