Monday, 6 February 2012

Playing to Prevent Cancer: An interview with Uraniumanchor: A fundraising speedrunner

Well this is all very exciting! We're all aware that sports events, television shows, music concerts et al can raise a lot of money for good causes but we gaming folk can also do our bit for good causes. The speed-running marathon known as Awesome Games Done Quick invites gamers to record videos of their best completion times in classic games such as Prince of Persia and use the established sponsorship-donation model to raise lots and lots of money. 

Because they believe in beating Contra to beat Cancer!

The last ACDQ event raised a whopping $145000 for the charity Prevent Cancer and 103% Complete was fortunate enough to get a hold of uraniumanchor, one of these superstar speed-runners (check out his channel) and get a few words from him on the subject of playing games fast for good causes.

103%. The speedrunning marathons you've been involved in have raised considerable sums for good causes. How was this impressive effort orchestrated and what has your role been in these events?

UA. It all started as an idea for something to do at MAGFest a couple of years ago. It blew everybody's expectations away and it was pretty much decided that we'd do more of them. At this point it's practically exploded and become it's own mini-convention. We're going to have to start selling tickets if we get much bigger. As for my involvement, last year I simply showed up to run a couple of games. This year, our normal tech guy (nate) wasn't going to make it so I decided to start trying to figure out how to set everything up so that it would flow smoothly, taking some of his ideas such as using a single powered splitter for each TV, to make swapping consoles simpler. However, I ended up taking on far more responsibility than I originally intended, but it ended up working out because the tech setup went far smoother than I expected. Lots of room for improvement, but it still was beyond my expectations. 

103%. Speed-running can be a frustrating task, especially if practice runs can take considerable amounts of time per attempt. How do you keep yourself motivated?

UA. Playing games I actually enjoy is a large part of it. However, I also got a Blaster Master 2 cart as a 'gift' and now I have to run that, as I had previously made an offer that I would do so if somebody got me a cart. We'll see if my attitude changes. 

103%. Which of your speed runs are you most proud of in terms of setting an amazing time? Is this also your favourite game to run?

Uraniumanchor's speed run of choice

UA. Blaster Master's 41:19 (by my timing, 41:23 by SDA timing) that I did while practicing for SGDQ is definitely my proudest speed run. It's not up on the site yet, but it should be soon. It's the final processing stages. And yes, it's my favorite game period. 

103%. There is a community of speedrunners out there. Which speed runners do you have a lot of respect for? Do you watch other speed runners on Youtube?

UA. I can't think of any particular speed-runners I have an inordinate amount of respect for, but anybody who's active on SDA tends to gain my respect, barring a few people who I won't mention here. Sometimes I'll watch runs on youtube if I'm impatient, but I usually prefer to wait for the SDA publication. 

103%. Which game that you've played has been the most difficult to run?

UA. Ninja Gaiden 3, no question. That game is so unfair it's ridiculous. 

The man tells the truth

103% would like to offer thanks to Uraniumanchor for taking part in this interview and would direct readers to the ACDQ website for more information about how to get involved. More analysis on gaming videos can be found here. Thanks for reading!

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