Yesterday marked the start of this year's AGDQ. For those who may not know what that means it's a week long video game marathon where people who are supreme experts at specific games beat them as fast as possible. Typically this will involve abusing bugs to move faster, or to move through walls, or to skip entire sections of games.
I've spent a fair amount of time in the past year watching speedrunning streams. Most of the time people who are streaming are trying to beat their personal best times. So if they get off to a slow start they'll just reset the game and try again. This marathon is more about being entertaining than setting new records so that aspect of speedrunning is missing. And frankly that's a good thing in general. It means the organizers are only picking games to be played by people who can consistently be pretty fast. This makes it more accessible to a casual viewer I think. They also bring in extra people to talk about what's going on in the games. So even if the guy playing the game needs to focus on a hard trick there's someone else there to explain it to the layman viewer. This is good for me since I don't know most of these games! I don't think I'd like watching a regular Sonic record attempt stream, but I was happy to watch a few different Sonic games at AGDQ with the focus on entertainment and commentary.
The purpose for the event is to raise money for the Prevent Cancer Foundation. Last year they raised a little over a million dollars during AGDQ and I suspect they'll handily beat that total this year. Viewership is certainly up! They had more people watching the stream a few hours after it went live than they did at any point last year.
They have tons of prizes and stuff they raffle off to people who donate during specific sections of the event. The grand prize this year is actually a pinball machine donated by Pinball Joe, whoever that is! There's also a Humble Bundle set up explicitly for this event with the money going to the same charity. A bunch of games, a shirt and other stuff, and a 3 month subscription of xSplit which is one of the two big streaming software suites that I know of. If you want to use xSplit this seems like it really should be the way to get it. I use OBS which is open source, free, and seems to work just fine but I've hears xSplit works just fine too.
You can watch the action on their Twitch channel.