SGDQ, or Summer Games Done Quick, is a speedrunning charity fundraising marathon that wrapped up last weekend with a total of over $3 million raised for Doctors Without Borders. It included a run of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl, a tense relay race in Super Mario Maker 2, and an absolutely nuts 30-minute run of Elden Ring as the finale.
But every year, there’s always one run that rises above the rest — and, admittedly, it’s usually a Zelda game, for whatever reason. This year, it was Ocarina of Time… or, it was sort of Ocarina of Time. Let us explain.
GDQ often features this thing called TASBot, you see — short for Tool-Assisted Speedrun bot — which can input button presses faster and more precisely than any human hand. That might sound like cheating, and it is, but it makes for some really impressive speedruns, like this one, which involved a bunch of Celeste speedrunners coming together to create the perfect Celeste speedrun over 2,000 hours:
The TASBot trick in the Ocarina of Time run, instead of allowing them to do precision-perfect platforming, instead allows for something called Arbitrary Code Execution, another common and very difficult speedrunning trick. Long, complicated story short — ACE lets players put in a series of specific button presses to trick the game into doing things.
In the case of Ocarina of Time, it lets them get the Triforce.
It also lets the speedrunners access a bunch of OoT’s beta content, like the Arwing, the Butterfly item, and more. But that was all a ruse! It was all about the Triforce the whole time!
Except that wasn’t what it was all about. Not entirely. At the end of the run, Link starts hearing someone whisper his name… and offer him a single wish. Be King of Hyrule, become rich, or see the future. And obviously, it has to be the last one, right?
And where else would the future take you than the latest Zelda game?
Link looks as baffled as we were, of course, and the speedrunners tell us that this is all in-engine, playing on the N64, not a video. Zelda appears to explain a little bit, and shows Link a cool new trick she’s been working on.
The speedrunners sit and watch as tons of comments pour in and paint the sky, and it honestly looks like a pretty emotional moment for them — we imagine that this is the first run they’ve been able to do with this many participants, so it’s not surprising.
Finally, Link says thank you (in Japanese) and he and Zelda walk off together. Not sure where they’re going, since they’re stuck on an island, but it’s still sweet.
If you’re still incredibly confused by TASBot, ACE, SGDQ, or any other acronym, you can check out Retro Game Mechanics Explained’s explainer, although it may just confuse you more:
Did you watch the SGDQ marathon? What was your favourite speedrun? Tell us in the comments!