Last Sunday, in the wee hours of the morning with the sounds of Nobuo Uematsu’s score to FFIV lingering in the ears of watchers and participants alike, another AGDQ came to a close. AGDQ (Awesome Games Done Quick) is a yearly charity, alongside its sister event Summer Games Done Quick, that brings together a part of the gaming community that, perhaps, isn’t as popular as some others. These gatherings, while raising money all in the name of good causes, display one of the more technical arts of gaming, speedrunning. If you’re unfamiliar, speedrunning is both when players complete the game at astonishing speeds, and when players have taken it upon themselves to learn where the game is unstable, utilizing glitches to complete the game faster than a normal player could ever hope to achieve (such as beating Yoshi’s Island for the SNES in around three minutes).
Having hit an emotional low, I spent most of last week laying on my couch watching the events and marveling at all this ridiculous shit that I would never have the patience to learn and remembering my own speedrunning dreams.
On Saturday, watching on and off (because there’s only so much Twitch I can take in a day), something shook me from my haze. I didn’t notice anything strange about AeonFrodo’s 200cc run of Mario Kart 8 at first—except that I didn’t expect that Mario Kart would have been speedrun, especially not 8 because I’m terrible at it and, of course, that means no one else could possibly be good at it either. Suddenly, the announcer read a donation for three hundred dollars that ended with “here’s a hundred dollars for every lady who’s had a run at this marathon”. I squinted at the screen—only three lady runners? Out of the 100+ scheduled showings? Sure enough, though, this was the case, which left me, and many other women gamers, wondering: where are all the lady speedrunners at?