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The way forward for Video games Accomplished Fast: why founder Mike Uyama’s exit is on maintain, and what’s subsequent

The way forward for Video games Accomplished Fast: why founder Mike Uyama’s exit is on maintain, and what’s subsequent

In 2010, Mike Uyama invited a number of expert avid gamers to his mom’s basement. They had been there to boost cash for charity by speedrunning, a interest that includes finishing video games as shortly as potential. Named Traditional Video games Accomplished Fast, the gathering raised £8283 in donations and kicked off 13 years of fundraising marathons – however would by no means slot in a basement once more.

  • READ MORE: The wildest speedruns it’s good to watch from AGDQ 2022

Quick-forward to 2023, and Video games Accomplished Fast (GDQ) is now one of many greatest gaming occasions round. Its flagship marathons – Superior Video games Accomplished Fast and Summer season Video games Accomplished Fast – have drawn in thousands and thousands of viewers over time. Below Uyama’s management, £36.6million has been raised for the likes of Prevent Cancer Foundation and Doctors Without Borders.

But in January, Uyama was prepared to maneuver on. “After experiencing the pandemic for years and being extremely cautious round COVID, the stress and pressure caught as much as me final yr,” he tells NME. “There was additionally the truth that I had been doing this for 13 years and I used to be serious about doing one thing new with my life.”

Summer Games Done Quick 2020. Credit: Games Done Quick.
Summer season Video games Accomplished Fast 2020. Credit score: Video games Accomplished Fast.


The plan was handy management over to director of operations Matt Merkle, who has labored with GDQ since 2013. Uyama’s exit was introduced in January, and with Superior Video games Accomplished Fast (AGDQ) set to happen later that month, Uyama was able to cross the torch.

However with days to go earlier than AGDQ 2023 kicked off, Merkle was hospitalised on account of a leg an infection. By the following day, he was unconscious and receiving therapy for sepsis. Uyama realised it was severe when he acquired a name from Merkle’s grandmother, relatively than Merkle himself. “She was telling me the docs weren’t anticipating him to make it by means of the evening,” Uyama remembers. “I requested her form of dumbly what I might do, and she or he mentioned, ‘pray’.”

Fortunately, Merkle regained consciousness and started an extended street to restoration. He was in a position to converse to Uyama throughout AGDQ 2023, and shared that he could be hospitalised for “a minimum of” one other month. Uyama suspected that was a conservative estimate.

By the point AGDQ completed, Uyama confronted a dilemma. Summer season Video games Accomplished Fast, GDQ’s joint flagship occasion with AGDQ, was simply 4 months away. Planning wanted to start out “instantly”, and there was “no contingency plan” for if Merkle wanted extra time to recuperate. “I realised if I didn’t stick round, GDQ would have very seemingly fallen aside,” Uyama says.

Left: Mike Uyama. Right: Matt Merkle. Credit: Games Done Quick.
Left: Mike Uyama. Proper: Matt Merkle. Credit score: Video games Accomplished Fast.

Compelled to decide on between lastly beginning one thing new after 13 years, or placing these plans on maintain to maintain GDQ alive, Uyama selected to remain. “I wished to do proper by everybody,” he says. “The very first thing I did after the [AGDQ] finale was reassure folks I might be right here for the foreseeable future.”

Although the choice has modified his personal plans for the longer term, Uyama has a “revived curiosity” within the speedrunning occasion. Whereas he was feeling “burned out” in January, his relationship with GDQ has since modified for the higher. “I’ve made my peace with sticking round,” he explains. “I’m in a really totally different place mentally now than I used to be pre-AGDQ 2023.”

Wanting forward, Uyama is optimistic. Subsequent yr’s AGDQ has already been introduced, and can run between January 21-24 at Pittsburgh’s Wyndham Resort and Resorts. For in-person occasions like AGDQ and SGDQ, Uyama says the fundraiser will nonetheless “accommodate some on-line runs, however we’d like to emphasize the onsite presence extra by accepting extra in-person runs”. Elsewhere, discussions to create one other charity speedrunning occasion are underway.


“We’re contemplating a web-based occasion for an LGBT+ trigger, as we’ve plenty of speedrunners who’re locally,” says Uyama. “The occasion is within the earliest planning levels although, so nothing is confirmed.”

Summer Games Done Quick 2020. Credit: Games Done Quick.
Summer season Video games Accomplished Fast 2020. Credit score: Video games Accomplished Fast.

“We’ll be altering and increasing slowly however absolutely, and never abruptly,” he provides, pointing to monetary setbacks starting from COVID-19 to the cancellation of AGDQ 2023’s in-person occasion.

Whereas Matt Merkle’s restoration continues, he has since been launched from hospital and shares Uyama’s optimism for GDQ’s future. Although he acknowledges his situation has “adjusted” plans, he tells NME it has additionally “moved ahead some issues that had been beforehand going to take longer,” similar to an upcoming web site redesign and new hires for its Twitch stream ‘Hotfix‘.

“We’re going to take care to make sure that the corporate’s basis is secure and safe no matter how issues progress with my well being,” he provides.

As for Uyama, he’ll be staying at GDQ indefinitely, although he’s eager to ultimately journey the world. For now, he has one factor on his thoughts: making a “stable future” for the speedrunning occasion he created.

“GDQ is greater than an occasion for lots of people, it’s a group and residential for them,” he explains. “I don’t know if I’ll stick round eternally, however I’m motivated to ensure issues are in place earlier than I think about leaving or taking part in a decreased capability.”

Superior Video games Accomplished Fast 2024 runs from January 14-21. Check out Games Done Quick’s website for extra info on attending, watching it from house, or taking part as a speedrunner. 


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